“NFL-Hall of Fame-Tainted Class”
The NFL, celebrating its founding 100-years ago, has announced what they are calling the ‘Centennial Class’ of enshrines, some 15-contributors-coaches-players, who had been bypassed in the past.
A tough list to pare down. Some controversial choices for sure. And of course the debate, why not Coach Don Coryell-Father of the NFL’s great passing games. Tough choices.
PAUL TAGLIABUE….Longtime Commissioner, challenged with replacing the popular Pete Rozelle, helped take the NFL to the highest galaxy possible in terms of profits and TV contracts. But he was also Commissioner as the NFL turned its head the other way as the concussion crisis, player suicides, and lawsuits became relevant. The disgrace of his so-called Concussion Committee is his legacy. Four times he was up for vote, four times rejected, because of that. Does not deserve this honor.
GEORGE YOUNG..Superb player talent evaluator, who built the Giants into Super Bowl teams a number of times….Hired Bill Parcells…Drafted greatness of Lawrence Taylor…Found street free agents who came in and excelled. Controlled troubled players and his head coach too. A true gentleman.
JIMMY JOHNSON…It may be Jerry Jones team, but it was the Jimmy Johnson leadership that led the Cowboys to Super Bowl wins twice, and set the stage for even Barry Switzer winning with Jimmy’s players. Engineered the greatest trade-heist of all time, the Herschel Walker deal to the Vikings for a trainload of draft picks. When he was done he had Troy Aikman-Emmett Smith and Michael Irvin. And to think he is not in the Cowboys ‘Ring of Honor’ yet. Not bad for someone who started (1-15). ‘How bout d’em Cowboys?’
BILL COWHER…Surrounded on one side by Chuck Noll, on the other by Mike Tomlin, part of the 3-some of coaches who have led the Steelers to greatness. Part coach, part psychologist, full time winner. Twice in the Super Bowl, all those AFC championship games.
STEVE SABOL…The creative brilliance of all things NFL-Films, who died so early in life from cancer. Son of the legendary founder of the company. He chronicled every story angle there was, games-people-incidents in modern day history. His archives went all the way back to 1920.
DONNIE SHELL…Another cast member of the great Steelers drafts in the early years of the Chuck Noll era. When he hit you, you stayed hit.
HAROLD CARMICHAEL…Maybe the first great ‘big receiver’ in the NFL, that changed the game. The Eagles remember the routes, the long strides, the touchdowns.
JIMBO COVERT…Life time Bears star, unknown soldier in the trenches. Walter Payton’s wing man.
ALEX KARRIS…Rock solid tough in the old Detroit Lions mold of tough guys like Lou Creekmur and Joe Schmidt. Suspended for 1-year for gambling on games in the Howard Cosell era.
BOBBY DILLON…A great DB-back in the 1950s era with the Packers. Receiver-Kick Return-Pass Interceptor. Was to the defense what Bart Starr was to the offense.
CLIFF HARRIS…Warrior of a safety in the Tom Landry era with the Cowboys and then onto Washington.
WINSTON HILL…The old AFL massive OT who blocked for Joe Namath in the heydays of the AFL-NFL war.
ED SPRINKEL…Before they kept stats like sacks, he excelled for over a decade for George Halas’ Chicago Bears. One of the first members of the Monster’s of the Midway from back in the day.
DUKE SLATER…A rugged tackle with the old Chicago Cardinals in the early days of the game, starting a career in 1922 and playing into the 1930s.
MAC SPEEDIE…Running mate of the legendary Cleveland Browns QB-Otto Graham in the 1940s and 50s. Somebody had to catch all those passes and run for those yards that Paul Brown drew up. He did.
DON CORYELL…Did not get in, despite his tremendous input in changing the passing game in pro football in the 1970s into the 80s…He won only 111-games in pro football, and never go to a Super Bowl.
TOM FLORES…He won 2-Super Bowls working for Al Davis, but only won 97-games in a his career and had 4-bad seasons in a row at the end of his career in Oakland then Seattle.
RANDY GRADISHAW…They are pretty incensed in Denver at his treatment, but you will have to decide, was he as dominant or explosive as say Junior Seau or Mike Singletary?