Walter Jones, Derrick Brooks join 5 others into the Football Hall of Fame
Walter Jones spent 12 years in the league, all with the Seahawks, and was immediately one of the top offensive tackles. At his peak, he could skip all of training camp with a contract dispute, sign the 1 year franchise offer, and still play at a All-Pro level. He, along with Jonathan Ogden and Orlando Pace, were the top tackles in football the last decade. Ogden was voted in last year. Pace is first eligible next year if I've counted right, and I can't imagine he waits long.
Derrick Brooks was another one who spent his whole career with one team, in this case the Buccaneers. In 14 seasons, he was named to the Pro Bowl 11 times and named an All-Pro 5 times. He won the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2002, the same season his Bucs won the Super Bowl. There were flashier members of those great Bucs defenses, notably Warren Sapp, but Brooks was in the many ways the key to that operation.
Michael Strahan is more known for fame whoring these days, but in this prime, he was one of the best pass rushers in football. He of course owns the record for most sacks in a season with 22.5, although that's considered tainted because Brett Favre took a dive on the last one. His career total of 141.5 ranks 5th all-time though.
In his 8th year as a finalist, Andre Reed finally gets in. His overall numbers don't look great compared to today's pass heavy era, but he still ranks 13th all-time in receiving yards and 12th in touchdowns. Surprisingly, Reed doesn't show up on many league leaderboards, but being the #1 receiver on those great but cursed Bills teams obviously helped his candidacy, and there's something about being very good for a long time.
For most of the 90s, Aeneas Williams was known as the one Cardinal you felt bad for, because he was stuck on such a garbage team. Williams spent ten years in Arizona and was an interception machine, averaging 4.6 per year. His 55 for his career ranks 20th all-time, and he was named to the Pro Bowl eight times. He had the all-time record for fumble return yards until it was broken this year by DeAngelo Hall.
Turning to the Senior Committee selections, Claude Humphrey was the 3rd overall pick of the Falcons in 1968. He spent 13 years in the league as a defensive end with the Falcons and later with the Eagles, including playing on their 1980 Super Bowl team. He's been unofficially credited with 122 sacks in his career.
Finally, Ray Guy becomes the first punter to be elected to the Hall of Fame. The longtime Raider is considered to be the best punter, and the pioneer to the highly skilled specialist we see today, even though his career numbers now look pedestrian. There's been a longtime campaign, and a longtime backlash, for Guy, so if nothing else, it's nice to see that debate settled.
Not making the cut this time around are Jerome Bettis, Marvin Harrison, Kevin Greene (who had more sacks than Strahan), Charles Haley, and Will Shields. Not making the cut from 15 to 10 were Eddie DeBartolo, Tim Brown, John Lynch, Tony Dungy, and Morten Andersen. The crazy thing is most of those guys also deserve enshirement too (I'd only pause on DeBartolo, because screw owners, and Dungy because I don't like him personally). Such is the football Hall of Fame process. Congratulations to all the new inductees.
What are your thoughts on the 2014 Pro Football Hall of Fame class?