I know it has been awhile since I have blogged, and I apologize, but now that MLB pennant races are in full swing and the NFL is back, and WWE is starting to become a little more interesting, I hopefully will be able to blog more. As this Saturday will be the Pro Football Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, I have decided that in this blog I will be discussing my love/hate relationship with not just the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but pretty much Halls of Fame in general.
Let me start by saying, I LOVE Halls of Fame. There are athletes who are good. There are those who are excellent. However, there are those who go WAY ABOVE being excellent, and perform at a level of legendary status, and had a huge impact on the game.. Those athletes, or in the case of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, musicians are in a class by themselves, and are enshrined in their respective Halls of Fame. Every year, a select group of experts in their respective fields be it baseball, football, music, etc go through a voting process, and a then a “class” of Hall of Famers is announced.
The 2011 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class is TE Shannon Sharpe, CB Deion Sanders, Founder of NFL Films Ed Sabol, RB Marshall Faulk, DE Richard Dent, LB Chris Hanburger, and LB Les Richter. Congrats to them and their families. They all have contributed greatly to this great sport of pro football, and deserve to be Hall of Famers. Seeing these guys go in and seeing them get such a great honor after years of contributing to the game is what I LOVE about Halls of Fame in general.
I could go on endlessly about players and musicians who have been, in my opinion snubbed by voters in various Halls of Fame. However, I will just talk about one . This particular snub is so petty that it drives me up the wall. I am not even a fan of the team he played for, but I realize that he was a fantastic player, and that he should have been a first ballot Hall of Famer. Unfortunately, he wasn’t, and 30 plus years later, he is still not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and he really should be, in my opinion. This Pro Football Hall of Fame snub that has bothered me is former Minnesota Vikings DE Jim Marshall. Over his nearly 20 year career, he played 282 consecutive games, 270 of those with the Vikings, never missing a game.
He was part of the famous “Purple People Eaters” along with Carl Eller, and Allan Page. That Defensive Line was a holy terror in the 60’s and 70’s. He should be enshrined in the Hall of Fame like Page and Eller are. The reason he is not, in my personal opinion is because every time his name comes up, voters seem to want to remember him for that “Wrong Way Run,” as that play has been replayed over and over. Well, if you want my opinion, I think that is a very petty reason to hold a guy out of the Hall of Fame. His work on the field which is what I THOUGHT was supposed to be the criteria , I think overshadows that mistake. Now, I realize that “wrong way run” was on the field, however, all the great plays he made, and his legacy is much bigger than that one mistake that is replayed. He’s been retired for over 30 years. It’s about time he gets in. This is the example of the pettiness that Hall of Fame voters can have.
That was just one example. As I said, I could write a tome. What really bothers me in both the MLB and the football Halls of Fame is that writers who never swung a bat or played a down are the ones decided who is a Hall of Famer and who is not. Writers with their own biases and prejudices and politics and such can be really petty. A lot of times, in my opinion players were being “punished” for stuff they did off the field. The criteria is supposed to be ON THE FIELD. Mike Florio of www.profootballtalk.com has this idea that “Off the field” antics SHOULD be considered in voting. In my opinion, while that may be a noble idea in that the Hall of Fame should have character guys, this is a HALL OF FAME, not a HALL OF ANGELS.
Considering off the field antics is , in my opinion, a slippery slope that I don’t think voters should go. It’s bad enough that they use their biases as it is. I don’t want to see the voters being the Moral Police as well. It is bad enough already that voters on the Pro Football Hall of Fame do ridiculous things like preventing WR Michael Irvin from being a first round Hall of Famer due to his off the field issues despite the fact he was an impact player. Defensive coordinators FEARED Irvin. These voters for years were in love with WR Art Monk , who in my opinion is just a stat compiler. Great player, mind you, and was finally enshrined, but Irvin was an impact player. Great teammate. Hard worker. However, the voters had to throw their weight around. It is bad enough even this year, the voters had a 45 minute discussion about whether Deion Sanders should be inducted as a first ballot Hall of Famer. Really? Deion Sanders is one of the best CBs ever since Mel Blount, and should have been a no brainer, unless the voters had a problem with his flamboyance on the field, and his association with rappers off the field. I just think off the field issues should not be considered.
Of course, there is the usual stupidity in various Halls of Fame. I still don’t understand why Yankee great Roger Maris is not in MLB’s Hall of Fame. Sports Illustrated’s Peter King said he would never voter for another Steeler. Steeler greats L.C. Greenwood, and Dermontti Dawson are still not in. You have voters being silly saying there are too many Packers, too many Steelers, too many Raiders. If said athlete is a Hall of Famer, he/she (Halls of Fame do induct women, of course), who cares what team they played for, and what does it matter the amount of players on said team are in? This petty stuff makes me crazy.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame could be the subject of a separate blog, but even that Hall has its politics and pettiness. Besides the usual suspects one would suspect would be enshrined, (Beatles, Stones, Who, Zeppelin, etc) Hall of Famers include acts like Madonna, and ABBA, who were first ballot Hall of Famers. Other Hall of Famers are AC/DC, Queen, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, Blondie, Van Halen, and FINALLY after years of eligibility, the Grandfather of Glam Rock, Alice Cooper. With the exception of ABBA, Blondie,and Madonna, these bands I listed are hard rock bands.They all had their own styles, and they all were of different generations. Where they are interrelated is that just about all the hard rock bands, and even ABBA and Blondie is that they all were popular at some point in the 70’s. This is just my opinion, there is a major band that thanks to the pettiness of a one Jan Wenner, the Editor of “Rolling Stone” Magazine will NEVER get in as long as Mr. Wenner has anything to do with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Bass player of this band discovered Van Halen in an L.A. Club in fact. Eddie Van Halen shows NO GRATITUDE to this guy either. Nice. Of course, maybe it’s the drugs, huh Eddie?
One suggestion I have for just about any Hall of Fame would be to have players who were already enshrined to join in on the voting. I mean, I would not kick out the writers and know it all editors. I would add players who PLAYED THE GAME. These players would know who is worthy of enshrinement and who is not. I would have it 60% writers, and 40% players. Another suggestion I have would be a term limit on voters for players so fresh voices so to speak can be expressed on the voting process. I think at least there is some input from athletes and there would different voices heard every once in awhile.
In closing, I really do love seeing deserved athletes and musicians get their just due, and seeing them honored for their achievements. It is a wonderful thing to see. I just hate the politics, and the messiness behind the scenes.
Terri Bey currently blogs for CamelClutchBlog.com about Wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture related subjects. Her work has appeared in BleacherReport and for F4WOnline.com. Terri can be found here at Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/TerriBey and at Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/missedgehead