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Archive for Sunday, August 8, 2010

Hall of Fame bias a myth

August 8, 2010

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— The Dallas Cowboys’ faithful believe Drew Pearson belongs in the Hall of Fame.

I wouldn’t argue against that point. He was named to the NFL all-decade team for the 1970s as Roger Staubach’s go-to guy on a three-time NFC champion.

The Cowboys’ faithful believe Cliff Harris and Harvey Martin also belong in the Hall of Fame. Again, I wouldn’t argue against those points. Harris and Martin also were all-decade selections in the 1970s, and Martin is the franchise’s sack leader.

But the Packers believe Jerry Kramer, Dave Robinson and Bobby Dillon all belong. I also wouldn’t argue against those points. Kramer was the only guard selected to the NFL’s 50th anniversary team, Robinson was an all-decade linebacker in the 1960s and Dillon intercepted 52 passes during an eight-year career in the 1950s.

The Steelers believe L.C. Greenwood, Andy Russell and Jack Butler all belong. The Raiders believe Ken Stabler, Ray Guy and Cliff Branch all belong. The Chiefs believe Johnny Robinson, Otis Taylor and Ed Budde all belong.

And I wouldn’t argue against any of those points, either. All were players of great accomplishment who are now seniors and deserve to be discussed by the Hall of Fame selection committee. None have been enshrined, and few have even been considered.

The bottom line is there are 26 established franchises in the NFL, and everyone believes it has three or four players who have been unfairly passed over by the Hall of Fame selection process.

That’s roughly 80 candidates right there, from which the Hall of Fame seniors committee can nominate only two per year. And the senior talent pool swells by the year. The bottom line is not everyone can or will get into Canton.

Does that constitute a Cowboys bias? That’s a difficult point to argue these days. Emmitt Smith became the fifth Cowboy enshrined in Canton in the last five years. If the Hall of Fame selection committee is trying to keep Cowboys out of Canton, it’s been failing.

The Cowboys won five Super Bowls and will have 10 players enshrined in Canton. Let’s use that as a rule of thumb — two enshrinees per championship. The New York Giants have won seven championships and have 14 players enshrined. The Green Bay Packers won five NFL titles in the 1960s and have 10 players enshrined from that era.

But the Packers can argue there’s a Canton prejudice against their franchise. Green Bay has won 12 titles all-time but has only 19 Hall of Fame players. That’s five short of the two-per-championship-team quota. Does that constitute a Packers bias?

Any perceived bias rests in the eyes, hearts and minds of a particular rooting interest.

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