Deion Sanders had a point last year on the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
He did it narcissistically when he suggested that he bust is placed in another room, but that doesn’t make it any less true. The 2022 inductees are great players, but a few are definitely not legends. Also, DeMarcus Ware and Devin Hester were eliminated the first year they qualified, and why Patrick Willis didn’t shortlist twice baffles me.
However, this year’s finalists, when the inductees are announced, Sanders should release a video of him giving the group a round of applause. Darrelle Revis, Joe Thomas and Dwight Freeney are was selected to the final in the first year they qualify.
Unfortunately, the Pro Football Hall of Fame has a silly rule that allows up to five modern-day finalists to be inducted each year. While Revis should have been a course to gain in the first year, Thomas could have been forced to wait gratuitously. He was a six-time first team All-Pro, but was also an offensive player who had never played in a knockout and spent his entire career with the Cleveland Browns after 1999.
Freeney will almost certainly be forced to wait, even though he is one of the most dominant passers of his generation. On the pitch at the old Hoosier Dome, he was a terror to show for. At just 6 feet-1 tall, he still made the first-team All-Pro three times. While Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne – now stuck in that wide line of receivers to enter the Hall of Fame – get most of the praise, without Freeney the defense wouldn’t be strong enough to take Indianapolis Colts to two Super Bowl games.
This year’s modern inductees will likely be Revis, Terry Holt, Willie Anderson, Ware and, hopefully, Willis. The committee should consider it institutional malpractice as he has been a finalist twice and still hasn’t been featured. He retired after just eight seasons because of a nagging big toe injury, but he won the Pro Bowl in his first seven seasons and was a first-team All-Pro five times. He played in a very respected position – the inner full-back – and was absolutely one of the best to ever play in that position.
If there is real justice, out of the 15 finalists, a minimum of 12 players will be featured this year. Other finalists include Darren Woodson, Jared Allen and Andre Johnson. Woodson reached the semi-finals for the first time despite having retired since 2003.
The class of 2023 will be a class to remember. The debut of Revis will of course be the highlight because it is safe to say that he is the greatest full-back of all time. The phrase Revis Island is not a gimmick to sell T-shirts. Many of the most extensive receivers ever played in the NFL were wrecked there. He also knows how good he is and makes sure he gets every dollar he can from the NFL. A legend on the field and at the bank.
However great this class would be, because of limitations, it still won’t achieve what it can. Players like Hester, Willis, Johnson, Ware and Wayne shouldn’t have been wise choices. They have dominated the NFL for years in a row. These players are not simply featured in the game plan, they are likely to make one game per week in order to be able to win their team a game. Instead, the committee chose a weak class last year and will force some new deserving candidates to join some veteran classes as they all have to go through the process again.
What was supposed to celebrate excellence has largely turned into a bar-room controversy over silly restrictions and a committee that made several mistakes that Colorado’s new head coach has pointed out. exactly.