Hall of Fame Vote In the Rearview

From Dallas, Texas

It was seven hours in a hotel meeting room where the temperature was too hot and the proceedings were continually interrupted by the hotel fire alarm.

This meeting of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Board of Selectors had its fits and starts and there was enough disagreement and debate that it helped push the thermostat up a few degrees higher than its already hot setting.

The job that was presented to the group of 42 men and two women was simple to describe, not so easy in follow through – discuss the qualities of 17 different football players and decide who were the best and deserved entrance to the hall. As many as seven nominees could be inducted, and at least four had to be elected.

And for seven hours-plus that’s what went down. I’ve been part of the board of selectors since the voting session for the Class of 1996 and the duty does not get any easier each year. Let me assure you that every person chosen to vote understands the importance of their duties.

When I first joined the group, there were several veteran voters who would arrive Saturday morning barely awake and dealing with a raging hangover from the Friday night party. That’s not the case anymore. The group arrives with their wits about them and their research done.

This year’s meeting went long for three reasons – Ed Sabol, Deion Sanders and in the modern game, what constitutes a Hall of Fame receiver. …Read More!

Deion, Sharpe, Faulk, Sabol in; Roaf Out

From Dallas Texas

It took more than seven hours for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Board of Selectors to finish their business on Saturday afternoon at the Dallas Sheraton Hotel.

When the work was done, the Hall of Fame had seven new members: Richard Dent, Marshall Faulk, Ed Sabol, Deion Sanders, Shannon Sharpe and senior inductees Chris Hanburger and Les Richter.

On the outside looking in this year was former Chiefs OT Willie Roaf. In his first year of eligibility, he survived the first round of voting to be part of the final 10 under consideration.

(We’ll have more tomorrow on what went down in the meeting room with the Hall of Fame committee, and the surprises and shocks of the process.)

The board of selectors (of which your humble scribe is a member) debated long and hard at several points in the morning and afternoon session. The lengthy discussions involved the three wide receivers who were eligible, Sabol and Sanders.

In the end, none of the three pass catchers – Tim Brown, Chris Carter or Andre Reed – were inducted. Sabol, the man who created NFL Films and creatively presented the game of football like it had never been done before, drew the most discussion time from the group of 44 voters, with the debate going 40 minutes. The 94-year old Sabol was inducted as a contributor, the first with that status since<.>

The discussion around Sanders was on his remarkable abilities as a cover cornerback and return skills against his unwillingness to support the run or initiate contact. In the end, Deion’s positives far outweighed his negatives.

The Hall of Fame does not release voting totals on any of the ballots. The senior candidates are voted on first, in a yes or no designation for each one. Then the 15 modern-era finalists are voted down to 10, and from their five. With the final five, to make the Hall the nominee must receive 80 percent of the vote.

In the vote from 15 to 10, eliminated from the group were Jerome Bettis, Tim Brown, Cris Carter, Chris Doleman and Charles Haley.

In the vote from 10 to five, eliminated were Dermontti Dawson, Cortez Kennedy, Curtis Martin, Andre Reed and Roaf.

That left the final five – Dent, Faulk, Sabol, Sanders and Sharpe. All five received the necessary vote percentage to earn induction, along with Hanburger and Richter.

Here is the Class of 2011 that will be officially inducted in August in Canton, Ohio:

…Read More!

Your Vote For Hall of Fame 2011 Is Complete

From Dallas, Texas

Saturday morning the Board of Selectors for the Pro Football Hall of Fame will hold its annual meeting to elect the class of 2011.

Over the last two weeks, we’ve gone through the voting process for the Hall of Fame and allowed you guys a chance to vote on the same names that the board will consider.

Under the procedure, the readers of bobgretz.com think just two of the 15 finalists deserve induction. Those men are:

  • RB Marshall Faulk.
  • OT Willie Roaf.

Here’s a walk through the process. It started with 15 names, the modern-era finalists. On the first vote, slicing from 15 to 10, eliminated were: …Read More!

Your Hall Of Fame Voting – Round #2

We’ve had a chance to total up the votes from the first round of voting for the 2011 class for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Now, it’s on to the second step.  That first vote was slicing the list of modern era candidates from 15 to 10. Now, the vote is taking those remaining 10 down to five finalists.

This procedure is how the class of inductees will be selected by the Hall’s Board of Selectors, a 44-person body made up of media people from around the country. I’ve been honored to be part of the voting group for 16 elections now. In any given year the most frequently asked questions that I receive from fans are about the Hall of Fame and the process. To give everyone a chance to understand, I’m opening up the voting to readers this year. The next step is:  

  • The second vote will be cutting from 10 to 5.
  • The final vote will be on the remaining five, with a vote of yes or no on each man individually. To achieve Hall of Fame status a player must receive 80 percent of the vote, but there also must be a minimum of four or a maximum of seven persons elected, including the seniors candidates. For this exercise we are going to assume that both seniors candidates Chris Hanburger and Les Richter are voted in. So that means among the 15 modern era players a minimum of two and a maximum of five can be elected. If two players do not achieve 80 percent, then tie-breakers come into play and I won’t bother you with any of that.

Eliminated in the voting from 15 to 10 were: RB Jerome Bettis, WR Tim Brown, C Dermontti Dawson, DE/LB Chris Doleman and RB Curtis Martin.

That leaves these 10 still active: WR Cris Carter, DE Richard Dent, RB Marshall Faulk, DE Charles Haley, DT Cortez Kennedy, WR Andre Reed, OT Willie Roaf, Contributor Ed Sabol (NFL Films), CB Deion Sanders and TE Shannon Sharpe.

Polls are now open. Just post your five candidates as a comment. They need not be in any certain order. Voting runs through Tuesday, February 1 at 6 p.m. At that point, we’ll tabulate the votes and then move onto the final round.

Finalist For Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2011

(in alphabetical order)


Running Back … 5-11, 243 … Notre Dame … 1993-95 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 1996-2005 Pittsburgh Steelers
13 seasons, 192 games … Selected by Rams in 1st round (10th player overall) of 1993 draft … Earned Rookie of Year honors … Finished rookie season with seventh best rookie rushing total in league history… As rookie finished second in rushing yards and third in total yards from scrimmage … First Rams rookie to rush for 1,000 yards since Eric Dickerson, 1983 … Rams leading rusher 1993-95 … Steelers leading rusher 1996-2001, 2003-04 … Steelers leader in total yards from scrimmage, 1996-2001 … His fifty 100-plus yard games ranks 1st in Steelers history … At time of retirement, his eight 1,000-plus yard seasons was tied for third-best in NFL history … His 13,662 ranks fifth all-time in career rushing yards … Ranked 19th all-time in combined net yards at time of retirement … Voted to Pro Bowl six times: 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2005 … Named All-Pro in 1993 (AP, PFWA), 1996 (AP); All-Pro second-team 1997 (AP); All-NFC 1993 (UPI, PW); All-AFC 1996 (UPI, PW), 1997 (PW) … Born February 16, 1972 in Detroit, Michigan. 


Wide Receiver/Kick Returner … 6-0, 195 … Notre Dame … 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
17 seasons, 255 games … Heisman Trophy Winner … Selected by Raiders in 1st round (6th player overall) of 1988 draft … As rookie led NFL in kickoff returns, return yards, and yards per return average  …  Led NFL in receptions, 1997 … Set Raiders franchise records for receptions, receiving yards, and punt return yards … At time of retirement his 14,934 receiving yards were second-highest total in NFL history; 1,094 receptions were 3rd; and 100 touchdown catches were tied for 3rd … Also gained 190 rushing yards; 3,320 punt return yards, 3 fumble return yards; 1,235 kickoff return yards … Total of 19,682 combined net yards, 5th all-time at time of retirement … Scored 105 total touchdowns (100 receiving, 1 rushing, 3 punt returns, 1 kickoff return) … Voted to Pro Bowl nine times, 1989 and 1992 as kick returner, 1994-98, 2000 and 2002 as a receiver … All-Pro choice as a kick returner, 1988 … All-Pro wide receiver, 1997 … Was named All-AFC as a kick returner, 1988, punt returner, 1991, and wide receiver, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997 … Born July 22, 1966 in Dallas, Texas.


Wide Receiver … 6-3, 202 … Ohio State … 1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins
16 seasons, 234 games … Selected by Philadelphia in the fourth round of the 1987 Supplemental Draft … First reception as a pro was a 22-yard touchdown catch … Durable; he played a full 16-game season in 13 of his 16 seasons … In 2000, became only the second player in NFL history to catch 1,000 career passes … Recorded 1,000 receiving yards in a season eight straight years … Broke the 100-yard receiving plateau 42 times during his career … Ranked second on the NFL’s all-time list for total receptions (1,101) and receiving touchdowns (130) at retirement … His 130 TD receptions came from 13 different passers … Caught 70-plus passes in 10 seasons … His 122 receptions in 1994 was a then-NFL single-season-record … Named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s and received the 1999 NFL Man of the Year Award … In 2002, returned to the field when he joined the Miami Dolphins in midseason when injuries decimated team’s receiving corps … Was first- or second-team All-Pro 1994, 1995, and 1999 … Selected to play in eight Pro Bowls (1994-2001) … Born November 25, 1965, in Troy, Ohio.


Center … 6-2, 288 … Kentucky … 1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers
13 playing seasons, 184 games … Steelers’ second-round draft pick (44th player overall), 1988 NFL Draft … Second-team All-SEC at Kentucky … Started five of eight games played as a rookie at right guard … Missed eight weeks at midseason with knee injury … Became starting center in 1989 replacing future Hall of Famer Mike Webster … Doubled as team’s long snapper, 1988-1993 … Named Co-AFC Offensive Lineman of the Year (with Richmond Webb) by NFL Players Association, 1993 … Selected as NFL Alumni Offensive Lineman of the Year, 1996 … Played in 170 consecutive games before streak ended in 1999 due to hamstring injury … His exceptional speed and strength enabled him to do things not typical of a center … Named first-team All-Pro six consecutive years (1993-98) … Selected to play in seven consecutive Pro Bowls (1993-99) … Anchor on offensive line that led Steelers to five AFC Central Division championships and one AFC championship … Born June 17, 1965 in Lexington, Kentucky.


Defensive End … 6-5, 265 … Tennessee State … 1983-1993, 1995 Chicago Bears, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1996 Indianapolis Colts, 1997 Philadelphia Eagles
15 seasons, 203 games … Selected by Chicago in eighth round (203rd player overall) of 1983 NFL Draft … Played in every game as rookie … Became full-time starter early in 1984, beginning a 10-year period in which he recorded 10 or more sacks in eight of 10 seasons … An intimidating player, could speed rush or power rush the quarterback … Twice, once in 1984 and again in 1987, recorded 4.5 sacks in a game, both vs. Raiders … One of game’s premier pass rushers with 137.5 career sacks, which at time of retirement third all-time best … Led NFC with team record 17.5 sacks, 1984 … Following year, led NFL with 17 sacks as an integral part of Bears dominating defense … His three tackles, 1.5 sacks, one pass defensed and two forced fumbles earned him Super Bowl XX MVP honors following Bears lopsided 46-10 win over Patriots … Career statistics include eight interceptions (one touchdown), a safety, and fumble recovery for a touchdown … Named first- or second-team All-Pro four times, All-NFC five times … Selected to play in four Pro Bowls (1985, 1986, 1991, 1994) … Born December 13, 1960 in Atlanta, Georgia.


Defensive End/Linebacker … 6-5, 270 … Pittsburgh … 1985-1993, 1999 Minnesota Vikings, 1994-95 Atlanta Falcons, 1996-98 San Francisco 49ers
15 playing seasons … 232 games … Selected by Vikings in 1st round (4th player overall) in 1985 draft … Drafted as linebacker, moved to starting defensive end position final three games of second season … Tallied team-high 11 sacks in 1987… First of six sack titles with Vikings … Named All-NFL, All-NFC and voted to first Pro Bowl in 1987 … Finest season came in 1989, led NFL with 21 sacks, one shy of single-season record at time … In 1992, named NFC’s Defensive Player of the Year when he recorded 14.5 sacks and 64 tackles, returned interception for touchdown, forced six fumbles, recovered three fumbles, and had safety … Spent two seasons with Atlanta (1994-95) three with the San Francisco (1996-98) … Returned to Vikings  for final season, 1999 … His 150.5 sacks was NFL’s fourth best at time of retirement … Tied for third in the NFL Record Book with eight seasons 10 or more sacks … Also intercepted eight passes returning two for touchdowns; recorded two safeties; and scored touchdown on a fumble recovery during career … Named to eight Pro Bowls; first-team All-Pro in 1987, 1989, 1992 and first-team All-NFC four times … A member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of 1990s … Born October 16, 1961 in Indianapolis, Indiana.


Running Back … 5-10, 208 … San Diego State … 1994-98 Indianapolis Colts, 1999-2005 St. Louis Rams
12 playing seasons … 176 games … Selected by Colts 1st round (2nd player overall) in 1994 draft … Rushed for 143 yards, scored three touchdowns in rookie debut … Finished season with 1,282 rushing yards and AFC-leading 11 TDs … Also caught 52 passes for 522 yards and touchdown … Named Rookie of the Year … Rushed for 1,000 yards in seven of first eight seasons … In 1999 became second in NFL history to eclipse 1,000-yard mark in both rushing and receiving and set then-record for yards from scrimmage (2,429) and was named NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year for first of three straight times … Named NFL MVP in 2000 after setting single-season record for touchdowns (26) that included league-leading 18 rushing touchdowns … Was first of two straight seasons he led NFL in scoring and touchdowns … First-team All-Pro 1999, 2000, 2001 … Second-team All-Pro in 1994, 1995, 1998 … Voted to seven Pro Bowls… All-AFC twice and All-NFC three times in career … First player in NFL history to gain 2,000 yards from scrimmage in four straight seasons (1998-2001) … Retired as NFL’s ninth-ranked rusher (12,279 yards) … Recorded 767 receptions (16th all-time at retirement) for 6,875 yards, 36 touchdowns … His 19,154 yards from scrimmage was sixth all-time … Born February 26, 1973 in New Orleans, Louisiana.


Defensive End/Linebacker … 6-5, 242 … James Madison … 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys
12 playing season, 169 games … Selected by 49ers in 4th round (96th player overall) in 1986 draft … Only player in NFL history to play on five winning Super Bowl teams (SBs XXIII, XXIV, XXVII, XXVIII, XXX) … Began career at linebacker and led 49ers in sacks in each of first six seasons … Recorded four double-digit sack totals with 49ers including 12 as rookie and career-high 16 in 1990 … Moved to defensive end after trade to Dallas … Added two more double-digit sack seasons, 1994, 1995 … Suffered serious back injury, limited to just five games, 1996 … Retired after undergoing surgery … After a two-year hiatus, signed with 49ers as backup defensive end for two playoff games in 1998 … In 1999 came back for final season, added three sacks to finish career with 100.5 … Twice named NFC Defensive Player of the Year (1990, 1994), voted to five Pro Bowls, named All-Pro twice, once as linebacker, once as defensive end … Played in six NFC championship games over seven seasons … Starting at left outside linebacker in 49ers 1988, 1989, 1990 championship games; at right defensive end in Cowboys’ 1992, 1993, 1994  conference championships … Member of 10 division championship teams during his 12 seasons … Born January 6, 1964 in Gladys, Virginia.


Defensive Tackle … 6-3, 298 … Northwest Mississippi Community College; Miami (FL) … 1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks

11 playing seasons, 167 games … Seahawks 1st round draft pick (3rd player overall), 1990 NFL Draft … First Team All-America choice at Miami in 1989 … Extremely durable, played in 167 of possible 176 games … Injury ended streak of 116 straight games played and club record 100 consecutive games started … Named first-team All Rookie by PFWA … Voted to a team-record eight Pro Bowls (1992-97, 1999, 2000) … Named first-team (1992, 1993, 1994) or second-team (1991, 1996) All-Pro five times … Named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1992 while playing for a 2-14 team … That season led all interior linemen with 14 sacks and career best 92 tackles; had four forced fumbles; recovered fumble and batted down two passes … Recorded one of finest seasons in 1999 recording 73 tackles, 6.5 sacks, intercepting two passes, helping Seahawks reach playoffs for first time since 1988 … In all, registered 58 sacks, intercepted three passes and scored one touchdown on fumble recovery during career … He twice led the team in sacks (1992 and 1995) … Born August 23, 1968 in Osceola, Arkansas.


Running Back … 5-11, 207 … Pittsburgh … 1995-97 New England Patriots, 1998-2005 New York Jets
11 playing seasons, 168 games … New England Patriots third round draft pick (74th player overall) of 1995 draft … Although missed most of senior season with ankle injury, showed no effects during rookie season … Ran 30 yards on first NFL carry, scored game-winning touchdown and became first Patriots player to rush for 100 yards in pro debut … Had rookie-record-tying nine 100-yard games … Finished year as AFC’s leading rusher; 1,487 yards, 14 touchdowns … Named Rookie of the Year, voted to first of five Pro Bowls … Joined Hall of Famer Barry Sanders as only runners ever to start careers with 10 straight 1,000-yard seasons … Led his team in rushing in each of his 11 seasons … Had finest year in 2004 … Rushed for career-high 1,697 yards winning his lone NFL rushing title … Also tied career-high nine games with 100-plus yards rushing … Suffered knee injury in final year snapping streak of 119 consecutive starts that kept him from reaching 1,000-yard mark for only time in career … First- or second-team All-Pro 1999, 2001, 2004 … Retired as NFL’s fourth all-time leading rusher; 14,101 yards on 3,518 carries, 90 rushing touchdowns … Rushed for 100-plus yards 56 times … Caught 484 passes for 3,329 yards and 10 touchdowns … His 17,421 combined net yards placed him 10th all-time … Born May 1, 1973 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


Wide Receiver … 6-2, 190 … Kutztown … 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins
16 seasons, 234 games … Selected by Buffalo in fourth round (86th player overall) of 1985 NFL Draft … Most prolific receiver in Buffalo Bills history … His 941 career receptions still Bills record and 266 more than number two on that list … His 13,095 career reception yardage, 36 games with 100-plus receiving yards, and 15 catches in a game are current team records … Known for his “yards after catch” … His 951 career receptions were third all-time in NFL history at the time of his retirement … His 13 seasons, including nine consecutive, with 50-plus receptions is exceeded only by Jerry Rice … Reed is tied with Bills running back Thurman Thomas for team best career touchdowns (87), most on passes from Jim Kelly … Kelly-Reed tandem held NFL record for career receptions (663) until 2004 when eclipsed by Peyton Manning to Marvin Harrison … Known for toughness as he made most of his receptions over the middle … A four-time All-AFC choice and three-time All-NFL second-team, was selected to play in seven consecutive Pro Bowls (1989-1995) … Added an additional 85 catches for 1,229 yards, including five 100-yard games in postseason play … Born January 29, 1964 in Allentown, Pennsylvania.


Tackle … 6-5, 300 … Louisiana Tech … 1993-2001 New Orleans Saints, 2002-05 Kansas City Chiefs
13 seasons, 189 games … Selected by New Orleans in 1st round (8th player overall) of 1993 draft … First offensive lineman selected … Started all 16 games at right tackle, did not miss offensive snap during first season earning All-Rookie honors … Following year switched to left tackle and was voted to first of 11 Pro Bowls, named first-team All-Pro, All-NFC, and NFLPA’s NFC Offensive Lineman of the Year for first of two consecutive seasons … Played nine seasons in New Orleans, starting 131 regular season games … Also started two playoff games including franchise’s first-ever postseason win, a 31-28 victory over defending Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams in 2000 NFC Wild Card Game … Knee injury shortened  2001 season to just seven games … Traded by the Saints to Chiefs in exchange for a third-round draft pick … Rebounded from injury to regain form and earned All-Pro honors in three of four seasons with Chiefs … Was a key part of Kansas City’s offensive line that helped Chiefs lead NFL in points scored in 2002, 2003 … Team also led AFC in total yards in 2003 and NFL in 2004, 2005 … Was named first-team All-Pro seven times (1994-96, 2000, 2003-05), All-NFC six times, and All-AFC three times … A member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s … Born April 18, 1970 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.


Founder/President/Chairman … Ohio State … 1964-1995 NFL Films
Man behind idea of NFL Films …Aspiring filmmaker, who at age 45 hatched idea of forming Blair Productions, a film company named after daughter … In 1962 contacted NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle with offer to double $1,500 bid for rights to film 1962 NFL Championship Game … Rozelle accepted and Sabol’s film company was off and rolling …  From start, incorporated unique creative angles inspired by his background in drama society at Ohio State and brief stint on Broadway … Rather than single camera located high in stadium, Sabol added sideline camera to catch intensity of players … Blair Productions continued to shoot NFL action for next two years before Sabol convinced NFL it needed own motion picture company … With that, NFL Films was born … Served as President until 1985 when he turned over role to son Steve … Senior Sabol continued to serve as Chairman through his retirement in 1995 … During tenure, NFL Films won 52 Emmy Awards … With Ed Sabol’s vision, NFL Films revolutionized manner in which sports are presented … Firsts in film include use of microphone on coaches, referees and players; use of reverse-angle replay; adding popular music to footage; and popular bloopers videos … Began producing weekly NFL highlight shows in the late 1960s, introduced first sports home video in 1980 … Born September 11, 1916 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.


Cornerback/Kick Returner/Punt Returner … 6-1, 195 … Florida State … 1989-1993 Atlanta Falcons, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1995-99 Dallas Cowboys, 2000 Washington Redskins, 2004-05 Baltimore Ravens
14 seasons, 188 games … Selected by Atlanta in 1st round (5th player overall) of 1989 draft … Returned punt 68 yards for touchdown in NFL debut … Scored total of six touchdowns on punt returns, three TDs on kickoff returns, and returned nine interceptions for scores during career … Multi-faceted athlete returned one fumble for TD and had 60 receptions for 784 yards and 3 TDs … In all, recorded 53 career interceptions including five with Ravens when he returned to field after three-year retirement …  Member of NFL’s All-Decade Team of 1990s as both cornerback, punt returner … Led NFL in punt returns, 1998, with 15.6 average … Led NFC in kickoffs in 1992 and interceptions in 1991, 1993 … Was widely regarded as “shutdown corner” during career … Named first-team All-Pro nine times at cornerback in addition to receiving All-Pro as kick returner in 1992 and punt returner 1998 … Elected to eight Pro Bowls … Retired second all-time in interception return yardage (1,331), tied for second for most interceptions returned for touchdown in a career (9) and a season (3) … His 303 yards gained on interception returns in 1994, third best in NFL at retirement …. In 1994 became first player to have two 90-yard interception returns for touchdowns in same season … Named NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year, 1994 … Born August 9, 1967 in Fort Myers, Florida.


Tight End … 6-2, 230 … Savannah State … 1990-99, 2002-03 Denver Broncos, 2000-01 Baltimore Ravens
14 playing seasons, 204 games … Three-time All-America at Savannah State … Selected by Broncos in the seventh round (192nd player overall) of the 1990 NFL Draft … At time of retirement, his 815 career receptions and 10,060 yards and 62 TDs were all NFL career records for a tight end … His 214 receiving yards vs. Kansas City in 2002 is an NFL single-game record for a tight end … Tied NFL record with 13 receptions in single post-season game (vs. Raiders, 1993) … Three times during career amassed over 1,000 yards receiving … Earned first- or second-team All-Pro honors five times and first- or second-team All-AFC honors six times … Selected to play in eight Pro Bowls (1993-99, 2002) … In 1996 led all tight ends in receptions (80), receiving yards (1,062 yards), and receiving touchdowns (10) … Following season had career best 1,107 receiving yards for career best 15.4 yard average … An integral part of Broncos Super Bowl XXXII and XXXIII and Ravens Super Bowl XXXV championships … Born June 26, 1968 in Chicago, Illinois.

Willie Roaf Semi-Finalist For Hall of Fame

On Sunday, the semi-finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2011 were announced and the group of 26 includes former Chiefs OT Willie Roaf.

He’s one of five first-year eligible players who are part of the group, joining RB Jerome Bettis, RB Marshall Faulk, RB Curtis Martin and DB Deion Sanders.

The Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee picked the 26 semi-finalists from a list of 114 preliminary nominees.

The complete list of 26 modern-era semifinalists is as follows: …Read More!

Vermeil, Roaf Lead Chiefs Hall Contingent

The preliminary list of candidates for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2011 were released Monday by the Hall.

There are 113 names on the ballot including five with a connection to the Chiefs, topped by former head coach Dick Vermeil. Now five seasons after he last coached the Chiefs, Vermeil is eligible for the first time. Also first-time eligible is former Saints-Chiefs LT Willie Roaf.

Other Chiefs connections among the long list of names are CB Albert Lewis, K Nick Lowery and WR J.T. Smith.

CB Deion Sanders, RBs Jerome Bettis, Marshall Faulk and Curtis Martin, and WR Jimmy Smith are other first-year eligible candidates 2011. From the preliminary list of 113 nominees, selectors will choose 25 candidates who will advance as semifinalist nominees. Those names will be released in mid-November.

That group will then be reduced in another ballot to 15 modern-era finalists that will be announced in early January. That group will join senior nominees former Washington Redskins linebacker Chris Hanburger and former Los Angeles Rams linebacker Les Richter that will be voted on at the day before the Super Bowl in Dallas.

Answer Bob About The Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame process always draws a lot of attention and questions. I think that happens because the process is so behind-closed-doors that people are curious and/or suspicious.

After the 2010 voting session this is an attempt to answer whatever questions and doubts about the whole process there might be out there.

So here it goes:

MeninRed says: Bob, what happened to this – January 17, 2010 – “Bob Gretz: Many of you had nice compliments on the site and those are truly appreciated. Others had some questions about the site and yours truly. I’ve saved those because coming up here later this week; I’m going to have another Answer Bob post dealing entirely with the web site.” It never happened.

Bob says: It’s coming up, probably next week. Prepare your questions, comments, rants, etc.

ThunderChief says: It seems to me that the standards for admittance into the Hall have been lowered over the past 10 years in particular but that’s highly subjective. I’m not talking about the Jerry Rices or Emmitt Smiths, but guys like Ricky Jackson or Andre Tippett. Has anyone thought about having a minimum standard of performance required before being considered? Said standard would have to be customized per position which might be difficult if not impossible. However, such issues as time played, number of times named to the Pro Bowl, plus a line on exceptional stats well above the norm for that position. All might be a good place to start. What say you? …Read More!

A Look Back At Hall Of Fame Voting

As a member of the Board of Selectors for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, I’m asked constantly over Super Bowl weekend about those that were voted in, and especially those that were not passed through for induction. In some corners we are hailed for our selections, in other quarters we are called idiots.

That’s the price that comes with trying to split hairs when it comes to the greatness of one player over another. By its definition, it should be hard to gain entrance to Canton. I know and accept that everyone is in a hurry, but there are a lot of very good players with very Hall worthy careers and the most players who can be inducted each year among the more recent players are five. Do the math and it’s not hard to see the problem.

I believe there are too many new Hall of Famers each year. When a minimum number of new inductees is required, there are going to be borderline candidates that walkthrough the doors. Each time that happens, more players come into the pool of consideration, creating more hopes and dreams. My idea is simply make the maximum class four players each year, seniors included in that number.

I say that having sat through the last 14 Hall of Fame voting sessions and knowing how hard it has been to sort through the bodies and identify players worthy of a Canton bust. There’s a big difference between men that should be considered for the Hall and those who own obvious Hall of Fame careers. Maybe we should all accept that the obvious guys are the Hall of Famers, and the others are a step below, or the Hall of the Very Good, not the Best.

But the rules are what they are and I’m more than willing to follow them as prescribed by the Hall.

So what happened this year that created the class of Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith, Russ Grimm, John Randle, Ricky Jackson, Dick LeBeau and Floyd Little? The rules of the voting session are all discussions are confidential. This year, the Hall asked all of us to keep our votes under wraps as well. I will honor their request, but I think all of the voting should be made public at each and every level of the balloting.

But I can give you the flavor of what happened in that room at the Fort Lauderdale-Broward County Convention Center over about six hours of discussion, deliberation and voting. …Read More!

Hall Of Fame Finalists Named

The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced the 15 finalists that will be considered for induction into the Hall with the Class of 2010.

The 15 players and coach are:

WR Tim Brown, WR Cris Carter, Coach Don Coryell, RB Roger Craig, C Dermonti Dawson, DE Richard Det, G Russ Grimm, DE Charles Haley, LB Rickey Jackson, DT Coretz Kennedy, DT John Randle, WR Andre Reed, WR Jerry Rice, TE Shannon Sharpe and RB Emmitt Smith.

Joining the group are senior nominees RB Floyd Little and DB Dick LeBeau.

Carter, Dawson, Dent, Grimm, Kennedy, Randle, Reed, and Sharpe have all been finalists in previous years.  Although they were eligible in previous years, this is the first time Coryell, Craig, Haley, Jackson, Little, and LeBeau have been finalists. …Read More!

Hall Of Fame List Pared To 25

First-ballot locks Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith lead the list of 25 men who are semi-finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2010.

The Hall of Fame announced these names on Saturday. They were selected by the HOF Selection Committee from a preliminary ballot of 131 names.

No members of the Chiefs are part of this year’s semi-finalists.

There’s little doubt that first-time eligible Rice and Smith will be part of the Class of ’10. They are the leading receiver and leading rusher in NFL history.

Other first-time eligible players are former Raiders WR Tim Brown and former Cardinals CB Aeneas Williams.

The rest of the 25 have been semi-finalists before. Here’s the complete list: …Read More!

Former Chiefs On Preliminary Hall List

Albert Lewis, Rich Gannon, Leslie O’Neal and Nick Lowery are on the preliminary list of modern-era nominees for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame that was announced on Saturday.

It’s the first step in the voting process that will lead to the Hall of Fame Class of 2010.

Lewis (right) played cornerback with the Chiefs for 11 seasons (1983-93), appearing in 150 games and finishing his Chiefs career with 38 interceptions and 555 tackles. A third-round draft choice in 1983 out of Grambling, Lewis also blocked 10 punts in his time wearing the red and gold. He finished his career with the Raiders. …Read More!

A Final HOF Fling … Monday Cup O’Chiefs

From Canton, Ohio … River Falls, Wisconsin and points in between
It’s time to put history to bed and get back to the business of the now. So this will be our last visit to what was a wonderful weekend for Chiefs fans everywhere at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

From the Lamar Hunt Super Bowl Gallery opening to the long-overdue induction of Derrick Thomas there was a Kansas City feel everywhere in the middle of Ohio.

But the boys are still in the northwoods, pulling together the team for the 2009 season, and after this screed, we will return to giving you the best camp coverage around. Check us out late Monday morning with a practice update

Until then, we’ve got some other tidbits, stories and notes from a whirlwind weekend in Canton. …Read More!

Another Great D.T. Party … Sunday Cup O’Chiefs

From Canton, Ohio

The party roared late into the night in a big white tent just about 100 yards away from the Pro Football l Hall of Fame.

The bust of Derrick Thomas was not yet in its permanent position in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That will happen sometime on Sunday, when his bronze likeness joins the rest of the 2009 Class of HOF inductees in the circular room where all the busts of Hall of Famers, all 253 of them, sit in their place of honor.

But Saturday night, after an emotional induction evening, there was nothing but smiles and laughter inside the party tent where the Hunt Family staged a post-ceremony party. Music played, some people danced, the lives of lost friends and teammates were reviewed.

And in the corner of this tent sat D.T.’s bust. And just like it would have been if he were there in person, that bust was never alone. There was a parade of people who stood with it and had their picture taken. Some rubbed his head and others just stood and stared at what was obviously the face of Derrick Thomas.

Whoever casts these busts for the Hall of Fame does a remarkable job every year in capturing how a person really looks, or in the case of Derrick, how he looked. This image was spot on, a spitting image.

To see that all one had to do was see Derrion Thomas walking around, shaking hands and getting hugs from family and friends. With a profile view there is no doubt that Derrion is D.T.’s son. Derrion told the crowd that he will head off to junior college this fall and then hopefully onto the University of Missouri where he hopes to play football.

The rest of his brothers and sisters were there, along with his niece. That’s right, Derrick Thomas is a grandfather. …Read More!

Emotional Night For D.T.’s Party

From Canton, Ohio

It was like all the strings of Derrick Thomas’ life were tied together Saturday night inside a high school football stadium that is in the shadows of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Far from his native Miami, his college home in Alabama and his adopted hometown of Kansas City, all the pieces of Thomas’ life converged in an evening of celebration and emotion as Thomas entered the Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2009.

He will now forever be a resident of Canton shrine that holds the greatest men to play the game of professional football.

“I know Derrick is smiling down now and is very happy that he’s now with some of the greatest players that ever played the game,” said his mother Edith Morgan. “He’d be so happy that this moment has come.”

While the Fawcett Stadium crowd of 12,695 was decidedly pro-Buffalo with the induction of Bills owner Ralph Wilson and the great pass rusher DE Bruce Smith, there was a big showing of Chiefs and D.T. fans wearing the red No. 58 throughout the stands and seats set up on the playing field. …Read More!

A Different D.T. Story

The good folks at the Arrowheadpride.com website asked me for a memory of Derrick Thomas to run on their site this weekend. Here’s what I sent them.

I saw every one of Derrick Thomas’ sacks, every one of his forced fumbles, every one of his safeties, recovered fumbles and touchdowns. D.T. was a remarkable defensive force in the game every time he stepped on the field. There have been very few defensive players who could change the course of a game. That was Derrick Thomas the player.

But there was so much more to Derrick than that and there are so many moments off the field were D.T. also left memories. One came in the 1992 off-season.

At the time, I was doing a morning radio show on KCFX with comedian/author/bon vivant David Naster. We booked an author for an in-studio appearance. Her name was Jean Hill and she had been the subject of a book JFK: The Last Dissenting Witness. She and the book’s author were scheduled to be in studio one morning.

Jean Hill had been in Dealey Plaza in Dallas on November 22, 1963. She was just 21 feet away from President John Kennedy when he was shot. Hill is visible in the Zapruder film as the woman wearing a red rain coat. That’s her wearing the red coat in this picture (right) taken from behind.

She said emphatically from the start that the shots at JFK came from the area that has become known as the “grassy knoll” not from the upper floors of the Texas Schoolbook Depository Building.

In the years after the assassination, Hill faded from public view. Many others in the Plaza that day died under unusual circumstances and her comments were in direct contradiction to the conclusions issued by the Warren Commission. She said she did not want the attention and feared for her life.

Eventually, she was convinced to tell her story. …Read More!

D.T. Goes Fifth

From Canton, Ohio

The 2009 class of inductees to the Pro Football Hall of Fame will officially enter the hallowed halls of Canton Saturday evening, starting at 6 p.m. CDT.  TV coverage is on ESPN and the NFL Network.

Chiefs LB Derrick Thomas will be the fifth of the six inductees who will be presented. Despite the best efforts of everyone to keep the ceremonies moving, expect about 30 minutes per inductee. That would put the portion of the ceremony for Thomas right around 8 o’clock.

He will be presented by former Chiefs president-GM Carl Peterson and his son Derrion will accept the honor for the Thomas family.

Here’s how the order of induction will go down:

  1. Ralph Wilson Jr.
  2. Randall McDaniel.
  3. Bob Hayes.
  4. Rod Woodson.
  5. Derrick Thomas.
  6. Bruce Smith.

The Lamar Hunt Super Bowl Gallery

Cutting the ribbon on the Lamar Hunt Super Bowl Gallery were from the left Hall executive director Steve Perry, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Dan Hunt, Norma Hunt, Clark Hunt, Lamar Hunt Jr., Sharron Munson and Jan Stenerud.

From Canton, Ohio

The education, the experience and the celebration of America’s biggest sporting event all comes together in the Lamar Hunt Super Bowl Gallery that opened Saturday morning at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

It’s named in honor of the man who created the American Football League, named the Super Bowl, came up with the Roman numbers for identification and named the Vince Lombardi Trophy that goes to the winner.

The Gallery is another reminder that the man who Chiefs fans know simply as Lamar was so much more over his life in professional football. A star studded crowd turned out to cut the ribbon on the newest addition to the Hall of Fame.

Among those welding scissors Saturday morning were Norma Hunt, Lamar Hunt’s four children, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Chiefs Hall of Fames Bobby Bell, Willie Lanier, Len Dawson, Jan Stenerud and Emmitt Thomas and other Hall of Fame members like Bart Starr and Troy Aikman.

“The American Football League, the Super Bowl, the name of the game, Lamar was an innovator and he never stopped innovating,” said Goodell. “I don’t think the NFL could express its gratefulness to Lamar Hunt in a better way than this Gallery.”

Norma Hunt is thought to be the only woman that’s seen all 43 Super Bowls played to date. …Read More!

Hall of Fame Weekend … The Nitschke Luncheon

From North Canton, Ohio

OK, I’m no Hank Young, but there was the picture of the day standing right in front of me in living color.

So I pulled out the phone and snapped a shot of two remaining members of the American Football League’s Foolish Club as they talked on Friday.

That’s Ralph Wilson on the left, owner of the Buffalo Bills. That’s Bud Adams on the right, owner of the Houston Oilers now Tennessee Titans. The man who should have been standing with them was the late Lamar Hunt.

Wilson and Adams were attending the one of the highlights of the Hall of Fame weekend in Canton. It’s the Friday lunch where all returning members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame gather and welcome this year’s induction class.

Only Hall of Fame members, the Hall’s board of selectors, Hall officials and those people presenting inductees are allowed to attend. It’s called the Nitschke Luncheon because the late Packers LB Ray Nitschke used to run the lunch and serve as a master of ceremonies. These days, those duties usually fall to the great pass rusher Deacon Jones and others. …Read More!

Countdown For DT & Canton

From River Falls, Wisconsin

It’s now a week until induction day for Derrick Thomas at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

There are some tidbits we can tell you about the ceremonies in Canton, Ohio next Saturday night

Thomas will be the fifth of the six inductees to be honored on stage at Fawcett Stadium. The entire order remains unknown, but DT’s moment will come near the end of the ceremonies.

He will be presented by former Chiefs president-general manager Carl Peterson. There will then be a video presentation on Derrick created by the NFL Network. Finally, his son Derrion will step forward and accept the Hall of Fame bust for the Thomas family.

Just about every coach Thomas had during his 11 seasons with the Chiefs will attend. …Read More!

Family Squabble Surrounds Hayes Induction

The day it happens is one of the best days in the life of a football player or coach, and in this year’s case, an owner.

When that call comes from the Pro Football Hall of Fame, it provides a last act for a great career. Even if the honored is now gone, it provides a final moment in the sun for their accomplishments.

That was the case a week ago Saturday, when the class of 2009 for the Hall of Fame was introduced in Miami.

There should have been nothing but joy surrounding the selection of former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Bob Hayes (left) to the Hall. As a seniors nominee he was facing his last chance at induction. Hayes passed away in 2002. His last season of play was 1975, when he wrapped up his 11-year career with four games in the uniform of the San Francisco 49ers. His first 10 seasons were in Dallas.

Hayes was first eligible for the Hall in 1981. His wait turned out to be 28 years.

At the announcement that he was part of the Hall’s class of 2009, his sister stood and read a letter that she said Hayes wrote back in 1999. Lucille Hester’s presentation left few dry eyes in the room at the Tampa Convention Center.

But it left a lot of other people angry. Members of Hayes family say Hester is a fraud and not his sister. They say the letter she wrote is a fraud and contains a signature that does not match Hayes’ There has even been media analysis of the typeface used on the printed page that Hester read from in Tampa. The typeface was not available to the public until 2007.

It’s caused quite the uproar around Hayes’ induction, so much so that the former wide receiver’s final triumph has been ignored and the focus has been on Hester (below).

“As far as I’m concerned, she’s a phony,” said Ernest Hayes, Bob’s 71-year old brother. He spoke to the Dallas Morning News. “Nobody in his original family likes her, at all. The further she stays away from us, the better off she’ll be.”

Bob Hayes’ former business manager, Ted McIntosh, sent a letter on Sunday to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, where he expressed “dismay” that Hester represented Hayes in Tampa. He also sent e-mails to media outlets with the subject line: “ATTENTION!!! Lucille Hester is not Bob Hayes’ sister nor any relation to anyone in the family.” On a Dallas radio show, he called Hester “a perpetrator.” …Read More!

Hall of Fame Leftovers

It’s been interesting reading and hearing the reactions around the country on the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2009.

In places like Kansas City and Miami, there was great joy as Derrick Thomas joined the hallowed halls of Canton. In most of the rest of the country, mention of D.T. and his accomplishments was well down into the story, behind just about everybody but Minnesota guard Randall McDaniel.

Unfortunately, a lot of the coverage came down on who did not get into the Hall, specifically wide receiver Cris Carter and tight end Shannon Sharpe. That was expected. All I can tell you is this: with the increased passing numbers it’s going to take some time for the dust to settle on just what is good and what is great when it comes to receiving numbers.

I know right now Chiefs fans believe Tony Gonzalez should be a first-year ballot Hall of Famer five years after he retires from the league. Don’t be so sure. Gonzalez could make this point moot if he plays for several more seasons and pushes his numbers into the stratosphere. But if he plays only one more season, which is what he says, then he may have to wait as well.

I wrote for kcchiefs.com on Thomas’ honor and put together this list that might put some perspective on the situation when it comes to waiting for induction into the Hall.

 Hall of Famer





Year of


Years To


Years As


Bobby Bell






Willie Lanier






Len Dawson






Buck Buchanan






Jan Stenerud






Emmitt Thomas






Derrick Thomas






Let’s remember this: once a player reaches Canton, it doesn’t matter how long he has to wait.

Other tidbits: …Read More!

5 Chiefs On First Hall of Fame Voting List

There are 133 men on the first list for nomination to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2009 was announced on Tuesday in Canton, Ohio. 

DE Bruce Smith, DB Rod Woodson and TE Shannon Sharpe head the list of first-year eligible candidates among the 133 players, coaches and contributors.

Five former members of the Chiefs are part of the list as well: LB Derrick Thomas, DE Art Still, S Deron Cherry, CB Albert Lewis (left) and K Nick Lowery.

From this preliminary list Hall of Fame selectors will choose 25 candidates who will advance as semifinalist nominees.  The list of 25 modern-era semifinalists will be announced later next month.
The 25 modern-era semifinalists list will be reduced by a mail ballot to 15 modern-era finalists. 
The final list of nominees that will be considered for election will consist of the 15 modern-era finalists and the two previously announced senior nominees: WR Bob Hayes and DE Claude Humphrey. 

The Class of 2009 will be selected from the list of 17 finalists on Saturday, January 31, 2009, in Tampa, Florida the day before Super Bowl XLIII.  Rules provide that between four and seven new members will be selected. …Read More!

Emmitt’s Passion, Respect & Heart

From Canton, Ohio

Saturday evening at Fawcett Stadium was dominated by the Washington Redskins.

With a pair of former Redskins players entering the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the stands were filled with fans wearing burgundy and gold.  The cheered Art Monk and Darrell Green.  They cheered former head coach and Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs.  They cheered Emmitt Thomas, who spent time as a Redskins assistant coach.  They classlessly booed Michael Irvin and anybody associated with the Dallas Cowboys.

They should have held this event on the Mall in the District of Columbia. …Read More!

Chiefs Emmitt Thomas Talks

From Canton, Ohio

Emmitt Thomas will go into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday night with the distinction of being the least interviewed honoree in history.  As a player, coach and now Hall of Famer, interviews are not his thing.

But this week in Canton, he had no choice.  So here’s an opportunity to hear from Thomas courtesy of the Hall of Fame and its press conference for all the inductees. …Read More!

Hall of Fame Evening

From Canton, Ohio

I am one lucky man.

Like anyone, there are moments when life gets grisly, when it seems easier to bitch and complain, when work piles up and the pressure gets turned on.

I get grumpy.

I was grumpy Friday night. I’m in Canton, Ohio for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Weekend.  It had been a long day getting to Ohio and then there were hotel problems and yada-yada-yada.  I was scheduled to attend the annual Enshrinees Dinner at the Canton Memorial Civic Center.  Think of a small arena, filled with tables and your general mass produced banquet meal.  I’ve been there before.  I wasn’t looking forward to being there again.  Of all the events on Hall of Fame weekend, it’s the most forgettable.

Thank goodness I went. …Read More!


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