It was a weekend where I unplugged a bit after a constant barrage of football since July.
I fired up the site Sunday night and see that my post on the Hall of Fame has drawn plenty of reaction. Even my mother warned me that I got people all stirred up. That’s never my intent, but if so, that’s OK. I’ll address some of that at the end of this post
First, I want to bring you what I promised in that Hall of Fame post and that was my ideas on how the process can be improved. Understand right off the top that selecting entries to any type of Hall of Fame is a process fraught with peril and is never an easy thing. In every sport, a place in the Hall with the greatest of that game is the ultimate accomplishment.
The different major sports in this country all do it in different ways. The Baseball Hall of Fame voting is done by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America who have been part of the organization or 10 years or more. This latest class had 581 ballots cast by mail. Each voter could vote for as many as 10 or as few as none. To make the Hall, the player had to be named on 75 percent of the individual ballots.
The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame voting is something of a mystery, done by screening committees that are not publicly named. The Hockey Hall of Fame has an 18-person committee made up of Hall of Fame members, hockey personnel and media. They are appointed to three-year terms.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame has 44 voting members. There’s one for each city where there is an NFL team (New York has two). That’s 32. There is a representative of the Pro Football Writers Association each year. That’s 33. And the final 11 are at-large selections. All voters are selected by the Hall from the ranks of the media who have covered the game for a number of years. There are representatives from newspapers, magazines, television, radio and the internet.
Here are my thoughts on three areas of the Hall that would improve what I think already is the best way to select a Hall of Fame among the four major sports:
- All votes and vote totals would be made public. Right now, even those of us that voted for the Hall back on February 5 do not know the voting totals. There are problems with making everything public, including harassment of voters. I’m more than willing to deal with that for complete public voting, although some of my fellow board members would disagree.
- In the process of the voting, those on the board of selectors make presentations for the nominated players. The voters should not be in a position of advocating for a potential inductee and then voting. More on this coming up.
- There are four votes taken on selection Saturday. There is a separate vote on the seniors. Then the 15 modern-era finalists are cut to 10, followed by another vote of 10 to five, and finally yes or no on the final five. I would bring no more than 10 finalists into the room on Saturday. Then the vote would be from 10 to five, and finally yes or no.
I would allow the 12 men who are to be presented for induction to be represented by a person of their choosing. That person would make the presentation on video of no more than five minutes. Then, that person would be in the room for questions from the board of selectors for another five to 10 minutes. That person would leave and the board could continue discussions or move on to another nominee. The representative could be anyone – former coach or teammate, family member, agent, even a media hack. But he would be chosen by the nominee.
I’ll stop here because I know there’s little chance the Hall leaders would agree to any of these suggestions. Tweaks are possible and have happened in the past, but I understand my ideas are a bit out of their line of thinking. If nothing at all changed it would still be the best process for naming Hall of Famers in professional sports.
Even without change, what’s done in that room the day before the Super Bowl every year is carried off with the understanding of the importance of the duties of each voter. Over more than 15 years in the room, I know that timing is everything. Sometimes the field is crowded with new faces; other times the finalists are dominated by those who have been there before.
But always the board of selectors has been prepared to sort through the list and worked to make good decisions.
Now, as far as the reaction that’s come into the site in the comments, it was expected. That some smart, sane and informed posters agreed with me was not a surprise.
I regret nothing I wrote. I hate to give Jason Whitlock any attention. I probably should not have gotten involved in the name calling end of things like he does. I didn’t mean to say he was an idiot. I meant to say he was acting like one.
Many of the posters missed the point of my diatribe about his diatribe. His point is that the system is corrupt. My point is he does not have any idea of what he’s talking about and that the process is far from corrupt. That’s the point-counterpoint of the situation. You can try to confuse it with all sorts of circular logic but that’s the finish line.
Now, here are individual responses to some of the posters, especially those that seemed to represent the feelings of other posters. Sorry that I can’t answer all of them:
To KR: he is not the lead columnist on a national website; he’s one of their many columnists. It’s why he writes silly stuff like the Hall of Fame rant; it gets him attention. Count me guilty in giving it to him this time.
To FullHouse: anybody that’s ever been around Whitlock has personal problems with the man. He’s a bad guy. Whitlock’s criticism of the system was based on it being corrupt, which is most certainly isn’t.
To Adam: Why is the media voting for the Hall of Fame? That’s a legitimate question. It comes down to this – far more than the players themselves, the media is more likely to take the action seriously and do the necessary work. The media does this for no pay. Nothing. I pay my own way to the Super Bowl site to do this voting, as do several others on the board. I can guarantee you that very few players would do the same.
To Mike: What does Jack Ham never playing against Willie Roaf have to do with this discussion? Ham was present for the seniors committee voting on the two seniors candidates. They were voted on before the final group of 15 that included Roaf. That Chris Hanburger made the Hall of Fame did not affect Roaf and his chances in any fashion. The seniors nominees are there to give players who fell through the cracks a second chance. They do not always get in on that second chance. During his career Hanburger never made the final group. He deserved that much and he finally got it in 2011.
To Willie: at least you now know who I am. I’m just a little internet hack trying to survive out here. Welcome and please come back.
To TT: it’s 44 voters and there’s no “politics in blocks” whatever that means. There’s no argument to make on the subject. It’s not true and he has no proof of it happening. And, I meant to say he was acting like a blob.
JW: I will always defend comrades who are the best in the business and put time and energy into their duties on the Hall’s board of selectors. I have never felt, said or written before this incident that the Hall of Fame process is so perfect it can’t be tweaked. It can be. But you are missing the point of Whitlock’s piece, and that was that the process is corrupt. It is not in any fashion corrupt and his assertion is built on jealousy and ignorance.
To Tom Johnovan: As a fat ass, I have the ability to pick out fellow fat asses and blobs and assign them that designation. I have a union card for that. Last time I saw you from a distance; it looked like you were working on becoming an apprentice fat ass.
To Ed: One of the things Whitlock called for in his diatribe is that there should be more input from those that played the game. Well, Jack Ham provided input on seniors nominee Chris Hanburger. He played at the same time as Hanburger, at the same position. How is that wrong? Because Jack Ham validated Hanburger’s credentials did not guarantee his selection by the seniors committee, or the committee as a hole. Whitlock went after Hanburger’s selection largely because he had never heard of the guy before he was announced. He’s the one that ended up looking like he was talking about of both sides of his computer – players need to be involved, but when they are involved in providing input, he denigrates the inductee.
That’s enough for now. I appreciate all opinion, even from so many people who are just dead wrong about the subject. I’m sure we will revisit from time to time. Thanks for stopping in.
NFL PERSONNEL FILE FOR FEBRUARY 11-12-13
- BILLS released LB Mike Balogun and LB Pierre Woods; signed S Jon Corto to contract extension.
- COWBOYS – named Jimmy Robinson as wide receivers coach.
- EAGLES – signed DE Philip Hunt out of the Canadian Football League.
- FALCONS – named Bob Bratkowski as quarterbacks coach; signed LB Bear Woods and CB Rafael Priest.
- JAGUARS – named Mike Sheppard as quarterbacks coach.
- PACKERS – signed GM Ted Thompson to a multi-year contract extension.
- PATRIOTS – added the title of offensive coordinator to QBs coach Bill O’Brien; moved Matt Patricia from linebackers coach to safeties coach; moved Patrick Graham from defensive assistant to linebackers coach; moved Brian Flores from offensive assistant to defensive assistant.
- RAVENS – signed WR Brandon Jones and S Marcus Paschal.
- TITANS – named Jerry Gray as defensive coordinator.