Hall of Fame Answers – 1/13

Apologies for taking so long to answer questions involving the Hall of Fame; I’ve got a lot of excuses but it should not have taken this long for me to reply to your questions. With Will Shields and Willie Roaf part of the group of 17 finalists, the Hall process will get a lot of attention in the next month.

Let me get right to what you want to know. Thanks to all for taking part.

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PAChiefsFan says: Bob, when a player makes it into the room and the discussion process begins is the selection process just based on the player’s individual accomplishments or is the process influenced by the team that he played on and the success they had as well? Does an outstanding player who played their position extremely well but was on a team that rarely reached the playoffs let alone the Super Bowl get just as much respect as one who was on a team had much higher postseason success?

Bob says: A player should be judged strictly on his own performance but that’s not reality. It’s the same with players being voted to the Pro Bowl – the players on winning teams get extra chips in their pile. Let’s take the last five classes that have produced 22 Hall of Famers from the modern-era. Seniors inductees are not included. Of those 22, there were 15 that ended their career with a Super Bowl ring. The seven that came up empty were DL John Randle, LB Derrick Thomas, DE Bruce Smith, G Randall McDaniel, C/G Bruce Matthews, RB Thurman Thomas and CB Roger Wehrli. Based on that recent history Shields and Roaf should not be dinged because they never played in a Super Bowl during their careers.

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RW says: Bob, I’ve often wondered how the candidate’s relationship with the media during his career impacts his chances for making it into the Hall. For example, if the candidate (Let’s say Jerome Bettis/Charles Haley) falls somewhere in the 60-75% approval range, can a good/poor media past help/hurt his chances?

Bob says: I’m not going to try to blow smoke and say a player’s relationship with the media does not have an effect on his chances. But if that exists it’s a very personal thing with the media member. In my time in the room there’s never been a discussion on how a potential Hall of Famer treated the media and certainly, there have been some players inducted who did not treat the media very well. It’s never played a factor in any vote I’ve made, because the Hall rules say we are judging a player by what he does on the field.

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Milkman says: Bob- Don’t you think that both Will Shields and Willie Roaf have a fair shot to get in this year? After hearing the other finalist names, it doesn’t seem like there are many can’t miss first ballot names up this year. There is a rumor that the voters have been pressured to vote in more defensive players to balance out what seems to be an unbalanced run on offense the last few years. Is there anything to that?

Bob says: last question-first answer – there has been a lot of discussion in the last decade about the inequity of defensive inductees compared to offense. The numbers escape me at the moment, but they were ridiculously out of whack a few years ago. In the last five classes (2007-11), there have been a total of 30 players inducted (both modern-era and seniors). That group broke down to 15 on offense and 15 on defense. In the five classes before that (2002-06) there were 20 players and it was 15 offense and 5 defense. Nowhere in the discussions is there any mention of “don’t vote for this guy because he’s offense; vote for this guy because he’s defense.” It’s just something that the committee needs to be aware of as we go through the entire process.

It’s always hard to gauge what is going to happen in the room before it goes down. I would think given their accomplishments individually, both Shields and Roaf should get in. And, based on the other names on the ballot, their chances should be good because there are not new names that are automatics. But, sometimes the vote bounces in funny ways.

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Petey says: Bob, assuming you are going to present for Will Shields, my question is, how do you present for someone who was a non-skill position player? You really have no stats to go by other than Pro Bowls and All-Pro selections. Does Will’s Man of the Year award come into play at all?

Bob says: Petey, you are right about the lack of stats, but there are enough for a guy like the Will Shields that matter. There’s the fact he played for 14 seasons and did not miss a game, playing all 224, plus 8 in the post-season and 12 Pro Bowls. Those a very impressive numbers for any player, but particularly an offensive lineman. Plus of his 14 seasons, nine times the Chiefs finished with a winning record and nine times they were either first or second in the AFC West. The other numbers that can factor in come from offensive production – rushing, pass protection, etc.

In voting for the Hall of Fame, Will’s off-the-field work including his Walter Payton Man of the Year Award are not supposed to be taken into consideration. It’s just on-field.

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Hal from Gladstone says: Bob, how much does the presentation you do of a player in the meeting effect the outcome of the voting?

Bob says: Hal, speaking for myself, I’d have to say the presentation has a marginal effect on how I vote; it’s less than 10 percent of my equation, probably less than 5 percent. A good presentation in my view takes the facts on a player’s career that I can read and research before the meeting and puts it all into context. No player makes the Hall in a vacuum, so there are always factors in his success that may be unknown to those of us who were not around him on a regular basis. Others on the committee may disagree with me, but I think the presentations are marginal; they are simply a way to kick off discussion about that individual player.

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BiggieKC says: Who is going to be in this Hall of Fame class? Don’t dance, who will be in?

Bob says: BiggieKC, I don’t play that game. But I’ll give you a few general thoughts. I think Willie Roaf may have a better chance of making it this year than Will Shields because he didn’t make it last year. I think the committee will have the longest discussion on former 49ers owner Ed DeBartolo, Jr. I would expect Bill Parcells to be voted in. I think the senior duo of Jack Butler and Dick Stanfel will be inducted. That would leave four open spots in the class, with 14 names involved. It’s not an easy task.


2 Responses to “Hall of Fame Answers – 1/13”

  • January 13, 2012  - Donald says:

    Bob Thanks for the information and insight. r.e. Your answer to Petey and Hal. I remember a column (I believe it was here) about a Chief’s lineman who had to play a game out of position due to injury. I think the individual was regularly a guard and played that Sunday at tackle and played well. Was that Will Shields or someone else? And if it was Shields is that something that could be effectively used during the presentation to showcase his skill and talent?


  • January 14, 2012  - AL Chief says:

    I’ll always remember that when Willie Roaf was out of the lineup in the last year career was the end for Trent Green and Vermiel’s offense.




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