From Indianapolis, Indiana
It was a long Saturday for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Board of Selectors. While it was a foggy, rainy day on the streets of the Super Bowl city, it was hot and complicated in a large meeting room on the first floor of the J.W. Marriott Hotel.
By the time the last votes were turned in, it was 7 hours and 30 minutes after the meeting began. While never rancorous, there was some spirited conversation among the 44 board members as we took three votes, taking the finalists from 15 to 10, then 10 to 5 and finally for the final five, a yes or no individually on each one.
The longest discussions were over two none players: former Giants-Patriots-Jets-Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells and former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo.
The Parcells conversation lasted 53 minutes and ultimately it came down to this β Parcells won a pair of Super Bowls with the New York Giants, but then Tom Flores won a pair of Super Bowls with Oakland and can’t even get a sniff for the Hall of Fame. Same for George Seifert in San Francisco and even Jimmy Johnson from his time in Dallas; this seemed to be a voting breakdown between those from the northeast while those from other parts of the country were not as impressed by Parcells’ record.
Parcells survived the first vote, but went out on the vote from 10 to 5. He’ll likely be back in the discussion very soon.
DeBartolo didn’t get that far, going out on the vote from 15 to 10. The discussion went for 42 minutes and really seemed to center on not the good things that the former 49ers owner did in San Francisco with his team, but his involvement in a federal bribery case in Louisiana that led the NFL to suspend him for one year. It’s hard to see him getting another chance any time soon.
Among the former players, the longest conversations involved Buffalo WR Andre Reed and senior candidate OL Dick Stanfel. Both failed to make the class of 2012.
Here are some other tidbits from the Hall of Fame voting.
WIDE RECEIVERS STYMIED
Absent from the Class of 2012 are any of the three wide receivers that were up for the honor. It’s become apparent that Tim Brown, Cris Carter and Andre Reed are slicing up votes between them and thus no one receiver has been able to move forward in the voting. The board continues to have trouble deciding how the increase in passing numbers should be parsed with those three.
No Super Bowl Ring Needed
The election of Roaf, DE Chris Doleman and DT Cortez Kennedy struck a blow for very deserving candidates who did not play on a championship team in their careers. None of those three linemen every reached the Super Bowl. C Dermontti Dawson and RB Curtis Martin both played in losing Super Bowl efforts.
It Finally Happened
Seniors inductee DB Jack Butler waited 48 seasons since he was first eligible to earn a place in the Hall of Fame. Butler is one of a handful of top NFL players from the 1950s who were forgotten in their younger days. One factor was the fact there was no Hall of Fame until 1963, some four years after Butler retired after a serious leg injury.
Who Is Ahead for Possible Hall Induction
Here are some of the names that will become eligible for the Hall of Fame over the next three years:
2013 β G Larry Allen, DE Michael Strahan, OT Jonathan Ogden, DT Warren Sapp, QB Steve McNair, S John Lynch, DT Bryant Young and K Morten Andersen.
2014 β WR Marvin Harrison, RB Shaun Alexander, S Rodney Harrison, LB Derrick Brooks, coaches Tony Dungy and Mike Holmgren.
2015 β QB Kurt Warner, RB Edgerrin James, OT Walter Jones, OT Orlando Pace, LB Junior Seau and CB Ty Law.