Last month, regular contributor, Spheniscus and I debated the Hall of Fame merits of those who were on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot.
Now that the Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2016 has announced their class has done the same. We were hopeful to do this prior to the announcement of the actual inductees, but life, as it often does simply got in the way!
Saying that, we felt it was worth our time to take a look at the 2016 Nominees and debate whether they should have gotten in (or not) and look to the future of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Chairman: Did you ever have a player you didn’t like and you knew it was exactly justified? This is how I feel about Kevin Greene who on his fifth trip as a Finalist, has become a Pro Football Hall of Famer.
For the longest time when I would watch a Pittsburgh Steelers game, John Madden or whichever Color Commentator it was would make Kevin Greene seem like the second coming of “Mean” Joe Greene, which bothered me to no end. If there was a drinking game of how many times Madden (or whomever) mentioned Kevin Greene, I would have been drunk halfway through the second quarter.
Now his sack number obviously showcases him as a more than effective pass rusher, but I have always questioned whether he was a complete defensive player.
Spheniscus, am I letting a personal bias (that I don’t quite know why I have) cloud me into looking at someone who is Canton worthy?
Spheniscus: After my Tony Dungy section, I am hardly the right person to talk about personal bias clouding my judgment.
The problem with the NFL, as opposed to any of the other major sports, is that except for passing, rushing, and receiving, the rest of the numbers just do not tell you the whole story. But in this case the numbers, at least when it comes to sacks, are pretty overwhelming.
Take out his first season in Los Angeles where he was a part time player and he averaged 11.4 sacks a season for his career. And he was good to the end. He got 12 for Carolina in 1999 at the age of 37. And then retired. He was a two time first team All Pro and a member of the 1990s All Decade team along with Junior Seau and Derrick Thomas.
Personal biases aside, he is a deserving Hall of Famer. He might not have been a complete player, but he is 3rd All Time in sacks. The next player on the all-time sacks leaderboard who is not in the Hall is Leslie O’Neal all the way down at #13. It borders on ludicrous that he it took five times as a finalist and twelve years over all. It is worse than Harrison’s wait, as Greene has a huge statistical advantage over compared to other players at his position. He should have been in a long time ago.
Chairman: This does make him one of the best pass rushers of all time, and in a game of specialization, perhaps I am nitpicking, or perhaps because it took him a few years to reach the Finalist round, I am not the only one who feels that way.
One of the beautiful things (or terrible things) about living in the Internet age is that you can scour for fan opinion, and Greene constantly comes up as a player that people want to see in, and the knocks against him echo mine, one-dimensional.
But isn’t that one hell of a dimension?
(Yes I realize I am doing a bit of a flip flop in what I am about to say but isn’t that what this debate is supposed to do?)
If you look at the Quarterback Sack as the football defensive equivalent as a Home Run, Greene has a case…no matter how much I hated commentators building him up as Joe Greene 2.0.
Spheniscus: What commentators do, however, isn’t really his fault. As I said, the third All Time in one of the marquee stats in football, took 12 years of eligibility to get elected. That is actually pretty shocking. Why this year as opposed to any of the others is probably because there were no other players at his position in the final 15. And without competition to compare him to, his numbers were all that mattered.
Chairman: As I read back I am realizing two things.
The first is that while I never instituted the Kevin Greene drinking game I did one with veteran Quarterbacks.
Okay, kids, here is how it goes.
When you watch a game with a veteran quarterback….let’s say over 35, and possibly a future Hall of Famer. Every time the camera focuses on him, when he is on the sideline it is a drink.
A great example would be during any Denver Broncos game this season with Peyton Manning. When his team was on defense, a shot/drink has to be taken every time the Quarterback was shown on camera. Frankly, I always thought there were better things to focus on than a lame shot of a frozen faced pivot as opposed to the real story of the game. Thankfully, I didn’t get intoxicated from this Super Bowl…though I wish I were as I watched Coldplay sober.
Frankly, the older I get, the more I play these drinking games.
Maybe I should start attending meetings for that.
Spheniscus: There are meetings for that. They meet at the bar. Which is probably where Manning needs to go these days to have a Budweiser. I mean other than the Super Bowl, he has had pretty much the worst month of his professional life. He has to be waiting (with a Budweiser) to see what negative story is coming out about him next. Thankfully he will have a Budweiser there for him to drink.
Perhaps even as he watches Kevin Greene speak at his induction ceremony. Which like Manning’s post-Super Bowl interviews, is likely to be sponsored by Budweiser.
Regardless, Greene is in and he deserves it. So congrats to him after all this time.
Chairman: If Manning gets any more endorsements! It hasn’t been the greatest couple of weeks for Peyton has it?
Spheniscus: He’ll get more endorsements. No matter how bad Peyton’s rep gets, he’s still a much better human being than Papa John (plus he owns like eight of their franchises). And if nothing else, he can always rent out his forehead as billboard space if the money gets tight.
Regardless, Kevin Greene welcome to the Hall. This seat has been waiting for you for a while.