Here we are in the National Football League playoffs but for us that it means it is time to discuss the potential class of the 2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Finalists have been announced, and along with regular contributor, Spheniscus, we will go back and forth with each candidate and openly debate as to which player would be a worthy Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee.
Committee Chairman: Spheniscus, for me this is a simple one.
You and I have debated and discussed the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since we cyber met six years ago. Sorry, I never made to Chicago by the way! Anyway, Cleveland discusses influence as criteria, and if I travel south to Canton and use the same logic, than Don Coryell is a lock.
However, when I look at his overall record, he doesn’t belong. Basically, this is the Big Star (or maybe Gram Parsons) of the Football Hall of Fame debate.
Spheniscus: I told you never to mention to anyone that we met online! It’s embarrassing.
Anyway, with Coryell he is most likely the greatest coach in the history of two NFL franchises. Unfortunately, those two franchises are the Cardinals and Chargers, who have to be down with the Jaguars, Buccaneers, Lions, and the most recent incarnation of the Browns as the worst run franchises in the history of the league.
He also has no Super Bowl rings, a losing record in the playoffs, and fewer career coaching wins than Dennis Green and Norv Turner. I get all that.
But he does have a better winning percentage than Hank Stram, Bill Parcells, Chuck Noll, Marv Levy, or Mike Ditka. And I repeat, he did that with the 70s St. Louis Cardinals and the early 80s San Diego (side note: Screw You Spanos) Super Chargers.
That and he created the offense that revolutionized the league to the offensive era we are in today. Which is probably the Big Star (see what I did there) in his corner for his candidacy.
Committee Chairman: I am for him getting in, even if you argue that his defensive acumen is the weakest amongst any coach who has gotten in. I think that is a valid criticism against him, but that is why you hire defensive coordinators right?
Besides, Coryell has been a Finalist a few times before so there is a strong contingent that wants him in, and thinks he should be. Dan Fouts is one. Is Fouts a Hall of Famer without Coryell? Possibly not; which isn’t a shot at the bearded one at all. Fouts was given a system in which he could thrive in and in the process become an influencer himself
Oh, and it isn’t like I met you on a dating site! Notinhalloffame.com isn’t Asiadate or whatever the hell else is out there!
Spheniscus: After looking at this again, I am really on the fence with Coryell. It wouldn’t upset me if he was in, but there are a few other coaches who at least record wise are more deserving. Marty Schottenheimer, comes to mind. As does Bill Cowher and maybe even Chuck Knox and Mike Shanahan.
That doesn’t give me the confidence that he should really be in. I don’t really think that it matters that much this year anyway. There are too many players who are deserving to get a borderline coach in. He may well go in, but he may have to wait until coaches are considered for the contributor category. Something that I expect will happen in the next few years.
And don’t underestimate the romantic power of a good debate of the Hall of Fame worthiness of the Romantics. People have bonded for life over less.
Committee Chairman: Great, now I have “Talking in Your Sleep” by the Romantics in my head. That wasn’t what you meant though was it?
I don’t think Coryell is getting in this year, and like you I don’t have a passion either way. As the only coach who made it this far, he has a better shot than he has in years past, but there is never going to be a fan push or peer push to get him in. I think he will perpetually be on the outside looking in.
Spheniscus: Agreed. He is not making it this year and it is hard to see where the finalist list is that would allow him to get through.