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, we return to that powerful Buccaneers defense with John Lynch, who doesn’t hurt his case by remaining in the public eye as a broadcaster. I know that shouldn’t matter, but do you think that helps to put him over the hump? I think he already has the Hall resume but when you see him weekly and his broadcasting peers constantly state that opinion, it can only accelerate his cause.
Spheniscus: It probably will. Although not as much as his being both a Super Bowl champion and the last great white defensive back.
He was a nine time Pro Bowler and three time All Pro, but interestingly was beaten out by the aforementioned Dawkins, Reed, Polamalu, and now persona non grata Darren Sharper for the four spots on the 2000s All Decade team.
He also has only 26 INTs. That is two thirds of Dawkins total and less than half of what Law has.
I think it is going to be a tough road for him to get in. As I said in Law’s section Dawkins gets the space this year. And both Law and teammate Ronde Barber have better statistics, if not the Pro Bowl selections.
He seems to me likely to be either a Senior Candidate or someone who goes the Roger Wehrli route and gets in on his last bite at the apple.
Committee Chairman: I think we see this one going totally differently. On the Dawkins page, I suggested how Lynch is capable of leapfrogging people he shouldn’t. There is some serious momentum for his candidacy growing and I have been coming across a lot of independent articles touting him as someone “who should already be in”.
Maybe with the glut of Defensive Backs coming up, I can see them putting him in now to avoid comparisons, especially to Ronde Barber,
who you mentioned before, and who I think we both agree was the better player.
Also, you mentioned the white thing, which as much as I want to say doesn’t matter, I think with the past election in your country, we still know is at the forefront of peoples minds.
I feel uncomfortable asking this, but does him being white help? I am afraid of the answer.
Spheniscus: It helps for defensive backs and hurts for wide receivers. The vast majority of wide outs are thought to be fast, have great hands, be very physical, and are generally thought to be black. As a defensive back if you can keep up with them as a white guy you must be something special.
For wide receivers the opposite is true. If you are a white wide out you can’t be fast and good. You are crafty. You are a good route runner. Your talent is automatically downgraded due to the color of your skin. Julian Edelman was a complete free agent four years ago. Only the Patriots offered him anything more than league minimum and that was basically a “prove it” one year deal. And prove it he more than did. If he gets 10 receptions in the Super Bowl (not out of the realm of possibility for him) he moves into 2nd on the All Time postseason receptions list. Behind some guy named Jerry Rice. And no one wanted him.
The Patriots (and Boston) get accused of overly loving white guy receivers, but I think that it is just more that they have found a market inefficiency and are exploiting it. Edelman was drafted by the Pats, but Wes Welker, Danny Amendola, and Chris Hogan were all either traded away for nothing or just allowed to walk away as free agents. You think that the Pittsburgh Steelers don’t think that Chris Hogan is good enough? I know that Keyshawn Johnson doesn’t as he ripped the Pats receiving corps just this week. And if you don’t think that has anything to do with their “craftiness” vs. their “athletic ability”…
In this case, the last two white DBs I can think of were John Lynch and Jason Sehorn. So Lynch is the last of a breed and in a room of largely white guys that may make a difference.
More interestingly, since we started this conversation, Lynch has left the booth and become the GM of the San Francisco 49ers. Do you think that will have any effect on whether or not he gets in?
Committee Chairman: It totally helps Lynch. The Niners probably can’t get worse next year, and if he does a great job it only enhances it. You talked before about rich guys patting themselves on the back? Lynch isn’t rich like them, but he is more entrenched in “establishment” now, which loves their own.
You mentioned Keyshawn, who I actually I think is a better analyst than he was a Wide Receiver, but I always thought he was overrated, and he sure wasn’t a fan of his “crafty” teammate, Wayne Chrebet. For a guy who penned “Just Give Me the Damn Ball” in his youth, it is funny how the only way he enters a Pro Football HOF discussion is for being an analyst after a Notinhalloffame career (see how I plugged the site there?)
So, do they induct John Lynch this year?
I will say it again, that I think they will…and I hope I am wrong and that it doesn’t cost Brian Dawkins a spot.
Spheniscus: I think that they don’t and that Dawkins does get the spot. But this is probably closer than it should be. Both those guys are getting in the Hall eventually.
Next year will be equally interesting as well with either Dawkins/Lynch up with Law and Ronde Barber. That will be an important year for all three of those guys. Because not getting in then could mean a very, very long wait.