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, this is the third time that Kurt Warner has made the Finalists but this time he is the best (and only Quarterback) in this group. His main target, Isaac Bruce is also here and as poetic as it is for them to both go in together, it won’t happen. There is an unspoken hierarchy here, and Warner has it over Bruce. My initial thought is one Ram going in and 18 camera shots at Brenda Warner during the induction ceremony.
Spheniscus: See, you and I disagree here pretty mightily. Sure Warner has a great back story and was great with the Rams and the Cardinals. But there was that middle section of his career that people tend to overlook. Hall of Fame QBs aren’t backups to the likes of 23 year olds Eli Manning and Matt Leinart.
And I think you underestimate how much the voters would prefer to vote for anyone other than T.O. As we discussed before, I think there are three first ballot guys in Dawkins, Taylor, and Tomlinson. We will then probably get an O Lineman and either Warner or one of the two WRs. I think that Bruce’s understated personality is going to carry him in that room. Warner will have to wait another year.
Committee Chairman: Didn’t one of your Patriots back up Leinart once? Not that we will ever debate him.
Frankly, I am on the fence on Warner, and I don’t know that I would ever vote for him. What I do think is that the Pro Football Hall of Fame will, and I think will do so before Bruce. This isn’t to say that they should, because I don’t think they should at all, however there is a star quality around Warner that makes it hard not to make him a sexy pick…this despite my assumption that he has had the least interesting sex life amongst all the Finalists.
I think also that understated personality doesn’t help Bruce. I know that the over the topness (is that a word?) hurt Owens, but being on regular television like Warner is every week doesn’t hurt his cause.
Spheniscus: Oh yes, the immortal Matt Cassel who led a 16-0 team to a 11-5 record and somehow proved that Brady isn’t as good as Peyton Manning.
You bring up the talent around him as maybe counting against him. That is the Terry Bradshaw argument. Bradshaw, in my opinion, is the second worst QB in the Hall of Fame. Only behind Joe Namath. Bradshaw was essentially Trent Dilfer being given the opportunity to have the greatest defense in the league for a decade and a top 5 offense for a decade. The difference is that he got 4 rings to Warner’s 1. So the true mediocrity of his career gets lost. Warner is the better player, but it may not matter.
I do think that Warner will be getting in some day. I just think this finalists list the way it is leads to Bruce first for the one spot that appears to be open.
Committee Chairman: I don’t disagree that Namath is the worst QB in the Hall of Fame, but he is forever a legend because of Super Bowl III. I also think Dilfer, or Rypien or Hostetler could have took those Steelers teams to four Super Bowl wins, and perhaps would be smart enough not to call Mike Tomlin a glorified cheerleader!
I want to state, I don’t want Warner to get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame before Isaac Bruce, I have a feeling of dread that it will happen. Warner doesn’t have the personalities of the other two QBs, but has a better story than Bradshaw, and a wife that the cameras can pan to…and again tell that story of bag boy to Super Bowl.
I wouldn’t vote for him, but I can’t shake the belief that this could be his year. Please tell me again that I am wrong…and one more time after that. I want that to be true.
Spheniscus: I think you are wrong as I think Bruce is getting in and Warner is not. But Warner will be getting in soon. Unless I’m wrong and he’s getting in this year. Or not at all. Or maybe as a senior candidate. I may be confused by his candidacy. But I wouldn’t vote for him this year.