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, here is one I really like in Kevin Mawae, but I wonder if I am in the minority here. I think what works against him is the teams he played for were not high profile or often any good. He played for Seattle for four years where they were mediocre and the Titans, who while good, is not a team who network executives wanted to put in the night game. He did have a great run in the middle of his career with some good Jets teams, but even though we are talking about New York City, isn’t that really the home of the Giants?
Spheniscus: You have a fellow Mawae fan here. As a Patriots fan, I got to see Mawae in action for a large portion of his career. He was the Jets best player at a time when the Pats were dominating the division and the league.
And remember how I said that Law was the 4th best Patriots player of All Time? The second best is undoubtedly John Hannah, a player who played for a whole bunch of thoroughly mediocre teams, yet is widely considered to be the best Guard in the history of the NFL.
I know that I keep going back to the All Decade Teams, but I feel that they are the truest representation of how players did over the course of their careers and not just the individual weirdness of individual Pro Bowl years. He is the starting Center on the 2000s team. The gap between him and Olin Kruetz, who was the 2nd Team Center on the 2000s team is likely bigger than any gap between first and second teamers at any position. I mean we are talking 7 All Pros to 1.
He is certainly a better candidate than either Tony Boselli or Joe Jacoby. But I think that Faneca probably edges him out this year.
Committee Chairman: So I think we agree on the order of the O-Lineman in this group. Faneca, Mawae, Jacoby, and Boselli.
Although I haven’t referenced All Decade teams, I also put a lot of stock into them, though I try to remember that occasionally they can look over a player who may have five years in one decade and five in an another, but that is a minor criticism.
For me, and I haven’t referenced this much either, is First Team All Pro Selections. I would never say that earning a Pro Bowl is easy, but it does a better job at showcasing what is elite. There is one First Team All Pro Quarterback and six Pro Bowl Quarterbacks.
Mawae, by the way has three to Faneca’s six, though despite that I still stand by what I said on Faneca’s section, it is still only a slight lean. For what is worth, Boselli has three and Jacoby has two, though there is still no way I rank Boselli over Jacoby.
Spheniscus: All you need to know about Pro Bowls is that Rodney Harrison and Brandon Merriweather made the same number of them in their careers. I saw both of those players on a weekly basis and there was no comparison. This year the Pro Bowl featured Dak Prescott, Drew Brees, Kirk Cousins, Andy Dalton, Alex Smith, and Philip Rivers, That is the #3, 5, 7, 15, 16, and 19th rated QBs in the league this year. Philip Rivers LED THE LEAGUE IN INTERCEPTIONS BY 14% over the next worst guy and was still a Pro-Bowler. Basically useless as an indicator of greatness.
The All Decade Teams, however are not. Neither are the All Pro selections. And Mawae ranks very high in both. Again, we both agree on Faneca, but Mawae is a very good candidate for next year. It will be between him and Hutchinson, but I think Mawae will get the nod in 2018.
Committee Chairman: And yet we still will see sportswriters use Pro Bowls as a metric for explaining why so-and-so is a Hall of Famer! Hell, Vince Young was a Pro Bowler!
No matter. Mawae gets in next year, but not this one. With all due respect to Mawae, who again, I respect, wouldn’t get my vote this year either.
Spheniscus: Agreed on all of the above. Definite Hall of Famer. Just not with Faneca on the list.