Our First Ever NIHOF Mock Football HOF Committee Synopsis

Our First Ever NIHOF Mock Football HOF Committee Synopsis
30 Oct
Not in Hall of Fame

Why didn’t we do this before?

Allow me to pull back the curtain here at Notinhalloffame.com.  

Notinhalloffame.com grew from a simple idea; rank those who are not in various Halls of Fame from the world of sports and music and create a platform for individuals to campaign for their favorite musician/athlete, or at the very least, reminisce.

As it grew, we had the opportunity to interact with other people about the various Halls of Fame, what we like, what we don’t like, and changes we would like to see made.  Since, we aren’t privy to what the actual committees discuss, why not make one of our own?  That is what we did.

Through Twitter, this is the group that was assembled:

@notinhalloffame (Official Twitter site of Notinhalloffame.com and run by Kirk Buchner)

@2ndHandBurrito (Evan Nolan, co-host of the Hall of Fame Show)

@konadreamssssss (Glen Pawlowski, triathlete from Buffalo)

@vancemeek (Vance Meek has blogged about the Bengals and has been a guest on our podcast.

@readjack (Jack M. Silverstein, Sports Historian and writer from Chicago)

@lhd_on_sports (David Whitlock is a blogger and commentator on lhd-on-sports.com.

@tedcrocketiiil (Ted Crockett is a veteran and follows all sports halls.

@ThomasHallNFL (Thomas Hall follows the Denver Broncos and is the host of Convincing Numbers, a show on Football Analytics.  He also contributes to @milehighhuddle.

@Profhofcantonf (As his Twitter handle will tell you, Paul Lawrence has been studying the process of the Pro Football Hal of Fame for years.

@VinLospinuso91 (Vinny Lospinuso studies journalism at Hofstra, and is a regular guest on our shows.  

This was a group that comes from varying fan bases and differing perspectives.  As we progress, we hope to expand it, adding more people from different parts of the United States, and beyond.  

Please note that in our Zoom discussion, Vance and Paul were unable to attend, but their initial votes were counted.  We hope to have them on for future roundtables.  

As this was the first time, we had ever done this, we decided not to record and air our discussion.  As the Philadelphia 76ers management says, “Trust the Process”, and in the future, we will air our meetings to keep everything transparent.  

Here was our process:

Step One: Automatic Elimination, Part One.

Each person was asked to submit their 25 selections.  

If a former player received no votes, they would not be discussed, and were automatically eliminated from consideration.

Those players were:

QB Drew Bledsoe

QB Jake Delhomme

QB Jeff Garcia

QB Dave Krieg

FB Mike Alstott

RB Tiki Barber

RB Earnest Byner

RB Larry Centers

RB Eddie George

RB Jamal Lewis

RB Glyn Milburn

WR Chad Johnson

WR Derrick Mason

WR Mushin Muhammad

WR Roddey White

TE Dallas Clark

TE Brent Jones

TE Heath Miller

TE Jeremy Shockey

TE Wesley Walls

OL Matt Birk

OL D’Brickashaw Ferguson

OL Kevin Glover

OL Jordan Gross

OL Chris Samuels

OL Chris Snee

OL Brian Waters

OL Erik Williams

DL La’Roi Glover

DL Michael Dean Perry

DL Justin Smith

DL Greg Townsend

LB Seth Joyner

LB Jarod Mayo

LB Willie McGinest

LB Chris Spielman

LB Takeo Spikes

LB Darryl Talley

DB Nick Collins

DB Merton Hanks

DB James Hasty

DB Albert Lewis

DB Tim McDonald

DB Allen Rossum

DB Bob Sanders

DB Adrian Wilson

K David Akers       

K Gary Anderson

K Jason Elam

K Jason Hanson

K John Kasay

K Ryan Longwell

K Nick Lowery

P Jeff Feagles

P Sean Landeta

P Rohn Stark

P Matt Turk

KR/PR Josh Cribbs


There was no visceral reaction from any of us regarding those shut out of the vote.  Perhaps with Chad Johnson, but we went through this stage was very quickly.  

Step One: Automatic Elimination, Part Two.

If a player received all ten votes, they would not be discussed, and they automatically advanced to our list of Semi-Finalists.  

Those players were:

QB Peyton Manning

WR Calvin Johnson

OL Alan Faneca

DB Charles Woodson


Many of us thought there would be more unanimous picks, but it was a quick reminder why we do this, and how much fun this was going to be.  It is also very clear at this time that this was a group that wanted to discuss who should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame; possibly more than those who get to make those selections.  Manning, Woodson and Johnson are on their first ballot.  Faneca has been a Finalist for the fifth straight year.

Step Two: Almost Unanimous 

Once we determined who we would not discuss, we decided to alternated to the remaining vote getters from highest to lowest, and “sandwich” our way to the middle.

Those players were:

WR Torry Holt

OT Tony Boselli

DB LeRoy Butler

DB John Lynch


We asked each other a simple question.  Do we have any objection, if we put all of these men through to the Semi-Final round? Nobody had an issue, and all four of the above, all of which are former Finalists advanced.

Step Three: One and done? 

There was a glut of former players who only received one vote. They were:

QB Steve McNair

RB Steven Jackson

RB Eddie George

RB Priest Holmes

RB Eric Metcalf

RB Warrick Dunn

FB Lorenzo Neal

WR Jimmy Smith

WR Donald Driver

WR Rod Smith

TE Ben Coates

OL Willie Anderson

OL Kent Hull

OL Olin Kreutz

DL Ray Childress

DL Casey Hampton

DL Justin Tuck

DL Simeon Rice

DL Leslie O’Neal

DL John Abraham

LB Cornelius Bennett

LB Tedy Bruschi

LB Joey Porter

LB London Fletcher

DB Asante Samuel

DB Charles Tillman

DB Troy Vincent

DB Rodney Harrison

KR Mel Gray

P Reggie Roby

We asked people if they wanted to make a push for one of these players, and Thomas Hall made an incredible case for Tom Nalen, the former Broncos Center.  It swayed many of us, who were previously on the fence about him, and elevated him many of our minds, that it was Nalen, on not Jeff Saturday, who is the best Center available.  Hall had a great piece that he wrote for Broncos Wire, that best sums up his cause.

Jack Silverstein trumpeted the pure role of a Fullback that former Charger, Lorenzo Neal, brought to the table, but it was his push of Charles “Peanut” Tillman, and reminding us all about the “Peanut Punch”, and how he helped to evolve Defensive Backs.

Everyone was then asked to submit three votes, with the top three vote-getters advancing to the round of those receiving two votes.  Nalen, Tillman and Simeon Rice advanced.  Others receiving consideration were Lorenzo Neal, Jimmy Smith, Donald Driver, Willie Anderson, Leslie O’Neal, John Abraham, London Fletcher, Rodney Harrison, Reggie Roby and Steve McNair.


I think we would all agree that this was the round where we enjoyed the most.  A free exchange of ideas and opinions and we all left re-thinking how we viewed selective players.  This is what it was all about.

Step Five:  Those with 80%, so still an “A”.

Back to the top, we had three who received all but two votes.  They were:

WR Reggie Wayne

LB Zach Thomas

LB Patrick Willis

This was another rapid conversation, as nobody had any overt objection to push them through.  Willis’s name did illicit a mild surprise that he was not a Finalist last year.


Wayne and Thomas were both Finalists last year, with Willis making the Semi-Finals.  Since this part was moving so quickly, we decided to continue on with the upper half of the ledger.

This brought our total to 11.

Step Six:  Completing the “Upper Part of the Sandwich”

There were six players who had either seven, six or five votes.  They were:

RB Shaun Alexander (7)

DL Jared Allen (7)

DL Richard Seymour (7)

LB Sam Mills (5)

DB Ronde Barber (6)

ST Steve Tasker (6)

We went with five of these players.  Seymour was a Finalist last year, and is likely to be so again, and there was no concern among our group to place him through to the next round.  Barber has yet to be a Finalist, but has been a Semi-Finalist.  While none of us disagreed that Barber should advance, it brought up a conversation on just how good Tampa’s defence was back in the early 2000s.  So far, two Hall of Famers (Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks) and counting.

Allen is on his first ballot, and many project him to be a Semi-Finalist, though based on reading the room, we may not push him further in our next meeting.  As for Alexander, the Running Back and former MVP, has never been a Semi-Finalist, and has been eligible since 2014.  He might be under 10,000 career Rushing Yards, but the former Seahawk is one of nine players to have 100 TDs on the ground.  Alexander is the only eligible player not to be enshrined.  

The love of our group for Tasker was unanimous, and those who did not vote for him initially had no problem putting him through to our Semi-Finals.  Tasker was a Semi-Finalist last year, and this is his penultimate year of Modern Era eligibility.

This brings us to Sam Mills, a Finalist last year.  While the respect was there for Mills, most of agreed that as good as he was, this was a very good player with an excellent story.  He did not advance, and was placed in the middle section; ie; the “meat of our Hall of Fame conversation.”


While the discussion on Sam Mills brought up apathy, did any of us really think that we wouldn’t put him through the Semi-Finals?  

Step Seven:  Two Votes

We go back to bottom with those who received two votes.  As mentioned before, Nalen, Tillman and Rice advanced to this conversation.  We did the same thing and opened up the floor to anyone who wanted to make a statement on these players.  Those in this round are:

RB Corey Dillon

RB Herschel Walker

RB Fred Taylor

TE Keith Jackson

OL Tom Halen (advanced from previous round)

OL Logan Mankins

DL Kevin Williams

DL Simeon Rice (advanced from previous round)

LB Lance Briggs

DB Charles Tillman (advanced from previous round)

KR Brian Mitchell

The Chairman (Kirk) pushed for Herschel Walker, citing his USFL stats, and that it is a “Pro” Football Hall of Fame.  Evan made a case for Kevin Williams, citing advanced analytics.  Like the previous round, each person could vote on three people, with the top three voters advancing.  Those were Nalen, Williams and Tillman.


Taylor might have been a Semi-Finalist last year, but along with Dillon, the belief is that 10,000 Rushing Yards do not hold the same cache they used to.  Shaun Alexander might not have five digits in Rushing Yards, but he was without question the best Running Back at one time.  Taylor and Dillon were not.  Mankins received respect in our discussion, as did Lance Briggs, as we were trying to decipher his overall impact.  Brian Mitchell also received consideration.  

Step Eight:  The Meat of the Hall of Fame Sandwich

Here we go.

What we have left are those who received three or four votes in our original tally, and the one who fell (Mills), and the three who advanced (Nalen, Williams and Tillman).

We had nine spots left with 19 remaining candidates.  They are:

QB Donovan McNabb (4)

QB Randall Cunningham (4)

RB Ricky Watters (4)

WR Hines Ward (4)

WR Henry Ellard (3)

OL Jeff Saturday (4)

OL Steve Wisnieuski (4)

OL Richmond Webb (4)

OL Lomas Brown (3)

OL Ruben Brown (3)

OL Tom Nalen (Advanced from 1 & 2)

DL Neil Smith (4)

DL Bryant Young (3)

DL Kevin Williams (Advanced from 2)

LB Sam Mills (5) (Demoted from previous round)

LB Clay Matthews (3)

LB Pat Swilling (3)

DB Eric Allen (3)

DB Charles Tillman (3)

In this final round, we opened up the floor.  Here are some notes on some of the players not yet discussed.

Former Philadelphia Eagles Quarterbacks, McNabb and Cunningham were at the forefront.  Neither have been a Semi-Finalist, and both have unique cases. McNabb led the Eagles to four straight NFC Championship Games, winning the fourth, but losing the Super Bowl. Randall Cunningham is a three-time Bert Bell Award winner, who was a large link in the evolution of Quarterbacks.

Lomas Brown, a nine-time Pro Bowler who recently was not even on the Preliminary Candidate list, blocked for Barry Sanders.  Somebody had to help Sanders during those years right?  Glenn, our Bills fan, was the biggest supporter of Richmond Webb, a seven-time Pro Bowler with the Dolphins.  

Ward might have been a Semi-Finalist, but we were looking more at Henry Ellard, who at the time of his retirement was third all-time in Receiving Yards.  

There was a groundswell for Swilling over Mills, for the the detitle of the defacto “Most deserving New Orleans Saint.”  As for Clay Matthews, the former Cleveland Brown who is now on his last year of eligibility, was deemed to be “very good”, and nothing more.

For his round, each voter could assign three votes for their top choice, two for their second, and one vote for the next five.  The results we had saw Cunningham, Webb, L. Brown, Nalen, Williams, Swilling, Ellard, Wisnieuski and Tillman advance as our Semi-Finalists.


Our selection of Nalen, Williams and Tillman came out of nowhere, and proves the power of conversation.  While Sam Mills is probable to be a Finalist again, it did not prevent him from falling out of our Semi-Finalists.

Just for fun, we voted as to who would be our last “five out”.  They were McNabb, R. Brown, Smith, Saturday and Watters.

Summing Up: 

Our 25 Semi-Finalists are:

QB Peyton Manning

QB Randall Cunningham

RB Shaun Alexander

WR Calvin Johnson

WR Torry Holt

WR Reggie Wayne

WR Henry Ellard

OL Alan Faneca

OL Tony Boselli

OL Steve Wisnieuski

OL Richmond Webb

OL Lomas Brown

OL Tom Nalen

DL Jared Allen

DL Richard Seymour

DL Kevin Williams

LB Zach Thomas

LB Patrick Willis

LB Pat Swilling

DB Charles Woodson

DB LeRoy Butler

DB John Lynch

DB Ronde Barber

DB Charles Tillman

ST Steve Tasker

Will this be the group that the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee actually puts through?

Probably not.  

While we are not making public our Zoom discussion, we intend to that in the future so that all conversations on the Hall will be transparent.  We ask that of the various Halls, so we will work towards providing the same.  As it stands now, you know much more about our process!

We hope you enjoyed this, and if you have any questions, please contact us.  It is a conversation that we all welcome.

For more on this, on our upcoming “The Buck Stops Here: Hall of Fame Show”, Kirk and Evan go into a deep conversation as to what was discussed.  Look for that soon.

What comes next?

In November, the Pro Football Hall will announce their Semi-Finalists, so we will reconvene, and see how they compared to ours.  We will then take their 25, and reduce them to 15, the same way that the PFHOF does.

Thank you to everyone who participated, and we look to do more of these in the future.

Last modified on Friday, 30 October 2020 18:26
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Committee Chairman

Kirk Buchner, "The Committee Chairman", is the owner and operator of the site.  Kirk can be contacted at [email protected] .

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