Our Second Ever NIHOF Mock Football HOF Committee Synopsis (Second Round)

Our Second Ever NIHOF Mock Football HOF Committee Synopsis (Second Round)
28 Dec
2020
Not in Hall of Fame

Two months ago, we put together our first ever Notinhalloffame.com mock committee which sought to mimic the process of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and select 25 Semi-Finalists.  

It was one of the best ideas that we ever had, conversing on a topic we are passionate about, and we knew that we wanted to do it again, with the second meeting discussing who we would put through the Finalists.  

We went with two groups of Semi-Finalists; the one that we came up with two months ago and the other that is official from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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)

@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.

@tedcrockettlll(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.  

@TheFakeSith(Alec Tessitore is a baseball hall enthusiast and avid Jacksonville Jaguars and Clemson fan.

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, Paul were unable to attend, but his initial votes were counted.   We hope to have him on for future roundtables.  This is also Alec’s first appearance, as he was not part of our initial group. 

Echoing what was said in our first write-up this is still a work in progress and will be constantly tweaking to make things better.

Each person was asked to submit their 15 selections from ours and the official list. 

First off, the lists, with the number of votes given (out of nine):

Please note that we decided unilaterally NOT to just accept the top 15 vote-getters and call it a day. The best part of this endeavor is exchanging our opinions as to why a player should, or should not be where they are. 

Notinhalloffame.com 25 Semi-Finalists

Pro Football Hall of Fame 25 Semi-Finalists

LeRoy Butler.  9

Alan Faneca.  9

Alan Faneca.  9

Calvin Johnson.  9

Torry Holt.  9

John Lynch.  9

Calvin Johnson.  9

Peyton Manning.  9

Peyton Manning.  9

Charles Woodson.  9

Charles Woodson.  9

LeRoy Butler.  8

Ronde Barber.  8

Torry Holt.  8

John Lynch.  8

Ronde Barber.  7

Jared Allen.  7

Tony Boselli.  7

Zach Thomas.  7

Zach Thomas.  7

Patrick Willis.  7

Jared Allen.  6

Tony Boselli.  6

Steve Tasker.  6

Randall Cunningham.  6

Reggie Wayne.  6

Steve Tasker.  6

Patrick Willis.  6

Richard Seymour. 5

Richard Seymour.  5

Reggie Wayne.  5

Clay Matthews.  4

Shaun Alexander.  3

Sam Mills.  4

Lomas Brown.  2

Bryant Young.  3

Henry Ellard.  2

Willie Anderson.  2

Tom Nalen.  2

Cornelius Bennett.  2

Pat Swilling.  2

Rodney Harrison.  2

Kevin Williams.  2

Fred Taylor.  2

Richmond Webb.  1

Eric Allen.  1

Steve Wisnieuski.  1

Darren Woodson.  1

Charles Tillman.  0

Hines Ward.  1


Before we go on, yes it intrigued the hell out of us that some players did not receive the same amount of votes on each list.  

Also, if you think you know where this is going to go, we can assure you that there are surprises ahead.

Here was our process:

Step One: Automatic Elimination:

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

This was simple, as only Tillman from our NIHOF list was eliminated.

Step Two: Automatic Elimination Part Two:

We openly asked if there was a player who had only one vote, is there any reason to go into a deep dive and convince others, that he had the legs to continue?  We quickly decided that our limited time could be best spent with those who we thought warranted further discussion.  

This eliminated Webb and Wisnieuski from the NIHOF list and Allen, D. Woodson and Ward.

Takeaway:  

We may have done this quickly but these are six players who we all respect and could build a Super Bowl winning team around easily.  

Step Three: Automatic Advancement, Part One.

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

This meant that we unilaterally agreed to advance Butler, Faneca, Holt, Johnson, Manning and C. Woodson from the NIHOF list and Faneca, Johnson, Lynch, Manning and C. Woodson from the initial list.

As we mentioned before, it was interesting that there were players who unanimous in one list and not the other, do we really as a group have an issue advancing them?  For that matter, if a player received all but one vote, are we really going to agree to eliminate them?

This advanced Barber and Lynch on our NIHOF list and Butler and Holt on the official one.

Takeaway:  

Admittedly, with this being our second kick at the can, we were more conscious of time, and we wanted to focus more on those that would be meatier discussions.  Our process of worming from the top and bottom to get to the middle also was in its second go-around, and it was definitely proving it easier for us to determine who we wanted to advance.

Synopsis at this stage:

Notinhalloffame.com 25 Semi-Finalists

Pro Football Hall of Fame 25 Semi-Finalists

LeRoy Butler.  ADVANCED

Alan Faneca.  ADVANCED

Alan Faneca.  ADVANCED

Calvin Johnson.  ADVANCED

Torry Holt.  ADVANCED

John Lynch.  ADVANCED

Calvin Johnson.  ADVANCED

Peyton Manning.  ADVANCED

Peyton Manning.  ADVANCED

Charles Woodson.  ADVANCED

Charles Woodson.  ADVANCED

LeRoy Butler.  ADVANCED

Ronde Barber.  ADVANCED

Torry Holt.  ADVANCED

John Lynch.  ADVANCED

Ronde Barber.  7

Jared Allen.  7

Tony Boselli.  7

Zach Thomas.  7

Zach Thomas.  7

Patrick Willis.  7

Jared Allen.  6

Tony Boselli.  6

Steve Tasker.  6

Randall Cunningham.  6

Reggie Wayne.  6

Steve Tasker.  6

Patrick Willis.  6

Richard Seymour. 5

Richard Seymour.  5

Reggie Wayne.  5

Clay Matthews.  4

Shaun Alexander.  3

Sam Mills.  4

Lomas Brown.  2

Bryant Young.  3

Henry Ellard.  2

Willie Anderson.  2

Tom Nalen.  2

Cornelius Bennett.  2

Pat Swilling.  2

Rodney Harrison.  2

Kevin Williams.  2

Fred Taylor.  2

Richmond Webb.  ELIMINATED

Eric Allen.  ELIMINATED

Steve Wisnieuski.  ELIMINATED

Darren Woodson.  ELIMINATED

Charles Tillman.  ELIMINATED

Hines Ward.  ELIMINATED

 

Step Four:  Another group at the top?

So, when you go “seven for nine”, again we ask are these people that we would really kick out of the top 15.

This is essentially our “we think so” group, and subconsciously put through to talk in far greater depth as a Finalist.  This put Barber in the official group in right away, as well as Boselli and Thomas. On the NIHOF list, Allen, Thomas and Willis went through, but the passion wasn’t there to put them through, or really to take them out of a final fifteen.

Nobody said it, but were any of us really passionate about them getting to the top fifteen when we discuss who we would elect in 2021?  

Not to a high enough degree to continue to debate it, but we guarantee this will be a group who we will dissect in our final round.  

Boselli, who was a six in the NIHOF list went through by proxy.  So did Allen and Willis, who had six in the official list.  

There will be a lot more on Boselli, Allen and Willis in our next meeting.

Synopsis at this stage:

Notinhalloffame.com 25 Semi-Finalists

Pro Football Hall of Fame 25 Semi-Finalists

LeRoy Butler.  ADVANCED

Alan Faneca.  ADVANCED

Alan Faneca.  ADVANCED

Calvin Johnson.  ADVANCED

Torry Holt.  ADVANCED

John Lynch.  ADVANCED

Calvin Johnson.  ADVANCED

Peyton Manning.  ADVANCED

Peyton Manning.  ADVANCED

Charles Woodson.  ADVANCED

Charles Woodson.  ADVANCED

LeRoy Butler.  ADVANCED

Ronde Barber.  ADVANCED

Torry Holt.  ADVANCED

John Lynch.  ADVANCED

Ronde Barber.  ADVANCED

Jared Allen.  ADVANCED

Tony Boselli.  ADVANCED

Zach Thomas.  ADVANCED

Zach Thomas.  ADVANCED

Patrick Willis.  ADVANCED

Jared Allen.  ADVANCED

Tony Boselli.  ADVANCED

Steve Tasker.  6

Randall Cunningham.  6

Reggie Wayne.  6

Steve Tasker.  6

Patrick Willis.  ADVANCED

Richard Seymour. 5

Richard Seymour.  5

Reggie Wayne.  5

Clay Matthews.  4

Shaun Alexander.  3

Sam Mills.  4

Lomas Brown.  2

Bryant Young.  3

Henry Ellard.  2

Willie Anderson.  2

Tom Nalen.  2

Cornelius Bennett.  2

Pat Swilling.  2

Rodney Harrison.  2

Kevin Williams.  2

Fred Taylor.  2

Richmond Webb.  ELIMINATED

Eric Allen.  ELIMINATED

Steve Wisnieuski. ELIMINATED

Darren Woodson.  ELIMINATED

Charles Tillman. ELIMINATED

Hines Ward.  ELIMINATED

 

Step Five: Steve Tasker.

Yep.  Tasker has his own section.

Let’s make it really simple. Steve Tasker was the best Special Teams player of his era, and with the way football is evolving, he could be the last great one.  

There was not a single one of us who disagreed that he wasn’t great.  He was, and this not a disputable fact.  The struggle with us is the same with the 48 men and women who decide the Pro Football Hall of Fame is to whether or not Special Teams is Hall of Fame worthy.

We decided to table Tasker temporarily.

Step Six: Reggie Wayne.

Some of us thought Wayne belonged in the top 15.  Some of us didn’t.  The thoughts ranged everywhere from statistically relevant to not being “the guy”. Like others we spoke about, Wayne felt like someone we “felt” like we would need to do a deeper look later. Perhaps, that should have happened this round.

Nevertheless, we advanced him in both groups.

Synopsis at this stage:

Notinhalloffame.com 25 Semi-Finalists

Pro Football Hall of Fame 25 Semi-Finalists

LeRoy Butler.  ADVANCED

Alan Faneca.  ADVANCED

Alan Faneca.  ADVANCED

Calvin Johnson.  ADVANCED

Torry Holt.  ADVANCED

John Lynch.  ADVANCED

Calvin Johnson.  ADVANCED

Peyton Manning.  ADVANCED

Peyton Manning.  ADVANCED

Charles Woodson.  ADVANCED

Charles Woodson.  ADVANCED

LeRoy Butler.  ADVANCED

Ronde Barber.  ADVANCED

Torry Holt.  ADVANCED

John Lynch.  ADVANCED

Ronde Barber.  ADVANCED

Jared Allen.  ADVANCED

Tony Boselli.  ADVANCED

Zach Thomas.  ADVANCED

Zach Thomas.  ADVANCED

Patrick Willis.  ADVANCED

Jared Allen.  ADVANCED

Tony Boselli.  ADVANCED

Steve Tasker.  6

Randall Cunningham.  6

Reggie Wayne.  ADVANCED

Steve Tasker.  6

Patrick Willis.  ADVANCED

Richard Seymour. 5

Richard Seymour.  5

Reggie Wayne.  ADVANCED

Clay Matthews.  4

Shaun Alexander.  3

Sam Mills.  4

Lomas Brown.  2

Bryant Young.  3

Henry Ellard.  2

Willie Anderson.  2

Tom Nalen.  2

Cornelius Bennett.  2

Pat Swilling.  2

Rodney Harrison.  2

Kevin Williams.  2

Fred Taylor.  2

Richmond Webb.  ELIMINATED

Eric Allen.  ELIMINATED

Steve Wisnieuski. ELIMINATED

Darren Woodson. ELIMINATED

Charles Tillman. ELIMINATED

Hines Ward.  ELIMINATED

 

Step Seven: Who’s at Two? 

From what we did last time, we found that anyone who received at least two votes generated a discussion, or at least was worthy of one.  Arguably, this was the group we discussed the most.  

With each group, it was hard to determine who to advance.  Bluntly, we did not want to eliminate any of them, and this was the round it became especially difficult in the one that we created.

How could it not be?  

Pardon the tangent, but we are taking this very seriously as if we were the ones who really would tell each of these former stars whether they are Hall of Fame worthy or not.  In our Zoom meeting, this is where we felt the emotion of the room begin to take shape, and dare we say, just how much we care.

With the NIHOF list, we had five at two votes, Brown, Ellard, Nalen, Swilling and Williams.  

Let’s be clear.  We love all of these guys.  

Lomas Brown is criminally forgotten, and he was once not even a Preliminary Nominee, this despite being a seven-time All-Pro with an Approximate Value of 159.

Henry Ellard, who had 13,777 Receiving Yards, which was third all-time at the time of his retirement.

Tom Nalen, who Thomas Hall of our group laid out how he is the best Center not in Canton.  He did such a good job, that we brought him to this point, and we encourage you to talk to Thomas, who can expertly explain his credentials.

Pat Swilling, who we unilaterally agree should be in the spot that is currently held by his former teammate, Sam Mills.

Kevin Williams, a star with the Minnesota Vikings and five-time First Team All-Pro who from 2006 to 2009 was considered by many (including us) as the best in his position.

With the official group that had two votes, we again had a rough vote.

There were long discussions on all of them, but Anderson and Bennett emerged as the two that generated the most.  

From our group, Bennett was referred to as the “Reverse Charles Haley”, in that he was a key defensive cog on five teams that lost the Super Bowl.  If Bennett wins two, are we discussing this player, or is he already in? That is a worthy question.

With “Big Willie”, we have a player who analytics will tell you only allowed 16 Sacks in 13 Years.  We will let that speak for itself.  The agreement was again to take out at least two players from each list, and it was voted to remove Nalen and Swilling from our list and Taylor and Harrison from the official one.

Synopsis at this stage:

Notinhalloffame.com 25 Semi-Finalists

Pro Football Hall of Fame 25 Semi-Finalists

LeRoy Butler.  ADVANCED

Alan Faneca.  ADVANCED

Alan Faneca.  ADVANCED

Calvin Johnson.  ADVANCED

Torry Holt.  ADVANCED

John Lynch.  ADVANCED

Calvin Johnson.  ADVANCED

Peyton Manning.  ADVANCED

Peyton Manning.  ADVANCED

Charles Woodson.  ADVANCED

Charles Woodson.  ADVANCED

LeRoy Butler.  ADVANCED

Ronde Barber.  ADVANCED

Torry Holt.  ADVANCED

John Lynch.  ADVANCED

Ronde Barber.  ADVANCED

Jared Allen.  ADVANCED

Tony Boselli.  ADVANCED

Zach Thomas.  ADVANCED

Zach Thomas.  ADVANCED

Patrick Willis.  ADVANCED

Jared Allen.  ADVANCED

Tony Boselli.  ADVANCED

Steve Tasker.  6

Randall Cunningham.  6

Reggie Wayne.  ADVANCED

Steve Tasker.  6

Patrick Willis.  ADVANCED

Richard Seymour. 5

Richard Seymour.  5

Reggie Wayne.  ADVANCED

Clay Matthews.  4

Shaun Alexander.  3

Sam Mills.  4

Lomas Brown.  2

Bryant Young.  3

Henry Ellard.  2

Willie Anderson.  2

Tom Nalen.  ELIMINATED

Cornelius Bennett.  2

Pat Swilling.  ELIMINATED

Rodney Harrison. ELIMINATED

Kevin Williams.  2

Fred Taylor.  ELIMINATED

Richmond Webb.  ELIMINATED

Eric Allen.  ELIMINATED

Steve Wisnieuski. ELIMINATED

Darren Woodson. ELIMINATED

Charles Tillman. ELIMINATED

Hines Ward.  ELIMINATED


Step Eight: Three more has to go 

We now have two spots open with seven people vying for it.  To make it easier, it made more sense to eliminate three more, and it would be voted from the remaining pool.

Richard Seymour had five votes on both lists and was well respected by our group, but the question was asked, was “he the guy?”.  Was he the best player on the defensive side of the ball for many Patriots teams? When these are questions that you are openly asking and find it very hard to answer, doubt creeps up.  

On our list, we then opened the conversation to Shaun Alexander and Randall Cunningham.    

Alexander is a former MVP and at one time had a claim for as the best Running Back in the world, but his peak period was small and his compiling numbers are lower than players like Fred Taylor, who is on the other list.  While the respect for Taylor existed among our group, the consensus was that Alexander should have been a “real” Semi-Finalist before Taylor.  

With Cunningham, we have a three-time Bert Bell Award winner, and if one of those were instead an AP MVP, would he at least have been a Semi-Finalist by now?  (Again, we mean on the real list).  

With Mills, the question arose as to whether the story exceeded the player.  Should Swilling, his past teammate be in that spot instead?  Many of us thought so.

As for Clay Matthews, you already know the argument before you read any further.  Matthews was a very good player for a very long time, but never was he considered elite.  Never.

Do you hear our passion on this stage?  

With our votes we eliminated Seymour, Ellard and Brown on our list, and Mills, Matthews and Young removed on the official one.

Takeaway:   This is hard, especially on our own.  Seymour survives, but only one list, so what does that mean on the official one?

Synopsis at this stage:

Notinhalloffame.com 25 Semi-Finalists

Pro Football Hall of Fame 25 Semi-Finalists

LeRoy Butler.  ADVANCED

Alan Faneca.  ADVANCED

Alan Faneca.  ADVANCED

Calvin Johnson.  ADVANCED

Torry Holt.  ADVANCED

John Lynch.  ADVANCED

Calvin Johnson.  ADVANCED

Peyton Manning.  ADVANCED

Peyton Manning.  ADVANCED

Charles Woodson.  ADVANCED

Charles Woodson.  ADVANCED

LeRoy Butler.  ADVANCED

Ronde Barber.  ADVANCED

Torry Holt.  ADVANCED

John Lynch.  ADVANCED

Ronde Barber.  ADVANCED

Jared Allen.  ADVANCED

Tony Boselli.  ADVANCED

Zach Thomas.  ADVANCED

Zach Thomas.  ADVANCED

Patrick Willis.  ADVANCED

Jared Allen.  ADVANCED

Tony Boselli.  ADVANCED

Steve Tasker.  6

Randall Cunningham.  6

Reggie Wayne.  ADVANCED

Steve Tasker.  6

Patrick Willis.  ADVANCED

Richard Seymour. ELIMINATED

Richard Seymour.  5

Reggie Wayne.  ADVANCED

Clay Matthews.  ELIMINATED

Shaun Alexander.  3

Sam Mills.  ELIMINATED

Lomas Brown.  ELIMINATED

Bryant Young.  ELIMINATED

Henry Ellard.  ELIMINATED

Willie Anderson.  2

Tom Nalen.  ELIMINATED

Cornelius Bennett.  2

Pat Swilling.  ELIMINATED

Rodney Harrison.  ELIMINATED

Kevin Williams.  2

Fred Taylor.  ELIMINATED

Richmond Webb.  ELIMINATED

Eric Allen.  ELIMINATED

Steve Wisnieuski. ELIMINATED

Darren Woodson. ELIMINATED

Charles Tillman. ELIMINATED

Hines Ward.  ELIMINATED


Step Nine:  Last Call

There was not much more we could say.  With the remaining seven players, pitches were made, both for and against.  A weighted vote, 4-3-2-1 was then done.

Steve Tasker, who was in our purgatory from earlier steps made it through as Finalist #14.  On our NIHOF list, Williams advanced, beating out Alexander. On the official list, Anderson advanced with Bennett being the last man out.

Takeaway:  

Two huge shocks for us all. We had one player in Seymour, who we are sure will make the Finals in the official list, and could advance all the way through.  Did any of us really think going in to this that Seymour would not be one of our top fifteen?  Not even, Evan, our resident Patriots fan saw that coming.

The second is the power of persuasion and sharing data.  Both Williams and Anderson had no momentum when we started this two months ago, but this is why you look at players a second, third, fourth and fifth time.  

Our Final Result:

Notinhalloffame.com 25 Semi-Finalists

Pro Football Hall of Fame 25 Semi-Finalists

LeRoy Butler.  ADVANCED

Alan Faneca.  ADVANCED

Alan Faneca.  ADVANCED

Calvin Johnson.  ADVANCED

Torry Holt.  ADVANCED

John Lynch.  ADVANCED

Calvin Johnson.  ADVANCED

Peyton Manning.  ADVANCED

Peyton Manning.  ADVANCED

Charles Woodson.  ADVANCED

Charles Woodson.  ADVANCED

LeRoy Butler.  ADVANCED

Ronde Barber.  ADVANCED

Torry Holt.  ADVANCED

John Lynch.  ADVANCED

Ronde Barber.  ADVANCED

Jared Allen.  ADVANCED

Tony Boselli.  ADVANCED

Zach Thomas.  ADVANCED

Zach Thomas.  ADVANCED

Patrick Willis.  ADVANCED

Jared Allen.  ADVANCED

Tony Boselli.  ADVANCED

Steve Tasker.  ADVANCED

Randall Cunningham.  ELIMINATED

Reggie Wayne.  ADVANCED

Steve Tasker.  ADVANCED

Patrick Willis.  ADVANCED

Richard Seymour. ELIMINATED

Richard Seymour.  ELIMINATED

Reggie Wayne.  ADVANCED

Clay Matthews.  ELIMINATED

Shaun Alexander.  ELIMINATED

Sam Mills.  ELIMINATED

Lomas Brown.  ELIMINATED

Bryant Young.  ELIMINATED

Henry Ellard.  ELIMINATED

Willie Anderson.  ADVANCED

Tom Nalen.  ELIMINATED

Cornelius Bennett. ELIMINATED

Pat Swilling.  ELIMINATED

Rodney Harrison. ELIMINATED

Kevin Williams.  ADVANCED

Fred Taylor.  ELIMINATED

Richmond Webb.  ELIMINATED

Eric Allen.  ELIMINATED

Steve Wisnieuski. ELIMINATED

Darren Woodson. ELIMINATED

Charles Tillman. ELIMINATED

Hines Ward.  ELIMINATED


So, there you have it.

Will the Pro Football Hall of Fame voters replicate what we did?

Probably not.

What comes next?

In January, the Pro Football Hall will announce their Finalists, so we will reconvene two Tuesdays before the Super Bowl.

We will be recording and uploading our Zoom meeting for the purpose of transparency.

To best reflect how the Pro Football Hall of Fame does exist, we will be each be presenting the case of someone who we are most passionate about.  Everyone will have an “advocate” amongst our group, and we will decide that long before we meet.

We hope that you will be watching, and we want your comments and input.  This is the final stamp on a player’s greatness, and we take this seriously. 

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

We would like to close with this. 

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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] . Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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