Thurman Thomas Elected to HoF
Patriots Andre Tippett Gets Nixed by Voters
After winning four straight AFC Championships and losing four straight Super Bowls, Thurman Thomas of the Buffalo Bills probably thought all his hard work was for naught. Yesterday, he was on of six players elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Also earning their immortal places were Bruce Matthews, an offensive lineman for the Houston Oilers / Tennessee Titans for 19-years; Roger Wehrli, a defensive back for the St. Louis Cardinals for 14-years; tight end Charlie Sanders, a 10-year veteran for the Detroit Lions; and 15-year Cleveland Brown guard Gene Hickerson.
Oh, yeah. And Michael Irvin of the Dallas Cowboys.
Thomas, in his second year of eligibility, was a no-brainer, and probably would have been elected last year, if not for a full class of six very worthy inductees then. His career was marked by five Pro Bowls, an MVP award in 1991, and nothing but class from beginning to end.
Which makes the election of Irvin something of an insult to Thomas. As long as there were other worthy candidate, and there were -- Art Monk, Derrick Thomas, Andre Reed, Richard Dent, Andre Tippett, Bob Kuechenberg, and Russ Grimm, among them -- I would refuse to vote for a piece of junk like Irvin, no matter what his stats and accolades.
And I don't really care that "character" is not a criterion for election to the Hall. If there are other people who deserve votes, they should always get them first. And that several of these guys aren't in when there were four straight classes of less than six inductees is a little mystifying.
Some of the mystery is revealed in a Q and A with Sports Illustrated's Paul Zimmerman, in which he explains that Monk was a "team guy," a "functional player." Which sounds to me that Zimmerman prefers all the "me first" jackasses. He'll probably vote for Terrell Owens, too, while decent, deserving guys like Monk wait for the call that never comes.
That mean Zimmerman, among others, will never vote for guys on the three-time (so far) Super Bowl champion New England Patriots -- because they're "team guys."
That goes for Derrick Thomas, Dent and Tippett, too. They "were all great," Zimmerman says, "but how do you distinguish between them?" In other words: These guys might all be better candidates than Irvin, but I can't decide among them, so I'll vote for the lesser candidate.
Also mystifying is that all the national stories I've read have led with the criminal getting top billing over the good guy.
Make no mistake, though. One big reason Irvin didn't get in his first couple years of eligibility but did this time is because he had media-favorites Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith lobbying for him, and that's a luxury most other players don't have.
Who should have been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
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