Well football fans, the NFL regular season is only 3 days away, when the New Orleans Saints visit the Indianapolis Colts. There’s also lots of fantasy football leagues going on which should provide for healthy competition and debate. What has been overlooked in all of this would be who will be enshrined into the NFL Hall Of Fame upon retirement. ESPN has compiled a list of the 50 players that have a shot at getting a shot at Canton. I will provide some analysis on each candidate, followed by my recommendation. Today are the first 10 players, with an additional ten daily until Friday. Without further adieu, here they are:
Brett Favre, QB, Green Bay Packers
Knowledgeable and Green Bay Packers fans all know what Favre has doe through his storied career. He’s second in career passing yardage (57,500 yards, only 3,861 behind Dan Marino), 414 touchdown passes, possesses 15 consecutive seasons of 300 completions and 3,000 passing yards. He also has won a Super Bowl in 2 appearances. Did I mention that he is durable? 237 games and counting.
Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
Probably the most telling stat about Brady that will get him into the Hall: he is one of only four QB’s who have won 3 Super Bowls (Terry Bradshaw, Troy Aikman and Joe Montana). He has thrown for over 3,500 passing yards 5 times and has thrown 147 TD passes in only 6 seasons as a starter.
Peyton Manning, QB, Indianapolis Colts
Peyton has done it all. He has won a Super Bowl, possesses two MVP awards, has 275 TD passes and only 139 interceptions (a 2-to-1 ratio) and owns a 100 or better passer rating for the past 3 seasons. When Peyton is done, he will more than likely be the overall passing yardage leader, lead in TD passes thrown and some other significant passing stats, as well. He could retire today and get in, first ballot. And he is only 31 years old….scary.
Larry Allen, G, Dallas Cowboys/San Francisco 49ers
Allen was the steady rock that paved the way for Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith to run his way into the HOF and is doing the same for current 49ers RB Frank Gore. Many NFL experts think that Allen is one of the best offensive lineman ever. Allen has won a Super Bowl with the Cowboys and has been selected to 11 consecutive Pro Bowls (1995-2006).
Ray Lewis, LB, Baltimore Ravens
Lewis will probably be remembered for being the force that allowed the Ravens to be one of the best defenses in NFL history. During the 2000 season, the Ravens allowed the fewest number of points allowed in league history. He is only 31 years old, is in great physical shape and has plenty in the tank. It isn’t so much if he gets inducted but when.
Richard Seymour, DT, New England Patriots
Seymour was an important part of the Patriots three Super Bowl seasons, providing excellent defense. For comparsion’s sake, the Pittsburgh Steelers championship teams claim 9 players in the Hall; as of right now, the Pats will at least have Brady with others to follow. Dynasty teams tend to get more inductees then other teams. Seymour has been selected (except his rookie season) to 5 consecutive Pro Bowls and has been All-Pro from 2003 to 2005.
Jonathan Ogden, OT, Baltimore Ravens
When you think of former Ravens running back Jamal Lewis, you think of the 2003 season when he ran for 2,066 yards. You can thank Ogden for making that possible. Ogden also owns a Super Bowl ring and has been selected to 10 Pro Bowls.
Marvin Harrison, WR, Indianapolis Colts
Like Colts QB (and future HOFer) Peyton Manning, Harrison has been the model of consistency. Currently he ranks third in career TD receptions, fourth in career receptions, and sixth in career receiving yardage. Not to mention his 8 Pro Bowl selections in 11 seasons. Add a Super Bowl ring to the resume and you have a lock.
LaDanian Tomlinson, RB, San Diego Chargers
LaDanian will be an inductee at Canton, pure and simple. Why you ask? Here’s why: In six seasons, he already ranks sixth in career rushing touchdowns (could be #2 if he has a typical LT-type of year); his rushing yardage numbers warrant his induction, as well. He has averaged 2,000 yards plus from the line of scrimmage during his career. Maybe 1-2 more years of similar production will make Tomlinson a lock for Canton.
Adam Vinatieri, K, New England Patriots/Indianapolis Colts
Consistent. Clutch. Money in the bank. These best describe Vinatieri to a T. As of this writing, he ranks fourth in career field goal accuracy, has scored at least 100 points per season during his entire career and owns 4 Super Bowl rings. The only downside is the fact that very few kickers get enshrined into the Hall. Other than that, I see no reason why Vinatieri shouldn’t get inducted.
Tomorrow: Players 11-20