Challenged Cowboy Fans

So I was challenged by a Dallas Cowboy fan to come up with 20 names who in my opinion should have been elected to the NFL Hall Of Fame before Michael Irvin.  While I thought this would be rather easy, it turned out that Michael Irvin would make this list if it were simply 23 instead of 20…I threw in two more names for the hell of it.

I also found out that many Cowboy fans, not all, are rather tight in the panties if you know what I mean.  While my stab at Michael Irvin was toward Michael Irvin only, you would think that by the responses, I had insulted the entire franchise.  Sorry, just one man.  This mess with one you mess with us all stuff makes me laugh. 

Unlike many of those Cowboy fans, I actully did my time in Texas.  3 years in Houston, almost 7 in, you guessed it Big D.  Yes I took Texas history, and I still proudly fly my “LoneStar” flag.  In fact, my son is a born Texan.  So I have a little ground to stand on here. 

So I accepted this challenge, because frankly, I believe that the names that follow all deserve to have had their names called out in Canton prior to one Michael Irvin who got in on attempt 2.

Top 20 former NFL stars who should be in the Hall of Fame over Michael Irvin. While the order is debateable and not nescessarily an opinion of who should be 1, 2, 3, etc…, the names are of those who I feel are more worthy of HOF recognition than one Michael Irvin.

The Obvious:

Art Monk – Yep he went in this year, but statistically he posted career numbers that were ranked consistently over those of MI. Monk was not elected last year in favor of MI. So a simple number 21 to drive home my point.

20: Ray Guy – Only one special teamer is in the HOF and that is Jan Stenerud. Ray Guy redifined the coffin corner kick and is the only punter to be drafted in the 1st round. Guy will not likely make it to the HOF any time soon because of the fact that he is an ST player. Still, Guy had a lasting impact on a position and the way that teams prepared their own ST’s.

19: Bob Kuechenberg – At number 19, I am putting him here just to prove I’m not a homer who is miffed at his abscense. The Dolphins during Bob’s tenure won seven AFC Eastern Division titles (1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1979, 1981, and 1983), four AFC championships (1971, 1972, 1973, and 1982), and NFL titles in Super Bowls VII and VIII.

18: Derrick Thomas – His death was way premature but the time on the field was disruptive. Thomas changed the way teams game planned, much the same way that Lawrence Taylor trailblazed the position as well. Thomas’ numbers are on par in his shortened career as many others. His untimely death is the only reason he has yet to be elected.

17: Kenny Anderson – The QB who proved that the West Coast offense was possible. Ken’s record for completion percentage in a season still stands over 20 years after his retirement. As of 2005, he is among the top 30 all-time leaders in pass attempts (24th), completions (18th), passing yards (21st) and passing touchdowns (28th)

16: Russ Grimm – Russ Grimm 4 straight Pro Bowls and All pro Selections as well as on the All Decade team of the 1980s

15: Lester Hayes – He retired after the 1986 season with a total of 39 interceptions, a Raider record shared with Hall of Famer Willie Brown. Hayes was one of the original footballers to perfect the bump and run, he also earned Defensive Player of the Year honors in 1980.

14: Claude Humphrey – Part of the problem is that most of his best years were on some bad – really bad – Atlanta Falcon teams. Yet he still had 122 career sacks in 14 seasons, and he missed all of one season due to an injury. In his second-to-last season, he had 14.5 sacks for the Eagles, helping them reach the Super Bowl. Seven times he was selected to the All-Pro team, all while with Atlanta. In the 13 seasons he played, he led his team in sacks nine of those seasons.

13: Paul Tagliabue – While Tags has had his share of issues with the league, his tenure as NFL Commissioner brought more wealth to the league than former Commish Pete Rozelle. Tagliabue brokered huge television rights deals that made football the number 1 watched sport in the United Stated.

12: LC Greenwood – His Super Bowl play was exceptional, too. In Super Bowl IX against the Minnesota Vikings, he batted down three passes from Fran Tarkenton. In Super Bowl X against the Dallas Cowboys, he sacked Roger Staubach three times. Greenwood played in all four of the Steelers Super Bowl victories in the 1970s.

11: Irving Fryar – Eligible since 2005 statistically Fryar posted numbers that exceeded those of MI. 851rec 12,785yds 84tds. MI’s: 750 rec, 11,904, and 65. The difference of course is the rings that MI wears.

10: Henry Ellard – Another WR with numbers that exceed those of MI. Henry Ellard: 814rec 13,777yds 65tds. Ellard played most of his career with the Los Angeles Rams.

9: Richard Dent – At the time of his retirement, his 137.5 sacks ranked him third in NFL history behind Reggie White and Bruce Smith.

8: Donnie Shell – Shell was a five time Pro Bowler between 1978 and 1982, a 5 time All-Pro selection, and was the Steelers team MVP in 1980. He saved several possible six points in Super Bowl XIII and Super Bowl XIV. He had been in the top fifteen in balloting for the Pro Football Hall of Fame once before, in 2002 but with no success

7: Bob “the Bullet” Hayes – While the argument that “stats” don’t matter seems to be the argument du’jour for Irvin supporters, Bob Hayes did not have the stats but his style of play revolutionized the game. The fastest man alive may not have had the greatest hands, but “Bullet” Bob Hayes still managed to help revolutionize the game with his speed.

6: Jim Marshall – Despite the biggest blooper of all-time, Marshall was one of the most introsive DE’s in the game at the time. A disruptive force that teams seldom could outright contain. The “iron man” of his era, Marshall played in 282 consecutive games.

5: Jerry Kramer – The man responsible for the Green Bay Packers succesfull running attatck. Kramer was the man that led the way with his tenacious blocking ability. His play set the standard to wich blocking schemes and rushing attacks would change.

4: Ken Stabler – Yes, Miami fans hate the man, but “the Snake” led the Raiders to 5 consecutive AFC Championships and one Super Bowl victory. His recent run in with the law…a DUI…pales in comparison to Irvins miriad of off-field issues.

3: Ricky Watters – He holds a statistical lead in many categories vs. other NFL HOF running backs, but his flippant personality and personality have kept his statistics from actually being noticed. On the other side, Irvin doesn’t have the stats, but had the mouth to get him noticed.

2: Steve Tasker – Yes, he is another ST’er and Phins fans will tell you that his name still makes you sick. Tasker was the first ST player to cause other teams to game plan for. His play on the field had as much to do with the success of the Buffalo Bills 4 Super Bowl trips than Jim Kelly and the other HOF’ers from that team.

1: Andre Reed – 4 super bowl appearences and stats that rank in the top half of every statistical category held by the HOF. Reed’s numbers make Irvins look like an also-ran. The difference is simply the number of rings on the finger.

Bonus Player:

Gary Clark: While in my opinion Clarks’ numbers are not Hall worthy, it should be noted that sans two Super Bowl rings, his numbers are almost identical to that of Michael Irvin. 699 – 10,856- 65 for Clark compared to 750 rec, 11,904, and 65 for Irvin, Clark managed those numbers as the number 2 WR on the Washington Redskins. Michael Irvin…the number 1 on Dallas.

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