The Miami Dolphins have their share of names in the Hall of Fame. From Jim Langer to Dan Marino, Larry Csonka to Bob Griese. One name however stands out as missing. Former guard Bob Kuechenberg and today will mark the last stand of the great lineman and his bid for the HOF.
Kooch is in his final year of eligibility which means that when he is not one of the finalists this season, the only way he will get in is on the Senior Committee ballot. A slap in the face to a great proffessional player. For Kooch and many others it’s not a question of whether or not you have the numbers or the pedigree, it’s how you handled and kissed the ass of the media.
Kooch didn’t pucker up and now all these years later he still is not in the shrine. Another great example is the long awaited induction of Redskin great Art Monk. Monk, who also refused to pucker up to the guys holding the pencils waited and waited. Then waited some more. Despite the fact that Monk’s numbers were in the top 5 almost across the board the voters saw fit to elect lesser “Wr’s” like Michael Irvin, who by the way did way more than just smooch.
This is not about Monk or Irvin, or anyone else. It’s about a bitter old lineman who alienated himself from the media, some of the fans, and even some former teammates. It was his nature then and it’s his nature now albeit a tad softer over the last few years. For Kooch to make the HOF this year he would have to pull off nothing short of a miracle.
First timers look to rule the election this year. With 5 new members minimum and 7 maximum, the list of 17 that the electors will whittle down is nothing short of great players. Among the finalists are former Dallas receiver Bob Hayes and Claude Humphrey, senior committee choices, former Pittsburgh center Dermontti Dawson; and guards Russ Grimm, who is the assistant head coach of NFC champion Cardinals, and Randall McDaniel.
Grimm could be selected with all the broohaha surrounding the Cardinals Super Bowl birth, but I think that won’t happen. The list is a tad more strong at the top.
Bruce Smith, Richard Dent, John Randle, Derrick Thomas, Rod Woodson, Cortez Kennedy, and Shannon Sharpe sit atop the list of the more recognizable names. Of those it’s a given that Smith and Woodson are definitely in on their first try. Kennedy will likely wait another year or two, and honestly the one thing that may help Kooch more than anything is the fact that Dent, Randle, and Thomas made their names as sack artists and with Smith being the number 1 all time, it may be considered too much to put any of the 2nd and 3rd place guys in the Hall in the same year. If they think that way, then you have 3 guys from the 17 eliminated.
Assuming that they think just that. Smith and Woodson are no brainers and I think that Paul Tagliabue gets in this year as a contributor and maybe even Bills owner Ralph Wilson if for no other reason to get them off the ballots as everyone knows eventually they will get in.
Shannon Sharpe I believe gets in on his first attempt as well. He has the stats, he has the Super Bowl ring and he has the media. That makes 5. I don’t know if the Hall elects more than that this year. Bullet Bob Hayes of Dallas is a name that could also find itself finally on the final list as well.
When all is said and done later today, 5 to 7 ex-NFL’ers will be making arrangements to sit in a chair while a sculpturist molds their bust for the Hall of Fame induction ceremony in August. Will Bob Kuechenberg be on that list? Not likely…and that is ashame.