Dec. 9, 2012; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Detailed view of the Hall of Fame patch worn by Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams (95) before a game against the St. Louis Rams at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
The NFL announced their 12 finalists for the Hall of Fame. The vote will take place soon and the finalists will be announced around the Super Bowl. In August, six former players and/or coaches will be enshrined in Canton forever. The Miami Dolphins will not be putting anyone’s bust in the hall this year. Or next year. Or the year after that.
The last player the Miami Dolphins saw inducted into the HOF was Dan Marino. That was nine years ago. In that time Bob Kuechenberg came the closest to being inducted and to be honest, it was never really that close given his indignation towards the media. The question of should he be in is a different debate all together but for the record, yes, I do believe he should.
It’s not surprising that the Dolphins have not placed anyone in so long a time. Since Dan Marino retired the Dolphins have hardly made a dent in the AFC East standings and they have made no splash in the Playoffs. The closest they have come to a Super Bowl was playing host to it in south Florida. The best hope for a Dolphins HOF representative lies with former LB Zach Thomas, a long shot, and Jason Taylor a possible but not a guarantee.
Winning obviously breeds winners and winners go the HOF. Sure, from time to time that standout player get’s elected despite the fact that his team never make the playoffs or came close to making a Super Bowl run. They are the ones who match up statistically with other HOF’ers. They hold records or come in a close 2nd or 3rd. They are also normally the only players from their team that will ever come close to making it to the small northern city outside of Cleveland.
Just like Zach Thomas and Jason Taylor. Standouts on an otherwise nameless team. High on accomplishment statistically but short on post-season success. How many names come to mind since the mid-1980’s that you believe should be in the Hall of Fame? Richmond Webb? A very thin maybe. Ricky Williams? Thinner. Not likely as his transgressions took him off the field of play rather than occurring after he left the game.
The reality is a slap in the face. This time of year is a harsh reminder of the failures of this organization to find even a few players who could change the game. The Drew Brees’ over the Daunte Culpeppers. The Eddie Moore’s, Jamar Fletchers, AJ Feely’s. The list goes on. The sad part is that looking at the current Miami Dolphins, no one stands out as the next great HOF player. Not a knock on Jeff Ireland but simply because these guys are still too young to see what their long term accomplishments will be. If Ryan Tannehill can become this generations Dan Marino you are looking at 12 to 14 years before he retires. Another five until he is enshrined. Some of us will be well into our 50’s or 60’s. Some of us won’t even be around to see it.
For a pure football fan, the enshrinement of new busts in the Hall of Fame is exciting and a time to reflect on the accomplishments of that player and normally, the championship runs of their team. The lack of putting a player on that list, yearly, does the opposite.
For now, the task to change that is resting on the shoulders of Joe Philbin.
Here is to hoping for Taylor and Thomas!