Last night the NFL kicked off the 2016 season with the Hall of Fame induction ceremony and Sunday the league will kick-off the pre-season schedule as well.
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For personal reasons last nights Brett Favre induction hit a note. His talk of cancer and his wife’s survival drove the nail home that my own mother’s fight was not a happy ending. Making it worse was the fact that Brett Favre was her favorite player. Ever. And she wanted so badly to be there to see it.
After Favre cleared his tears and I cleared mine I got to thinking about the last time I stood in Canton for reasons other than getting Romanburger from Mr. Hero’s. It was to watch Dan Marino accept his yellow jacket.
It’s been a long time since the Miami Dolphins had a member of their team inducted into the Hall of Fame. 2008 exactly or eight years. Too long.
Looking back on the history of the Miami Dolphins one name stands out as blatantly omitted from the HOF. Offensive lineman Bob Kuechenberg. Kooch should be in the HOF and if were not for his crotchety old man mentality with the media he very well may be.
It’s yet another year I stand on my soap box and complain that Kooch is not in while Micheal Irvin and all of his off-field issues are. I can think more than a few others. Watching last nights induction of Dick Stanfil reminded me just how short-sighted the electors are to not have Kooch in the Hall and frankly it’s not his inclusion in Miami’s Super Bowl years that warrant it.
After Kooch the list dried up pretty quickly of long ago Dolphins. Manny Fernandez came to mind but HOF worthy? Not quite. Mark Duper and Mark Clayton? In some ways they are there with Marino but HOF worthy? Not quite.
That brings us to the more modern era of Dolphins players. Zach Thomas and Jason Taylor.
Taylor is eligible in 2017 but is he a first ballot HOF player? No. But he should get in sometime in the next three years. Sadly despite the fact that he was the heart and soul of the Dolphins defense, Zach Thomas will likely never get in. It’s a shame really.
The league keeps track of tackles but it’s difficult to find a statistical category singularly for tackle records. One site lists the top 20 tacklers in history and Zach Thomas comes in at number 20 with 1,106.
Taylor on the other hand has the numbers in a category well tracked by the NFL. Sacks. Taylor has 139.5 sacks which is good enough for 6th all-time. He is behind Reggie White, Bruce Smith, Kevin Greene, Chris Doleman, and Michael Strahan. Each of those five are members of the Hall of Fame. Kevin Greene was inducted in 2016.
Immediately below Taylor in spots 7 and 8 are two more Hall of Fame members. Taylor’s case should be an easy one to fight.
While Zach Thomas will have a much longer road to Canton than Taylor, the truth is that no other Miami Dolphin player since the end of the Don Shula era has done enough to warrant remote consideration for the Hall of Fame and currently no member of the team on either side of the ball is having a HOF style career. Sorry Cameron Wake.
After Taylor, we may not see another Dolphins player elected for a very long time. It kind of puts the state of the team into a lot more perspective.