Former Miami Dolphins Head Coach, Jimmy Johnson, finally got inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday night. Although known for winning back-to-back Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys in 1992 and 1993, Johnson also coached for the Dolphins from 1996-1999 where he drafted Zach Thomas.
Johnson got to coach one of the greatest players in Dolphins history, Zach Thomas. Playing for 13 total seasons, Thomas spent 12 with the Dolphins and just one with the Cowboys. The duo did get to spend four seasons together before Johnson resigned after the 1999 season.
Thomas finished his career in 2008 and he is still not in the Hall of Fame. To some, Thomas deserved to be in the Hall of Fame the minute he became eligible in 2013. Johnson knows who the type of player Thomas was and he still voices for the Hall of Fame committee to finally make the right decision.
On Saturday night during the 2020 Enshrinement Ceremony, even Johnson pointed out that Thomas should be in the Hall of Fame. Already having coached 13 Hall of Fame players, Johnson says he should have two more. “Zach Thomas belongs up here, Darren Woodson belongs up here. Those are two players were key factors on both defenses” says Johnson. He then goes on and jokes “That way I have 15. I am pretty sure I know what a Hall of Famer looks like.” This is very high praise from Thomas’ former head coach.
According to Pro-Football-Reference, Thomas has recorded a total of 1,734 tackles, 74 tackles for loss, 20.5 sacks, 17 interceptions, 49 passes defended, and 16 forced fumbles in 184 games played. Thomas’ 1,734 career combines tackles is even ranked 5th in NFL History. Just behind Ray Lewis, London Fletcher, Junior Seau, and Jessie Tuggle. As if these stats don’t say enough about Thomas, let’s compare his to former Bears Hall of Fame linebacker, Brian Urlacher.
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Urlacher played in 13 seasons just like Thomas and appeared in just two fewer games as well. Urlacher became a first-ballot Hall of Famer when he was eligible in 2018. According to Pro-Football-Reference, Urlacher has 373 fewer tackles, and 5 fewer forced fumbles than Thomas. Urlacher does own Thomas in some categories including tackles for loss, sacks, interceptions, and passes defended. Regardless, the two linebackers’ stats are very similar, and just one of them is currently a Hall of Famer.
Thomas continues to await his call to Canton since becoming eligible in 2013. The all-time tackles leader in Miami Dolphins history needs to get into the Hall of Fame as soon as possible. He shares the same stats as other Hall of Famers and even his former coach is calling for him to get in. Thomas has been a finalist the last two years for enshrinement, a positive sign that his time will soon come.