The Miami Dolphins will not see Zach Thomas enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year and fans took to social media to call the system out.
It wouldn’t take much to find what fans are saying about the biggest snub in this year’s Hall of Fame class. Go to any social media page and search for Zach Thomas. Then read the comments.
Thomas will have to wait another year to get his shot. He made it into the final vote yet again but it wasn’t meant to be. This year is especially hard given the fact that Sam Mills, another linebacker made it ahead of him.
Mills is a good LB and if we are being honest, you can’t put Zach in without having Mills in. Statistically speaking, they are quite identical in many categories. The difference? Mills, who passed away in 2005, was in his final year of eligibility. Had he not gotten in this season, he would have to be a senior candidate down the road.
Regardless of the reasons why Zach didn’t get in before Mills isn’t as important as the fact that the voting system is incredibly flawed and has been for years.
Fans want to criticize Armando Salguero, the presenter for Dolphins players. They blame him for Thomas not being in but it has nothing to do with his presentation. This is the same person who was able to convince the voters to put Jason Taylor in the HOF on his first attempt.
The system fails because in many cases, it comes down to, in many cases, relationships within the media. Tom Brady will have no problem getting in on ballot number one in five years and he could crap all over the media to get there. His numbers and his Super Bowl rings go further than being a media darling. Not to say he isn’t loved by the media.
For Thomas, and many others, the media relationships are not the same. Consider that many of the top NFL shows have co-hosts who are HOF members. Some are not deserving as much as those not in the hall but they have a great reputation with voting members of the HOF.
The HOF relies on media to vote players in and it is a hush-hush behind closed door process that very few outsiders are privy to. Some may hold a grudge or in the case of Thomas, view him as an undersized LB that was the product of a defensive system rather than a system himself. His stats don’t lie but many don’t view him as a linebacker who changed the game. That is a problem.
Voters put a lot of weight on All-Pro’s, far more than Pro Bowl appearances. There is far too much emphasis put on Super Bowls than there is on players that never went to the game or even made the playoffs. They often forget that no matter how good a player is, this is a team game.
Richmond Webb is annually cast aside from the process but his statistics rival those of others already in. Tony Boselli was announced as a Hall of Famer on Thursday night and he is statistically similar to Webb. Perhaps this will open that door again. As we mentioned above, the voters play their games. Webb, has been characterized as benefiting from protecting Dan Marino and his quick release. They look at that instead of the fact that he held Bruce Smith down most of their contests.
To further show the media influence or lack of relationship, Bob Kuechenberg hated the media and his relationship with them was always strained. He never got his shot and probably never will but he is probably one of the most deserving players that is not in the HOF.
How should it change is something that needs far more research. Fan voting would be an abomination and player voting would be just as bad. Even splitting the votes between the three entities would be equivalent to a popularity contest.
Sadly, things are not going to change anytime soon. The HOF voters will remain in control but maybe a board of individuals elected by the Hall of Fame who are not involved in the sport directly would make more sense.
Regardless, Zach Thomas will have to wait another year. The fact that Mills is now in the HOF should give Thomas a route to the HOF. His stats, as we said above, are very similar and better in some cases.