FLAWED HALL OF FAME CRITERIA
It’s a controversy that typically rears its head every year…at least among the fans of teams whose player just missed getting into the Hall of Fame: Just what is the criteria for getting elected to the Hall of Fame by the committee of sports writers that do the electing?
It’s hard to know because the deliberations all take place behind closed doors. What we do hear about it are the bits and pieces that dribble out from the sports writers themselves who decide to write about the process.
There’s been a lot of criticism this year that the process is opaque, that there needs to be more transparency to the decision making. That’s true but I believe it will change, eventually, for the sole reason that it would make fascinating television and add yet another post-season event for the NFL Network to broadcast.
My major beef with the selection criteria, such as I believe it to be, you’ll not be surprised, is the bias in favor of Super Bowl champions.
I think the bias among the voters is so heavily tilted toward whether or not an individual played on a championship team, that it results in more deserving players getting passed over.
It explains why Richard Dent of the 1985 Chicago Bears championship team, with his inferior stats and, I would argue, his inferior lifetime impact, was chosen over Chris Doleman, who was a better player.
It explains, I believe, why neither wide receivers Andre Reed, Tim Brown, nor Cris Carter, none of whom have played on a Super Bowl championship, have still not been inducted.
The only consideration given to Super Bowls should be with regard to an individual’s performance during one, regardless of the eventual outcome. Super Bowl victories, or even appearances, should have no bearing whatsoever on whether or not a given player gets in. This bias makes it exceedingly tough for great players who played for horrible teams to make it in.
Yes, yes, football is a team sport but Hall of Fame induction is an individual distinction and as such, election to it should be based on the accomplishments of the individual, not a team. The only time a team comes into play should be when considering how an individual’s performance affected his team, like when Cris Carter singlehandedly took over that Denver game back in the day.
That bias is keeping great and deserving players like Chris Doleman, Cris Carter, Jim Marshall and Mick Tinglehoff out of the Hall.