Extra Points: Tortured logic headlines Hall of Fame process
By John McMullen, NFL Editor
New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - Tortured logic was the headliner of the 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame class not Jonathan Ogden or Cris Carter.
Seven new members were elected to the Hall on Saturday, including Ogden's and Carter's modern-era peers Larry Allen, Warren Sapp and Bill Parcells. along with senior nominees Curley Culp and Dave Robinson.
Missing the cut from 15 to 10 were Tim Brown, Eddie Debartolo, Kevin Greene, Art Modell and Will Shields, while Jerome Bettis, Charles Haley, Andre Reed, Michael Strahan and Aeneas Williams soon followed.
Ogden, the first ever draft pick of the Ravens, was the one slam dunk since he was a more than worthy candidate and Baltimore is set to play in Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday. Allen was the other first-timer granted access while fellow first-ballot player Strahan was snubbed in favor of Sapp.
You can make a strong case for just about every finalist on this year's ballot so the results don't look all that bad. The process, however, remains as flawed as ever.
While they may not be as bad as their peers in baseball, the 43 voters for football's Hall certainly put together some strange arguments on the way to the finish line.
The threshold for any Hall of Fame player should be performance, nothing else.
Whether he's a good son, father or husband should be inconsequential. If he treated a writer well in the locker room is even less germane, and a star's time on the ballot is as superfluous as it gets.
Performance enhancers are also a red herring. After all none of us know who used and who didn't so voters who pretend to be some kind of guardian for the game are just marks. For every player who is caught or admits to "cheating," there are dozens more who skated by untarnished.
Give credit to the two voters who went on the NFL Network's Hall of Fame announcement show. Sports Illustrated's Jim Trotter and Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News gave a voice to their votes, and that's a welcome change from others who have hidden behind the clandestine nature of the process.
Trotter, however, was particularly unimpressive, perhaps tired by the eight hour process it took to select this year's class.
Asked to differentiate between the three receivers on the ballot, Carter, Reed and Brown, Trotter droned on about the weather Reed had to endure while playing in Buffalo.
It's questionable whether Jim knew it was 70 degrees in New Orleans on Saturday, never mind the fact that Andre played eight games a year on the road or that things can be quite nice in western New York early in the season.
All in all, perhaps Reed played four games a year in shaky weather and that's being generous. So to use that as a strike against Carter or Brown is ludicrous.
When asked what separated the two likeliest defensive line candidates, Sapp and Strahan, Trotter landed on Sapp, not because he was the better player, but because he has waited longer than Strahan.
"You may not agree with this," Trotter said to fellow panelist Rod Woodson, "but when I'm forced to pick between two players (at the same position) I go with who has been waiting the longest."
Gosselin at least pointed out the fact that Sapp made two All-Decade teams, something Strahan never accomplished.
The real reason, of course, is Strahan will be inducted next year because Super Bowl XLVIII is in North Jersey, and this group is about nothing if not theater.
"They were all deserving," Gosselin said of this year's class. "To see Haley and Strahan left off this class tells you how strong the class was."
The class was certainly strong.
Not so much.
02/02 19:47:38 ET