Here we are again at that time of year when people are talking about the finalist for the NFL Hall of Fame.
And every year I forget that there are two schools of thought surrounding who deserves to get into the hall of fame and who doesn’t.
Some people think that any player considered for the hall of fame should have the statistics to back him up.
While others think that having won championships, if the stats aren’t quite there, is good enough to get a player inducted into the hall of fame.
But the otherside of that is that, if you didn’t win many games throughout your career, unless your stats were just astounding, people have a hard time letting you in.
My thinking is, “why are we even talking about wins or losses at all”?
Why should winning championships have anything to do with being in the hall of fame?
To me, the hall of fame is supposed to be a shrine for individual excellence.
When I go into the hall of fame I want to be looking at the best players to ever play the game.
I want to be able to say to my kids, "Hey, the men here are the best linebackers, the best running backs or the best defensive linemen ever to play the game."
Well how do we know that they are the best?
Is it all subjective? Well I hope not. Use their stats. Ask if they dominated at their position during their era.
Every hall of fame is guilty of letting players into the hall when they didn’t have the individual stats to support them getting in, but gave them a pass because they were winners.
For some reason we like to place players in the hall of fame for winning. It’s an easy mistake to make. That is what they are all playing for, to win games so it just seems logical that you reward the sports biggest winners for doing just that, right?
But I am of the opinion that the only people who should be in the hall of fame for winning are head coaches not players.
The head coach isn’t out there tackling people, opening up holes to run through or catching the ball. He is coming up with the schemes to beat other schemes.
Although winning might be a result of being a great player, winning is the result of being on great teams.
Championships are the reward for great teams.
The Hall of Fame should be the reward for great individual achievement.
I don’t want some guy in the hall of fame that handed the ball off to a pair of stud running backs 45 times a game throughout his career even if he won 3 championships doing exactly that.
Maybe he was capable of doing much more than handing the ball off to a running back 45 times a game, but we will never know that will we?
Since the coach never asked him to do more than that, hand the ball of is all he ever did.
So we can speculate till the end of time on what he could’ve done had he been given half a chance, but we are obligated to only look at what we know he did.
And what he did was hand the ball of 45 times a game.
Now I am not faulting him for that. He did what he was asked to do. But as far as I am concerned, handing the ball of 45 times a game doesn’t make him a hall of fame quarterback because this isn’t an example that I want to offer as the best ever to play the position.
That isn’t hall of fame material. I don’t care how many championships he has won.
If his total career passing yards after playing 10 seasons is about the same as other quarterbacks were doing in 6 seasons or less in his same era, that guy doesn’t qualify as a hall of fame quarterback.
If he won championships throwing only 150 yards a game and one touchdown then that should be his reward. Good for him.
That is what he sacrificed his game for, winning championships. He shouldn’t have any regrets.
The hall of fame should be for the players that were the best at what they did and have the numbers that speak for themselves.
If you have to argue for a guy getting in to the hall of fame then he doesn’t belong.
I just want to make clear that winning is what a team accomplishes, not what an individual in a team sport accomplishes.
Now I don’t want to call any one out in particular because this isn’t the point of my article.
I didn’t write this to say argue that this particular guy should be in or this particular guy shouldn’t be into the hall of fame. This is about what criteria should be appropriate to consider for a hall of fame candidate and what criteria is inappropriate.
Since it is feasible that a great team can consist of good players that work great as a unit but aren’t all that sexy as individuals, the criteria of winning or losing should be kept entirely separate.
We can’t fall into the trap that because you have won championships as a team that somehow qualifies you as a hall of fame worthy individual.
Like I said, in my opinion the hall of fame should be a shrine of the best players to ever play their position, and whether or not you have won titles is of no consequence.
Again, if you want recognition for winning games, that is what championships are for.