Early call for the Hall
Breaking down the preliminary Hall of Fame ballot
Posted: Thursday November 8, 2007 9:34AM; Updated: Thursday November 8, 2007 9:59AM
I write this column at about the same time, every year. It's the Hall of Fame's annual telephone directory, a.k.a. the preliminary ballot. It has more names on it than the voting registers of both Denville and Mountain Lakes, N.J., and is about as interesting ... no wait, I didn't write that ... and has some rare and exotic names, some going as far back as Watergate.
Once it was explained to me how the 124 names contained herein were submitted, but it's the kind of thing I forget without much encouragement. I think a phone call or write-in from a concerned observer might swing it. I know the lobbyists have been hard at work, as usual.
Nothing like getting a phone call from an old coach -- "You want me to ever talk to you again? You vote for my guy." Even better are the endorsements from noted public figures, on their letterhead, U.S. Congress, State House of Representatives, Hi-di-ho Box Company, whatever. I like it best when the secretary who has typed this thing is kind of in a hurry, and you find your share of howlers:
"Mr.Boselli in his career was able to amass over 300 tackles and assists ... is that what guards do?"
Enough beating about the bush. Step one of this long process is to submit to the Hall 25 choices, those whom I want to progress to step two, which chops the list down to 15. I have not fully decided in some cases, but I'll share what I have with you.
Quarterbacks. My favorite of the nine, and probably the only one I'll vote for, at this point, is Ken Anderson of the Bengals. There was nothing not to like about him. Accurate, powerful, tremendously courageous, he had Hall of Fame written all over him. The prototype, actually. My second favorite candidate is Phil Simms, and ... what the hell, I'll probably go for him, too. He felt deeply about his profession, cared more than almost any of them. Oh yes, he could also throw the hell out of the ball.
Terrell Davis is my only running back, of the six listed. I'm sure he'll make it to the final 15, which will get him into the selection meeting at the Super Bowl, and the debate will rage long and hard. Shortness of career will be the main negative, although others are in there who have done far less.
He played for seven seasons, only four of which were really outstanding ... dynamic actually ... and that's perceived as a negative. But all you have to do is look at one of the current senior candidates, Marshall Goldberg, to see the lack of logic here. His career stretched over eight years, with only two, repeat, two, functional seasons. How his name came up is a mystery. A joke, actually. But that's another matter.
In the last two years of the glory part of Davis' career, the Broncos rode his shirttails to a pair of Super Bowl titles, the only ones in their history. You could rightly say he and John Elway are the two most important people in the history of the franchise. I think that's enough of an endorsement. Quality over quantity will be my argument when this whole thing comes up in January.