Hall of a debate
Uncertainty surrounds 2008 Hall of Fame selections
Posted: Thursday January 31, 2008 5:03PM; Updated: Thursday January 31, 2008 6:59PM
PHOENIX -- Trying to predict the Pro Football Hall of Fame class is always difficult, but I don't recall a more difficult year in my decade and a half as one of the selectors. The reason: there are no gimmes in this group and there are varying degrees of support for many of the 17 candidates.
Voting for the Hall is Saturday in downtown Phoenix. The 17 candidates consist of 15 modern era and two Seniors Committee nominees. The announcement of the new class -- a minimum of four and maximum of seven -- should come late Saturday afternoon.
Last year I did a tote board with odds on who I liked and why. I'm not going to be that stupid this year because one of last year's fair-headed men, Paul Tagliabue, didn't come close to being elected. Here's how I forecast his group.
Newcomers Darrell Green and Cris Carter -- particularly Green, the two-decade Redskins standout -- enter the room with the best chances of getting through. After that, it's anybody's guess. The leaders, from my sense of it, are wide receiver Art Monk, tackle Gary Zimmerman, linebacker Andre Tippett, defensive ends Richard Dent and Fred Dean, guards Russ Grimm and Bob Kuechenberg, and Seniors nominee Emmitt Thomas, a veteran cornerback and longtime assistant coach.
The reason I can't give you a much better clue is that I think sentiments of the voters are all over the place, judging from my informal talks with them this week. So it'd be dangerous to say any single guy is a favorite, other than Green, most likely.
Talking with Pro Football Hall of Fame vice president Joe Horrigan today I found I had a lot in common with someone who knows the Hall better than anyone. "I'm befuddled," Horrigan said. "There's great equality in this class, and it's really hard to tell which candidates will get in first."
It's clear that a guy like Carter, with 1,101 receptions and 130 touchdowns, is Hall of Fame-caliber, but I just don't know if the zeal of some voters to get Monk in the Hall after a decade of frustration is going to cause Carter to wait a year or two.
I'll have more to say about this in a file on Saturday afternoon and again on Monday, in my regular column. But stay tuned, there's going to be quite a lot of intrigue.
Now, on to today's 5 Things I Think I Think ...
1. I think we learned all about the use of injury reports when we see that Tom Brady isn't even listed on New England's for his sore ankle. He said today it wasn't bothering him and he'd certainly play. Why then is he constantly on the injury report for a sore shoulder when there's never any danger of it keeping him out of a game? I pay about as much attention to injury reports as I do to the weather in Nepal.
2. I think it's been a long time since I've seen a city so quiet three days prior to the Super Bowl as Phoenix. There is so much security downtown that you don't get any sense of the normal Super Bowl craziness. At least not yet.
3. I think by Sunday night at 9:00, everyone in America is going to know who Ahmad Bradshaw is.
4. I think the Patriots and Giants players are thrilled to be done with the media until Sunday night. They have found in the last four days what every player who comes to a Super Bowl has found: you get pretty tired about answering the same questions about yourself over and over and over again.
5. I think Steve Mariucci is itching to get back into coaching. You can tell just by talking to him that TV is a nice gig, but he feels like a football coach without a team right now.