View Full Version : RAND: It helps to wear a ring

02-01-2007, 04:23 PM
RAND: It helps to wear a ring
Feb 01, 2007, 1:23:14 AM by Jonathan Rand - FAQ

Of the 17 finalists for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, 14 are modern-era players and among them, former Chiefs linebacker Derrick Thomas and former St. Louis Cardinals cornerback Roger Wehrli share a distinction. But it’s not a distinction likely to help either’s chances.

Thomas and Wehrli, a former Missouri star, never played in a Super Bowl, which helps shape the legacies of NFL stars. Though quarterback Peyton Manning would be a Hall of Famer even if he never takes another snap, his stature will be greatly enhanced if he leads the Colts to a victory over the Bears on Sunday. Long after most people have forgotten Manning’s records and statistics, they’ll remember whether or not he got a ring.

Of the other 12 modern-era candidates, eight played for at least one Super Bowl champion and four played for at least one Super Bowl loser. Hall of Fame voters would have a hard time disregarding Super Bowl experience even if they wanted to because the election is traditionally held at the Super Bowl site, the Saturday before the game.

Of last year’s six inductees, all except quarterback Warren Moon coached or played for a Super Bowl champion. Moon’s overwhelming statistics and historical significance as a trailblazer for black NFL quarterbacks more than made up for a his weak post-season resume.

Is a Super Bowl championship ring the key that unlocks the door to Canton? Not necessarily.

Yet, Super Bowl success can take a player who’d otherwise be overlooked and put him on the bubble, and move a player off the bubble and into the Hall. Art Still, a Pro Bowl defensive end for the Chiefs from 1978-87, certainly would’ve been a bubble candidate had he played for a Super Bowl champ. Instead, he got virtually no consideration at all.

Lynn Swann, the Steelers’ wide receiver, didn’t get into the Hall of Fame until 2001, his 15th and final season of eligibility. Though nobody doubted his gifts, his statistics were relatively skimpy because he retired early. Had it not been for his marvelous Super Bowl performances – he was the MVP of Super Bowl X – the Hall of Fame clock would have probably run out on him.

Playing for a Super Bowl team also enhances a player’s credentials because being surrounded by great players can only make him look better. Great players on bad teams face a serious Hall of Fame handicap, especially if they’re not quarterbacks or running backs, whose statistics can speak for themselves.

Yet when you claim a great player is getting short shrift for Hall of Fame consideration because he never made a Super Bowl, it’s a fair response to ask why he couldn’t get his team over the hump if he was really that great. Or when Vikings fans bemoan the shortage of Hall of Famers from their Super Bowl era, it’s fair to ask why the Vikings lost all four of their Super Bowls if they had so many players who were really all that great.

In fact, you even have to wonder how many Hall of Fame players a champion could possibly claim. Hall of Fame voters have declined to elect such Pro Bowl players from Super Bowl dynasties as Steelers end L.C. Greenwood and Packers guard Jerry Kramer.

As one Hall of Fame voter explained, it’s hard to believe that half the starters on even one of the greatest teams of all time could belong in Canton. If, indeed, the great Packer or Steeler teams had 11 or more players who were among the greatest of all time, then you’d have to question why coaches Vince Lombardi and Chuck Noll belong in the Hall of Fame. With that much talent, who couldn’t produce a Super Bowl winner?

This is Thomas’ third year of eligibility and the field appears wide open – long on bubble candidates and short on slam dunks, which Troy Aikman and Reggie White were a year ago. Thomas should get in sooner or later, but it would be sooner if he’d gotten a ring.

02-01-2007, 04:27 PM
Agree that SB team is a difference maker,

but the numbers put up should count for a lot.....

02-01-2007, 04:41 PM
DT has been shafted.

02-01-2007, 04:44 PM
Reason number 103 why people like Will Shields, Tony Gonzalez, Derrick Thomas and Larry Johnson should want to kick Carl Peterson in the nuts.

02-01-2007, 04:46 PM
Blame Marty.