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shaneo69
02-10-2007, 07:18 AM
Media Views: Writer assisted on Wehrli's Hall bid
By Dan Caesar
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
02/10/2007

Usually journalists are covering stories, not being part of them.

But that wasn't the case last weekend when Post-Dispatch sports columnist and KSLG (1380 AM) sports talk show co-host Bernie Miklasz was doing both.

Miklasz, representing St. Louis in the meeting of 40 media members who cover pro football, was making the pitch for Roger Wehrli to the voters who were selecting this year's Pro Football Hall of Fame class.

"I don't think I've ever had a happier day in sportswriting,'' Miklasz said. "My stomach was doing flips. I was just really fired up. It was an absolute thrill to pull this off.'' Advertisement

Making the case

Miklasz did extensive research on Wehrli's career, including gaining testimonials from former standout quarterbacks Roger Staubach and Sonny Jurgensen, personnel guru Ron Wolf and former Raiders coach and longtime NFL broadcaster John Madden.

Miklasz also had statistical information that was augmented by Cardinals executive Greg Gladysiewski, who has been with the club since its St. Louis days. Gladysiewski came up with a gem, the fact that in the 1970s half of Wehrli's interceptions either stopped the foe on a drive in which it could have tied the game or taken the lead, or gave the Big Red the ball in a spot in which they could tie or take the lead.

Miklasz said he also stressed that there were only seven pure cornerbacks in the Hall, that it was an underrepresented position, and that Wehrli had very little help from standout pass rushers. He said only once did the Cardinals have a defensive lineman make a Pro Bowl, let alone the Hall of Fame, in his 14-year career.

"The only guy to be a Pro Bowler was somebody named 'Brooks' and I made the point I don't even know who he is, I never heard of him,'' Miklasz said. "People laughed, but I think I scored big points with that. Plus, they wouldn't throw at him because he was so good.''

Even though Miklasz was armed with the testimonials and stats, he still had to make a winning presentation.

"It's almost like a lawyer's closing argument,'' he said. "You can't just write a speech and drone on, because people fall asleep. You also can't come on too strong and brow-beat people, because that backfires. And you can't rely only on stats. You have to make it interesting, throw some humor in.''

He said he had a wee-hours brainstorm before the voting, writing out his presentation in longhand until nearly 5 a.m. two hours before he had to be at the meeting. It worked, as his oration helped Wehrli survive the first cut, from 17 candidates to 10 (which actually became 11 because of a voting tie). But because only a maximum of six candidates make the Hall, Miklasz had to keep campaigning.

Round 2

The second presentation runs only about 90 seconds, and Miklasz went last because the candidates are discussed alphabetically. Among those ahead of Wehrli were the two players nominated by the senior committee, and Miklasz said the voters were told, "If you don't vote them in now, they'll fade away.''

(Both, Gene Hickerson and Charlie Sanders, ended up being elected.)

"I saw people in the room nodding,'' Miklasz said. "So I thought, 'I'm going to appeal to the same logic because it looks like it's going over pretty well.' So I said, 'Listen, this is Roger Wehrli's last chance (to make it in conventional voting). You obviously think enough of him to make him one of the finalists, so let's think about this logically. If you don't vote him in today he goes to the senior committee, where he either will fade away which you don't want because you think enough of him to put him in the final 11 or if he doesn't fade away, the senior committee is going to nominate him two or three years from now and he's going to take the place of another deserving senior.'

"I said, 'Think about this logically. What's the point of rejecting him now when we can take care of him now and take care of other players later?' I saw people nodding, and some told me later that was a great closing argument and it tipped the balance for them.''

This isn't the first time a local media member has been involved in getting a former Cardinals player into the Hall. Jack Buck lobbied hard for Dan Dierdorf, who finally made it in 1996, and Jackie Smith, who was elected in 1994. Buck was so mad after Smith had narrowly missed the previous year that he threw a clipboard across a room when Smith missed out.

htismaqe
02-10-2007, 07:45 AM
"It's almost like a lawyer's closing argument,'' he said. "You can't just write a speech and drone on, because people fall asleep. You also can't come on too strong and brow-beat people, because that backfires. And you can't rely only on stats. You have to make it interesting, throw some humor in.''

In other words, the HoF voting is based on the emotional response of the voters, not what the PLAYER did on the field.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is, and always will be, a sham.

StcChief
02-10-2007, 07:45 AM
So Derrick Thomas has several years left of eligibility.

Hopefully somebody can get a case together to get him in.

Bring in Bernie Miklasz as a consultant or the presenter ,if that's what it takes to get it done.

But don't wait until his last year to do it.

Mile High Mania
02-10-2007, 11:16 AM
There are a lot of guys that need their presenters to be more like this dude. It's an unfortunate reality. I think Gary Zimmerman should be in the HOF without question... just as you guys think DT should be there.

cdcox
02-10-2007, 11:48 AM
There are a lot of guys that need their presenters to be more like this dude. It's an unfortunate reality. I think Gary Zimmerman should be in the HOF without question... just as you guys think DT should be there.

Zimmerman looks a little light with seven pro bowls and three times All-Pro. Those numbers are similar to Dierdorf's but most consider him to be borderline. Zimmerman's biggest problem is that he played during an era with some of the greatest ever to play his position: Munoz, Roaf, Ogden, Pace, Boscelli. It is going to be hard for him to stand out in that crowd.

Mile High Mania
02-10-2007, 12:48 PM
Little light? I understand he played in an era of great linemen, but...

7 pro bowls in 12 seasons IIRC, that's pretty damn good. ... 2 SB titles... and he was named to two all decade teams (80s and 90s). How many guys named to two all decade teams are not in Canton?

cdcox
02-10-2007, 01:19 PM
Roaf made 11 Probowls in 13 years
Ogden made 10 Probowls in 11 years
Munoz made 11 Probows in 13 years
Orlando Pace has 7 probowls in 10 years and is still playing

The SB aren't going to count nearly as much for an OL as they do a QB. Fair or unfair, that's just the way it is.

They take 4 players at OT for the all decade team. There are lots of guys who make an all decade team that never sniff the Hall. Making two all decade teams has more to do with when your career started than anything else. Only people who start their career's in a year that ends with a 4, 5, or 6 have much of a shot at that no matter how good they are.

Not saying he'll never make it, but now that Roaf and Ogden are in que, he's not going to look very good in comparison.

htismaqe
02-10-2007, 01:20 PM
Little light? I understand he played in an era of great linemen, but...

7 pro bowls in 12 seasons IIRC, that's pretty damn good. ... 2 SB titles... and he was named to two all decade teams (80s and 90s). How many guys named to two all decade teams are not in Canton?

modern-day Bronco + 2 Super Bowls = bust in Canton

Mile High Mania
02-10-2007, 01:26 PM
I was just throwing some credentials out there... he was drafted in 84, spent 2 seasons with the LA Express before joining the Vikings in 86. The fact that he made the all decade team in the 80s speaks well for his talent, then he follows it up by getting the same honor in the 90s.

I'm not saying he's better than Roaf or Munoz.

I also don't put as much weight in pro bowl appearances as some do... there are a number of guys every year that get in on name alone.

Zimmerman was an anchor on the line in Denver that produced a 2,000 yard runner and a team that won two titles.

It's a good debate and I'm not saying he doesn't have a tough road to get in. I find it kinda funny that the same writers that vote for the all-decade teams vote for the HOF. Zimmerman made 2 of 'em, yet can't find his way to Canton... it's interesting to me.

htismaqe
02-10-2007, 01:29 PM
I was just throwing some credentials out there... he was drafted in 84, spent 2 seasons with the LA Express before joining the Vikings in 86. The fact that he made the all decade team in the 80s speaks well for his talent, then he follows it up by getting the same honor in the 90s.

I'm not saying he's better than Roaf or Munoz.

I also don't put as much weight in pro bowl appearances as some do... there are a number of guys every year that get in on name alone.

Zimmerman was an anchor on the line in Denver that produced a 2,000 yard runner and a team that won two titles.

It's a good debate and I'm not saying he doesn't have a tough road to get in. I find it kinda funny that the same writers that vote for the all-decade teams vote for the HOF. Zimmerman made 2 of 'em, yet can't find his way to Canton... it's interesting to me.

Because the voting block is a "good ole boys" network that votes on a whim. Hopefully, one day they'll wet their thumb, stick it in the air, and decide that DT and Zimm deserve to get in.

Mile High Mania
02-10-2007, 01:31 PM
I was very surprised that DT didn't get in this year... I figured they would get him in before Irvin.

Hey - maybe in 2 years, they'll induct Thomas and Sharpe into the same class, wouldn't that drive you guys nuts.

htismaqe
02-10-2007, 01:33 PM
I was very surprised that DT didn't get in this year... I figured they would get him in before Irvin.

Not to be rude or anything, but if you REALLY thought DT, or anybody actually WORTHY, would get in before Irvin, you're deluded. :D

Seriously, I'm ultra-fuggin pissed about Irvin being in the Hall.

htismaqe
02-10-2007, 01:34 PM
I was very surprised that DT didn't get in this year... I figured they would get him in before Irvin.

Hey - maybe in 2 years, they'll induct Thomas and Sharpe into the same class, wouldn't that drive you guys nuts.

I think it would be cool myself. My guess is that Shannon would think it was cool too.

Mile High Mania
02-10-2007, 01:37 PM
Yeah - I just hate all things related to Dallas, aside from the Cheerleaders. I had just a hope that they would keep Irvin waiting...

And, I do think that Shannon would also like being in the same HOF Class as DT. Heh - go ahead and start planning the OM/CP tailgate.

RedNeckRaider
02-10-2007, 01:37 PM
I was just throwing some credentials out there... he was drafted in 84, spent 2 seasons with the LA Express before joining the Vikings in 86. The fact that he made the all decade team in the 80s speaks well for his talent, then he follows it up by getting the same honor in the 90s.

I'm not saying he's better than Roaf or Munoz.

I also don't put as much weight in pro bowl appearances as some do... there are a number of guys every year that get in on name alone.

Zimmerman was an anchor on the line in Denver that produced a 2,000 yard runner and a team that won two titles.

It's a good debate and I'm not saying he doesn't have a tough road to get in. I find it kinda funny that the same writers that vote for the all-decade teams vote for the HOF. Zimmerman made 2 of 'em, yet can't find his way to Canton... it's interesting to me.
It is not interesting it is bullshit. The hall has become much like the probowl. As I have said many times before when talking about the Hall of Fame..."Deserve ain't got nothing to do with it"...(Clint Easdtwood Unforgiven) I'm a Raider fan and I look at the Broncos with one player in the Hall and think really? The Hall has become a joke that few get.

htismaqe
02-10-2007, 01:41 PM
Yeah - I just hate all things related to Dallas, aside from the Cheerleaders. I had just a hope that they would keep Irvin waiting...

And, I do think that Shannon would also like being in the same HOF Class as DT. Heh - go ahead and start planning the OM/CP tailgate.

I ****ing hate the Broncos.

That being said, I'm not gonna sit here and say Shannon Sharpe wasn't a good football player. I'm quite certain, all on-field venom aside, Shannon knew what DT could do and DT knew what Shannon could do. And I do think it would be special for Shannon to be inducted the same year as a FALLEN rival.

htismaqe
02-10-2007, 01:42 PM
It is not interesting it is bullshit. The hall has become much like the probowl. As I have said many times before when talking about the Hall of Fame..."Deserve ain't got nothing to do with it"...(Clint Easdtwood Unforgiven) I'm a Raider fan and I look at the Broncos with one player in the Hall and think really? The Hall has become a joke that few get.

A-****ing-MEN!

Mile High Mania
02-10-2007, 01:44 PM
Somebody note the time and date... fans from Denver, KC and Oakland all agreeing.

RedNeckRaider
02-10-2007, 01:46 PM
Somebody note the time and date... fans from Denver, KC and Oakland all agreeing.
Its the end of the world as we know it!...(REM)

huskerdooz
02-10-2007, 01:51 PM
Its the end of the world as we know it!...(REM)

and I feel fine.

siberian khatru
02-10-2007, 04:01 PM
In other words, the HoF voting is based on the emotional response of the voters, not what the PLAYER did on the field.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is, and always will be, a sham.

I have a lot of disagreements with the Baseball HOF, but it's Mount Olympus compared to Canton.