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Tribal Warfare
01-31-2009, 01:36 AM
Itís ludicrous that Derrick Thomas isnít in the Hall yet (http://www.kansascity.com/sports/chiefs/story/1010450.html)
By JOE POSNANSKI
The Kansas City Star

TAMPA, Fla. | Well, here we go again: Writing once more why Derrick Thomas should be elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Itís hard to write this column year after year because Derrick Thomasí Hall of Fame credentials seem so blindingly obvious to me. It should have happened his first year of eligibility. It should have been open-and-shut.

But it wasnít open-and-shut. Last year, for the third straight year, Thomas was a finalist but did not get into the Hall of Fame. The interesting part is that last year two ďpass rushersĒ did get into the Hall: Andre Tippett and Fred Dean.

Tippett and Dean each had one interception, just like Thomas. Their job was to go get the quarterback, and they all did it extremely well.

However: Fred Dean and Andre Tippett did not have nearly as many sacks as Thomas.

Fred Dean and Andre Tippett did not force nearly as many fumbles as Thomas.

Fred Dean and Andre Tippett did not recover nearly as many fumbles as Thomas.

They didnít get as many safeties, didnít score as many touchdowns, didnít play in nearly as many Pro Bowls. Neither Fred Dean nor Andre Tippett was chosen NFL Man of the Year either. Derrick Thomas was.

This is not meant to knock Dean or Tippett ó they were both great players who had their own Hall of Fame cases. But I still donít know how Derrick Thomas got passed over. I know there are people in town who are still mad at Thomas for some of the mistakes he made off the field ó I know this because every time I write this column some of these people will write in angrily about the number of children Thomas had with different women or his relationship with them or something along those lines.

But I would say two things: One, Derrick Thomas was just 33 years old when he died, so he did not get a chance to right some of the wrongs. And he did many good things. He was one of George Bushís ďthousand points of light.Ē He almost never said no to a charity request anywhere. As mentioned, he was NFL Man of the Year.

Two, more to the point, weíre talking football.

So, letís talk football. Everyone understands, or should, that Derrick Thomas was one of the greatest big-play defenders in the history of the NFL. Even now, he ranks 11th on the all-time list of sacks (he had 126 1/2 ) and thereís no doubt he would be even higher on the list if he had lived longer. He holds the NFL record for most sacks in a game with seven, and heís also tied for second because he had six sacks in another game.

He forced 45 fumbles in his career, which is an unofficial NFL record ó they didnít start counting that as a statistic until recently. But to give you an idea just how amazing that number is: Lawrence Taylor, whom many people consider the most disruptive defensive player ever, forced 33 fumbles.

I certainly hope that the Hall of Fame voters in that room think about that: 45 forced fumbles. There might not be a single play in football that changes a game more than a forced fumble. And Derrick Thomas may have been the best in the history of the NFL at forcing those fumbles.

So whatís the knock on Derrick Thomas? I think there have been two: (1) His Chiefs never reached the Super Bowl and (2) He is often viewed as a one-dimensional player who was not especially good against the run.

Well, the first reason is ludicrous. The Chiefs made the playoffs seven of the 11 years that Thomas played for the Chiefs, and they had a winning record every year but one. More to the point, they had the best record in the conference twice. Once, they lost in the playoffs 10-7. The other time they lost 14-10. Iím not sure how Derrick Thomas gets the blame for that ó the guy played defense.

The second knock is the infuriating one. Itís a myth. Was Derrick Thomas good against the run? Let me ask you a few questions in return: Was Dan Marino good at running the football? How well did Jim Brown block? Could Howie Long cover a wide receiver? Could Jan Stenerud punt?

Point is, Derrick Thomas was paid to go get the quarterback and make big plays. And he did it better than anyone. In his time, the Chiefs twice led the NFL in scoring defense. Three times they finished in the top five in the NFL in yards allowed. Eight times they finished in the top five in the NFL in takeaway-giveaway margin. They won in the 1990s because of a ferocious defense ó they stopped the run ó and Derrick Thomas was the unquestioned leader of that defense.

When you are talking about the Hall of Fame, you are talking about great players. This probably sounds obvious, but thereís a point to it: All 17 of the Hall of Fame finalists this year were great players. I think because Derrick is gone, it has been tempting for the voters to put him on the backburner, vote for one of the other great players in his spot while thinking, ďWeíll get to Derrick Thomas eventually.Ē

But the longer we move away from Derrick Thomasí career, the more his brilliance will fade from peopleís minds. He has great numbers, yes, but real greatness was in the moment, with 80,000 people going crazy, with the opponentsí offense backed up to its goal line, with Thomas signaling ďsafetyĒ before the ball was even snapped. In the big moments, he was the bigger than life. Thatís what the Hall of Fame is about, right?

Hall hopes
Derrick Thomas has lots of competition this year.

Derrick Thomas is one of five players known for their sacks who are finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Bruce Smith
1985-2003

200

career sacks

Richard Dent
1983-1997

137.5

career sacks

John Randle
1990-2003

137.5

career sacks

Claude Humphrey
1968-1981

122

career sacks

Derrick Thomas
1989-1999

126.5

career sacks

BigRock
01-31-2009, 01:49 AM
A year ago on his blog, Joe kind of threatened to do a column where he'd rip the HOF voters a new one. I assume that was what he meant, at least. He said something like "There's a lot to be written about the voters, but I don't want to be the one to write it".

Anyway, if DT doesn't make it in, I hope he writes it. I hope he writes it if DT does make it.

cdcox
01-31-2009, 02:00 AM
Red card for JoPo. No one can use the word "ludicrous" and be taken seriously.

Fruit Ninja
01-31-2009, 02:40 AM
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Ludicrous

Rain Man
01-31-2009, 03:09 AM
Why can't he present DT instead of Gretz? He'd get it done. Gretz won't.

Chiefaholic
01-31-2009, 03:43 AM
Why can't he present DT instead of Gretz? He'd get it done. Gretz won't.


This was my exact thought about half way through the article.

kstater
01-31-2009, 07:49 AM
Why can't he present DT instead of Gretz? He'd get it done. Gretz won't.

Exactly what I was thinking. Joe knows how to dig for stats, has a nice way with words. 100X better than Blob.

Craqhead
01-31-2009, 08:02 AM
Why can't he present DT instead of Gretz? He'd get it done. Gretz won't.

This was my exact thought about half way through the article.

Exactly what I was thinking. Joe knows how to dig for stats, has a nice way with words. 100X better than Blob.


This.

milkman
01-31-2009, 09:41 AM
Why can't he present DT instead of Gretz? He'd get it done. Gretz won't.

Is Posnanski a HoF voter?

Mr. Laz
01-31-2009, 09:44 AM
human interest and sports intersect ....... where jopo shines

stevieray
01-31-2009, 10:30 AM
he doesn't get in now, he won't..the standard for HOF players is going to change when the ESPN player slobbing starts to fully kick in..it's been ten years guys..

:shake:

DJJasonp
01-31-2009, 11:22 AM
I'm starting to think his death is why he's not in....

What I mean by that is this: The HOF voters dont feel so bad making him wait to get in (since it's not hurting the man's feelings when he doesnt get in...like it might for the whiny ass bitch cris carter).

And that's BS. The guy should have been in by now. Andre Tippet and Fred Dean were 2 huge slaps across the face last year. The HOF voters should have been shamed by Gretz and co. for those two...

Mojo Jojo
01-31-2009, 11:33 AM
Why can't he present DT instead of Gretz? He'd get it done. Gretz won't.

The HOF appoints someone from each NFL City and I believe you have the job for life/retirement. Gretz got it when he still worked for the Star. I think he took over for Joe McGuff. If that timeline is correct then Gretz got Buck B. and Jan S. into the hall.

I think too many people who post here are too young and too jaded to be objective. Let's be honest it took the Sr. Committee to get Hank S. and Emmitt T. into the hall. Many could and would argue that those two had as much or more impact on the game pro football. By the way the stats would back that up.

Many voters will remember that the biggest game DT played in (AFC Championship vs. the Bills) he sat on the bench most of the second half because Thurman just kept running at him and Derrick couldn't stop him. That is the game when Hall of Famer's step up...not get benched.

Does Derrick belong in the hall? Yes. Is he more deserving than the players/coaches/front office people that have been inducted during his term? Probably not. Will Derrick be inducted some day? I'm sure he will.

Fat Elvis
01-31-2009, 11:58 AM
Why can't he present DT instead of Gretz? He'd get it done. Gretz won't.

It might have something to do with Gretz mentioning Carl Peterson more times than DT during the presentation....

Ultra Peanut
01-31-2009, 12:05 PM
Holy fucking Jesus, GRETZ is the guy responsible for making a case for the Chiefs' guys?

Welp, guess Gonzo's not getting in, either.

Mojo Jojo
01-31-2009, 12:08 PM
It might have something to do with Gretz mentioning Carl Peterson more times than DT during the presentation....

Check the post above...Gretz got the gig before Carl came to town.

Reaper16
01-31-2009, 12:50 PM
The Pro Football Hall of Fame has exactly zero legitimacy to me as long as DT is not a member. Ludicrous is the correct word. There are zero reasons for not electing DT. Not a single one. Yet the bumbling idiots that vote for the HoF keep passing over him.

Why should we give a shit about what a group of bumbling idiots thinks are good football players?

kstater
01-31-2009, 12:55 PM
The Pro Football Hall of Fame has exactly zero legitimacy to me as long as DT is not a member. Ludicrous is the correct word. There are zero reasons for not electing DT. Not a single one. Yet the bumbling idiots that vote for the HoF keep passing over him.

Why should we give a shit about what a group of bumbling idiots thinks are good football players?

Because bumbling idiots aside, the HOF is still the benchmark for legendary players.

Reaper16
01-31-2009, 12:57 PM
Because bumbling idiots aside, the HOF is still the benchmark for legendary players.
And I'm saying that, when the voters have a football IQ equivalent to the likes of Hootie, findthedr, and kcbubb, we should find a better benchmark.

StcChief
01-31-2009, 02:14 PM
Holy fucking Jesus, GRETZ is the guy responsible for making a case for the Chiefs' guys?

Welp, guess Gonzo's not getting in, either.don't even say that and jinx him.

Gonzo is a first round ballot guy.

Reaper16
01-31-2009, 02:17 PM
don't even say that and jinx him.

Gonzo is a first round ballot guy.
Sharpe wasn't.