Sports Illustrated SI.com
February 3, 2007
Lengthy Discussion and Debate on Class of 2007
But the former commissioner wasn’t the only candidate whose Hall credentials were closely examined. The first round of discussion, in which all 17 candidates are presented, ran more than five hours before the selectors got around to the first “reduction” ballot, narrowing the field to 11. There were the usual procedural issues, the annual ill-advised suggestion that selectors rubber-stamp all of the finalists for induction when the field is reduced to six on the second ballot, plenty of comparative statistics, and subjective assessments of the candidates.
In a week in which the league has celebrated the presence of two African-American coaches in Super Bowl XLI, it would be remiss not to point out that Saturday’s selection meeting was chaired by Steve Perry, a black man. And that, for the first time, the selection committee included two women, veteran scribes Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the San Francisco Chronicle’s Nancy Gay.
Congratulations to all of them.
And congratulations, too, to the six new members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and to the 11 other men who were considered for induction. Know this: Your fates Saturday were discussed with great care and diligence by a committee that collectively takes it charge very seriously.
And Saturday, that meant nearly seven serious hours of serious deliberation.
February 3, 2007
Hall of Fame Q&A with Dr. Z
SI.com: Why didn’t Art Monk get elected?
Dr. Z: My feeling is that Monk was a great player. But when you played the Redskins, he was not the guy you had to stop. He was a very functional player. A great team guy. But I liked two wideouts better this year. Irvin and Andre Reed.
Will the improvement of receivers’ statistics in recent years hurt Monk’s chances of making it in the future?
Oh yeah. I think his best chance might have been when he first came on the ballot, because he was still near the top of the all-time lists then, but he’ falling.
SI.com: What happened to the all the pass-rushers on the final list of 17 nominees?
Dr. Z: They all canceled themselves out. Fred Dean, Richard Dent, Derrick Thomas and Andre Tippett were all great. But how do you distinguish between them? It wasn’t easy.
SI.com: A guy you’re a big backer of, Bob Kuechenberg, was passed over. Do you think he’s going to make it eventually?
Dr. Z: It’s going to be tough. This year there were a lot of offensive linemen. Bruce Matthews, who made it, Russ Grimm, Gary Zimmerman. And then Randall McDaniel is coming soon. It’s going to be tough for offensive linemen.