August 8, 2007
The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Biggest Snubs
By Brad Oremland
The PFHOF has 249 members. Of these, 47 played before the Modern Era (1946-present), on both offense and defense. Another 21 are coaches, and 17 are what the Hall calls “contributors” — mostly owners, with a few league officials and general managers thrown in. The other 164 are Modern Era players. Of these 164: 23 are quarterbacks, 25 are running backs, 18 are receivers, 7 are tight ends, 32 are offensive linemen, 25 are defensive linemen, 16 are linebackers, 17 are defensive backs, and 1 is a placekicker.Let’s start by examining offense. An NFL offense typically uses one quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, one tight end, and five offensive linemen. Given that QB is a uniquely important position, it seems reasonable that quarterbacks would be over-represented in Canton. Looking at the 105 Modern-Era offensive players in the Hall:
* 22% are quarterbacks
* 24% are running backs
* 17% are wide receivers
* 7% are tight ends
* 30% are linemen
Quarterbacks make up 9% of the offensive players on the field. RBs are 18%, but one of those is the fullback — for the last 25 years a blocking position, where no one has been enshrined or even gotten to the semifinals of the voting process (the last fullback voted in was either John Riggins, who retired 22 seasons ago, or John Henry Johnson, whose last season was 1966.) Wide receivers and tight ends combine for over 27% of the offense. Linemen are almost half (45.5%).
What this tells us is that running backs are over-represented in the Hall of Fame — too many are in — at the expense of receivers and linemen.
Now that Benny Friedman, Hickerson, and Thomas are in, the biggest HOF snub remaining is Art Monk. Monk is the only eligible Modern-Era player ever to hold the NFL record for career receptions who is not in the Hall of Fame. It’s not just Monk who’s being left out, though.