(Philadelphia, Pa) — With my trip to the Pro Football Hall of Fame inductions in Canton, OH almost underway, I thought now was a good time to list some players that I thougtht deserved to be enshrined. Who knows maybe we will see some of these great in the HOF as many have stellar credentials.
Taking It to the House Top 10 Hall of Fame Deserving Players
Quarterback Randall Cunningham – A three time MVP and a four-time Pro Bowler, who is also the NFL’s career rushing leader for quarterbacks (4,928 yards). Passed for almost 30,000 yards plus he was the NFL’s ultimate weapon in the 90′s. Played for the Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys, and Baltimore Ravens.
Running Back Terrell Davis – T.D’s career was cut short by injuries, but who was better than him during his brief career that produced two Super Bowl titles and a 2,000 yard season. Was a 3-time Pro Bowler and 4-time All-Pro selection in his too quick seven-year career. Finished with 7,607 yards. Played for the Denver Broncos after being drafted in the 6th Rd in 1995.
Defensive End L.C Greenwood – Another cornerstone of the Steel Curtain (Dwight White, Joe Greene, Ernie Holmes, and Greenwood). The gold-shoed pass rusher produced six Pro Bowls, 2 All-Pro honors, and four rings. Greenwood needs to join Joe Greene in the Hall as one of pro football’s greatest D-lines needs to be better represented. 13-year veteran that only played for the Steelers.
Wide Receiver “Bullet” Bob Hayes – An amazing receiver that revolutionalized the NFL’s view of elite game-breaking speed (Gold Medalist in 100 yard dash in 1964). His 73 career TDs are ahead of both Michael Irvin and Monk. Won a ring with the Cowboys in 1971. played for the Cowboys for 10 years before one non-descript season for the San Francisco 49ers.
Punter Ray Guy – Should be the Hall’s first punter as I say no one had better hang time than this Raiders great. He was great athlete with a crazy strong leg. 7-time Pro Bowler and 9-time All-Pro player that averaged 42.4 yards per punt with a long of 77 yards. Former 1st Rd pick out of Southern Mississippi played for the Raiders in 14-year career that saw him win three Super Bowls.
Defensive Back Johnny Sample – This smooth corner from Maryland – Eastern Shore paved the way for today’s tough flamboyant cover corners. Sample was “Deion Sanders” back in the 50′s and 60′s, backing up his bravado with sticky coverage. This 11-year veteran played and won in the 1958 NFL Championship, which many call “The Greatest Game Ever” (Played for the Colts in the win over the Giants) and Super Bowl III, which is said to be “The Greatest Upset Ever” (Played for the NY Jets in the win over the Colts). Some say it was Sample that helped Joe Namath make the prediction heard around the world. Had 41 INT’s in his career.
Outside LB/Defensive End Derrick Thomas – With the election of Tippett you have to think it is a matter of time for this pass rushing maven. He was unbelievable in the ‘90s collecting 126.5 sacks and going to nine consecutive Pro Bowls. He also holds the NFL record for sacks in a single game (seven). Played 11 years for the Chiefs producing 9 Pro Bowls and 2 All-Pro honors after being the 4th overall selection in 1989.
Cornerback Lester Hayes – Mr. “Stick Um” from the Raiders glory teams of the 1980′s was unbelievable at taking away teams receivers. With his partner Mike Haynes already in, Lester needs to be in. Did I mention that he made five Pro Bowls and was the Defensive Player of the Year in 1980. Played 10 years for the Raiders producing 5 Pro Bowls and 1 All-Pro selection with 39 career interceptions.
Running Back / Kick Returner Herschel Walker – Everyone remembers the infamous trade from Dallas to Minnesota. But this guy was one the best all-around players in the NFL. This 12-year NFL veteran amassed 5,000 return yards and 13,000 yards from scrimmage. Plus let’s not forget his 3-year career in the USFL for the NJ Generals, where the former University of Georgia Heisman Trophy winner produced a pro football single season rushing record 2,411 yards in 1985 and had a 5,562 total rushing yards. Played for the NJ Generals (USFL), Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants.
Cornerback Eric Allen – This silky smooth corner was one of the best one on one cover guys in the ‘90s. He may not have been as good as Prime Time, but who is. He provided sticky coverage for the Reggie White led Gang Green Defense while being a 6-time Pro Bowler and 6-time All-Pro selection. Had 54 career interceptions plus he played in the Super Bowl for the Raiders. Played for the Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints, and Oakland Raiders in his 14-year career.
Best of the Rest:
Giants Quarterback Phil Simms, Green Bay Packers Guard Jerry Kramer, Denver Broncos LB Tom Jackson, Broncos LB Randy Gradishar, Detroit Lions DL Alex Karras, and Steelers Center Dermontti Dawson
Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and an award winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)