Who Should be in the NFL Hall of Fame Series – Quarterbacks

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Who Should be in the NFL Hall of Fame Series – Quarterbacks

 

Last offseason, CowgirlCas and I posted our opinions and reasoning for who should next be enshrined in the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor. This was in our He Said (Darren Woodson); She Said (Harvey Martin) series. Afterwards, we had a lively discussion on which Cowboys players should be in the NFL Hall of Fame. With the 2015 Hall of Fame induction coming up this next weekend, I will finish out the series.

My discussions with Cas got me thinking. While that in itself is a dangerous thing, I was interested in looking at which players, by position, were the most deserving of getting a call from the Hall of Fame throughout the league. This is not a ranking, but rather an alphabetical listing of my top 5 quarterbacks that are not in the Hall of Fame. For reference, the player must be eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2015. Here is the order of our long journey through some of the NFLs all-time greats.

Today we will take a look at the players that led their teams and became heroes to their fans. Winning matters, but even quarterbacks don’t control everything in the games’ outcomes. These five Quarterbacks distinguished themselves as the best at their position when they played and deserve further consideration for induction into the NFL Hall of Fame.

Ken Anderson

Case for the Hall of Fame:

3-time All-Pro selections (1st team once); 1981 NFL League MVP; Kenny Anderson played his entire 16 year career with the Cincinnati Bengals and led the Bengals to their first Super Bowl during his MVP season in 1981. He followed that season up by setting an NFL record of 70.6% completion percentage for a season. At the time of Ken’s retirement after the 1986 season, he held NFL records for consecutive pass completions (20), completion percentage for a single game (20 of 22, 90.9%, vs. Pittsburgh in 1974) and completion percentage for a season (70.6% in 1982), as well as the Super Bowl records for completion percentage (73.5%)  and completions (25). Furthermore, Ken was ranked 6th all-time for passing yards in a career at the time of his retirement. Ken’s record for completion percentage in a season stood for 27 years after his retirement. He led the NFL in passing yards and completions twice, and led the league in fewest interceptions per pass attempt 3 times. He ranks seventh in NFL history for postseason quarterback rating, 93.5.

Reasons he isn’t in the Hall of Fame:

Kenny Anderson’s Hall of Fame candidacy is hurt because he was never able to win a championship. While he compares very favorably to the Hall of Fame quarterbacks of his era, he is hurt by a relatively short period of sustained excellent play. There is also a bit of revisionist history that he was only effective because Bill Walsh was his Quarterbacks Coach when the truth is he had his best seasons AFTER Walsh left for San Francisco. While his numbers were considered very high among his contemporaries, the advances in the passing game have made NFL passing numbers explode. These modern numbers dwarf the accomplishments of the quarterbacks and receivers of the 1970’s and early 1980’s and make it hard for those great players to get their just acknowledgement.

John Brodie

Case for the Hall of Fame:

2-time All-Pro selection (1st team 1970); 1970 NFL League MVP; John Brodie was the 3rd overall pick in 1957 by the San Francisco 49ers but he had to split time behind Y. A. Tittle for his first 4 years and finally became the unquestioned starter in 1961. He remained as the teams starter for the next 12 years When Brodie retired from the NFL at the end of the 1973 season, he ranked third in career passing yards, behind only Johnny Unitas and Fran Tarkenton.

Reasons he isn’t in the Hall of Fame:

For all of his statistical prowess, John Brodie still finished his career with more interceptions than TD passes. In situations like this it seems that the only way the voters overlook that type of statistical anomaly is with postseason success. In Brodie’s case, he did not have that. He has been hurt in his candidacy in that he could not get past the Dallas Cowboys in three consecutive playoff appearances in 1970, 1971 and 1972. Brodie’s career passing stats are simply overlooked now as the game makes them pale in comparison to the gaudy stats of current players.

Charlie Conerly 

Case for the Hall of Fame:

3-time All-Pro selection 1959 MVP (NEA); 1948 NFL Rookie of the Year; Despite being drafted by Washington in 1945, Charlie Conerly played his entire career with the New York Giants. He led the Giants to three NFL Championship games in four seasons (1956, 1958,1959), including a 47-7 victory over the Chicago Bears in the 1956 NFL Championship game. Remembered as much for being the “Marlboro Man” as an NFL quarterback, Conerly should not be overlooked as a championship level QB over several seasons.

Reasons he isn’t in the Hall of Fame:

Charlie Conerly continues to fade into the shadows of NFL history. He is often overshadowed by his contemporaries that have already made the Hall of Fame like Johnny Unitas, who beat Conerly in “The Greatest Game Ever”, the 1958 NFL championship. He is also hurt because he was a quarterback when passing was not the way to move the ball. He has a career completion percentage of 50.1% and a career passer rating of 68.2 which was barely above average even in his era.

Ken Stabler 

Case for the Hall of Fame:

3-time All-Pro selection (includes 1 1st team selections); Voted member of NFL 1970’s All-Decade Team; 1974 NFL League MVP; 1976 AFC Offensive Player of the Year Led the NFL in TD passes twice. Stabler is the ONLY QB that has been voted to an NFL All-Decade team that is now eligible for enshrinement but not currently enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame. This seems to be even more of a travesty with “The Snake” recently passing away. He is the 4th fastest QB to 100 wins behind only Tom Brady, Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw. Stabler is also etched in the history of the NFL with legendary plays like the “Ghost to the Post” and the “Holy Roller”.

Reasons he isn’t in the Hall of Fame:

For all of his successes with the Raiders, Ken Stabler’s career stats are hurt by several years playing on poor teams in Houston & New Orleans. Stabler has more interceptions than TD passes and had as many poor seasons as great ones. Many NFL observers (not just Raiders fans) believe that there is a bias against all-time great Raiders when it comes to Hall of Fame recognition. In completing this series, that argument definitely has some merit when looking at the Raiders that are in these articles. Stabler in particular has been known to have had a strained relationship with Pro Football writers through the years and this has also hurt his Hall of Fame candidacy.

Kurt Warner

Case for the Hall of Fame:

4-time All-Pro selection (includes 2 1st team selections); 2-time AP NFL MVP in 1999 and 2001; Also NEA NFL MVP in 2008; Kurt Warner’s career seemed to shine like a bright flash and then disappear. After winning every award imaginable over a 5 year span from 1999 to 2003, his career seemed over. The best case for Warner to make the Hall of Fame now comes from his second act with Arizona Cardinals. He led two moribund franchises to their highest accomplishments and came out of no where both times. He led the Rams to their first Super Bowl victory and he led the Cardinals to their first Super Bowl Appearance.

Reasons he isn’t in the Hall of Fame:

Kurt Warner’s time may come soon. At this time, he still has detractors from his Hall of Fame candidacy that say his career was too short. It is hard for many to forget how awful he was as a New York Giant and there is also the fact that he had only one undisputed season as the Cardinals starting quarterback as the team continually tried to replace him with 1st round pick Matt Leinart.

These are my five most worthy for induction and this article completes our entire series. I’m interested in your opinion on where I got it right and who I may have missed. You can add your comments or suggestions below. Also, take a look a the previous linked articles to see if the Pro Football Writers have rectified any of the oversights I have mentioned in the previous posts.

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