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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Football Hall of Fame: STL candidates

    By Bernie Miklasz
    08/04/2007 11:33 am
    CANTON, Ohio ó Greetings from the cradle of pro football.

    I love coming back to this place for the induction ceremonies, and soaking in the NFL history, and experiencing what feels like a giant football homecoming. As much as I admire the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., I think Canton is better for two reasons: Canton as a city is more representative of America than Cooperstown, and football players are much more passionate and emotional about going into the Hall of Fame.

    Iím one of the selectors to the Hall of Fame, so Iím invited to attend some exclusive events, including the annual Ray Nitschke luncheon, in which the current Hall of Famers welcome the new inductees and take turns offering powerful testimony as to what it means to be in the Hall. The newcomers donít speak, but they sit there and listen to what their elders preach to them and canít helped but be moved.

    Iíve enjoyed getting together with some of the Hall of Famers including my friends Jackie Slater, Jack Youngblood and Dan Dierdorf. I chatted with Troy Aikman, who described St. Louis in glowing terms, telling me that he thinks itís one of the best towns in America. Aikman has gotten to know St. Louis because of his friendship with Joe Buck, and Aikman is just a class guy.

    Iíve done a little catching up with one of the new inductees, Michael Irvin. I know a lot of people donít like Michael, and thatís OK. I was the Cowboys beatwriter for the Dallas Morning News during his rookie season in 1988, and got to know him well. Coach Tom Landry was slow to use Irvin, and he didnít play nearly as much as he expected until late in the year. Irvin would come in after practice, and be terribly down, but would never pop off or complain publicly. He just continued to give maximum effort; on the field, this man was one of the greatest competitors Iíve ever seen. But privately, it hurt Irvin not to be able to play, and Iíd frequently try to tell him that his day was coming, and so he shouldnít get depressed. This weekend we remembered those conversations, and we could look back and laugh, because obviously things worked out for The Playmaker. Heís had problems off the field, but seems to have taken control of his life, and getting into the Pro Football Hall of Fame has deeply humbled him.

    Irvin did a very class thing Friday night at the annual induction dinner; after the Class of 2007 received their official jackets, Irvin led Thurman Thomas, Charlie Sanders, Bruce Matthews and Roger Wehrli to the table where Gene Hickerson was seated. Hickerson, who is also being inducted Saturday, is struggling mightily with Alzheimerís disease, and wasnít able to participate on stage in the jacket ceremony. But Irvin didnít want to see Hickerson forgotten, so the other Hall of Famers broke from the scripted program and headed to Hickersonís table to shake his hand and give him a hug. And Hickerson started to cry; even in the cruel fog of Alzheimerís Hickerson knew what this meant, and he knew what Irvin and the others had done for him. See, this is the Irvin that I know. I wish him the best. Hate on him if you must, but I canít do it.

    Roger Wehrli and family are having a wonderful time, highlighted (so far) by Friday nightís induction dinner which concludes with each new member receiving that gold Hall of Fame jacket. Friday was also the birthday of Gayle Wehrli, Rogerís wife, and the several thousand in attendance sang ďHappy BirthdayĒ to her, so obviously it was a very special day. How cool is that? Roger seems to be in awe of everything, which is understandable. Heís waited so long, and now that itís here, things are moving fast.

    Iím writing this before heading to the Hall for Saturday nightís induction ceremoniesÖ.and over the last couple of days Iíve been thinking about future Hall of Fame chances for members of the old St. Louis Cardinals and the St. Louis Rams. (In St. Louis we have a mixed NFL family).

    Hereís my quick analysis, and weíll begin with three Cardinals:

    * Jim Hart: I respect his career and I know he passed for 34,665 yards, but it just isnít going to happen. Jim threw more interceptions (247) than touchdowns (209), had a so-so completion rate of 51 percent, and ranks 129th among full-time QBs in NFL history with a passer rating of 66.5.

    * Jim Bakken: he has one credential, having been named to the NFLís All Decade Team for the 1960s and the 1970s, and thatís profound. But Jim made only 40 of 94 field goals on attempts longer than 39 yards, and there is only one full-time kicker (Jan Stenerud) enshrined in Canton. While I believe Bakken is an underrated figure, he wonít end up in the Hall of Fame.

    * Ottis Anderson: Heís 10th all-time in rushing yards, and was a Super Bowl MVP for the NY Giants (though the award should have gone to Buffaloís Thurman Thomas). But thereís a feeling that he should have done more, perhaps a lot more, with his superb ability. O.J. was very good, but he could have been great. He had a nice career, but it wasnít a Hall of Fame career.

    Now, to the Rams:

    * Marshall Faulk: Heís a lock. Book it. Heís No. 5 in league history in total yards from scrimmage, No. 4 in touchdowns, No. 9 in rushing yards. He was the terrifically exciting combo runner-receiver and coach on the field who made The Greatest Show on Turf go. Faulk also excelled at blitz pick-up. He did it all. When defensive coordinators made their plans to try and slow the Greatest Show, they made stopping Faulk their No. 1 priority. That says everything. He was the soul of one of the great offenses in NFL history.

    * Orlando Pace: I donít think people comprehend how crucial the left tackle position is in an offense like ďThe Greatest ShowĒ offense, which by design is minimal in pass protection, and leaves the QB vulnerable. Without a dominating LT to seal off the QBís back side, the entire thing breaks down. Paceís protection of Kurt Warner and Marc Bulger is Hall of Fame stuff. The Big O has been voted to the Pro Bowl in seven of his 10 NFL seasons, and if he finishes strong, he should be on his way to Canton. But if he falls off in his remaining seasons, it could jeopardize his chances. And keep in mind that Pace in effect, is ďcompetingĒ with two outstanding LTs of this era, Walter Jones and Jonathan Ogden, for Hall consideration. Still a lot of work to do for the Big O.

    * Isaac Bruce: the most difficult task for Hall of Fame selectors is trying to separate all of the receivers, because in the modern game, a bunch of them are rolling up huge numbers for catches and receiving yards, and they all canít be voted in. Bruce has some things going for him, obviouslyÖ.heís No. 7 in league history in receptions and receiving yardsÖhe has 10, 1,000-yard seasonsÖ.he scored the winning TD in Super Bowl 34 in a dramatic, 73-yard catch-and-run. Sir Isaac is 34, but still has a few good years left, and he must pad those career stats to strengthen his case. Iíd say heís on the bubble. Not because Bruce isnít worthy of Hall of Fame status ó itís because of the traffic jam at the position. Art Monk is still waiting, as is Andre Reed, and Cris Carter and Tim Brown are next in the pipeline to be voted on. The competition is extreme.

    * Torry Holt: The fastest WR in NFL history to reach 10,000 yards receiving. The first WR in league history to have six consecutive 1,300-yard seasons. Heís led the league in receiving yards twice. A five-time Pro Bowler. Heís 31, which means thereís plenty more positive things to come in his career. With all of the great pieces Scott Linehan has put together in this Rams offense, weíre likely to see a Rams revival, with lots of yards and points, and Holtís star figures to shine even brighter. Heíll soon start to make his way into the Top 20 lists (all-time) for catches and yards. Torry is on track to Canton, but again, it would be overstating it if I declared right now that heíll get there. One thing I learned about this Hall of Fame process is: assume nothing.

    * Kurt Warner: he had a three-year stretch (1999-2001) that was as prolific as any QB in NFL history. He won two MVPs, teamed with Faulk and Bruce and Holt to lead the Rams to two Super Bowl appearances, and directed an attack that scored 500 + points for three consecutive seasons. But his peak was too brief; the longevity of excellence just isnít there.

    Thatís it for now, time for me to leave for the stadiumÖ


  2. #2
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: Football Hall of Fame: STL candidates

    Interesting that in listing Cardinals and Rams with a chance, he forgot one guy who played for both teams and has a pretty decent shot of getting in: Aeneas Williams.

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    Re: Football Hall of Fame: STL candidates

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    Interesting that in listing Cardinals and Rams with a chance, he forgot one guy who played for both teams and has a pretty decent shot of getting in: Aeneas Williams.
    Aeneas Williams will go in as a Cardinal, not a Ram. But I think this article raises an bigger issue: WHO IN THE HELL GAVE BERNIE A HALL OF FAME VOTE?!
    :\

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    Re: Football Hall of Fame: STL candidates

    RamWraith, what do you think about some of the older Rams,such as Dennis Harrah,Rich Saul and I'm sure I am forgetting some names.

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    Re: Football Hall of Fame: STL candidates

    I am sure some of the old greats are all very dear to our heart. However, I don't see them having as big accomplishments as names like Jones, Olson, Slater, Youngblood.

    And with the names you mentioned, it is really hard for an offensive linemen to make a name for themselves. Tickets into the Hall of Fame have to have benchmarks much better than theirs.

    I am pretty sure you will not see any more of the great names from the past get a bid to Canton. We are in a whole new era, and it is sad to say, but I don't think they will be a part if it. I am pretty sure we don't have anyone that will qualify from the '90's


    General Counsel, RealRam are much more versed on some of the history of this team. What do you think?? Do we have any more tickets for guys from the past??



    Quote Originally Posted by jkramsfan View Post
    RamWraith, what do you think about some of the older Rams,such as Dennis Harrah,Rich Saul and I'm sure I am forgetting some names.

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    Re: Football Hall of Fame: STL candidates

    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyPace View Post
    Aeneas Williams will go in as a Cardinal, not a Ram. But I think this article raises an bigger issue: WHO IN THE HELL GAVE BERNIE A HALL OF FAME VOTE?!
    :\
    That's probably why he was left off the list. His best days were with the Cardinals, but not the St. Louis Cardinals. I think he was specifically looking at guys who played for a team that was in St. Louis when they were playing.

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    Re: Football Hall of Fame: STL candidates

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    Interesting that in listing Cardinals and Rams with a chance, he forgot one guy who played for both teams and has a pretty decent shot of getting in: Aeneas Williams.
    Exactly. Williams was one of the best cover-corners (and a good safety for us as well) ever, and he could hit! He has kept a low-profile since he retired, so that will make it harder for him to get in.

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    Re: Football Hall of Fame: STL candidates

    I would like to nominate Saint Louis native and great contributor to the city of Saint Louis, namely a Superbowl Championship.
    Ladies & Gentlemen I present to you.......

    'HER MAJESTY GEORGIA FRONTIERE'
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    Re: Football Hall of Fame: STL candidates

    Dick Vermiel should also get strong conciderations for going into 'the Hall'. Had he stayed with the Rams, we may have had a dynasty!
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    Re: Football Hall of Fame: STL candidates

    Bakken should be in

  11. #11
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    Re: Football Hall of Fame: STL candidates

    Bakken should not be in. As pointed out in the artice, his stats just don't measure up. Would he even make an NFL roster today, with stats like that.

    Hart, my heart says yes he belongs, but just like Warner, he had a teriffic 3 or 4 years. The strike against him will be the number of playoff wins he had. Not enough.

    HOF will be allowing 8 instead of 6 in coming years. This should help the log jam but it does not address the number of deserving WR who are already elegible or who will be elegible. Not to mention the lack of attention defensive players get.
    "I was the originator of smack. Some guys rattle with smack; with other guys it rolls right off their shoulders like nothing. "
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