Publish Date: 02/28/2022
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis
Following is my list of 8 men who deserve to be in the hall-of-fame. The Pro Football Hall of Fame is always a hot topic for debate; the criteria for induction is left to a handful of people who, let’s face it, do not always vote objectively. It often appears to be a popularity contest where actual achievement takes a back seat to several factors: Was the player/coach was friendly with the media? Did the player/coach run their mouth to attract attention? Did the player/coach seem like a “nice” guy? I think if you look at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, there are, without a doubt, some guys who deserve to be inducted. Today we are going to look at eight of these people who, in my view, have been unfairly overlooked. Not in any particular order, here is my list:
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Hall-of-Famer Michael Strahan called Anderson “the greatest right tackle of his generation.” The problem is that Anderson was the greatest of a generation on some bad Cincinnati Bengals teams. That shouldn’t matter because Willie was as good as anybody who ever played the game as a right tackle. Go back and watch Willie battle Reggie White and Bruce Smith, they were two of the best defensive ends of all time, and Willie had his way with them; he was THAT good! Tony Boselli was elected to the hall before Willie, and Bosselli was an all-time great offensive lineman, but he was not better than Willie Anderson! Watch the 1998 Bengals game against the Packers, and you will see what I mean; too bad we know the voters will not watch the film to make a selection, and they prove it every year. Check out more NFL news!
Klecko rose to fame as part of the “New York Sack Exchange” in the early 1980s and Abdul Salaam, Marty Lyons and Mark Gastineau. Heir best year was 1981, when the four accounted for an impressive 66 sacks with 20.5 by the Pro Bowl-bound Klecko. In 1983, Klecko was forced to move from defensive end to defensive tackle and was again named to the AFC Pro Bowl team. In 1985, the Jets went with a 3-4 defense and moved Klecko to nose tackle where, yet again, he made the Pro Bowl at a third position joining Frank Gifford as the only two players in NFL history to be selected to the Pro Bowl at three different positions. The excellent Miami Dolphins center, Dwight Stephenson, said that Klecko was one of the two toughest defensive linemen he ever faced.
Anderson is widely known as one of the first quarterbacks to run the West Coast offense under Bill Walsh, the Cincinnati Bengals’ offensive coordinator. Anderson led the NFL in passing on four separate occasions – 1974, 75, 81 and 82 – and was named league MVP in 1981. n 1982, he became the first quarterback in NFL history to complete over 70% of his passes for an entire season. That year, he also set the record for most consecutive, complete passes in a single game with 20 against the Houston Oilers. Anderson made four Pro Bowls, threw for almost 33,000 yards, 197 TD passes and had a career quarterback rating of 82.
When I started researching this article, I didn’t realize that Greenwood, a dominant force on one of the greatest defenses in NFL history, was not in the Hall of Fame. Greenwood was a six-time pro bowler, four times a Super Bowl Champion and was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 1970s. He finished his career with 73.5 sacks and added five sacks in 4 Super Bowl games.
Yet another Cincinnati Bengals player being ignored. After all, the saddest omission was an NFL Honors “In Memoriam” video segment that ran during the Super Bowl omitted him in 2020. Riley was one of the first four inductees to the Bengals ring of honor, but Riley has been largely ignored throughout his career and even more so after retirement. Riley finished his career with 65 interceptions, fifth in NFL history and eight more than the great Mel Blount! In seven career playoff games, Riley had three interceptions. Even more disturbing is that the four players ahead of Riley in career interceptions, Paul Krause, Emlen Tunnell, Rod Woodson and Dick “Night Train” Lane, are all in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The three players directly behind Riley in interceptions, Charles Woodson, Ed Reed and Ronnie Lott, are also enshrined in Canton.
The stat that says it all about Roger Craig is this: every year he played in the NFL, his team made the playoffs. Craig was the first player in NFL history to rush and receive 1,000 yards in the same season. In Super Bowl XIX, he became the first person to score three touchdowns in a single Super Bowl game. Craig was a complete player who accounted for 13,000 combined yards and scored 73 touchdowns.
Here is another Marv Levy comparison. Dan Reeves has been a participant in nine Super Bowls, winning two. He made it as a player, assistant coach and Head Coach. He led two different teams to Super Bowls and led the New York Giants to their first playoff berth in 3 years, where he was named the 1993 Coach of the year. Reeves was also named Coach of the Year in 1998 for his tremendous job in leading the Atlanta Falcons to the Super Bowl. Again, how does Marv Levy merit Hall of Fame consideration before Reeves?
How many retired NFL QBs have won two or more Super Bowls and are NOT in the Hall of Fame? Just one: Jim Plunkett. I know his regular season stats were less than stellar, but so were Joe Namath’s. Yes, Namath won a Super Bowl, but Plunkett won two. Jim Plunkett is a great American story. Plunkett grew up in poverty, his father had progressive blindness, and his mother was blind. So I guess you could say his career mirrored his childhood. His early years before attending Stanford University were rough, but Plunkett always persevered. The most important trait to have as a quarterback is leading other men and overcoming all obstacles. Plunkett exemplified the true American spirit on the field and, more importantly, off the field. Plunkett came out of Stanford in 1971 with a Heisman Trophy and great expectations. He enjoyed initial success winning the NFL Rookie of the Year award. However, the next eight years of his career were plagued by injuries and playing on poor teams. Plunkett joined the Oakland Raiders in 1978. In 1980, Plunkett got his big break, taking over in the fifth game for an injured Dan Pastorini leading the Raiders to a 9-2 record and a Wild Card Playoff berth. The Raiders went on to win the Super Bowl over the Philadelphia Eagles that year, with Plunkett being named the game’s Most Valuable Player. Three years later, Plunkett led the Raiders to another Super Bowl victory when they triumphed over the Washington Redskins. Jim Plunkett accomplished more in his career and life than most ever do and deserves induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
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