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HOF 2011: Senior Nominees, preliminary options

Posted by Chase Stuart on February 17, 2010

One of the most successful things we've done at the P-F-R blog has been the series chronicling the 2010 Hall of Fame selection process. The series was so successful because of the significant amount of quality contributions from our commenters. We appreciate and recognize how lucky we are to have so many knowledge, every-day readers, and we tried to show our appreciation by inviting some of the commenters to a roundtable discussion the week before the 2010 HOF Class was announced. As it turned out, the comments to that post were again terrific, and spawned a new idea.

Along with me and Jason, many of our readers were disappointed with the senior candidates selected by the Hall of Fame Committee. The rules surrounding the seniors committee choices are simple: any player or coach who has been retired for at least 25 seasons is eligible for induction via the seniors route. While Dick LeBeau and Floyd Little are now Hall of Famers, many of us felt that there were more deserving players who retired decades ago and still have yet to be enshrined.

Tom Martens pointed out that perhaps we could come up with suggest candidates for the seniors comittee for the Hall of Fame Class of 2011. Patrick W agreed with Tom, before Jason threw cold water on everyone. Since I fully agree with Jason's comment, I'm reprinting it below:

Thanks for the praise, but we're just regular guys who are learning about football history every day, thanks to those that comment here. People can have differing opinions and place different weight on post-season success, award recognition, or counting stats, but the key is to actually weigh and debate it.

I don't think we are thought leaders and that the voters should automatically listen to us, but I do think that the PFR blog and its readers can do something in regard to the next Veteran's committee picks. According to the Hall's website, anyone can nominate a player for consideration by writing a letter to the Hall, and then the committee will consider that player. I am sure that many individuals do so every year.

This spring, I think that we can organize a post where the blog commenters who are interested vote on veteran's picks to nominate to the committee. We come up with a short list of names, and then Chase and myself, (along with comments from others) put together drafts of nomination letters for three or four players, similar to the profiles here, (which we also post on the blog) and people can choose to join in the letter. I suspect that if the committee got a nomination letter with fifty names supporting it, it would have more impact than if one individual wrote in about their favorite player.

As Jason noted, we're just a couple of guys who enjoy learning more about the history of pro football. One of the ways we do that is by researching players and eras in league history and then writing about them on this blog. But could we at the P-F-R blog actually influence who the seniors committee selects for its two senior candidates for next year's HOF class? Probably not. But for us, the fun comes from the process, not the result. And as JT pointed out, the work of him and his peers at the Mile High Report Denver Broncos Hall of Fame Committee may have helped get Floyd Little selected by the seniors group this year. Regardless of what you think of JT's committee's name or of Little's merits, it would be inspiring if the internet age had begun to permeate Canton.

So where does that leave us? Jason and I are planning on a four-step process over the next few months:

1) Today, we're releasing a preliminary list of 54 players to be considered as seniors nominees for the Hall of Fame Class of 2011.

2) Based on reader comments, we'd like to whittle that list down to 10-15 players.

3) We'd then profile those 10-15 players over the next few months.

4) After the last player has been profiled, P-F-R takes a straw poll from you, the readers. The four candidates that you guys most want to support will then be chosen as our four player suggestions. P-F-R will then spruce up those four profiles and ask for signatures from you, the reader, on these profiles. We'll then mail the four profiles and the signatures to the Pro Football Hall of Fame sometime in June.

Why four and not two? The more options we provide the Committee, the more likely we'll select players from different eras and positions, and the more likely the Committee will find a candidate (or two) they like.

Preliminary list

Going through the list of productive players who retired by 1985 was a daunting task; initially I had a list of well over 200 players. I struggled with how to present a list of players -- a huge list would be overwhelming and would likely cause readers to simply ignore the list. On the other hand, I wanted to at least have a nice cross-section across position and eras and remind everyone of at least a few of the stars you may have forgotten about. I settled on the number 53, the size of an NFL roster, but then JKL convinced me to add one more.

What now? Please post in the comments which players you think would be deserving of a profile. If someone you like isn't on the list below, don't hesitate to write in that candidate and explain why you think he deserves a choice. Remember, to be eligible, a player must not have been active after the conclusion of the 1985 season.

The list of 54 is presented below in chronological order based on a player's first season. I've also listed the same players in the second table sorted by position. There are many deserving players not on the list below, so please throw their names out if one of your top 10 or 15 guys isn't on the list below. Otherwise, please list the 10-15 players you think we should profile and (if you so desire) your reasons for choosing said players.

name years teams pos
Duke Slater 1922--1931 rii-mil-crd T
Verne Lewellen 1924--1932 gnb-nya B
Lavvie Dilweg 1926--1934 mil-gnb E
George Christensen 1931--1938 det T-G
Riley Matheson 1939--1948 ram-det-sfo G
Al Wistert 1943--1951 phi T-G-DT
Bucko Kilroy 1943--1955 phi G-MG-T-DT
Mac Speedie 1946--1952 cle E
Pat Harder 1946--1953 crd-det FB-LB
Charlie Conerly 1948--1961 nyg QB
Tank Younger 1949--1958 ram-pit FB-LB-HB
Don Colo 1950--1958 bcl-nyy-dtx-cle DT
Bobby Dillon 1952--1959 gnb DB
Billy Howton 1952--1963 gnb-cle-dal E
Bob Gain 1952--1964 cle DT-DE-MG-T
Jimmy Patton 1955--1966 nyg DB
Rick Casares 1955--1966 chi-was-mia FB
Pete Retzlaff 1956--1966 phi E-HB-TE
Del Shofner 1957--1967 ram-nyg E-DB
John Brodie 1957--1973 sfo QB
Jerry Kramer 1958--1968 gnb G
Alex Karras 1958--1970 det DT
Erich Barnes 1958--1971 chi-nyg-cle DB
Chuck Howley 1958--1973 chi-dal LB
Lionel Taylor 1959--1968 chi-den-oti E-WR-FL
Eddie Meador 1959--1970 ram DB
Dick Schafrath 1959--1971 cle T-G-DE
Johnny Robinson 1960--1971 kan DB-FL-HB
Larry Grantham 1960--1972 nyj LB
Maxie Baughan 1960--1974 phi-ram-was LB
Jim Marshall 1960--1979 cle-min DE
Don Perkins 1961--1968 dal FB-HB
Jerry Mays 1961--1970 kan DE-DT
Ron McDole 1961--1978 crd-oti-buf-was DE-DT
Mike Stratton 1962--1973 buf-sdg LB
Cornell Green 1962--1974 dal DB
Mick Tingelhoff 1962--1978 min C
Daryle Lamonica 1963--1974 buf-rai QB
Walt Sweeney 1963--1975 sdg-was G
Winston Hill 1963--1977 nyj-ram T
Len Hauss 1964--1977 was C
Jerry Smith 1965--1977 was TE-SE-FL
Chris Hanburger 1965--1978 was LB
Curley Culp 1968--1981 kan-oti-det DT-NT-G
Claude Humphrey 1968--1981 atl-phi DE
Harold Jackson 1968--1983 ram-phi-nwe-min-sea WR-FL
Larry Brown 1969--1976 was RB
Bill Bergey 1969--1980 cin-phi LB
Lemar Parrish 1970--1982 cin-was-buf DB
Isiah Robertson 1971--1982 ram-buf LB
Harold Carmichael 1971--1984 phi-dal WR-TE
Riley Odoms 1972--1983 den TE
Randy Gradishar 1974--1983 den LB
Robert Brazile 1975--1984 oti LB
name years teams pos
Charlie Conerly 1948--1961 nyg QB
John Brodie 1957--1973 sfo QB
Daryle Lamonica 1963--1974 buf-rai QB
Larry Brown 1969--1976 was RB
Pat Harder 1946--1953 crd-det FB-LB
Tank Younger 1949--1958 ram-pit FB-LB-HB
Rick Casares 1955--1966 chi-was-mia FB
Don Perkins 1961--1968 dal FB-HB
Verne Lewellen 1924--1932 gnb-nya B
Harold Jackson 1968--1983 ram-phi-nwe-min-sea WR-FL
Harold Carmichael 1971--1984 phi-dal WR-TE
Lavvie Dilweg 1926--1934 mil-gnb E
Mac Speedie 1946--1952 cle E
Billy Howton 1952--1963 gnb-cle-dal E
Pete Retzlaff 1956--1966 phi E-HB-TE
Lionel Taylor 1959--1968 chi-den-oti E-WR-FL
Del Shofner 1957--1967 ram-nyg E-DB
Jerry Smith 1965--1977 was TE-SE-FL
Riley Odoms 1972--1983 den TE
Duke Slater 1922--1931 rii-mil-crd T
George Christensen 1931--1938 det T-G
Al Wistert 1943--1951 phi T-G-DT
Dick Schafrath 1959--1971 cle T-G-DE
Winston Hill 1963--1977 nyj-ram T
Riley Matheson 1939--1948 ram-det-sfo G
Bucko Kilroy 1943--1955 phi G-MG-T-DT
Jerry Kramer 1958--1968 gnb G
Walt Sweeney 1963--1975 sdg-was G
Mick Tingelhoff 1962--1978 min C
Len Hauss 1964--1977 was C
Jim Marshall 1960--1979 cle-min DE
Jerry Mays 1961--1970 kan DE-DT
Ron McDole 1961--1978 crd-oti-buf-was DE-DT
Claude Humphrey 1968--1981 atl-phi DE
Don Colo 1950--1958 bcl-nyy-dtx-cle DT
Bob Gain 1952--1964 cle DT-DE-MG-T
Alex Karras 1958--1970 det DT
Curley Culp 1968--1981 kan-oti-det DT-NT-G
Chuck Howley 1958--1973 chi-dal LB
Larry Grantham 1960--1972 nyj LB
Maxie Baughan 1960--1974 phi-ram-was LB
Mike Stratton 1962--1973 buf-sdg LB
Chris Hanburger 1965--1978 was LB
Bill Bergey 1969--1980 cin-phi LB
Isiah Robertson 1971--1982 ram-buf LB
Randy Gradishar 1974--1983 den LB
Robert Brazile 1975--1984 oti LB
Bobby Dillon 1952--1959 gnb DB
Jimmy Patton 1955--1966 nyg DB
Erich Barnes 1958--1971 chi-nyg-cle DB
Eddie Meador 1959--1970 ram DB
Johnny Robinson 1960--1971 kan DB-FL-HB
Cornell Green 1962--1974 dal DB
Lemar Parrish 1970--1982 cin-was-buf DB

Note: After some deliberation, we've decided to leave Jim Tyrer off the list. Tyrer's resume is Canton-worthy, but after his murder-suicide in 1980, he has never come close to garnering any Hall of Fame support. The goal of this project is to get players on the ballot who were deserving but have been forgotten. Tyrer has not been forgotten, and it's difficult to imagine 80% of the committee ever voting for Tyrer or even choosing him as a seniors candidate. Therefore, he's not going to make our cut.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 17th, 2010 at 8:11 am and is filed under Announcements, HOF. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.