December 9, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers former player Derrick Brooks is introduced during the 10th anniversary of the 2002 Super Bowl champions during halftimduring the second half at Raymond James Stadium. The Eagles won 23-21. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Some fans may be wondering about the latest slate of NFL Hall of Fame semifinalists. Here is a power rankings list detailing which ones have the best chance to get in the 2014 class.
#1 – Walter Jones – OT
Part of being a Hall of Fame player is demonstrating consistent excellence until the day one retires. Offensive tackle Walter Jones dominated for Seattle for 11 years, making the Pro Bowl nine times including the last eight seasons of his career.
#2 – Michael Strahan – DE
There is something to be said for players who go out on top. Michael Strahan got his ring over the perfect Patriots and ended the 2007 playoff run with two sacks, two forced fumbles and 21 tackles. Never mind the fact he finished with 141.5 career sacks.
#3 – Derrick Brooks – OLB
He’s very fortunate he became eligible in a year light on linebackers but Derrick Brooks was a dominant player in Tampa Bay.
#4 – Marvin Harrison – WR
Some might scoff at the fact Marvin Harrison didn’t get going until Peyton Manning arrived, but that shouldn’t matter. From 1999 to 2006 he had at 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns every year. He has eight Pro Bowls, a ring and the single-season record for receptions with 143. A poster boy for consistency.
#5 – Charles Haley – DE
For a game and a league that likes to get behind winners more often than stat guys, it’s amazing defensive end Charles Haley isn’t in. Aside from being a great defensive end and five-time Pro Bowler, he is the only player in NFL history with five Super Bowl titles.
#6 – Tim Brown – WR
If only he had won a championship. Having that ring would make Tim Brown a lock because his numbers are off the charts. With over 1,000 receptions, 14,900 yards and 105 touchdowns he was as close to uncoverable as a wide receiver could get.
#7 – Will Shields – OG
Guards get a bad break in the Hall of Fame voting because of lacking statistics. Yet Will Shields was nonetheless a special player who reached 12 Pro Bowls. Having him on the field made the Kansas City Chiefs one of the best running teams for over a decade.
#8 – Kevin Greene – OLB
His growing success as a coach will start to help Kevin Greene in the Hall of Fame voting. The former outside linebacker finally got his ring with the Green Bay Packers as their linebackers coach. Never mind the fact he was a pretty good player with 160 career sacks.
#9 – Eddie DeBartolo Jr. – Owner
How his NFL life ended in controversy is why Eddie DeBartolo Jr. hasn’t already made it. The man completely changed the culture of the San Francisco 49ers, setting them on the path to five Super Bowl titles, the only owner ever to win that many.
#10 – Terrell Davis – RB
If Gale Sayers made it to the Hall of Fame playing in just 68 games, Terrell Davis should not be slighted because he had a short career since he accomplished far more than Sayers. He won two Super Bowls, was Super Bowl MVP, league MVP, ran for 2,000 yards in 1998 and scored 65 touchdowns in just seven seasons.
#11 – Jimmy Johnson – Coach
The architect of the Dallas Cowboys dynasty in the 1990s, Jimmy Johnson has two rings. Unfortunately his controversial exit from that job and subsequent inability to find similar success with another team could hold him back, which is a shame.
#12 – Jerome Bettis – RB
“The Bus” was a tough, relentless runner for over a decade. Yes, he does have more Pro Bowls than Davis and more career yards but he also only topped double digit touchdowns once. That being said, he’s got a ring and his numbers should eventually carry him the rest of the way.
#13 – Andre Reed – WR
His quarterback and running backs teammates are already in. Andre Reed was the last key piece of that iconic K-Gun offense the Buffalo Bills rode to four-straight Super Bowls. He went to seven Pro Bowls and finished with over 13,000 yards despite playing in the notorious Buffalo weather.
#14 – Don Coryell – Coach
If he had been able to find a defensive coordinator worth mentioning, then Don Coryell would have made it a decade ago. That is how good and how revolutionary his offenses were in the ’70s and ’80s. What he has done for the game itself can’t be ignored forever.
#15 – Tony Dungy – Coach
The father of the highly successful Tampa-2 defense, Tony Dungy is the first African-American head coach to win a Super Bowl. He turned the hapless Tampa Bay Buccaneers into contenders and got Peyton Manning his only ring.
#16 – John Lynch – S
One of Dungy’s best players and the third critical piece of the famed 2002 Buccaneers defense. John Lynch was a fierce hitter for 14 years, making nine Pro Bowl while collecting over 1,000 tackles, 26 interceptions and 13.5 sacks.
#17 – Paul Tagliabue – Commissioner
The guy who is often forgotten by many between the eras of Pete Rozelle and Roger Goodell, Paul Tagliabue oversaw perhaps the most important stretch of the NFL as a league. He instituted the era of free agency, expanded to 32 teams, and is considered the father of “parity” in the league which is why games have become so close every year.
#18 – Aeneas Williams – CB
He wasn’t flashy like Deion Sanders, but Aeneas Williams may have been better player. Aside from going to eight Pro Bowls as well, he had two more interceptions (55) and over 180 more tackles in his career. Even Sanders’ teammate, Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman says Williams was better.
#19 – Joe Jacoby – OL
The Washington Redskins offensive line had a lot of folklore surrounding them during their dominant run in the 1980s and early ’90s. Joe Jacoby was a huge part of that, winning three Super Bowls and reaching four Pro Bowls.
#20 – Karl Mecklenburg – LB
Being part of a defense that gave up a combined 138 points in three Super Bowl trips has really overshadowed how great of a player Karl Mecklenberg was. Not only did he have 79.5 sacks in his career, but also 1,100 tackles. A true testament to his versatility.
#21 – Roger Craig – RB
A man who revolutionized the running back position. Roger Craig was the first ever to rush and receive for 1,000 yards apiece in a season. He has three championships to his credit along with over 13,000 all-purpose yards and 75 touchdowns.
#22 – George Young – GM
Together with Bill Parcells, George Young constructed one of the best teams of the 1980s. His New York Giants won Supers Bowls in 1986 and 1990, featuring some of the most dominant defenses in NFL history.
#23 – Steve Wisniewski – OG
He came along during a largely dead period for the Oakland Raiders but didn’t let that stop him from becoming one of the best offensive linemen in the game. Playing 12 years, he made eight Pro Bowls and made an otherwise quiet era a little easier to watch.
#24 – Steve Atwater – S
In the safety-infused modern era, it will be easy for voters to look down on Steve Atwater, who was probably one of the greatest hitters in league history. That belies how good of a player he actually was, making 1,180 tackles and snagging 24 interceptions. Reaching three Super Bowls and winning two of them should hurt his cause either.
#25 – Morten Andersen – K
His career was a marvelous picture of excellence and consistency. He always stepped up in big games too. Tragically, kickers and special teams players are looked down upon for not being real football players. So until Adam Vinatieri gets it, Morten Andersen won’t.