Defenders who belong
Cold, Hard Football Facts for Aug 01, 2006
See the complete HOF bias chronicles, including:
- discrimination in the Hall of Fame
- Warren Moon: 2006 poster child for HOF bias
- the evolution of HOF bias
- discussion of HOF bias on Fox Sports Radio
Numerous defensive players deserve Hall of Fame consideration. We've compiled a short list of three who have never even been among the 15 yearly finalists.
If wide receivers like Fred Biletnikoff and Lynn Swann merit entry into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, so too do these three defenders.
Biletnikoff, for the record, had just one 1,000-yard season in his 14-year career with the pass-happy Oakland Raiders and averaged just 42 catches a season.
Swann averaged just 37 catches per season and never topped the 900-yard receiving mark. At least he was part of four Super Bowl champions. Biletnikoff played on just one.
Still, neither Biletnikoff nor Swann deserved Hall of Fame consideration ahead of these three defensive players:
Mike Curtis, MLB
(Baltimore Colts, 1965-75; Seattle, 1976; Washington, 1977-78)
Curtis joined the NFL in 1965 and helped make the Colts defense one of football's most dominant forces over the next decade. From 1965 to 1972, the Colts ranked No. 1, 2 or 3 in scoring five times. He anchored the defense for two conference champions and two of the stingiest defenses in modern NFL history. The 1968 Colts surrendered just 10.29 PPG and went 13-1 before falling to the Jets in Super Bowl III. The 1971 Colts surrendered just 10.0 PPG and went 10-4 before losing to Miami in the AFC title game. Curtis scored the winning points in the 1968 divisional playoffs, with a 60-yard fumble return for a TD against Minnesota. In the NFL title game the following week, the Colts shutout a Cleveland team that averaged 28.1 PPG in arguably the greatest defensive peformance in modern postseason history. Curtis had an interception in Baltimore's 16-13 win over Dallas in Super Bowl V and appeared in four Pro Bowls.
Joe Klecko, DL
(N.Y. Jets, 1977-87; Indianapolis, 1988)
Klecko was a Pro Bowler at all three positions along the defensive line: nose tackle, tackle and end. He is the only player in NFL history to reach the Pro Bowl from three different positions. He was the centerpiece of the famed New York Sack Exchange of 1981, when the Jets' defensive line recorded more than 50 sacks. Sacks were not kept as an official NFL statistic until the following season, but Klecko may have had as many as 16 of them from his defensive tackle position that season. The 1981 and 1985 Jets ranked among the best defenses in franchise history, and four of the organization's 11 playoff appearances came on Klecko's watch. Klecko also deserved Oscar consideration for his work in the star-studded ensemble cast of "Cannonball Run."
Andre Tippett, OLB (see last year's "Compelling cases for Canton")
(New England, 1982-88; 1990-93)
Tippett holds the franchise sack record (100), shares the mark for fumble recoveries (17) and was selected to five straight Pro Bowls. He had the misfortune of playing for a second-rate franchise and in the shadow of the most dominant outside linebacker in NFL history, Lawrence Taylor. But their numbers are pretty comparable: Taylor averaged 5.9 tackles per game; Tippett averaged 5.15; Taylor averaged 0.77 sacks per game; Tippett averaged 0.66; Taylor produced 20 turnovers in his career; Tippett produced 18. Taylor was named NFL MVP in 1986 with 20.5 sacks and 105 tackles; Tippett had a very comparable season in 1984 with 18.5 sacks and 118 tackles. Tippett was the dominant defensive performer on New England's 1985 Super Bowl team, the first in franchise history.
Forearm Shiver: the CHFF Blog
- Hockey Announcer Gone Wild: You Want To Party (Maybe) With This Guy
- Best Pass Defense Ever: Ronde Barber And The 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Reese Witherspoon Arrest Video: Hot, Bothered And Handcuffed
- Sam Adams In A Can, Just In Time For Summer Drinking Season
- Live From Radio City: Reporter Punks NFL Draft Fans
- The 5.0 Club: Best Rushing Teams in NFL History
- Sieves: The Worst Run Defenses In NFL History
- Monsters of the Midway: We Need The Chicago Bears More Than Ever
- Boston, Sports, Patriotism And Terror
- The 100 Stingiest Defenses In Football History
- NFL Crown Rule: Will It Dethrone Rushing King Adrian Peterson?
- Year Of The Offensive Tackle: Not Always The 'Safe' Draft Bet
- Draft Habits: NFL Teams Covet LBs, Duped By False Temptress WRs
- Big Tease: 2012 New England Patriots And NFL's History Of Offensive Failures
- Epic Fail: The Wide Receiver Draft Class Of 2012
Must See Videos