Pro football's Hall of Very Good (yes, it exists!)

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Jul 31, 2011



At right: former Steel Curtain stalwart Andy Russell (No. 34), is a candidate for the Pro Football Researchers Association's Class of 2011 Hall of Very Good.
 
By Ken Crippen
 
Pro football historians constantly argue over whether a player belongs in the Hall of Fame. Usually, the discussion involves some variance on the following statement, "That player belongs in the Hall of Very Good, not the Hall of Fame."
 
Well, did you know that the Hall of Very Good actually exists? It does and it is run by the Professional Football Researchers Association (PFRA).
 
The Professional Football Researchers Association was founded in 1979 as a 501(c)(3) educational organization dedicated to research into and the preservation of the history of pro football. Membership includes many of the foremost football historians and authors.
 
Begun in 2003, the Hall of Very Good seeks to honor outstanding players and coaches who are not in the Hall of Fame and have been retired for at least 25 years. The PFRA does not promote any of the electees for the Hall of Fame nor does it view the Hall of Very Good as a springboard for the Hall of Fame. They simply recognize that there are many players and coaches who had great careers who deserve to be recognized.
 
In June, the PFRA announced the finalists for the Hall of Very Good Class of 2011. The members of the PFRA were asked to select five players whom they felt were deserving of the honor. A committee of nine then ranked the players to determine the top 20 candidates. Those 20 candidates are the finalists, and for the Class of 2011, they are (in alphabetical order):
 
Ken Anderson
Position: Quarterback
Teams: Cincinnati Bengals 1971-86
 
(Note: Cold, Hard Football Facts launched a very public campaign this year to put Anderson into the Pro Football Hall of Fame; this action was taken independent of the PFRA which, as stated above, does not view the Hall of Very Good as a springboard to the Hall of Fame.)

Bill Bergey
Position: Linebacker
Teams: Cincinnati Bengals 1969-1973, Philadelphia Eagles 1974-1980
 
Cliff Branch
Position: Wide Receiver
Teams: Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders 1972-1985
 
Ray Bray
Position: Guard
Teams: Chicago Bears 1939-42 and 1946-51, Green Bay Packers 1952
 
Charley Brock
Position: Center-Halfback-Fullback
Teams: Green Bay Packers 1939-47
 
Bobby Dillon
Position: Defensive Back
Teams: Green Bay Packers 1952-1959
 
Ken Gray
Position: Guard
Teams: 1958-1969 St. Louis/Chicago Cardinals, 1970 Houston Oilers
 
Cliff Harris
Positions: Free Safety
Teams: Dallas Cowboys 1970-1979
 
Harold Jackson
Position: Wide Receiver
Teams: Los Angeles Rams 1968, Philadelphia Eagles 1969-1972, Los Angeles Rams 1973-1977, New England Patriots 1978-1981, Minnesota Vikings 1982, Seattle Seahawks 1983
 
George Kunz
Position: Tackle
Teams: 1969-1974 Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Colts 1975-1978, 1980
 
Paul Lowe
Position: Halfback
Teams: Los Angeles Chargers 1960, San Diego Chargers 1961-1968, Kansas City Chiefs 1968-1969
 
Harvey Martin
Positions: Defensive End
Teams: Dallas Cowboys 1973-83
 
Eddie Meador
Position: Defensive Back
Teams: Los Angeles Rams 1959-70
 
Lydell Mitchell
Position: Running Back
Teams: Baltimore Colts 1972-77, San Diego Chargers 1978-79, Los Angeles Rams 1980
 
Ted Nesser
Position: Tackle-Center-Head Coach
Teams: Columbus Panhandles 1920-21
 
Andy Russell
Positions: Linebacker
Teams: Pittsburgh Steelers 1963-76
 
Lou Saban
Position: Head Coach
Teams: Boston Patriots 1960-1961, Buffalo Bills 1962-1965, Denver Broncos 1967-1971, Buffalo Bills 1972-1976
 
Who could ever forget Saban in this NFL Films classic clip?
 
show video here
 

Tom Sestak
Position: Defensive Tackle
Teams: Buffalo Bills 1962-1968
 
Jerry Smith
Position: Tight End
Teams: Washington Redskins 1965-1977
 
Buddy Young
Position: Halfback-Fullback-Defensive Back
Teams: New York Yankees 1947-49, New York Yanks 1950-51, Dallas Texans 1952, Baltimore Colts 1953-55
  
The Class of 2011 will be announced by the end of the year.    
 
Previous Hall of Very Good enshrines are:

Class of 2010

Robert Brazile, 1975-84 – LB 
Ed Budde, 1963-76 – G
Don Coryell, 1972-86 – Head Coach
Ox Emerson, 1931-38 – G, C, LB
Chuck Foreman, 1973-80 – RB
Bob Gain, 1952, 1954-64 – T, MG, E
Riley Matheson, 1939-48 – G, LB
Jimmy Patton, 1955-66 – DB
Drew Pearson, 1973-83 – WR
Ken Riley, 1969-83 – CB

Class of 2009
Bruno Banducci, 1944-54 – G 
Harold Carmichael, 1971-84 – WR
Blanton Collier, Browns assistant coach 1946-53 and 1962 and head coach 1963-70
Boyd Dowler, 1959-69, 71 – WR
Claude Humphrey, 1968-74, 1976-81 – DE
Ken Kavanaugh, 1940-41, 1945-50 – E
Verne Lewellen, 1924-32 – HB
Walt Sweeney, 1963-75 – G

Class of 2008
Dick Barwegen, 1947-54 – G
Randy Gradishar, 1974-83 – LB
Bob Hoernschmeyer, 1946-55 – HB
Cecil Isbell, 1938-42 – TB
Buddy Parker, 1951-64 – Coach
Spec Sanders, 1946-50 – TB
Jim Ray Smith, 1956-64 – G
Billy Wilson, 1951-60 - WR

Class of 2007:
Frankie Albert, 1946-1952 - QB
Roger Brown, 1960-1969 - DT
Timmy Brown, 1959-1968 - RB
Marshall Goldberg, 1939-1948 - B
Jim Lee Howell, 1937-1947, 1954-1960 - E
Glenn Presnell, 1931-1936 - B
Dick Schafrath, 1959-1971 - T
Jake Scott, 1970-1978 - DB
Ed Sprinkle, 1944-1955 - DE
Tank Younger, 1949-1958 - HB-FB

Class of 2006:
Charley Conerly, 1948-1961 - QB
John Hadl, 1962-1977 - QB
Chuck Howley, 1958-1973 - LB
Alex Karras, 1958-1970 - DT
Eugene Lipscomb, 1953-1962 - DT
Kyle Rote, 1951-1961 - E-HB
Dick Stanfel, 1952-1958 - G
Otis Taylor, 1965-1975 - WR
Fuzzy Thurston, 1958-1967 - G
Deacon Dan Towler, 1950-1955 - FB

Class of 2005:
Maxie Baughan, 1960-1974 - LB
Jim Benton, 1938-1947 - E
Lavvie Dilweg, 1926-1934 - E
Pat Harder, 1946-1953 - FB
Floyd Little*, 1967-1975 - RB
Tommy Nobis, 1966-1976 - LB
Pete Retzlaff, 1956-1966 - HB-E
Tobin Rote, 1950-1966 - QB
Lou Rymkus, 1943, 1946-1951 - T
Del Shofner, 1957-1967 - E

Class of 2004:
Gene Brito, 1951-1960 - DE
John Brodie, 1957-1973 - QB
Jack Butler, 1951-1959 - DB
Chris Hanburger*, 1965-1978 - LB
Bob Hayes*, 1965-1975 - SE-WR
Billy Howton, 1952-1963 - E
Jim Marshall, 1960-1979 - DE
Al Nesser, 1920-1928, 1931 - G
Dave Robinson, 1963-1974 - LB
Duke Slater, 1922-1931 - T

Class of 2003:
Gino Cappelletti, 1960-1970 - E-K
Carl Eller*, 1964-1979 - DE
Pat Fischer, 1961-1977 - DB
Benny Friedman*, 1927-1934 - TB
Gene Hickerson*, 1958-1973 - G
Jerry Kramer, 1958-1968 - G
Johnny Robinson, 1960-1971 - DB
Mac Speedie, 1946-1952 - E
Mick Tingelhoff, 1962-1978 - C
Al Wistert, 1943-1951 - T

*Voted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame after induction into the Hall of Very Good.

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