Let's presume that previously retired players waiting for eligibility are amongst the 35 players inducted between then and now (i.e. Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher). This would be accomplished within the five years that the current players would not be eligible. Selected from only this last years current rosters, who would be your top seven inductees?
As I began writing this article I began to think about what criteria Hall of Fame Voters must use. The biggest dilemma that I faced was whether personal accomplishments or Superbowl appearances and wins were more favorable statistics. Certain people suggest that you should simply be able to look at a player or coach, and without blinking, say yes-or-no, with regards to their Canton induction. If you slightly hesitate, their answer is 'no'. How do you view this theory? If a maximum of seven players are aloud as 'first ballot' inductees, here is a breakdown of my seven.
I began to understand that both personal accomplishments and Superbowl wins are circumstantial with regards to Hall of Fame induction. But without blinking, there are two candidates who's inductions are undeniable. One does not succeed the other. In fact, who's name is read first would be a separate debate. The two men have been premiere rivals, and faces of the NFL for the past decade. Assuming he wins MVP this year, Peyton Manning (5 time MVP) is first. He has two Superbowl appearances with a single ring. Tom Brady is the other, leading his franchise to 5 Superbowl appearances, with 3 rings. He himself is 2 time MVP. These are inductees are unquestioned.
5 ballot slots left.
The need for Superbowl appearances and wins means nothing with regards to my third ballot selection, for Tony Gonzalez needs no introduction. The greatest Tight End of all time never sniffed a championship, but will not be denied the honor of first ballot candidacy.
My fourth inductee is my final snap decision inductee. Without blinking I view this person as an absolute patriarch, with a mind for the game of football amongst the greatest of all time. Bill Belichec holds the same post season credentials as his fellow inductee, Tom Brady does. He deserves first ballot induction.
Three ballot slots left.
Rather than discussing who deserves 'first ballot' induction, with only three slots left, a more appropriate question is who deserves 'first ballot' induction MORE. Here's what I mean.
Let's save the quarterbacks for the final discussion, since their Superbowl accomplishments are identical. When I was trying to decide which of the best two wide receivers deserved the selection, it occurred to me that neither the flashiest receiver of our past decade with a Superbowl appearance, nor the League's leading yardage receiver would get my vote. The current active receiver who I would be my induction would be the Superbowl Champion Reggie Wayne. He did his job for more than a decade, every Sunday, with consecutive games played in records. He also has a ring.
However, my sixth inductee would likely be a man who's post season record is almost non-existent. In face, a man that missed the single season yardage record by seven total yards. Adrian Peterson deserve my first ballot vote, single handedly leading his team to regular season success, and a post season appearance. He has undoubtedly been the past decades most dynamic running back.
One ballot slot left.
This slot should be opened for discussion. The difference between Brees and Rodgers is miniscule. Do either overshadow the accomplishments of Calvin Johnson? We have not a single offensive lineman even in the discussion. No defensive player so far would be a 'first ballot'or. Does Richard Sherman or Darrelle Revis deserve such honor? Ben Roethlisberger has two Superbowl wins and a third appearance. Would that be enough to outshine Brees or Rodgers?
For the sake of finalizing my list, and because of such domination at his position for such an immense amount of time, I'll make Darrelle Revis my seventh, first ballot inductee.
What would your list look like? Feel free to grade mine.
My first ballot inductee's if all current players retired this year: