Over the weekend, the Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrined its newest members. Richard Dent, Marshall Faulk, Chris Hanburger, Les Richter, Ed Sabol, Shannon Sharpe and Deion Sanders. These gentlemen are now part of a very exclusive club of professional football’s finest contributors.
During his speech, Shannon Sharpe mentioned that his brother, Sterling Sharpe, should be in the Hall of Fame. After hearing this and watching the rest of the ceremony celebrating the 2011 Hall of Fame Class, I began thinking about some men who deserve to be permanently immortalized in Canton, Ohio.
Everyone will bring up Chris Carter in a debate about who is missing from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Ranking fourth in history with 130 touchdown receptions and eighth with 13,899 receiving yards, he is on my list as well. However, there are a lot of good wide receivers. Carter was good, but he did not change the game or elevate his position.
I want to highlight one player and one personnel who really made a huge contribution to the game and changed the expectation of their positions. These men are Charles Haley and Paul Tagliabue.
Here is why.
Charles Haley – He was a force to be reckoned with on the field. He was the difference maker for the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys. In 12 seasons, he had just over 100 sacks. He was brash on the field and off the field. The media loved watching him play, but hated the way he treated them after the game. Some of them are now making him pay for it with their hall of fame vote. The man who holds the NFL record for most Super Bowl victories by a player should definitely be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Paul Tagliabue - He was the NFL Commissioner from 1989-2006. He is a brilliant attorney who is an expert in antitrust, communications and media law. In 17 years, he grew the NFL from 28 teams to 32 teams. He created the league wide internet network and the NFL Network. As a result of his leadership, the NFL was the first sports league to utilize the web and new media such as podcasting to engage fans. He can also be credited with the media deals that the league enjoys. He earned so much “street cred” that fans endearingly call him “The Commish.” Canton will have to welcome him soon.
Who do you think deserves to go to Canton next?Ciao!
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