Is there a bias against Cowboys in the Hall of Fame?
By RICK GOSSELIN / The Dallas Morning News
CANTON, Ohio – The Cowboys faithful believe Drew Pearson belongs in the Hall of Fame.
The Cowboys faithful believe Cliff Harris and Harvey Martin also belong in the Hall of Fame. Again, I wouldn’t argue against those points. Harris and Martin also were all-decade selections in the 1970s, and Martin is the franchise’s sack leader.
But the Packers believe Jerry Kramer, Dave Robinson and Bobby Dillon all belong. I also wouldn’t argue against those points. Kramer was the only guard selected to the NFL’s 50th anniversary team, Robinson was an all-decade linebacker in the 1960s and Dillon intercepted 52 passes during an eight-year career in the 1950s.
The Steelers believe L.C. Greenwood, Andy Russell and Jack Butler all belong. The Raiders believe Ken Stabler, Ray Guy and Cliff Branch all belong. The Chiefs believe Johnny Robinson, Otis Taylor and Ed Budde all belong.
The Eagles believe Maxie Baughan, Pete Retzlaff and Al Wistert all belong. The Bears believe Ed Sprinkle, Harlon Hill and Dick Barwagen all belong. The Rams believe Eddie Meador, Les Richter and Tank Younger all belong.
And I wouldn’t argue against any of those points, either. All were players of great accomplishment who are now seniors and deserve to be discussed by the Hall of Fame selection committee. None have been enshrined, and few have even been considered.
The bottom line is there are 26 established franchises in the NFL, and every one believes it has three or four players who have been unfairly passed over by the Hall of Fame selection process.
That’s roughly 80 candidates right there, from which the Hall of Fame seniors committee can nominate only two per year. And the senior talent pool swells by the year. The bottom line is not everyone can or will get into Canton.
Does that constitute a Cowboys bias? That’s a difficult point to argue these days. Today, Emmitt Smith will become the fifth Cowboy enshrined in Canton in the last five years. If the Hall of Fame selection committee is trying to keep Cowboys out of Canton, it’s been failing.
The Cowboys won five Super Bowls and will have 10 players enshrined in Canton. Let’s use that as a rule of thumb – two enshrinees per championship. The New York Giants have won seven championships and have 14 players enshrined. The Green Bay Packers won five NFL titles in the 1960s and have 10 players enshrined from that era.
But the Packers can argue there’s a Canton prejudice against their franchise. Green Bay has won 12 titles all-time but has only 19 Hall of Fame players. That’s five short of the two-per-championship-team quota. Does that constitute a Packers bias?
The Eagles have won three titles but have only four players in Canton to show for the 76 years they have been in business. Does that constitute an Eagles bias? The Broncos have won two titles but have only three enshrinees to show for their 51 years as a franchise. Does that constitute a Broncos bias?
Any perceived bias rests in the eyes, hearts and minds of a particular rooting interest.
There are more Cowboys already in the queue. Defensive end Charles Haley was a finalist in 2010, and cornerback Deion Sanders will be a finalist in 2011. With two all-decade selections – one for the 1990s and another for the 2000s – offensive lineman Larry Allen is destined for enshrinement.
Linebacker Chuck Howley , the MVP of Super Bowl V, could be the next Cowboy to come out of the senior pool. But Dallas has had three senior nominees in the last seven years, so he may have to wait a spell.
Owner Jerry Jones also looms as a candidate if and when the Hall of Fame adopts a contributor category. His marketing ideas changed the way the NFL sells itself. Jones also has won three Super Bowls and built the league’s state-of-the-art stadium.)