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Friday, October 14, 2011

Witnessing Greatness - Quarterbacks

In August, the Pro Football Hall of Fame inducted one of its most accomplished classes of players. Marshall Faulk, Deion Sanders, Shannon Sharpe were among the inductees. Players, likely to be inducted within the next few years, such as Cris Carter, Willie Roaf, Curtis Martin, and Jerome Bettis had to be passed over because of the eligibility of so many great players.

This season, players such as Tiki Barber, Keyshawn Johnson, and Drew Bledsoe are among the modern era nominees for the 2012 class. Not long ago, we were looking at these players’ names in box scores (and Barber could be in box scores again soon if he has his way). This gave me pause to reflect upon which players are playing now that we can expect to see with a bust in Canton, Ohio one day.

Today is the first part of a series of articles in which we look at possible future Hall of Fame players, beginning with quarterbacks.


Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts – Possibly the greatest quarterback of all time. In the unlikely event that Manning does not return from neck surgery, his place is football history is very secure.

Tom Brady, New England Patriots – If not the best, then one of the two best quarterbacks playing the game right now (Aaron Rodgers being the other).

First name, "No,"; Last name, "Brainers" 1

Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints – Brees would have a chance of enshrinement if he retired now. Each stellar performance, however, further cements Brees’ induction into the Hall.

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers – Three Super Bowl appearances, two championships, and a host of Pro Bowls and other awards have probably all but guaranteed Roethlisberger’s enshrinement if he plays competently for a few more seasons.

Donovan McNabb, Minnesota Vikings – McNabb’s resume through the first eleven years of his career should be sufficient to get him into Canton. He would help his cause, however, if he can help the Vikings break out of their 1-4 funk, in addition to one more Pro Bowl worthy season.

Brees has already done the heavy lifting for his Hall of Fame case. The Lombardi trophy, not his son.... 2


Each year, there are over 100 nominees for the Hall of Fame, eventually trimmed down to no more than 7 players receiving enshrinement. The following are players who have had quality careers and will likely receive nomination, but are not likely to be enshrined.

Matt Hasselbeck, Tennessee Titans – Six playoff appearances, including five straight…five division championships, including four straight, and one NFC Championship. Three time Pro Bowler…. Hasselbeck lacked a high level dominating presence through an extended period of time.

Kerry Collins, Indianapolis Colts – Tenth all time in NFL career passing yards, with over 40,000; four playoff appearances, three division championships, one NFC championship. Two time Pro Bowler…. Collins lacks the completion percentage, touchdown to interception ratio, awards or efficiency to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

A win in Super Bowl XL may have pushed Hasselbeck a little closer to the front of the line. 3


There are some players who, due to tenure or lack of total career accomplishments, could not realistically receive consideration for the Hall of Fame if their careers ended today. However, if they stay on their current paths, they probably will wear the crème colored jacket one day.

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers – Brett Favre may be surprised that Rodgers did not lead the Packers to a Super Bowl win sooner. I will be surprised if Rodgers does not, at least, bring the Packers back to one.

Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers – A very long career, playing at the level he plays at today, and/or some Super Bowl hardware will probably put Rivers’ famous face on a bronze bust.

Eli Manning, New York Giants – Manning took the first step away from the shadow of his older brother, Peyton, when he led his team to a win over the previously unbeaten New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. Another trip to the big game will probably put Manning on the Hall of Fame Committee’s radar after his career is over.

Rodgers' first Super Bowl win...may not be his last. 4

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