Former NFL safety Rodney Harrison, who’ll be offering opinions later this year for NBC, already has been offering some intriguing takes about the game he played for so many years.
And we usually have found ourselves agreeing with him.
Most recently, Harrison has sounded off on the process for determining the folks who secure admission to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
This time around, we disagree with Harrison.
Harrison is clamoring for change because he fears that he won’t get a fair shake via the current process, which puts enshrinement in the hands of 44 journalists — one representing each NFL team and a dozen at-large members.
He shared his views with Nancy Gay of FanHouse, who holds one of the 44 ballots.
“Probably not,” Harrison said of his chances for getting in,
“because just look how the NFL has looked at me all these years.
Ignoring my stats and my impact as a player and a teammate. Focusing on
Harrison suggests a different approach for determining the folks who’ll make it to Canton.
“I think [the selection board] should
be made up of football archeologists, historians, personnel managers,
people that know the game and have played the game,” Harrison said. “No disrespect to you guys. Maybe, even a handful of reporters should
be part of it.”
But there are some problems with his proposed formula.
First, there are no “football archeologists” who’ll be sifting through the rubble of Giants Stadium in search of Jimmy Hoffa’s watch. The closest thing to “football archeologists” are the folks who cover the sport for a living, and who have done so for a long time.
You know, the folks who currently vote on who get in to Canton.
Second, and more importantly, Harrison is basing his perception that he won’t make it to the Hall of Fame on the fact that, for example, he made it only to two Pro Bowls and that he consistently tops the list of the NFL’s dirtiest players.
But the folks who determine eligibility for Canton determine neither of those things.
As to the former, players, coaches, and fans vote for the Pro Bowl rosters. As to the latter, the most commonly referenced list of the league’s dirtiest players comes from a player poll conducted by Sports Illustrated.
So changing the rules won’t necessarily get him in — especially if any of the players and coaches who kept him out of the Pro Bowl and/or the players who consistently called him the dirtiest player in the league have a voice in the new procedure.
Frankly, it’s unknown whether the 44 folks who vote on membership in the Hall of Fame will reach the same conclusion. But it’s not as if the media has shunned him. Harrison twice was named an All-Pro by the Associated Press, and he once was named to the AP second team.
Of course, the fact that he is now calling for the voters to be stripped of their privileges likely won’t cause any of them to give him the benefit of the doubt when the time comes to consider whether he deserves enshrinement notwithstanding his reputation among his peers — and his four-game suspension in 2007 for HGH use.