Skip to content

Lynn Swann should tread lightly when talking about Hall of Fame qualifications

Zz04Y2ZjODE2NDFhMDBiNDBjMDA2Y2M1MGIyMTU2OTRjZg== AP

Hall of Fame receiver Lynn Swann makes a good point about the Hall of Fame credentials of Lions receiver Calvin Johnson. Megatron simply may not have done enough in nine NFL seasons to earn a spot in Canton. By making the case against Johnson, however, Swann opens himself up for questions about his own spot in the Hall of Fame.

There’s no way the bronze bust will disintegrate, but that doesn’t mean folks can’t ask how Swann made it and argue that he shouldn’t have. Ultimately, he made it for two reasons: team accomplishments and his performance in Super Bowl X. So when Swann says Johnson doesn’t have the team accomplishments to get in, Swann is boosting his own presence by pointing out that it’s more about team achievements than individuals ones.

Indeed, if it’s about individual achievements, Swann has no business being there. He’s 222nd on the all-time receiving yardage list, via Pro Football Reference.

Not 22nd. Two hundred and 22nd.

The knee-jerk response will be this: The game has changed dramatically since then, allowing plenty of more modern players to pass him by. It’s a fair point, until considering the list.

The guy at 221, Jerry Smith with 5,496 yards, played from 1965-77. Chris Burford at 219 played from 1960-67. Ray Renfro at 218 played from 1952-63.

How about Max Speedie at 209? He generated 5,602 yards from 1946-52. Danny Abramowicz at 201 played from 1967-74. Gail Cogdill at 198 played from 1960-70.

Calvin Johnson is at 27, with 11,619 yards. That’s well over twice the amount that Swann generated for his career. And if Calvin Johnson had played for the Steelers of the ’70s, he’d easily be in the Hall of Fame.

Johnson may not make it as a Lion. But Swann probably shouldn’t have made it as a Steeler.

Permalink 85 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Detroit Lions, Home, Pittsburgh Steelers, Rumor Mill
85 Responses to “Lynn Swann should tread lightly when talking about Hall of Fame qualifications”
  1. jjb0811 says: Feb 10, 2016 10:49 AM

    Difference is in 30 years will we remember anyone from the Lions over the past 10-15 years? Nope. But even 20 something’s know about the steel curtain and 4 rings.

  2. nbptma1 says: Feb 10, 2016 10:51 AM

    Well put!

  3. levanderwilliams says: Feb 10, 2016 10:51 AM

    EXACTLY!!

  4. paulieorkid says: Feb 10, 2016 10:53 AM

    As a Steeler fan, it comes as disappointing that Swannie would take this position, and even worse that he’d go public with it.

    Many could argue Swann got into the Hall with less than stellar individual stats – and he was far from a shoo-in. So it comes off pretty rough to hear him put Megatron on blast.

    Megatron’s shortcomings have nothing to do with his own effort, skill or production. They are a function of pure chance. The same argument could be made about Swann being the beneficiary of pure chance.

    I hope Swannie diplomatically retracts this statement, and owns it too. Calvin was a great player, and should not be belittled — least of all for factors entirely outside of his control.

  5. In Teddy We Trust says: Feb 10, 2016 10:53 AM

    I suppose Swann doesn’t think Barry Sanders should be in the Hall of Fame either.

  6. Florio Believer says: Feb 10, 2016 10:53 AM

    Swann has as much business being in the HOF as I do…it was as much his position on MNF that got him in as anything.

  7. flicka727 says: Feb 10, 2016 10:54 AM

    As a rabid steelers fan I am embarrassed for Lynn.

  8. tim2200 says: Feb 10, 2016 10:56 AM

    Thank you Mike Florio for drop kicking Lynn Swann right back to Pittsburgh.
    Swann was known for his acrobatic catches not his ability to take over a game.
    He’d be a JAG in today’s game.

  9. scarecrow32 says: Feb 10, 2016 10:57 AM

    Florio: you nailed it.

  10. beedubyatoo says: Feb 10, 2016 10:58 AM

    jjb0811 says:
    Feb 10, 2016 10:49 AM

    Difference is in 30 years will we remember anyone from the Lions over the past 10-15 years? Nope. But even 20 something’s know about the steel curtain and 4 rings.
    ————————
    So nobody will remember Barry Sanders?

  11. dubblelznhell says: Feb 10, 2016 10:58 AM

    Calvin Johnson is 31……not 27

  12. thestrategyexpert says: Feb 10, 2016 10:59 AM

    Maybe he didn’t mean it as a personally professional slight and this is his way of trying to motivate Calvin Johnson to continue playing to add to his career legacy and to continue to pursue a championship. He had to know he would take flak for it, and perhaps he thought it was worth it for the benefit of an all-time great’s sake despite his own personal inconvenience.

  13. fahqnfl says: Feb 10, 2016 11:00 AM

    I like the comment from the previous post :

    Lynn, if CJ was on your team, in your era, you would have been cut!

    CJ is the only lions player I’ll remember in the next 10-15 years
    The man dominated at his position.
    CJ gets my vote!

  14. steelerben says: Feb 10, 2016 11:02 AM

    There are arguments that could be made against a lot of guys in the hall. The arguments that matter more are the ones that put them in at the time.

  15. buckethead1 says: Feb 10, 2016 11:02 AM

    Guy made a difference in the post season where legends are made….Calvin Johnson if he’s truly retired belongs on the Hall of Very Good….

  16. dhwight says: Feb 10, 2016 11:07 AM

    The difference to me is that Swann was a different type of player than we had seen prior to his arrival in football. His leaping ability and grace seemed head and shoulders above anything we were used to seeing.

    Anyone who saw Doctor J play experienced the same thing. No one mentions him as the GOAT but everyone who saw him play in the era before MJ and others remembers how he played above the rim and was wowed by his talent.

    It is not always about statistics OR championships.

    BTW I am neither a Steelers fan nor a 76ers fan but you just had to appreciate and respect talent when it was head and shoulders above the people around him.

  17. 12stabler2branch21 says: Feb 10, 2016 11:07 AM

    Swann, Bob Griese and Dungy are the proof the NFL hof are a joke. Swann was soft and isn’t the player that Stallworth and Ward were. Griese ‘ s most memorable highlights are handing off to Czonka 25 times a game, only modern hof QB without a 4th quarter comeback. Dungy has a really sad postseason record 9-10, and take out the SB season and 5-10 is the record. Had 4 one and done in TB/Indy.

  18. 6ball says: Feb 10, 2016 11:07 AM

    .
    The success of a WR is largely dependant on your team and QB. If Megatron had been drafted by the Patriots, his stats would look totally different.
    .

  19. hgamatt says: Feb 10, 2016 11:08 AM

    There is clearly some self-bias for Swann, but he’s not wrong.

    In a world where guys in the top 10 of receptions, yards and touchdowns have a hard time getting in (waiting several years in the cases of Carter and Tim Brown), it will be hard to justify putting Megatron in, especially when you couple it with very little post season experience.

  20. dirtdawg54 says: Feb 10, 2016 11:10 AM

    I’m a huge Steelers fan and I grew up watching those teams of the 1970s. As much as I believe Swann and Stallworth deserve credit for their contributions to some of our SB wins, I don’t think either belongs in the HOF.

    Does any Steeler fan think Santonio Holmes belongs in the HOF? How about Fast Willie Parker? They made big contributions to SB wins. No one is ever going to clamour for them to be in the Hall.

    And by the way, if you don’t think Swann shoild be in then you should argue that Namath shouldn’t either and that Terrell Davis shouldn’t be considered. The arguments made for Swann are largely the same ones made for him.

  21. whodey83 says: Feb 10, 2016 11:10 AM

    The Hall LOVES steelers and Cowboys. That’s really all there is to it.

  22. jjb0811 says: Feb 10, 2016 11:12 AM

    Emit & T Thomas get more recognition than Barry. Winning is what matters and what immortalizes players. PM will be ranked higher in people’s minds being 2-2 in SB rather than 1-3.

  23. rufustfireflyjr says: Feb 10, 2016 11:14 AM

    buckethead1 says:
    Feb 10, 2016 11:02 AM

    “Guy made a difference in the post season where legends are made”

    So carrying your reasoning through to its logical extension, Peyton Manning doesn’t belong in the HOF because his performances in the postseason generally were not that good, and his teams’ record in the playoffs was at about .500. Whether CJ belongs in the HOF or not, he shouldn’t be prejudiced by the fact that most of his teams weren’t god enough to make the playoffs.

  24. willycents says: Feb 10, 2016 11:15 AM

    By Swann’s logic, Trent Dilfer should be in the HOF ahead of Marino. Think about that for a moment. Swann displayed as much intelligence in this statement as he used to provide on MNF.

  25. madderstork says: Feb 10, 2016 11:16 AM

    Well since Cliff Branch has the stat advantage over Swann in every category, and three Super Bowls and most postseason records at the time he retired, I’ll assume Lynn supports Branch for the Hall? He certainly should.

  26. grndizzle says: Feb 10, 2016 11:17 AM

    He’ll get in, but probably not on the first ballot.

  27. thebirdofprey says: Feb 10, 2016 11:19 AM

    I am still amazed that Jerome Bettis is a first ballot hall of famer. Can’t tell me AP doesn’t pick favorites for their off the field attributes.

  28. lionsfan123 says: Feb 10, 2016 11:19 AM

    Calvin should keep playing football.

    Getting in the Hall of Fame is WAY more important than being able to walk and talk in your 60’s.

  29. boondockstlrssaint says: Feb 10, 2016 11:22 AM

    Couldn’t disagree more with buckethead1… also couldn’t agree more with paulieorkid…
    I’m bleeding black and gold ’till death do us part, but Megatron belongs in, without a doubt. (No offense to the fans, but) Detroit has been terrible since the Sanders days, and even then he *was the team. Never should have let Suh go, as they maybe had something going with him and CJ.
    CJ has been the ultimate team player, getting after it every single single season, despite the team around him. Opposing D’s had one thing in mind- CJ. Has anyone ever seen another receiver with two DB’s lined up across on the line of scrimmage, and a third over the top? Please provide reference(s) if so. I’ve never.
    I hope his career isn’t over. He’s always been a joy to watch play.
    Signed,
    Steeler Nation

  30. chiefbear says: Feb 10, 2016 11:24 AM

    @dubblelznhell

    Calvin Johnson is 31……not 27

    ———————————————

    27 isn’t referring to his age, it’s referring to his position in the rankings of career receiving yards

  31. rajbais says: Feb 10, 2016 11:24 AM

    As Brent Musburger once told him in the Waterboy, “be careful down there Swanny.”

    Look, I know that there are people who do feel that championships must be weighed in on your candidacy. I do not agree with that because championships our team accomplishments and they can overrate individual players. individual players are put in the Hall of Fame.

    That is the truth.

    Although there are pockets of people that speak in this way, because of Bob Griese and Terry Bradshaw being in, there are some who actually wonder or even believe that Jim Plunkett should be in the Hall of Fame.

    That is where the championship argument a requirement can go out-of-control. Besides it is too difficult to win a Super Bowl in the salary-cap era, which is why Bill Bella check is possibly the best coach in NFL history.

  32. Silver and Black attack says: Feb 10, 2016 11:24 AM

    How Lynn Swan is in the HOF and not Cliff Branch of the Raiders is mind boggling.

  33. dtriebel says: Feb 10, 2016 11:26 AM

    I have to commend the Steelers fans for not being homers on this one.

    Lynn Swann was a great player and a lot of fun to watch. I’d still take Calvin Johnson in the HOF over Swann any day.

  34. In Teddy We Trust says: Feb 10, 2016 11:32 AM

    beedubyatoo says:
    Feb 10, 2016 10:58 AM

    jjb0811 says:
    Feb 10, 2016 10:49 AM

    Difference is in 30 years will we remember anyone from the Lions over the past 10-15 years? Nope. But even 20 something’s know about the steel curtain and 4 rings.
    ————————
    So nobody will remember Barry Sanders?
    _________

    Barry Sanders retired in 1998, which is outside the 15-year window suggested by the commenter.

  35. paulrevereshorse1775 says: Feb 10, 2016 11:39 AM

    do you mean Mac Speedie?

    if so, career highlights:

    2× Pro Bowl selection (1950, 1952)
    6× First-Team All-Pro (1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1952)
    2× First-team All-WIFU (CFL) Western Conference (1953, 1954)
    4× Receptions leader (1947, 1948, 1949, 1952)
    2× Receiving yards leader (1947, 1949)
    NFL 1940s All-Decade Team

  36. coloradical420 says: Feb 10, 2016 11:40 AM

    Don’t need to convince me that the HOF is a complete sham. I wonder if things will ever change or if everyone will just keep pretending the HOF voters know what they’re doing? ‘Cause they don’t!

  37. chiefbear says: Feb 10, 2016 11:48 AM

    @In Teddy We Trust

    Barry Sanders retired in 1998, which is outside the 15-year window suggested by the commenter.

    ——————–

    The point @beedubyatoo is suggesting is that Barry Sanders didn’t win a championship either, but he was a great player on teams that didn’t always produce. Same as Johnson. I can say that there will be people that remember Calvin Johnson…it’s hard to forget someone named Megatron who completely dominated during his prime, and also contributed (indirectly) to that largest rule debated in the league (catch/no catch via week 1 against Chicago years ago)

    @jjbo811

    I’m 27, and I would consider myself a very knowledgeable person regarding football, and yet the only thing i know about the “steel curtain” of the 70’s was Bradshaw was an ok QB that got by with help of his defense, and a few other players like Swann, Stalworth, Harris, and Greene. I honestly can’t name another player (I think i can, but even i’m not 100% certain about it)

  38. joetoronto says: Feb 10, 2016 11:50 AM

    The HOF has become a joke and it’s too bad. Soon, everyone will get in so everybody is equal.

    It’s the way of the left.

  39. whenwilliteverend says: Feb 10, 2016 11:54 AM

    In Teddy We Trust says:
    Feb 10, 2016 10:53 AM

    I suppose Swann doesn’t think Barry Sanders should be in the Hall of Fame either.

    That was the first thing that came to mind. I remember watching those teams and they were incredible. To some extent he benefitted from being on a great team. In his favor, he performed well in Super Bowls too. Still, penalizing Johnson because he played for terrible teams is ridiculous. If I’m not mistaken, Gayle Sayers played for some bad teams too. Does that mean he doesn’t belong.

    Like others, I find this stance disappointing. Why is he even opening his mouth about this anyway?

  40. randomguy9999 says: Feb 10, 2016 11:55 AM

    Swann is out of line with his comments, but he was a totally unique WR at the time, if you are one of us ahem older guys and saw him play live, you probably would say he deserved to be in the HOF

    today, aerial acrobatics are an every day thing, but back then we’d tune in just to see Swann catch.

  41. finsguy says: Feb 10, 2016 11:57 AM

    If it weren’t for Bob Griese, Lynn Swann would probably be the least deserving member of the entire HOF.

  42. The Truth says: Feb 10, 2016 11:57 AM

    Where’s george atkinson when you need him

  43. dietrich43 says: Feb 10, 2016 12:01 PM

    I’m a Steelers fan, and I’ll say it. Neither Swann nor Stallworth should be in the HoF.

  44. whenwilliteverend says: Feb 10, 2016 12:01 PM

    chiefbear says:
    Feb 10, 2016 11:48 AM

    I’m 27, and I would consider myself a very knowledgeable person regarding football, and yet the only thing i know about the “steel curtain” of the 70’s was Bradshaw was an ok QB that got by with help of his defense, and a few other players like Swann, Stalworth, Harris, and Greene. I honestly can’t name another player (I think i can, but even i’m not 100% certain about it)

    Technically, the “Steel Curtain” referred to the defense, not the entire team. I think Bradshaw didn’t get enough credit for how good he was. I’m not saying he was Roger Staubach but he wasn’t chopped liver. He gets downgraded because the team was just so loaded.

    So you have never heard of Jack Lambert, Jack Ham, Ernie Holmes, L.C. Greenwood or Mel Blount? They also had some really good OL but I’m not sure any of them made it in the HoF except for Mike Webster.

  45. contract says: Feb 10, 2016 12:03 PM

    Swann made it because he was the best WR of his era. Period.

  46. jeremycrowhurst says: Feb 10, 2016 12:13 PM

    It took Swann 14 times on the ballot to get in, so one could argue that as the most marginal Hall of Famer in history, he’s uniquely qualified to say who should get in….

  47. sigbouncer says: Feb 10, 2016 12:17 PM

    Anyone who saw Swann play should say he belongs in the Hall of Fame.

    Swann was 1st team all decade in the 1970’s. Along with Drew Pearson. 2nd team was Harold Carmichael and Paul Warfield.

    Lynn Swann was Jerry Rice before there was a Jerry Rice. Meaning he was the most graceful, gifted WR on the planet in his time. We haven’t seen anyone like Swann before Swann.

    Swann’s situation is also similar to Earl Campbell and Dave Casper. When Earl first came into the NFL. It was all about Earl. There was little to no Walter Payton talk when Earl hit the league. Because – Eye test. Same with Lynn Swann – Eye test. Dave Casper wasn’t known for his longevity or big stats. But Casper was known for his big game play, just like Swann.

    Lastly, put Swann on Air Coryell’s Chargers if you want the numbers. As it was Swann was on Chuck Noll’s Steelers. Which were all about Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier in the regular season for the most part. Ask yourself why Terry Bradshaw doesn’t have the big numbers either if you don’t believe it.

  48. granadafan says: Feb 10, 2016 12:17 PM

    Receivers have much less influence on the game than QBs. WRs can run the perfect route, create separation, and score TDs, but they all their efforts are useless unless someone can throw them the ball. The QB can’t throw if he has defenders in his face and chasing him around the backfield. It’s ridiculous to claim that one WR can put a team in the playoffs or win Super Bowls. Heck, not even today’s most dominant defensive player can get his team into the playoffs. It’s a TEAM game and Swann benefited from being in the right place at the right time.

    By Swann’s “argument” Barry Sanders, Dick Butkus, and Eric Dickerson should be kicked out of the Hall of Fame.

  49. caeser12 says: Feb 10, 2016 12:20 PM

    It’s about damned time someone talked about Lynn Swann’s “stats.” Had he not won with the Steelers he’d be just another ex football player.

    This article should have just showed the numbers, asked all if they are HOF worthy, then posted who you are talking about the next day.

  50. 700levelvet says: Feb 10, 2016 12:29 PM

    Swann doesn’t belong, neither does Namath for that matter…but Chuck Bednarik does….

  51. grumpyoleman says: Feb 10, 2016 12:50 PM

    If Johnson played for the Steelers back then he would have no where near that yardage. He wouldn’t have been targeted as much and wouldn’t have picked up all the yards in the second half of games where the Lions are usually already out of the game and teams are playing prevent against them.

  52. crownofthehelmet says: Feb 10, 2016 12:50 PM

    The most recognizable receiver from the greatest franchise in the history of the nfl can give his opinion on anything he wants, anytime he wants. Show some respect ladies.

  53. akboots says: Feb 10, 2016 12:52 PM

    Show some respect ladies.
    —————————————
    Tell swanee that then, it would make sense.

  54. bullcharger says: Feb 10, 2016 12:56 PM

    To me the WR position should be primarily about career stats and then bonus points for playoff wins and Super Bowls.

    WRs typically don’t affect a teams results on their own. We saw that with Megatron, Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Randy Moss, TO, Ocho. Great statistical years but not always a lot of wins. While Brady won plenty of games with Deion Branch and David Givens getting less then 1000 yard seasons.

    WR greatness is not really tied to wins.

  55. hendawg21 says: Feb 10, 2016 12:56 PM

    Kudos Mike, for once I have to say I agree with you, Swan’s career was mostly highlighted by his number of Super Bowl appearances, however, his numbers are shady HOF numbers.

  56. packer1965 says: Feb 10, 2016 12:57 PM

    This is absurd! This generation of sports fans doesn’t understand greatness apparently with every ex-jock sitting in front of the camera each week naming off dozens of “Future hall of famers” when discussing practically every player they are discussing. The fact is the NFL history is remembered by it’s great teams and great players and not by just its stats. That is why greatness like that of Paul Hornung, Gayle Sayers, Fred Belinikoff, Lynn Swann, Sid Luckman , Bobby Lane and Sammy Baugh will all be remembered though their stats did not translate to the modern game where offense is king because of the rules. When watching NFL history we want to watch the greatest plays and the greatest teams and the greatest players at their greatest moments. The HOF is about that very thing. The HOF is not fantasy football that would sooner reward a guy for six 9 yard catches than a guy who caught 1 60 yard TD on the last play to win a game.

    We are saturated with statistics now and the rules allow Aaron Rodgers to complete 45 TD passes against 6 Interceptions in a single season. Troy Aikman and Brett Favre and Roger Staughbach never dreamed of those types of numbers but it isnt because Rodgers is better than they were. It is because the rules allow such crazy numbers. Lynn Swann did not make 1 great catch that put him in the HOF. To say that is proving ignorance of having seen that era. Swann played some of his biggest games and made some of his biggest plays in Super Bowls that helped his great team win. he will be a highlight reel receiver as long as there is NFL footage. He also played in an era when running was still king and he made the most of his opportunities when they counted most. That is exactly what the HOF is about. Bart Starr is quoted as saying “The measure of a great player is what he does when the pressure is on. Anybody can play great when there is nothing on the line but a great player plays great when everything is on the line.” People who watched Swann play in the 1970s saw a performer that was at his acrobatic best making circus catches without gloves when the stakes were the highest. That is why he was elected to the HOF. Not because of a meaningless stat sheet. Someone said stats are for losers and that is certainly the mindset of this era where stats are all that matter.

  57. idpfantasyfootball says: Feb 10, 2016 12:58 PM

    I always felt that Swann owed his HOF selection to Myron Cope and Ed Bouchette. It was Cope that went to bat for him time after time to get him elected and eventually threw a fit and resigned from the selection committee. Ed Bouchette then somehow managed to get the votes to open the door for Swann.

    If Cliff Branch had such a zealous member of the committee in his corner, he would already be in the HOF.

  58. bullcharger says: Feb 10, 2016 1:25 PM

    grumpyoleman says:
    Feb 10, 2016 12:50 PM

    If Johnson played for the Steelers back then he would have no where near that yardage. He wouldn’t have been targeted as much and wouldn’t have picked up all the yards in the second half of games where the Lions are usually already out of the game and teams are playing prevent against them.

    —————–

    If Johnson played for the Steelers back then he may currently be known as the greatest player of all time. There were no athletes like Megatron in the NFL in the 70s.

    Calvin Johnson is 6’5″ 239 lbs.

    Heck… LC Greenwood was a DE and he was 6’6″ 245.

    Only Calvin could run a 4.35 40 yrd dash.

    He would have made Swann look like he was standing still.

    This is why it doesn’t make sense to compare teams or players from different eras.

  59. russrpm says: Feb 10, 2016 1:36 PM

    Lynn Swann made the HOF because his career defining highlight catches were made in the Super Bowl, and those two catches against Mark Washington have been played over and over again ever since. I may be remembering this wrong, but it seems that Washington had separated his shoulder, and it was taped down enough that he couldn’t lift one hand past his shoulder. As as Cowboys fan, (sour grapes, I know), I would also point out that Swann’s and Drew Pearson’s statistics are very close, and that Pearson was every bit as important to his team, and considered on of the best clutch receivers of his time. One is in the HOF, the other not. The difference two team wins in the SB.

  60. nflgtcfl says: Feb 10, 2016 1:49 PM

    Ironically CJ is similar to Swan in one regard. They had unique, memorable and revolutionary styles.

    Swann’s acrobatics and smooth plays wowed fans.

    CJ physical play and ability to go and get the ball paved the way for the big, physical yet very skilled receiver. Like Gronk and Julio.

    CJ was double teamed most the time …. sometimes triple teamed.

    Opponents game plans always started with trying to slow him down. They never assumed they could stop him. And since the Lions were so bad for so long the game plan could have pretty much stopped at slowing down CJ.

    BTW “Not 22nd. Two hundred and 22nd.”
    Lines like this and the comments are what keep me coming back!

  61. jerry944 says: Feb 10, 2016 1:50 PM

    Johnson is gonna be in the hall..but ive always wondered why swann is in it..swann is in and owens just didnt get it..owens is 220 times better

  62. jrob23 says: Feb 10, 2016 2:20 PM

    Steelers were a run first offense and great defense that did not allow for passing. They had leads and protected leads so they barely threw the ball. Swann (Terry Bradshaw as well) and put them into today’s game and they would have put up HOF numbers. Bradshaw called his own plays and had an absolute cannon for an arm. He was also mobile. He would have been a top QB of any age. Swann’s speed, leaping ability and hands would have played extremely well in today’s NFL. A similar player to him in today’s game is Odell Beckham and as you know he’s breaking records and might be on his way to HOF as well if he puts together several seasons and caps it off with SB wins.

  63. Robert says: Feb 10, 2016 2:21 PM

    The author’s attempt at a “point” actually makes the opposite case. Some of the receivers he lists with catches with numbers similar to Swann were VERY good receivers, and so, from the same era, have similar numbers to Swann. What they lack, of course, is key moments in championship games, including one Super Bowl MVP performance. Some people’s comments suggest he’s Deion Branch or Santonio Holmes (both Super Bowl MVP WRs), and I’d definitely say that his career was better than theirs.

    Swann also played during an era when guys like Jack Tatum ruled the middle and would not get penalized for vicious hits that today would result in suspensions, fines, etc. (witness Tatum’s hit on the Vikings receiver, Sammy White I think, in the Super Bowl that didn’t even receive a flag). Swann got the rep of being a bit wimpy for his era, but he had to face foes like that on a weekly basis.

    On a final note, Swann had to wait quite a while to get into the hall, as many felt that if he went, then Stallworth had to go (eventually he did as well), and no one wanted to put them in simultaneously. So maybe Megatron gets in, but has to wait a while. I certainly don’t think he’s a shoe-in 5 years from now.

  64. stash918 says: Feb 10, 2016 3:00 PM

    …not to mention Cliff Branch, who was more consistent and better than Swann for longer in the same era and gets forgotten. Check the numbers on profootballreference dot com.

  65. 20barrysandersfan20 says: Feb 10, 2016 3:15 PM

    If he’s the focus of your defensive game plan EVERY GAME for the majority of his career = HOF

    Megatron played almost an entire decade as the best receiver of his era on an awful team year in and year out. If that doesn’t count for something then I don’t know what does.

  66. stash918 says: Feb 10, 2016 3:27 PM

    Hi Lynn! If you want to really shine a light on the hypocrisy of what you just said, compare your career performance vs. five of your peers– just from your same era. They all outperformed you by far but can’t even sniff the HOF. You were a great player, but if I were you I’d keep my mouth shut about who does and doesn’t deserve to be in. You have fewer receiving yards than Chris Calloway!

    Stanley Morgan 557 – 10,716 – 72 TD
    Harold Jackson 579 – 10,372 – 76 TD
    Drew Hill 634 – 9,831 – 60 TD
    Harold Carmichael 590 – 8,985 – 79 TD
    Cliff Branch 501 – 8,685 – 67 TD

    HOF Lynn Swann 336 – 5,462 – 51 TD

  67. idoubtiwillbother says: Feb 10, 2016 4:05 PM

    Swann is in for one play. That’s it. One improbable catch.

  68. eoyguy says: Feb 10, 2016 4:33 PM

    Well, if Swann doesn’t deserve it based on stats ( I agree, he doesn’t), Ken Stabler doesn’t belong either. Ken Anderson, a QB of the same era playing on crappy Bengals teams, has better stats than Stabler, he just doesn’t have the same mystique of Stabler playing with the Raiders. Namath is in the same boat. A prediction and a finger wag( and maybe a fur coat and pantyhose) got him in.

  69. cdace13 says: Feb 10, 2016 5:00 PM

    sigbouncer : I grew up watching Lynn Swann. Was he fun to watch? Yep. Hall of Famer? Nope. A product of an All-Time great team? Yep. Graceful? I guess. Jerry Rice graceful? Stop.

    You can’t talk about Lynn Swann and in the same diatribe mention the likes of Jerry Rice and Earl Campbell. You just can’t!! I get where you were going with your argument but you can’t invoke those ALL-TIME GREATS when talking about Swann.

    I can name a dozen or more receivers who belong in the Hall over Swann. The list starts with Cliff Branch who was helluva lot better than Swann and has 3 rings. Put your Swann colored glasses away.

  70. richabbs says: Feb 10, 2016 5:10 PM

    Anyone who questions whether Calvin Johnson should be in the HOF is an idiot, Lynn Swann included? Johnson was one of the top 10 WRs in the NFL for 6 of the 9 years he played and was probably the top WR in the league in 2011 and 2012. Lynn Swann ranked in the top 10 of WRs in the NFL only 3 of the 9 years he played (1975, 1977 and 1978) and was never the best WR in the league in any year he played. If anything, someone ought to be questioning how Swann got in the HOF.

  71. tyranny7 says: Feb 10, 2016 5:24 PM

    Ken Anderson was a HOF QB.
    Ken Riley was a HOF CB.

  72. rcfootballblog says: Feb 10, 2016 6:09 PM

    Does anyone think Lynn Swann would of went to the Superbowl if he was on the Lion’s in the 70’s? So should hall of fame be based on what team drafts you? I think Lynn Swann is feeling a little insecure about his credentials, unless he really believes he is the reason the Steelers won those superbowls.

  73. tyranny7 says: Feb 10, 2016 6:15 PM

    Isaac Curtis…..416 Rec; 7101 Yds; 17.1 AY/C; 53 TDs; 10 Fumbles
    Lynn Swann (HoF, lol)….336 Rec; 5462 Yds; 16.3 AY/C; 11 Fumbles

    Lynn Swan never averaged over 20 yds/catch in any year in his career, and he never led the league in any significant statistical category ever.

    Isaac Curtis averaged over 21 yds/catch twice, and was the league leader in that category in 1975.

    Megatron>Curtis>Swann

  74. sigbouncer says: Feb 10, 2016 7:25 PM

    cdac13: You can’t talk about Lynn Swann and in the same diatribe mention the likes of Jerry Rice and Earl Campbell. You just can’t!! I get where you were going with your argument but you can’t invoke those ALL-TIME GREATS when talking about Swann.

    I can name a dozen or more receivers who belong in the Hall over Swann. The list starts with Cliff Branch who was helluva lot better than Swann and has 3 rings. Put your Swann colored glasses away.
    _________________________________

    As a loyal Raiders fan back in the day. I can say honestly Swann was much better than Branch ever thought of being.

    Branch was only the 3rd option on his own team behind Biletnikoff and Casper. With the most accurate QB (Snake RIP) in league history (at that time, later to be Ken Anderson) throwing him balls. And Branch dropped a ton of balls. As anyone who ever watched him play will attest to.

    You could have flipped Mel Gray (Cardinals) with Branch at the time and gotten the same production.

    Swann set the standard for 1970’s wide receivers. Which is why Swann is on the 1st team all decade of the 70’s. There was nobody like him at the time.

  75. pastabelly says: Feb 10, 2016 8:39 PM

    dhwight says:
    Feb 10, 2016 11:07 AM
    The difference to me is that Swann was a different type of player than we had seen prior to his arrival in football. His leaping ability and grace seemed head and shoulders above anything we were used to seeing.

    Anyone who saw Doctor J play experienced the same thing. No one mentions him as the GOAT but everyone who saw him play in the era before MJ and others remembers how he played above the rim and was wowed by his talent.
    ========================================
    Do not compare Lynn Swann with Doctor J. Julius Erving was still one of the top five players of his era and his match ups with Larry Bird were epic. People went to games specifically to see Erving. Swann was a very good wide receiver who benefited from playing with a great Steelers team.

  76. binarymath says: Feb 10, 2016 11:02 PM

    “Swann made it because he was the best WR of his era. Period.”

    Wrong. Swann wasn’t even the best WR in his own huddle. I’d take Stallworth any day over Swann.

    Toughness? advantage Stallworth.
    catch over the middle? Stallworth.
    downfield block on a running play? Stallworth
    stay in the game after taking a vicious hit from a safety? Stallworth – by a MILE
    make a simple catch look difficult? Swann.

  77. zygizag says: Feb 10, 2016 11:05 PM

    Swann was a good WR on a great team that had some big plays in some big games.

    Johnson is a GREAT play on a usually poor team.

    GREAT ARTICLE

  78. TebowedOutOfThePostSeasonAndNeverToReturn says: Feb 11, 2016 12:12 PM

    I wonder what Swann thinks of Big Ben’s chances of getting into the HOF. Since the scandals, no legit PO wins. Blown Superbowl. Owned by the Ravens and unable to win a game in Denver. LOL>

  79. Poncho, the boy of Nutrient says: Feb 11, 2016 4:21 PM

    Mike,

    I do not often post comments on my threads on the “interwebs”, but I am compelled to offer a few on you and your fantastic colleagues columns today.

    Lynn Swan vs T.O.

    Lynn Swan IS delusional. So much so, that I even posted a link to the column on Lynn’s view that he is more worthy than T.O. Of HoF enshrinement on my Facebook feed. I do agree with Joe’s (um…that dude who won four Super Bowls during the 80’s) assessment that it is hard to compare players and teams from different eras, but I do think we all (excluding Lynn) can agree that T.O.’s numbers speak for themselves. Would I have wanted him on my team if I were a player, coach, or owner? A different question, and I’m not sure. But as far as I can tell, Mr. Warren Sapp has a jacket, and this is the same Mr. Warren Sapp who did not call Jerry G.O.A.T. Rice after he was involved in the tackle that caused Jerry’s first serious knee injury (that was according to Jerry; I remember his comments). The HoF voters apparently thought that even though Warren was not always a class act, that he was worthy. Agree with the assessment that a re-telling of history according to Chad Johnson and T.O. that social media usage would have framed the perception to a view that were were “awesome” is nonsensical; T.O. has always seemed slightly clueless about how his actions are perceived. But aside from occasionally having alligator arms in a few moments, he is definitely a top 5 WR all-time. Let’s all acknowledge that and get him the jacket he earned.

    Side note: I seriously find it hard to believe – other than the disruption of his presence being the cause – that no one took him (or Randy Moss) up on the offer to continue playing these past several years. T.O. has stayed in shape and surely he could beat out a number of third receivers on some (all?) of the 32 teams in the league. Were I am owner, I would offer an incentive-laden veteran minimum non-guaranteed contract and roll the dice. And as soon as he started working out shirtless in his driveway again, then I would consider waiving him…

  80. wantsomecheesewiththatwhine says: Feb 11, 2016 6:28 PM

    stallworth was the engine that made the steelers passing game go, not swan.

  81. troy43mvp says: Feb 12, 2016 6:46 AM

    Swann does not have to “tread lightly” because he is already in the H.O.F. The H.O.F. is only a place that high school buddies, meet for a 2 for 1 happy hour and argue who is and isn’t worthy. Much like this article.

  82. daytontriangles says: Feb 13, 2016 11:33 AM

    If Calvin Johnson were around in the 1970’s and available, the Steelers would have cut Lynn Swan to make room for him.

  83. qbarrel says: Feb 13, 2016 12:48 PM

    While we’re on the subject of HOF qualifications, how the hell did Terry Bradshaw ever get it? Right place, right time I guess. How else can you explain it?

  84. jbelkin says: Feb 14, 2016 3:57 AM

    I think whoever said the final criteria is whether you can write the history of the NFL without X – that’s why you have to include stabler … so when swann retired, how did his numbers look then when compared to others?

  85. lp0320 says: Feb 14, 2016 3:40 PM

    Totally agree with Paulieorkid . . .

    I am disappointed that Swannie opened his mouth about Calvin Johnson.

    I don’t think any HOF’er should comment on whether or not someone should be in the Hall. It’s incredibly narcisstic on their part, because at the end of the day, you are voted in by Sports Writers . . . based on your stats/contributions. It’s subjective.

    Swann is no more qualified to be in the Hall than Calvin Johnson. Johnson might even be more so qualified.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!