Kevin Greene’s Hall of Fame candidacy nearly got lost in the cracks

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Much has been said about one key omission from the new Hall of Fame class. Let’s take a moment to talk about one key inclusion.

Linebacker Kevin Greene finally has made it, passed over for more than a decade despite being third on the all-time sack list with 160. He has more sacks that Hall of Famers Chris Doleman, Michael Strahan, Richard Dent, John Randle, Lawrence Taylor, Rickey Jackson, Derrick Thomas, Charles Haley, Andre Tippett, Warren Sapp, and Howie Long.

Greene picked up those 160 sacks in 15 NFL seasons. But he got none as a rookie, which means that he averaged nearly 11.5 sacks every year for 14 seasons.

So how didn’t he make it sooner? Appearing on Friday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio and NBCSN, Greene suggested that, because he spent the bulk of his career with the Los Angeles Rams, he may have gotten lost in the cracks.

Greene, one of the first players to change teams via true free agency, spent three seasons with the Steelers after eight in L.A. Then came a year in Carolina, a year with the 49ers, and two more with the Panthers. (Greene called his time in San Francisco a “fart in the wind,” which also accurately describes Jim Tomsula’s lone year as head coach — in multiple ways.)

Ultimately, it was PFT’s Darin Gantt (who holds the Carolina vote for the Hall of Fame) task to make the case for Greene, and this year Greene got in.

So as many wring hands (rightfully so) for the omission of Terrell Owens, it’s time for a deep exhale on Greene — and not simply because of an effort to avoid inhaling the odors of a fart in the wind.

56 responses to “Kevin Greene’s Hall of Fame candidacy nearly got lost in the cracks

  1. Kevin Greene was amazing. Saw a lot more of him in the latter part of his career with the 49ers and he was still pretty darn good.
    Well deserved.

  2. He didn’t losses spectacular speed either. Just a high motor guy who had great fundamentals and country strength. The mid 90s steelers are my favorite of all time. Most underrated defenses ever

  3. The fact is, if you want to get in early in your eligibility, you either needed to have played the majority of your career in the Northeast or you were extremely chummy with all the non-diverse, middle aged voters during and/or after your playing career

  4. It’s the hall of the popular. Greene should’ve been in LONG AGO, but no, we’ve gotta get Jerome Bettis, Curtis Martin, and some of the rest of the long, just above average career guys who just so happened to have played back east. Lazy journalism, research, and investigation by the HOF voters, but should I really be surprised? Pick up an SI from the early 90’s and read it then torture yourself trying to read half of one now.

  5. So there is media bias based on geography and/or media market. So much for “all-inclusive” or “tolerance”.

    The moral of this story is – if you want to get into the Pro Football HoF ASAP, then play in a large media market since the media thinks that they control everything and can judge everyone but deny that they do both and make people believe it.

  6. Isn’t the saying, “slipped through the cracks”? Lost in the shuffle, or lost in the mix…. but I don’t know about “lost in the cracks”…

  7. He left the Packer’s coaching staff to work with his son. I hope MM and TT are smart enough to make room for him again.
    It’s TIME to come back

  8. He also won a SB as a coach of the Packers. And his area of expertise had a big part in that SB win. Kevin, while in GB, didn’t skate on anything – he put in the time like every other position coach.

    Well deserved addition and we miss him in GB working with LB’s.

  9. Greene should have been in long ago. Guys like Curtis Martin, Bettis, Harry Carson and now Dungy getting in prove that the HOF process is broken. It’s almost becoming a joke.

  10. Same thing happened to several Baltimore Colts players once the team left there was no one to advocate their case . Indy sports writers didn’t know nor care about them

  11. Kevin Greene’s induction was/is long overdue. That guy was a MONSTER … EVERYWHERE. His pass-rush was legendary, and much discussed, acknowledged and celebrated.

    However, KG’s run support was very strong too. His pass-rushing stats are so impressive, that people tend to lose site of his force against the ground game.

    Finally, he was also deeply respected in both the locker room and in the community. When he left the Rams, they missed him.

    When he left my Steelers, that was really tough to see him go. That era of Blitzburgh linebackers where he was “Salt” and Greg Lloyd was “Pepper” was ferocious. They were also known as “Quiver and Quake.”[Check out the video: “Top Ten Linebacking Corps #7 Pittsburgh Steelers of the Mid 1990s”. Good stuff!]

    And the Panthers missed him so much, they brought an aging version of him back after his “fart in the wind” to wrap his career.

    He was a unifying force in the locker room, and here is a true story from his time in Pittsburgh. Situation: rainy and cold December day in Pittsburgh when long lines of Steeler Nation faithful are trying to get tickets, so Kevin Greene sees this and orders something like 40 huge pizzas to be delivered and distributed to all the people gutting it out in the rain/sleet and wind (uh oh, “wind” was involved -> hopefully, nobody from San Francisco took that as a cue to start farting). Anyway, just a cool, considerate and class move by a legendary player. How many other players go to the trouble and expense to make that move???

  12. Sorry but Greene shouldn’t be in. Numbers are there but he was hardly a game wrecker. He gave you his 11 sacks and that was about it. He’s like Deep Purple. Good band, couple of hits but is it on the same plane as led Zeppelin?

    That’s just me though. My hall of fame would be about a quarter of the size it is now. To prove my sincerity, the dragon slayer Eli manning shouldn’t go in either.

  13. In the last 35 years players on the offensive side of the ball have been reaching the HoF at a 3:1 clip over defensive players. That probably had every bit as much to do with it as where Greene played.
    Throw in decisions like The Snake having to get in posthumously, Harrison over Owens and Dungy over Coryell to go along with the bias towards the offensive side of the ball and it is safe to say the process is flawed

  14. Kevin Greene’s induction was/is long overdue. That guy was a MONSTER … EVERYWHERE. His pass-rush was legendary, and much discussed, acknowledged and celebrated.

    However, KG’s run support was very strong too. His pass-rushing stats are so impressive, that people tend to lose site of his force against the ground game.

    Finally, he was also deeply respected in both the locker room and in the community. When he left the Rams, they missed him.

    When he left my Steelers, that was really tough to see him go. That era of Blitzburgh linebackers where he was “Salt” and Greg Lloyd was “Pepper” was ferocious. They were also known as “Quiver and Quake.”[Check out the video: “Top Ten Linebacking Corps #7 Pittsburgh Steelers of the Mid 1990s”. Good stuff!]

    And the Panthers missed him so much, they brought an aging version of him back after his “fart in the wind” to wrap his career.

    He was a unifying force in the locker room, and here is a true story from his time in Pittsburgh. Situation: rainy and cold December day in Pittsburgh when long lines of Steeler Nation faithful are trying to get tickets, so Kevin Greene sees this and orders something like 40 huge pizzas to be delivered and distributed to all the people gutting it out in the rain/sleet and wind (uh oh, “wind” was involved -> hopefully, nobody from San Francisco took that as a cue to start farting). Anyway, just a cool, considerate and class move by a legendary player. How many other players go to the trouble and expense to make that move???

  15. 3rd on the all time sack list? Put him in. I hate T.O. but looking at his numbers, you can’t deny that he belongs. It’s all about the stat line at the end of the day.

  16. Never got why they weren’t putting him in before. Because let’s face it, if you can cover receivers like a CB on Super Tecmo Bowl, you’re in, lol. But seriously, he was a dominant pass rusher for a long time.

  17. I don’t understand why the entire HOF vote is controlled by forty six biased, jock sniffing sports writers, all are on the committee for life except one, the PFWA rep who is appointed to a two year term. To reduce the unfairness and partiality of the current selection committee, additional voters such as fans and even players could be added.

  18. It’s the same reason why Henry Ellard (3rd in all time receiving yards when he retired) isn’t in the HOF. The LA (Anaheim) Rams of the late 70’s to early 90’s are still trapped in Georgia Frontiere’s no mans land. If not the Rams pushing for Greene’s enshrinement, which other team would? Georgia didn’t give a damn about the Anaheim years after she went home to St Louis and Kroenke doesn’t know a thing about the lost years in Anaheim. Maybe things will change.

  19. I agree that people (won’t say players because this includes coaches) get elected before other more deserving people do. But to the dummys who include Curtis Martin as undeserving to have been elected so early after retiring, you sound like a fool for including him in your argument. And this is coming from a giants fan who hates the jets.

  20. Can the people dissing Curtis Martin go and look at the stats and then post why you’re wrong? He’s STILL 4th all time in rushing yards….over 1000 yards 10 straight years (none of them barely either), averaged 4.0 for his career, and a pretty decent pass catcher. I’m anything but a Jets fan and I acknowledge his greatness.

  21. Frum Slum says:
    Feb 13, 2016 1:50 PM
    Holding. Offense. Number 34. 5 yard penalty. Repeat 1st down
    *******************
    What level of football has offensive holding as a 5 yard penalty???

  22. 1. He never won a Super Bowl
    2. He played for several teams in a journeyman like career
    3. He wasn’t a spectacular run defender even though he was a master pass rusher.
    4. While he was a personality, he didn’t light up the camera.

    Those are the reasons it took so long. They aren’t right, but those are the reasons.

  23. Instead of dissing players like Harry Carson (who was snubbed for years) and Martin. Maybe you should be mad at the Hall for including Non players likeEddie Debartlo in players slots.

  24. Happy for Greene. He was a great player for a long time. Definitely deserves to be in. Much like my guy Tim Brown last year, the committee took way too long with these guys, but at least they eventually got it right.

  25. Let me get this straight: Greene beat up his coach during a game and it’s cool for him to “walk right in”, but TO was such a bad guy that he should never get in.

    OK.

  26. And to think, he only played football at college because he was destroying people in intramural so badly that they told him to walk on the team at Auburn. Well deserved honor for a great player

  27. I saw him play with the Rams. He was unstoppable. With him and Carl Ekhern and that group he was a beast. It was long overdue. He will go in as A RAM!!!

  28. Kevin Greene was held back for two reasons. He was seen as one dimensional, a pass rusher only. Did changing views on that, where being a pass rusher only is no longer seen as a negative, change how he’s viewed?
    Also, does a Hall of Famer bounce around teams?? 4 teams in Greene’s case?
    That said, I believe he was a long overdue selection. How on earth are Andre Tippett and Fred Dean HOF’ers, and Greene not?
    So congrats on a well deserved honor Mr. Greene!

  29. Been over 20 years since Frontiere destroyed the LA rams to move them and he is still bitter about it. The Steelers, Panthers and Niners barely recognize his playing day except for the Rams and he still takes shots at them. He should not be in the HoF, guy was and still is a jerk.

  30. Greene was overlooked because he was a completely one dimensional all or none type of player. If he didn’t get the sack he’d take himself out of the play. He couldn’t play the run or do anything in coverage, unlike the DE’s supposedly elected strictly because of their popularity.

  31. pksoze says:
    Feb 13, 2016 5:12 PM

    Instead of dissing players like Harry Carson (who was snubbed for years) and Martin. Maybe you should be mad at the Hall for including Non players likeEddie Debartlo in players slots.
    ————————
    They now have a special vote for owners and GMs so that they don’t take a spot away from a player. DeBartolo got in with the special vote. He didn’t take a spot away from a player.

  32. As a Panther fan, 1996 will always hold fond memories – 2nd-year team going 12-4 and making the conference title game, and a smothering defense that included Lamar Lathan and Kevin Greene at OLB in a 3-4 defense. And these 2 guys hated each other. Each thought he was better than the other and deserved top billing. And that was fine with us fans, because it pushed them both to incredible heights. Greene was also the first defender I ever saw do a flip across the goal line on a pick-6. It wasn’t until 2015 that we had a team more fun to watch.

    His “fart in the wind” year in SF in ’97 came because after the big year in ’96, Greene held out, wanting to be at least the 20th-best paid LB (he was like 40th in ’96). The team wouldn’t budge and let him walk. After a year with the crumbling 49ers, he came back for his last 2 years.

    He was a fabulous player for us, and I’m glad he got in. He’ll go in as a Ram, but we’re proud he was a Panther for 3 great seasons.

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