For Hall of Fame, change starts at the top

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Our effort to overhaul the Hall of Fame selection process has received largely positive feedback.  Though different opinions exist regarding what needs to change, there’s a growing sense that something needs to change.

And someone whose opinion I respect, but who isn’t a Hall of Fame voter, has suggested that the call for change take direct aim at the folks who run the Hall of Fame.

Hall of Fame president Steve Perry (not that one) and the Hall of Fame’s Board of Trustees have the power to change the rules, to expand the pool of voters, and to exclude folks who shouldn’t have a seat at the table (including one voter who just started covering football in September 2011). Last year, we suggested an overhaul of the Board of Trustees, which sports a hybrid of football people (like Daniel Snyder, Pat Bowlen, Mike Brown, Jerry Jones, Dan Rooney, and Roger Goodell) and Canton-area businesspeople who likely are more concerned about networking than ensuring the best possible filter for determining who gets inducted into the Hall of Fame.

These folks have the power — and the responsibility — to effect change.  If they can’t or won’t, the Hall of Fame needs a new Board of Trustees, consisting not of local lawyers looking to schmooze with potential clients but of people who care primarily about ensuring that the best and most deserving candidates achieve the ultimate honor the sport can give.

24 responses to “For Hall of Fame, change starts at the top

  1. The hall of fame procedures might not be any way you want them, but whatever you do, don’t stop believing.

  2. I agree that the voting needs to be changed. Personally, I don’t think ANY sportswriter should even be involved. Most, never played a down of organized football in their entire lives. All have an agenda (be nice to us as a player and give us interviews or we won’t vote you in!). But if you are calling for changes in the voting process, why not call for changes in the Hall itself? Have you been there? It’s outdated, poorly maintained, and is in NO way representative of the Nation’s favorite sport. When I took my 11 year old, his comment, “Is that it?” summed it up nicely. The place is a disgrace given the popularity of the sport and the money it generates. It could be the Badminton Hall of Fame, it’s so small and unimaginative. Fix the vote AND fix the Hall. BOTH are in the need of a major overhaul.

  3. The entire philosophy is odd to me. You are either a hall of famer or you’re not. Remove the limit on entrants per year!

  4. I think coaches should be the ones voting. They are the ones who had to game plan against the great players. You should also have HOF players voting because they no who had it and who didn’t from playing against them. If you listen to the writers they have love feasts with some players. That leads to a bios opinion just like us fans with our teams we cheer for. They are always better then the other guys team

  5. The fact that our greatest sport, has the worst and non-transparent process for putting people into the Hall of Fame is a disgrace.

    Charles Haley, Cris Carter and Bill Parcells are not Hall of Famers?

    Really, did the voters actually watch Pro Football?

    This is a disgrace.

    Harry Carson had to wait 15 years to get in.

    This is ridiculous!

    If someone is a Hall of Famer, they are a Hall of Famer.

    You know something is up when the by-laws for the process specifically state that the votes are confidential, and need to remain so. That shows a lack of integrity.

    If you are privileged to be a voter, then have the stones to stand by your vote, and explain to any and all why you voted the way you did.

  6. Sports writers have NO buisness picking HOF’s because they have a vested intrest in who gets in. To them its just another story they can spin( And make money on). And it should be on the career perfomances and team effort on who gets in. Not because you don’t like them. Or think a WR’ job isn’t important. (Try winning a game without one) It should be coaches and players, past and present. NO ONE ELSE!

  7. DEBARTOLO, DEBARTOLO, DEBARTOLO, forget the overhyped Parcells, Debartolo is one of, if not the best Owner of all-time. He redefined how NFL operations were run in the 1980s which serves as the model for most franchises today … ex. the Patriots. How is Ralph Wilson is the Hall (zero Superbowls) and Debartolo is not – 5 Superbowls!!! He is a King!

  8. The Party’s Over. It seems the HOF President and the Board of trustees are Worlds Apart, they might consider going their Seperate Ways. Don’t Stop Believin’ they’ll get it solved, though. They will work through their issues Faithfully until the Lights go down in the City. If they’re Feeling That Way, they might get it done Anyway You Want It. It may end up being Just The Same Way in which case we’ll wonder Who’s Crying Now. Whatever the case, I know I’ll welcome a resolution with Open Arms.

  9. The NFL’s process is better than baseball who often has one or two members elected out of all the people eligible. Profootball, should not be content with, “Well, at least our process is better than baseball” and neither should the fans. An overhaul should have been done years ago but it can still be done. Not just to make it more transparent, but to ensure that the people voting are truly the best qualified to do the job and they are not just there because they have been there a long time.

  10. No matter what, there will always be some form of bias whether it consists of players/coaches/or the current form of the board. It should take into consideration the current HOF members votes plus some additional groups but cannot be like the Baseball HOF that only votes in like one player a year and has so many prejudices against players that have never been convicted of anything (Shoeless Joe Jackson comes to mind). Peter Kings view that it should only take into consideration what the player does on the field is bogus. Any player under consideration should also be considered based on what type of person they are off the field also.

  11. Sports writers really have no business picking the hall of fame members for any sport. Like it was mentioned above, many have never played half of the sports they write about. All of them are typical little nerds who probably are just mad at the jocks from high school and enjoy having the power over them now.

  12. It’s a personality contest. Please tell me how three time Super Bowl champion Cliff Branch doesn’t even sniff the Hall. Four time 1st team All-Pro. Compare his numbers to Lynn Swann and it isn’t even close. Swann went in on the first ballott I believe. And what about Jim Plunket’s two Super Bowl wins where he dominated. He should be there as well. These are two that should of been in long ago.

  13. “…, and to exclude folks who shouldn’t have a seat at the table (including one voter who just started covering football in September 2011). ”

    At least that person covers football. The Jacksonville rep on the committee is a local sportscaster on an independent TV station. Not even a football writer.

  14. Even I think this is a stupid idea – THAT SAID : Hire professional full time voters. Former coaches and scouts who must review and grade every single play of an eligible players career-As well as that players competition.

    Have about 25 guys do this, then after the grading process, they can have their own vote.

  15. Before you recommend putting Rodger Goodell or any current NFL owner on any Profootball Hall of Fame committee, remember this is NOT the NFL HOF, it’s Pro Football HOF.

  16. AlanSaysYo says:
    Feb 8, 2012 11:04 AM
    Peter King should not get a vote.

    Most objective comment ever made on PFT. King only gets a vote if we make a “vapid reporters who talk about the struggles of being a rich white man in a northeastern city” hall of fame.

  17. This really is misnamed – it should be named the Hall of Performance. Today, with the Internet and media craze, you could claim that every pro-bowler is FAMous. The problem is that not every player with FAME is a player of performance.

    Chris Carter’s catches made nearly zero impact to the game or his teams. I’m not saying he didn’t accomplish something making all those catches and scoring those TDs. But so what. He did what he was paid to do. Was he an impact player? Someone who changed the course of a game or season consistently? Did he alter the game as we know it?


    This is not to cap on Carter specifically, but I’d like to see the actual criteria that Hall voters use. Is it championships? Is it records? Is it key plays in nationally televized games? Is it highlight reel stuff? Is it game-altering performance or development (LT and Landry come to mind)?

    Are rule changes taken into account? It’s much easier to pass today than it was 40 or 50 years ago. Are players considered in context with when they played? Should they be?

    The only rule I know of is you have to be retired for at least 5 years -that’s it.

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