Willie Roaf suggests term limits for Hall of Fame voters


A year ago, when Willie Roaf was voted down by the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee, it set off a round of controversy about the process of electing new Hall of Famers. This year Roaf got in, but controversy remains. And Roaf has an idea about how to fix things.

Roaf said in an interview with ESPN 101 in St. Louis that he thinks some fresh blood is needed on the 44-member selection committee, and he thinks the way to go about doing that is to limit the amount of time that voters can remain on the committee.

“I just think that looking on the outside looking in one step would be maybe a change up sometimes in the voters,” Roaf said. “If the committee switched up on the guys every five years or whatever I think some players would like to see some changes in who is doing the selection process every year because most of the time I think it’s the same voters that come in and do all the voting. Outside looking in I would like to see a little more change up on who votes.”

Roaf noted that it has been tough for receivers Cris Carter, Tim Brown and Andre Reed, who seem to have canceled out, and he wonders whether the Hall of Fame’s regional approach of having one voter representing each NFL team’s home market has led the voters to divide into factions supporting the candidates from their own areas.

“I know these guys are involved in every city but if you have the same guys, I think that’s some of the reason of what’s happening with the receivers,” Roaf said. “They’re splitting up the vote or something is happening. One of those guys hopefully gets in next year because those are some great receivers.”

Roaf made clear that he’s honored to have been chosen, and he also took pains to say that when he was passed over last year, he was passed over for other deserving candidates. But his point remains: It certainly wouldn’t be a bad thing for the Hall of Fame to get some fresh perspectives from some new voters.

44 responses to “Willie Roaf suggests term limits for Hall of Fame voters

  1. Well, he might be right. If politicians had term limits, they would be less likely to become corrupt from years of ‘favors.’

  2. I think roaf is right on the money with this – something needs to be done to fix the non-sense – if parcells, chris carter, tim brown, and even boomer esaison are not in the hof – how valid is the hof to begin with????

  3. This is truly a fantastic idea! Time to make changes in some way for HOF voting method and this can get rid of the “good ole boy network” and get some fresh blood in there.

  4. Totally agree with Roaf. I hate that one year a player is not good enough to get into the HOF, but the next year they are. I don’t get it. Maybe changing the voters every other year will fix the process.

  5. Who is it that should have been left off last year for Roaf or this year for one of the three WRs? It’s not a snub unless someone less deserving gets in or less than the maximum get in.

  6. How Will Shields did not get voted in is EXACTLY why there needs to be changes in the voters.

    Totally absurd that Shields was not elected on first ballot

  7. I am glad to see he stepped up and made that statement. Most guys would have said well, I made it don’t worry about the rest. But he is right the same goes with the MVP who are the 50 people that vote. None of this makes sense Arron Rodgers and Drew Brees won the same amount of game’s each. Both won there divison
    one player won a play off game and the other didn’t. But the votes were 48 to 2. One broke the all time passing yards record and the other didn’t.

  8. What you guys want is a limit on how many terms a HOF voter gets, not how long the term is. Guys would just get reelected every time, sometimes for life.

    And who votes in these elections?

  9. Roaf is correct. Even the ones that are on the committee should be audited every year.
    Some of the names on the voting committee are just pathetic

  10. I’m all for this. If a player doesn’t kiss the backside of certain media and HOF voters then he’ll be waiting a LONG time to get in. It’s a BS process that needs to be changed.

  11. How about this for a novel idea:

    Vote on each eligible player individually. Anyone who gets 75% of the vote gets in. Anyone who gets less than 75% of the vote doesn’t get in…ever.

    I personally think it’s stupid to say that a guy was not good enough to get in the Hall of Fame this year…but next year (even though he’s still got the same stats, rings, records, etc…) he is worthy. What’s changed?

    There should be no limit as to how many get in each year. Either they are deserving or they are not deserving. There’s nothing in the plaques that says “fourth ballet hall of famer” to differentiate him from the “first-ballet hall of famer.” If they are worthy, put them in. If not, keep them out. The current system is just plain dumb.

  12. Willie couldn’t be more right. The fact that he wasn’t a first ballot entry should leave enough said.

    All the guy did was play for 13 years and make 11 pro-bowl’s (should be 12 but he blew his ACL in 01), 6 time all pro, 3 time 2nd team all-pro.

    What else does a Tackle have to do?

    The process is flawed they need to let the coaches in. I can tell you this from coaching myself there are plenty of sound players that stand out on film and technique wise that the observer of a game (read media) wouldn’t notice about a guy. The coaches need to be part of this process along with term limits.

    The groupthink thing going on there is unreal.

  13. Great idea. It’s pretty clear that Chris Carter & Charles Haley deserve to have already been inducted.

    To have media people entirely pick a performance based honor is ridiculous in and of itself.

  14. benh999 says:
    Feb 9, 2012 1:41 PM
    Who is it that should have been left off last year for Roaf or this year for one of the three WRs? It’s not a snub unless someone less deserving gets in or less than the maximum get in.


    I would argue Tim Brown > everyone who got voted in this year with the possible exception of Roaf, who was probably the best offensive lineman to play the game in the last 20 years, IMO.

  15. rascalmanny says:Feb 9, 2012 1:59 PM

    I’m all for this. If a player doesn’t kiss the backside of certain media and HOF voters then he’ll be waiting a LONG time to get in. It’s a BS process that needs to be changed.


    Well said. You play your whole career out and at the end of the day you get your entire body of work judged by guys that for the most part have never played the game.

    Sure they know your highlights, your numbers, impact on the history of the game but that is about it.

    There are plenty of guys that put up numbers and are fundementaly unsound players with a poor knowledge of their craft.

    Not to mention like you said at the end of the day it is an overglorified popularity contest. If they like you in you go, if not well you get to wait and possabily be dead by the time you get in.

  16. Why not just eliminate the maximum number of inductees in any given year. If there are a dozen players worthy of induction, then let’s put a dozen in. This arbitrary limit of players per year is a much bigger hinderance than which voters are involved in the election process.

  17. The day after the HOF announcements I posted a comment on the HOF inductions and the sham it has become.

    As mentioned earlier in a comments, they are like the Supreme Court. They get lifetime appointments.

    The HOF committee should be replaced every 2 years and none allowed to return to the committee for 10 years. I mean every person on the committee replaced every 2 years. No one hanging around from previous committee. Like that there are fresh faces and thoughts every 2 years.

  18. Finally – 1bigtex gives me an opening to voice the same sentiment – and toss in (for the last time we all hope) my major pet peeve of the day make that of “all time”).

    First, on the HOF front, it would make total sense to me that if 7, 9 or whatever players were eligible, go ahead and put them in. They got as far as they did on merit, so honor and recognize them and it and just do it. And there went the “politics” of the matter. Besides, what good purpose does restricting the number of inductees serve?

    And speaking of numbers (again for the last time), I have never been able to accept the seemingly aribitrary 53-men, dress 46 bit. Whatever number of healthy players you have available on game day, dress’em and play’em. Period. Why the hell not???

  19. jg725 says: Feb 9, 2012 1:24 PM

    – if parcells, chris carter, tim brown, and even boomer esaison are not in the hof – how valid is the hof to begin with????


    I think you’d have a hard time convincing many people that Boomer should be in the HOF before Kenny Anderson. If Boomer hadn’t gone into broadcasting he’d be forgotten by everyone outside of Cincinnati. Anderson was the best quarterback not named Bradshaw/Montana in his era.

  20. Boomer Esiason? I thought this post was about the Hall of Fame? If Esiason gets in, which he never will, I want to present Jake Delhomme because he’d be as deserving as Boomer plus Jake isn’t on national TV and radio abusing football fans each weekend with his analysis and opinions.

  21. I have a better idea………why use the media(they suck)

    Use the prior inductees, give them a ballot and let them pick 10 to 15 players to nominate.

    Then let them pick 5 or 6 out of that group.

    The people who played the game should be picking the Hall of Fame players, not the media.

  22. HOF is basically 44 guys who don’t (never did) play football at a professional level. *They* get to decide who’s worthy?

    I obviously don’t know the thinking an athlete but I’d assume that the top two important things for them would be:
    1. Winning championship(s)
    2. Getting paid so that they can set up themselves/their families for life.

    The rest is HOF, yadda yadda…

  23. Pretty good idea but those who have served in the past should be eligible to return once they’ve sat a term out of the voting process. People overestimate the number of people out there who know their football and there also needs to be voices to lend perspective of the game of the 70′, 80’s and 90’s.

    Lets also not overlook the fact that every year more people become eligible and only a certain number gain entry. If a slam dunk player becomes eligible he’ll be given the nod over a guy who might be deserving but on the middle of the pack. There’s no perfect solution considering everyone has a differing opinion on hwo should be in or out.

  24. Willie is wise beyond his years.

    On second thought If this was in effect from the beganing, Dan Dierdorf wouldn’t be in the Hall. Stop rocking the boat Willie.

  25. I feel new members of the committee would be breath of fresh air how are not Tim Brown,Andre Reed, Cris Carter,Art Modell,Bill Parcells,Tom Flores,Jim Plunkett, without those name in it seems the H.O.F. is not a credible!

  26. They should also should allow certain players of the eras to vote as well. Who knows better what players were the scariest than those who lined up against them. Have platoons of 10-15 players at each position (rotating every ten years or so) vote on the “other side” (ie. defensive players vote on offensive players and vice versa). You can have the writers vote too, but not given equal weight. This class, while a very good group of players, shows that the current voters are simply outthinking themselves. They can’t see the forest for the trees. There is no way a miler like Curtis Martin should be in the HOF over Tim Brown, Cris Carter or Andre Reed. It’s just wrong.

  27. Art Modell is not in the HOF, not just because of Tony Grossi, but because the other voters feel the same about what he did to Cleveland! I think it would be hilarious to see him go in as Owner of the Cleveland Browns! He probably wouldn’t even attend the ceremony!

  28. Roaf was too diplomatic to say so, but it has to gall these players and coaches to absolutely no end that men (and, unbelievably, women) who’ve never played a single down in the NFL hold the key to their enshrinement… or exclusion. Why are females involved in football HOF voting to begin with? I realize that many of the male voters didn’t play professional football, i.e. John Clayton, but I would hope that they at least played organized football through high school. I would hope they’ve at least had a helmet and shoulder pads on, and experienced the game on some level. If I were Bill Parcells, it would infuriate me that someone like Nancy Gay (FoxSports.com) actually participated in deciding whether or not me and my two Super Bowl rings get into Canton.

  29. rexismybff says:Feb 9, 2012 4:49 PM

    So – the tool who dances in the endzone during blowout losses would NOT have danced after a Super Bowl loss?

    Maybe not that same night Cruz, but you’d have been dancing – you’d have danced plenty. As a wise politician once said, “spare us the sanctimonious baloney”.

    Learn your football history before you whine about this –
    Esaison has over 50 more td passe and 5,000 yds more than ken anderson….
    in fact – esaison is not far behind montana for total passing yards and td’s – although montana was much lower in ints, and has the rings – just making a point that alot of people sell esaison short for his career accomplishments(and i am not a bengal fan or esaison fan – just a football fan)

  30. In addition, the voters should NOT be writers!!!!’

    They’re not good at their jobs, lack objectivity, and play politics during key events!!!

    Instead, the voters should be a select number of guys that actually break down game tape at NFL Films!!!

    Compared to writers they actually are transparent and give you real evidence on one’s strengths and weaknesses, the tape!!! They can do it on TV and give a lot more credible arguments than any biased and shortsighted writer!!!

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