Peppers, Gronk should highlight the 2024 Hall of Fame class

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Two players who have retired this offseason should be first-ballot Hall of Famers.

Julius Peppers and Rob Gronkowski are likely to highlight the 2024 enshrinement class at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Players who last played in 2018 will be eligible for the first time in 2024.

Peppers retired with 159.5 sacks, fourth-most of all time, and every player with more than 135 sacks who is eligible for the Hall is in. There’s little doubt that Peppers will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

Some may hold Gronk’s relatively short career — 115 games in nine seasons — against him, but there’s not a strong case against putting him in the Hall of Fame as well. At his peak, he was the best tight end ever to play the game, and his four first-team All-Pro selections and three Super Bowl rings easily outweigh any questions about his longevity.

Other players who have retired this offseason and could get some Hall of Fame consideration include Haloti Ngata, Jordy Nelson, Kyle Williams and Ben Watson. None of them is likely to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, though. Peppers and Gronk will highlight the class of 2024.

47 responses to “Peppers, Gronk should highlight the 2024 Hall of Fame class

  1. Gronk was just a player you knew would take over the game when you needed it. He’ll never be adequately replacement and that’s not an insult to the new tight end.

    Julius Peppers was phenomenaly consistent and the epitimy of healthy. Freak of nature.

    Glad I got to see them play.

  2. I don’t think Gronk has retired, as reported it will take a call from TB12 after securing a playoff berth to say “let’s go for ring #7”. Rested and healed he will answer the call.

  3. Peppers is in. Gronk’s health should keep him out, for at least a few years. He is a good player, but at his best he was 2nd to Jimmy Graham as a receiver. He is not Tony G, Antonio Gate, or Jason Witten. Injury prone players (rightfully) have a tough time.

  4. OK same warning I always say – without disagreeing with the first round ballot thing. THERE IS NO BEST ANYONE TO PLAY THE GAME. Ditka. Gonzales. Gates. Different eras, different rules. Should he be a first round ballot – yes. Absolutely. But can we stop with the GOAT talk? League has been around for 100 years, and even some of the more recent eras (think Marino and Montana) would have thrived under these rules. There is no such thing as a GOAT in any sport. Readers just need it.

  5. What’s amazing to me being a season ticket holder watching probably more. Then half of Gronks games is he was a dominate blocker!!! I remember one game against the Ravens he took there nose tackle Haloti Nata completely out of the play single handedly!!! Haloti probably had 85 lbs on him and was no slouch!!!! Gronk the true Pats fans thank you !!!!! The pleasure was all ours!!!!

  6. Gronk’s “one more year” or encore was this past year. I didn’t want to see him retire for selfish reasons, but he was 75% this year and most of us really don’t want to see him just become a very good payer. Gronk was special and he went out that way making huge plays in both the AFC CG and SB. Anybody who doesn’t believe he should be wearing that gold jacket in five years is either consumed with hate o doesn’t understand that there has never been a complete of a tight end as Gronk. Even these guys who were more receiver than blockier had lower yards per catch than Gronk.

  7. Best ever? No, was he good? yes he was, but he is not better that Tony G and Antonio G.

  8. No argument Gronk = HOF, but Kellen Winslow Sr was by far the best TE I’ve seen.

  9. At his peak, he was the best tight end ever to play the game, and his four first-team All-Pro selections

    ————————–

    The “best to ever play the game” stuff with today’s players really needs to stop. Didn’t you recently write that the Rams offensive line was the “best ever”? So ridiculous when the Raiders line in the 1970’s had 4 Hall of Famers out of 5 starting lineman…oh and tight end Dave Casper too. Ever hear of Dave Casper? Ever seen him play? And this right here is the problem with you sports writers and hype machines of today.

    Casper had 4 All Pro selections as well. 1970s first team all decade tight end. Did you know that once the Raiders decided to start Dave Casper in 1976 that they never lost to the Steelers Dynasty of the 1970s again with Casper. 3 straight wins over Pittsburgh smack dab in the middle of their 1970s dynasty. Did you know that Casper was an All American offensive lineman (tackle) at Notre Dame.

    Have you ever taken the time to compare Caspers blocking, route running and clutch play to Gronk? No? Then stop with this best ever stuff. You haven’t been around long enough to make these blanket best ever statements.

  10. Took part in two SB victories, ranks third all-time in tight end TDs, didn’t break the 8k mark in yards. Stats, not hate. There are a few guys in the HOF with truncated careers and non-eye-popping numbers so him going in is a no-brainer but first ballot? I don’t know. Maybe I’ll see it differently in 5 years.

  11. Whenever Gronk played, the most frequent broadcaster word was ‘mismatch’. Didn’t matter who had him – linebacker, safety – it was always a mismatch. He will be in the HOF on the first ballot, but not in 5 years. He will play again when called. He is only 29. He will get healthy, stay in shape, and the competitive nature will return.

  12. rockemsockemrobots says:
    March 30, 2019 at 6:55 am
    Peppers is in. Gronk’s health should keep him out, for at least a few years. He is a good player, but at his best he was 2nd to Jimmy Graham as a receiver. He is not Tony G, Antonio Gate, or Jason Witten. Injury prone players (rightfully) have a tough time.
    ————————
    Firstly, Gronk owns many NFL records for TEs (and some for all recievers) and unlike the others you mention (who don’t really block much at all) he was also a top blocking TE. He did manage about 80% availability which for a physical blocker isn’t bad, and he has 3 SB rings.

  13. My hope is at some point Jordy Nelson will make it to the Hall Of Fame. I believe stats are not the whole story when it comes to the Hall Of Fame voting.
    The fact is, Jordy Nelson was the most under-appreciated player in the NFL during his time in the NFL. The guy did everything at a high level and time after time in game after game he made clutch plays to help his team win games. The reason he flew under the radar to me is because he was like Larry Fitzgerald. Both of them were great players who cared only about winning and not about themselves. They didn’t feel the need to pound their chests every time they made a first down. Or dance some silly dance when they scored a TD. They both just went out and played their “A” game every week. I have tremendous respect for both of them for the way they played the game.
    I would be willing to bet that if you asked DB’s who played against Jordy Nelson if they thought he was a Hall Of Fame player, the great majority of them would say yes. Because they know how good he was.
    I know this much. There are WR’s who are in the Hall Of Fame who were not as good as Jordy Nelson was.

  14. I’ve heard opposing coaches say when Gronk was on the field you couldn’t scheme against the Pats offense.

    You couldn’t put in a certain defense thinking they have a tendency to run or pass, because he was such a good blocker, and a great receiving threat.

    He was a freak, and I mean that in a good way.

    Pat’s fans will always miss him.

  15. The only way those other four should get in is with the free pass the NFL gives to all of its players. They were good players; even great for a short period of time. But they aren’t even sniffing the title of all-time greats.

  16. With Terrell Davis and Kurt Warner now in the hall of fame, longevity is no longer a criteria. Flash in the pan is now eligible for enshrinement.

  17. Nelson, Williams, and Watson were just regular, consistent players, but nowhere near extraordinary enough to be in the Hall of Fame. I could name several players at each of their positions that deserve to be in before them. The Hall of Fame is so watered down with underwhelming players that it really doesn’t feel like a real high standard any more.

  18. Ben Watson? He never even made a Pro Bowl…how does he even get a mention? To counter an above comment, you absolutely could make a case for Haloti Ngata (5 PBs, 2 All Pros), though I think he ultimately falls a bit short.

  19. “Peppers retired with 159.5 sacks, fourth-most of all time”

    That should read: Peppers retired with 159.5 sacks, fourth-most since they started counting sacks as a statistic.

  20. I’m old enough to remember when Peppers played basketball at UNC. He was a freakishly gifted athlete and the model of consistency in the NFL. First ballot HOF for sure.

  21. The Panthers have guys that played for them who are in the HOF (R. White, K. Greene), but those don’t really count for the franchise. Peppers will definitely be a first ballot, but I wonder if Steve Smith will get in before him.

  22. If Gronk ends up really retiring the only knock against him is the length of his career. But the voters are going to ask themselves who was the most dominant tight end that has ever played the game while he did play? The answer is Gronk and it’s not even close to being close.

    No one is going to argue about peppers.

    When it comes time the HOF voters are going to fall over themselves rushing to vote both in first ballot.

  23. Poor Sig understandably has an inferiority complex given how the once proud Raiders have become an afterthought when it comes to the hierarchy of NFL royalty. While 30 years ago the Raiders were considered one of the more storied franchises in the league, they’ve since been rendered second class citizens along with the Dolphins and Broncos, far behind the Mount Rushmore that is NE, PITT, DAL and SF. It must be that much more painful that the Patriots launched their unprecedented dynasty at the expense of the OAK/LA/OAK/LV Raiders. As far as Casper is concerned, he was a very good player in his day, slightly better than Russ Francis, who was a superior blocker, but not in this same class the GOA(TE).

  24. polksaladandy says:
    March 30, 2019 at 5:20 pm

    As far as Casper is concerned, he was a very good player in his day, slightly better than Russ Francis, who was a superior blocker, but not in this same class the GOA(TE).

    —————————–

    Casper was first team all decade for the 1970s. Since the tight end position in pro football was basically invented around the 1950s. That leaves us roughly 7 decades to debate who was the GOAT TE. There’s a first team all decade tight end for each of them, including Dave Casper.

    Guess who wasn’t on an all decade team? Francis was a nice player but he couldn’t stay on the field and is not in the conversation with Dave Casper. Francis numbers in San Francisco were about the same as Charley Young’s and Ken MacAfee’s before him. Francis was never the featured receiver in his offense like Dave Casper was in Oakland-Houston and Francis was nowhere near as difficult to tackle. Casper was a bowling ball on wheels once he turned up field.

  25. “Poor Sig understandably has an inferiority complex given how the once proud Raiders have become an afterthought when it comes to the hierarchy of NFL royalty. While 30 years ago the Raiders were considered one of the more storied franchises in the league, they’ve since been rendered second class citizens along with the Dolphins and Broncos, far behind the Mount Rushmore that is NE, PITT, DAL and SF. It must be that much more painful that the Patriots launched their unprecedented dynasty at the expense of the OAK/LA/OAK/LV Raiders. As far as Casper is concerned, he was a very good player in his day, slightly better than Russ Francis, who was a superior blocker, but not in this same class the GOA(TE)”

    ——

    Jeez, calm down dude. What did he do to you, other than disagree? Caspar may or may not be comparable to Gronk, but this right here is uncalled for. And arrogant.

  26. sigbouncer says:
    March 30, 2019 at 6:01 pm
    polksaladandy says:
    March 30, 2019 at 5:20 pm

    Guess who wasn’t on an all decade team? Francis was a nice player but he couldn’t stay on the field and is not in the conversation with Dave Casper. Francis numbers in San Francisco were about the same as Charley Young’s and Ken MacAfee’s before him. Francis was never the featured receiver in his offense like Dave Casper was in Oakland-Houston and Francis was nowhere near as difficult to tackle. Casper was a bowling ball on wheels once he turned up field.
    —————————-
    Suggest you compare their receiving numbers. Casper and Francis have nearly identical career yardage numbers. Francis has a slight edge in receptions, Casper has a notable edge in TD catches. You’re basing your comparison on what Francis did in SF and ignored what he did in NE before being traded.

  27. davew128 says:
    March 30, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    Suggest you compare their receiving numbers. Casper and Francis have nearly identical career yardage numbers. Francis has a slight edge in receptions, Casper has a notable edge in TD catches. You’re basing your comparison on what Francis did in SF and ignored what he did in NE before being traded.

    ——————————-

    I base my comparison on what I saw with my own two eyes first. And Francis simply doesn’t compare to The Ghost.

    Casper started 101 games at tight end and Francis started nearly 150 (148) games. So with Francis being a dozen touchdowns behind Casper for his career and the two being close to even in receptions and yardage. With Casper starting and being on the field in 50% less games should help you to understand why their career numbers are similar in receptions and yards.

    There is a reason why Casper is both in the Hall of Fame and on the all decade team while Francis isn’t on either. I’d suggest you go and watch some film on the two players to get a better perspective.

  28. rockemsockemrobots says:
    March 30, 2019 at 6:55 am
    Peppers is in. Gronk’s health should keep him out, for at least a few years. He is a good player, but at his best he was 2nd to Jimmy Graham as a receiver. He is not Tony G, Antonio Gate, or Jason Witten. Injury prone players (rightfully) have a tough time.

    ******************

    You should be in the concussion protocol…

  29. Why would anyone compare Dave Casper to Rob Gronkowski? Casper played 14 seasons and barely compiled half of Gronkowski’s stats. Gronk blows him away. Next…

  30. lanman11 says:
    March 30, 2019 at 11:06 pm

    Why would anyone compare Dave Casper to Rob Gronkowski? Casper played 14 seasons and barely compiled half of Gronkowski’s stats. Gronk blows him away. Next…

    —————————–

    Incorrect. Casper played 11 seasons – 1974-’84.
    7 and 1/2 years (1982 strike year just 9 games) as the starting tight end.

    You’re really gonna play the today’s stat card vs a 1970s player and claim victory?
    You might as well say Ryan Fitzpatrick was better than Terry Bradshaw, Roger Staubach and Ken Stabler because stats.

  31. I’m a Packers fan. Jordy Nelson was a wonderful player. So was Donald Driver. So was Antonio Freeman. None of them will be in Canton. And that’s okay. The next Packer in the HOF should be LeRoy Butler, an all-decade player in the 1990s. The only 1990s all-decade players not in the HOF are Butler and Steve Atwater. This needs attention.

  32. lanman11 says:
    March 30, 2019 at 11:06 pm

    Why would anyone compare Dave Casper to Rob Gronkowski? Casper played 14 seasons and barely compiled half of Gronkowski’s stats. Gronk blows him away. Next…

    —————————–

    Incorrect. Casper played 11 seasons – 1974-’84.
    7 and 1/2 years (1982 strike year just 9 games) as the starting tight end.

    You’re really gonna play the today’s stat card vs a 1970s player and claim victory?
    You might as well say Ryan Fitzpatrick was better than Terry Bradshaw, Roger Staubach and Ken Stabler because stats.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Agreed, no doubt Gronk is one of the greats (but he benefited from the big tight end against the small corner transition), but you’d think that some of these posters have only been watching football since the passing game opened up, or when the Pats became successful.
    Add Kellen Winslow, Keith Jackson, Jackie Smith, John Mackey, Mike Ditka and Ozzie Newsome to the list of people you want to set your DeLorean to go back and see…BTW -these guys did it with head slaps and getting molested at the line of scrimmage… in contrast Gronk and today’s other great tight ends are wearing flags

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