The latest class of players has just been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The NFL is rumored to possibly be inducting up to 20 players for the 2020 Hall of Fame class. There are already players who likely deserve to be in the Hall of Fame, but have been left out. Here are five players who are eligible and should already be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Anderson is one of the forgotten quarterbacks from the 1970s and 1980s, but he helped produce some of the best seasons in the history of the Cincinnati Bengals. He won an MVP, took the Bengals to the Super Bowl, made the Pro Bowl four times and was a one-time All-Pro.
In his 16-year career, Anderson threw for 32,838 yards, 197 touchdowns and 160 interceptions on 59.3 percent completion. At the time of his retirement, he was ranked sixth all-time in passing yards. He held many records at the time of his retirement including completion percentage for a game and season, most consecutive completions, highest completion percentage in a Super Bowl and most completions in a Super Bowl. All of those records have since been broken but to have that many records at any point is impressive.
For his efficiency and his ability to lead the Bengals to their first Super Bowl appearance, Anderson deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. NFL Network listed Anderson 10th on the list of players who were not in the Hall of Fame. Since the list debuted, some of the players have been inducted, but not Anderson. With the extra inductions next year, Anderson should find himself in Canton.
The Rams had some great offensive weapons to make up their “Greatest Show on Turf” offense. Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce all made plays. Bruce though, has been eligible for a while now, as his career ended in 2009, but he has not been put in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
He had 1,024 receptions for 15,208 yards and 91 touchdowns in his career. Those stats make him one of the greatest receivers in NFL history statistically. He is fifth all-time in receiving yards, 12th in touchdown catches and 13th in receptions. Bruce helped the Rams win a Super Bowl and made the Pro Bowl four times.
While he may not have ever been the best receiver in the league during his career (those claims likely go to Jerry Rice and Randy Moss or Terrell Owens later in his career), he has great stats that are Hall of Fame worthy. Warner and Faulk are in the Hall of Fame already from the “Greatest Show on Turf” and Bruce should follow.
O’Neal was the eighth overall pick in the 1986 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers. He later played for the Rams and Chiefs. While he isn’t one of the players who have the best name recognition, he was a productive pass rusher and deserves some Hall of Fame consideration.
Every eligible player that has over 130 sacks (official or unofficial) has gotten into the Hall of Fame, except O’Neal. He finished his career with 132.5 sacks, which ties him for 11th on the all-time list. O’Neal made six Pro Bowls and had eight seasons with double-digit sacks.
There are a few players who have fewer sacks than O’Neal who received the nod into Canton. Andre Tippett had just 100 sacks and received the honor, while O’Neal produced way more and was left out. O’Neal likely wouldn’t have been voted into the Hall of Fame anytime soon, but with the big class going in next season, he may get the call.
The Bengals had one of the best defensive backs in football for 15 seasons in Riley. He had a great career, but curiously was not selected to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. For someone who played so well, Riley should get more consideration.
Riley was an All-Pro once and helped the Bengals reach their first Super Bowl. He was a ball-hawk who finished his career with 65 interceptions, which is tied for fifth all-time. At the time of his retirement, Riley was ranked fourth all-time in interceptions. Someone with that many turnovers forced in a career deserves to be in Canton.
Numerous players have fewer interceptions, yet are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. While defensive backs shouldn’t be totally judged on interceptions, a player with as many as Riley should be recognized for their achievements.
Taylor didn’t get much recognition playing in Jacksonville for most of his career, but he consistently put up good numbers. It isn’t so easy for players to pick up yardage when defenses are keying on them, but Taylor was able to fight through that to be one of the better running backs of his era.
In his career, Taylor rushed for 11,695 yards and 66 touchdowns. He also had 2,384 receiving yards and eight touchdown catches. Taylor ranks 17th on the all-time rushing list and also has one of the higher yards per carry averages of players in the top 20 of all-time rushing yards. He didn’t hit paydirt very often, as his 66 rushing touchdowns are pretty low for a player with so much yardage, but he helped make the Jaguars offense a lot better.
While he isn’t the player with the most rushing yards who was left out of the Hall of Fame (that title belongs to Edgerrin James, who may also get into the Hall of Fame soon), Taylor did really well given his circumstances. With his production, Taylor may get into the Hall of Fame next year.