The Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony is coming up on Saturday. While this day is meant to honor the great players of days past, there are also players who don’t deserve to be in the Hall of Fame, who have been voted in. It is a human panel who votes players in, so there are some players who may not have earned the right to be in the Hall of Fame, who got in anyways. This is not an easy task as all the players in the Hall of Fame sacrificed their bodies and had great moments and deserve to be recognized in some sense, just maybe not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Players considered for this list played in the 1970s (even if their career started earlier) or later and were elected in 1985 or later.
Namath made a big guarantee saying the Jets would beat the Colts in Super Bowl III and came through. While that is an iconic moment and game in NFL history, Namath doesn’t deserve to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
In his career, he threw for 27,633 yards, 173 touchdowns and 220 interceptions on 50.1 percent completion. While it was a different era, Namath only threw for more touchdowns than interceptions in a season two different times. Those aren’t quite Hall of Fame numbers.
To make matters worse, there are better quarterbacks who played in his era, who aren’t in the Hall of Fame. Norm Snead played for several teams and has more career passing yards, a higher completion percentage and more touchdowns. Roman Gabriel played for the Rams and the Eagles and finished his career with more career passing yards, a higher completion percentage, more touchdowns and fewer interceptions, yet both players were left out of the Hall of Fame. While calling a Super Bowl victory and delivering is great, “Broadway Joe” may not be the most deserving quarterback in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
He had an up and down career, but the highs were great for Stabler, as he won an MVP award and a Super Bowl. Stabler reached the peak of a football career, both personally and for a team, but still may not deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.
He threw for 27,398 yards, 194 touchdowns and 222 interceptions on 59.8 percent completion. Like Namath, he has a negative touchdown to interception ratio. Also like Namath, he does not rank in the top 50 all-time in passing yards.
Ken Anderson was a player who played in the exact same era as Stabler and arguably had a better career. He threw for 32,838 yards (38th all-time), 197 touchdowns and 160 interceptions on 59.3 percent completion. Anderson also has an MVP Award, but was not able to carry the lowly Bengals to a Super Bowl Championship in his career, even though he got close. If Anderson isn’t in the Hall of Fame, Stabler shouldn’t be either.
Davis was known as one of the most controversial entrants in the Hall of Fame when he was inducted in 2017. He is the perfect case of whether players should be inducted after a few good seasons. Davis doesn’t have the career numbers that most Hall of Famers do, but does have four really good seasons.
The Broncos handed Davis the ball a lot in the first four seasons of his career and it likely cost him any future after that, as he played just three seasons after that. He has 7, 607 rushing yards (55th all-time) and 60 rushing touchdowns. In those four productive seasons, he made three Pro Bowls, won the MVP and helped lead Denver to two Super Bowl Championships. Davis also rushed for over 2,000 yards in 1998.
Other running backs who have more career accolades are having trouble getting into the Hall of Fame. Edgerrin James, Fred Taylor and Corey Dillon are all eligible for the Hall of Fame, but haven’t been elected, despite being ranked in the top 20 of the NFL’s all-time leading rushers. They may have had more years to accumulate stats, but Davis is still far away from the top 20 rushers of all time. After he got injured and retired other running backs for the Broncos were able to rush for 1,000 yards under the great coach Mike Shanahan. Davis has great moments, but there could be other players more deserving that were passed over.
Tippett had an 11-year career for the New England Patriots at linebacker. While he was a good player for the Patriots, he probably didn’t deserve to be elected into the Hall of Fame in 2008.
He was an effective pass rusher with 100 sacks in 151 games played. Tippett had three great years of getting to the quarterback. In 1984 he had 18.5 sacks, while the next season he had 16.5 sacks. He got double-digit sacks one more time, in 1987, when he registered 12.5 sacks. 100 sacks may have been a lot for his era, but now he ranks 32nd on the all-time sacks list.
There are several players who played in the same era who had more sacks than Tippett, but did not get elected into the Hall of Fame. Jim Jeffcoat, Pat Swilling, Sean Jones, Greg Townsend and more played around the same time as Tippett with more sacks, but aren’t in the Hall of Fame. Tippett had a few good seasons, but there are other players who have more of a claim to the Hall of Fame than him.
Swann was a part of four Super Bowl teams and made some highlight-reel catches in big moments. He did have to wait until 2001 to be elected to the Hall of Fame, even though his last season was in 1982.
As it currently stands, Swann ranks 237th on the all-time receiving yardage list. He finished his career with 336 receptions for 5,462 yards and 51 touchdowns. Swann never ranked in the top five for a season in receptions or yards. He was a solid player, but most of his accolades came from being on a great team. With more personal accomplishments, he would be more deserving of the Hall of Fame.
There are plenty of players who have put up better numbers than Swann who are not in the Hall of Fame. Most of those are because the game has changed a lot, but some players from his era (and even some from before his era) had better careers, but were left out of the Hall of Fame. Drew Pearson, of the Dallas Cowboys, won a Super Bowl and was better than Swann in all stats besides touchdowns. He even led the league in receiving yards in 1977 with 870. People arguing for Swann will say that his career was shorter, but Pearson also had more yards per game. Swann has some great postseason moments, including the four Super Bowls, but that shouldn’t be the only qualifier for who should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.