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February 05, 2011

Sanders, Faulk headline HoF class

    DALLAS — Two of the most electrifying players of their generation are going to the Hall of Fame, along with the man who chronicled their gifts with his own.

    First-year eligibles Deion Sanders and Marshall Faulk were voted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday, along with NFL Films founder Ed Sabol.

    Joining them in the seven-man class voted on Saturday during a seven and a half hour meeting were defensive end Richard Dent, tight end Shannon Sharpe and seniors committee candidates Chris Hanburger and Les Richter, linebacker stars of previous eras.

    The most spirited debate in the discussion concerned Sabol, who turned a small film company into a legacy building empire.

    NFL Films, with its extreme slow-motion shots, dramatic music and the booming baritone of announcer John Facenda, shaped the way many football fans view the game.

    His supporters insist the 94-year-old Sabol set the stage for the dramatic growth of the NFL’s popularity, pushing it far beyond baseball and college sports.

    Sanders and Faulk were considered favorites and proved to be, pushing through the lengthiest meeting in the committee’s history.

    While not all favored his cover-first, hit-seldom style, what can’t be argued is that Sanders defined the cover corner position, at a time when he hop-scotched between sports and became a cross-cultural icon.

    Faulk’s recognition stemmed from the his exploits as the backbone of “The Greatest Show on Turf,” the St. Louis offenses from the turn of the previous decade. Faulk’s ninth on the league’s all-time rushing list, and 16th all-time in receptions, showing the kind of versatility that made those Rams teams so dangerous.

    Dent pushed through in his ninth year of eligibility, finally recognized for his defining pass-rush from an era that was only beginning to quantify it. His 137.5 sacks rank sixth all-time, but his tough run defense made him one of the stalwarts of one of the league’s great defenses. He was named MVP of Super Bowl XX, after forcing two fumbles and registering 1.5 sacks in the Bears coronation.

    Sharpe, simply put, changed the way the tight end position was viewed. Though he was an able blocker, he left the game as the leader in receptions (815), yards (10,060) and touchdowns (62), by a tight end. 

    Hanburger and Richter were pushed through by the veterans committee, which brings forgotten stars back for discussion. Hanburger played at North Carolina before his stellar career with the Washington Redskins, while Richter was one of the league’s original enforcers for the Los Angeles Rams in the 1950s and early 60s.

    In addition to the seniors committee candidates, 15 players entered the room as finalists. 

    Wide receivers Cris Carter and Tim Brown, defensive ends Chris Doleman and Charles Haley and running back Jerome Bettis were eliminated in the first cut to 10.

    When the list was reduced to the final five candidates, center Dermontti Dawson, defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, running back Curtis Martin, wide receiver Andre Reed and offensive tackle Willie Roaf fell by the wayside.

-- Darin Gantt

Posted by Observer Sports on February 5, 2011 at 07:30 PM | Permalink

Comments

Shame that Chris Carter hasn't gotten his recognition yet. Maybe one day.

Posted by: rasing kane | Feb 6, 2011 6:45:51 AM

Every year its the same thing, and every year during Super Bowl Weekend I gotta say that The NFL HOF is a JOKE.

Mike Irvin in a year before Art Monk - I know that wasnt this year, but its just another example of how big a joke the HOF is

Shannon Sharpe in before Chris Carter, Tim Brown, Andre Reed, Bettis... Please...

All of the other enshrinees this year I dont have a beef with (was hoping D Dawson or big Willie would make it for the O-linemen out there), but to say they even had to even discuss Ed Sabol - he shouldve been in years ago.

All it is is a popularity contest, stats have nothing to do with it. Because if they did (and yes Im a Raiders fan before ya'll start) why is Ken Stabler (as good, if not better #'s than Namath), Cliff Branch (BETTER NUMBERS THAN SWANN), Ray Guy - a football player who also punted, why are these guys not in - I can use the same argument with Guy as they used for Sharpe - he revolutionized the position.

But the one that really pisses me off is Jim Plunkett - 2 Super Bowl rings, and he cant even make a finals list...

Im sure fans of every team have their own list of players they feel should be in, but no one can list a QB with 2 Super Bowl wins, who is eligible, that isnt in.

The only HOF that is a bigger joke than the NFL's is NASCAR... my $.02

Posted by: HenryC | Feb 6, 2011 8:35:53 AM

Agreed

Posted by: rasing kane | Feb 6, 2011 5:30:29 PM

Agreed

Posted by: rasing kane | Feb 6, 2011 5:30:29 PM

I have to agree that Tim Brown, Chris Carter, Kenny Stabler, Cliff Branch, and Jim Plunkett should be in the HOF. And while we are talking about overlooked Raiders, how about Tom Flores, the Raiders coach who won two Super Bowls (and oh by the way he was hispanic for whatever that is worth).

How Michael Irving got in before Art Monk is questionable. Shannon Sharpe was an elite tight end who put up big numbers.

On a lighter note I am impressed that Chris Hanburger made it. I grew up a Redskins fan. Hanburger was known as the "hangman" because of his penchant for clothesline tackles. This guy could play. He was smallish for a linebacker, but he was quick and he hit people.

Posted by: DCboy60 | Feb 7, 2011 7:47:51 AM

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