The list of the 26 semi-finalists to be part of the 2015 NFL Hall of Fame class have been announced. There are many great that we all grew up watching and even emulated when we were throwing the pigskin around with friends and family. Guys like Ty Law, Terrell Davis, Kevin Greene, Tim Brown and Kurt Warner were on our TV screens or on our radios throughout childhood.
Those are just a few of the great men who were fortunate enough to make the cut. However, there were three that will grab the attention of each person in the Colts Nation. Former head coach Tony Dungy, Marvin Harrison and Edgerrin James made the list and we are all excited for them. All three have resumes that show why they made the cut and why they deserve to have a gold jacket and bronze bust in Canton. Sadly however they may not make it as only a select few out of the list of 26 will be enshrined forever. Let’s breakdown these three players and see what makes them Canton-worthy.
Edgerrin James, or “Edge,” as we all call him, was a savior of sorts when he arrived in Indy in 1999. The Colts already had Marvin Harrison and Peyton Manning in place but needed another member of the offense to help spread it out. Edge was able to do just that. A dual threat runner as he could beat you with his feet or his hands. Not to mention he would knock your head off while blocking in the backfield. Edge was the Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1999 while also winning the NFL rushing title; a feat no one has accomplished since. Edge also won the rushing title in his second year but suffered a torn ACL in 2001 and missed most of the season. He was able to bounce back in 2003, 2004 and 2005 with 1500 yards of rushing each season. He is the Colts all-time leading rusher and the fastest player to 12,000 yards from scrimmage in NFL history – tied with LaDamian Tomlinson. He is the youngest player in NFL history to reach 12,000 yards however. He is also #11 on the NFL All-Time rushing list. All the players ahead and a few below him on the list are enshrined in Ohio, except for Jerome Bettis, who sits in the #6 spot. Edge is also 25th on the all-time all-purpose yardage list.
I would say that Edge has done enough to make the final cut but there are men ahead of him who deserve it a little more. I’m sure Edge will be put in the Hall of Fame before it’s all said and done, but I just don’t think 2015 will be his year.
Tony Dungy is someone that I do feel could be put in the HOF this year. Dungy came to Indy and turned this team around. He did the same for Tampa Bay before they cut him loose for no apparent reason. Dungy carries a .668 winning percentage in the regular season and a .474 winning percentage in the playoffs. Dungy also helped put the team together that brought the first Lombardi trophy to Indianapolis. He, along with Lovie Smith from Chicago, were the first African American men to be the head coach of a team playing for the Super Bowl. That’s not a huge stat but that is huge nonetheless. Dungy may not carry the same big winning percentage that fellow HOF-hopeful Jimmy Johnson does but he did much more for the game of football than just win games. He brought civility to the league and a face of a franchise that millions fell in love with and still love him as he broadcasts for Sunday Night Football on the NBC.
I believe that Dungy does deserve this honor. However, having to go up against a coach like Jimmy Johnson in the same HOF class is something I don’t think he will be able to beat. Johnson was a staple of the NFL in the early and mid-90’s and still holds a special place in the hearts of football fans all over. Dungy will have a bust in Canton before it’s too late but this year I don’t think he will be getting the gold threads.
Finally we come to the man that I thought should have been in last year, Marvin Harrison. I’m not going to spend the time throwing out all of his stats and accolades to anyone. We all know what he did and where he stands. He is considered one of the greatest all-time wide receivers in NFL history. He ranks in the top-5 of every receiving stat in NFL history and has one thing that may hold him back from being put where he belongs. After he retired there was a murder investigation that involved Harrison. Now, nothing was ever brought forward that he had anything to do with it but that still left a blemish on his nearly squeaky clean NFL resume. I know that it shouldn’t matter what happened off the field and only on the field production matters when it come to the Hall of Fame. Try telling that to the voters. Harrison deserves to be put in Canton for good. I’m not saying there aren’t more deserving guys from that position that don’t but Harrison did it all and has a Super Bowl ring. Tim Brown doesn’t. I love Tim Brown also. As a man who bleed gold and blue through and through I would love to see Brown finally standing next to his bronze head in August next year. However, if it came down to Harrison or Brown, I would choose Harrison.
Marvin deserves his glory now and I feel that he will be finally enshrined for good this upcoming year.