Not to be lost in the aftermath of last night's thrilling win, Curtis Martin was named a Hall of Fame finalist today.
" Dermontti Dawson, C (1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers)
" Charles Haley, DE/LB (1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys)
" *Chris Hanburger, LB (1965-78 Washington Redskins)
" Cortez Kennedy, DT (1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks)
" *Les Richter, LB (1954-62 Los Angeles Rams)
" Ed Sabol, Contributor (1964-1995 NFL Films)
I'm very skeptical that Curtis will make it in on the first ballot. He clearly deserves to be. There are problems, though. The first is that there are more deserving candidates than there are spots. Only five of those modern era candidates can get in. Guys like Carter and Sharpe who have had to wait might have preference. The other problem is Curtis' quiet, classy demeanor. He never drew attention to himself during his career. That matters. More people know Terrell Owens was an elite player in his prime because of his attention hogging than those who know about quiet guys like Tory Holt and Marvin Harrison. Curtis' game didn't jump off the page either. He didn't run guys over or have blazing speed. His game was just consistent excellence. It wasn't as obvious as other guys with some spectacular attribute. Toughness, heart, and locker room leadership are other subtle attributes he probably won't get credit for.
I'm rooting for him like crazy, but my hopes in the voters doing the right thing is not high.