Tonight is voting for the class of 2016 of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The people elected tonight will be inducted in Canton during the summer. I am not a fan of the selection process mainly because it limits the number of modern inductees to five when there are almost always more than five players worthy of induction in a single year. You can get more than that when including other categories like senior inductee and other contributors. There is just something about this process that seems unfair. There are more than five modern inductees who deserve enshrinement, but here are the five I would vote in this year.
I doubt there will be much debate on this one. Favre won three MVP's in a row and a Super Bowl at his peak. Then after his peak, he stayed as a top level quarterback for a long time. Twelve years after his final MVP, he finished fourth in the voting. He ended his career as the NFL's all-time leader in completions, passing yards, and passing touchdowns.
Dungy hits an inordinate number of points on my checklist for contributions a Hall of Fame coach should make.
When he took over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they were what the Cleveland Browns are today, the joke of the league. He built them into a winner, and the core of the roster he built won the Super Bowl.
Dungy and Monte Kiffin refined the Tampa 2 defense, which required the middle linebacker to cover the entire middle third of the field. It was often imitated and created a legendary defense.
Dungy was only the sixth coach hired in the league who was not white and was the first African-American coach to win the Super Bowl.
Three coaches off his tree were head coach of a Super Bowl team, and one, Mike Tomlin, won it all.
More important than anything else, Dungy was a winner. He consistently was in contention coaching two teams and won a ring in 2006.
I'm surprised I don't have more nightmares about the 1997 NFL Draft. The Jets had the number one overall pick. Peyton Manning could have come out but stayed in school for his senior year. This left Orlando Pace on the board. The Jets traded down, and Pace went on to have a spectacular career. Then for good measure the Jets drafted James Farrior, and Farrior became a high quality starter after leaving for Pittsburgh in free agency.
In any event, Pace was one of the best linemen of his era and blocked the blind side for one of the most iconic offenses in league history, the Greatest Show on Turf.
It's tough to differentiate Harrison with Terrell Owens. Owens compiled bigger aggregate numbers, but Harrison was a little more productive on a per game basis. I'll go with Harrison for a few reasons. First, I like to go with the player who has waited longer when the difference is by a hair. Harrison has waited a few years. Owens is in his first year of eligibility. Second, Harrison was a much better teammate. Owens was a destructive presence on a number of the teams he played on. That matters to me. I think most people would take Owens, but part of that is because Owens was a self-promoter. Everybody knew who Terrell Owens was, but Harrison was more content to fly under the radar. Harrison also gets knocked for playing with Peyton Manning, but Manning to Harrison was a thing of beauty. A lot of receivers have had great quarterbacks. Still nobody has topped Harrison's single-season record of 143 catches that happened in 2002, before the big crackdown on cornerbacks. Even Antonio Brown fell short of that mark this season. Owens can wait until next season.
This pick is a bit outside the box. Coryell never coached in the Super Bowl. His contributions to the league were so great, however, that he needs to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. You can read about the breathtaking degree of his contributions to the NFL in this piece by SB Nation's Danny Kelly. Few men have contributed so much to the NFL in terms of playbooks, philosophy, and strategy.