After the 46-member selection committee had a record-setting 9 hour meeting, they ended with seven players which included the first punter ever to join other great players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Five modern-era selections to enter Canton, Ohio.
Derrick Brooks, linebacker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1995-2008): It should be noted that Brooks did not miss one game in his 14 year career, that by itself makes him a HOFer. Seriously, Derrick Brooks was voted in because he was a tackling skills; in a 5-year span (from 1996-2000) he recorded at least 130 tackles per season. He also had 25 career interceptions, including six that ended up as a “Pick 6” (returned for touchdowns). He is considered as one of the best linebackers of all time.
Andre Reed, receiver for the Buffalo Bills (1985-99) and Washington Redskins (2000): I know his stats are being passed by all the receivers coming after him, but at the time Reed was consistent with racking up receiving yards and a master at the YAC (yards after the catch). Every season but two from 1998-2007, he gained at least 850 receiving yards.
Walter Jones, tackle for the Seattle Seahawks (1997-2008): Next to Tony Boselli and Anthony Munoz, Jones was one of the best left tackles of his generation. He’s an all-time great who only was credited with nine career holding penalties and allowed just 23 sacks in more than 5,700 pass plays. Now that is what I call a person who had worked on his craft and well-disciplined at his techniques.
Michael Strahan, defensive end for the New York Giants (1993-2007): Strahan holds the record for 22.5 sacks in a single season, and his 141.5 career takedowns ranks fifth all time. Rumors has it that Strahan didn’t make it in the Hall last year on his first attempt because Bill Parcells was elected, and the voters didn’t want two former NFLers so closely connected with the Giants to make it on the same ballot. Also, voters apparently didn’t want two players from the defensive line (the other was Warren Sapp) to go in at the same time; Sapp will always have bragging rights on Strahan that he made it in the Hall before him. I believe in bragging rights.
Aeneas Williams, cornerback for the Arizona Cardinals (1991-2000) and St. Louis Rams (2001-04): Considered as one of the best defensive backs in the 90’s, Williams was a great play-maker on defense; he recorded at least five interceptions five different times and led the league with nine in 1994. He’s tied for fourth all time with nine career interception returns, and according to the Pro Football Focus metrics, he had the highest approximate value of anybody in the league in the 2001 season. He was one of my favorite players in the 90’s and was happy to see him win a Super Bowl with the St. Louis Rams
Two Senior members
Claude Humphrey, defensive end for the Atlanta Falcons (1968-78) and the Philadelphia Eagles (1978-81): Humphrey was a devastating pass-rusher; a six-time Pro Bowler and twice was voted to the All-Pro team. One of his most-impressive seasons came in 1980 when he recorded 14.5 sacks to help Philadelphia advance to Super Bowl XV. In his career, he recorded 122 sacks (before sacks were an official statistic).
Ray Guy, punter for the Oakland Raiders (1973-86): He’d missed out making the HOF as a modern-day finalist seven previous times, but this time, he was elected by the senior committee and made it in that way. Guy changed the way we thought about punters (a little). His 42.4 yards per punt average feels so antiquated, but he also led the league in average three times. Guy is the FIRST PUNTER EVER TO MAKE THE HOF. Said Guy: “It’s gratifying to now see a punter go into the HOF. Whether it was me or somebody else, they needed a representation at that position.”
Congrats to the inductees.
I have to say I am happy for Reed and WR Cris Carter to FINALLY get inducted. I can take them off of my ULTIMATE Hall of Fame SNUBS list; now I just have to wait and see when WR Tim Brown and DE Charles Haley gonna get the nod while I shake my head to understand why they are not in already.