Marino, Young, Irvin Among Hall of Fame Nominees
NFL Marino, Young, Irvin among Hall of Fame nominees (CBS SportsLine)
Quarterbacks Dan Marino and Steve Young and wide receiver Michael Irvin are among nine first-time nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Commissioner Paul Tagliabue also is among the 89 nominees on the preliminary ballot.
Marino, who holds the career records for yards passing, completions and touchdown passes, spent his entire 16-season career with the Miami Dolphins. Young, who began his career in the USFL, played first in the NFL for Tampa Bay, then starred with San Francisco, setting a record for touchdown passes in a Super Bowl with six in the 1995 game. Irvin starred for the Dallas teams that won three Super Bowls in four seasons in the 1990s.
Other first-time nominees include Dan Reeves, who coached Denver to three Super Bowls and Atlanta to another; guard Nate Newton, who played with Irvin on the Dallas Super Bowl teams; defensive lineman Charles Haley, who was on Super Bowl winners with both San Francisco and Dallas; the late Derrick Thomas, who starred at linebacker for Kansas City; Kevin Greene, a pass-rushing star with several teams; and safety Steve Atwater, who starred for Denver in the ’80s and 90s.
The list of 89 will be narrowed first to 25 semifinalists and then to 13 finalists. The 13 finalists will be joined by Bennie Friedman and Fritz Pollard, who were chosen last summer as the nominees of the old-timers committee. A maximum of six can be elected in final voting on Feb. 5. Inductions are next summer.
An impressive group–even more so than usual. I would think Marino, Young, and Haley to be stone cold locks for first ballot selection. Marino has almost every passing record in NFL history. Young has one of the highest passing raters ever and was a Super Bowl MVP. Haley has five Super Bowl rings. Tagliabue has ably filled Pete Roselle’s gigantic shoes and will certainly be inducted eventually. Irvin was a superstar receiver and was the acknowledged leader of a team that won three Super Bowls in four years. He clearly deserves to be in the Hall, but was considered something of a problem off the field–although not by today’s standards–and his statistics may be overshadowed by others. Thomas will be be inducted–sadly, posthumously–not only for his terrific on-the-field performance but because he was so well liked and admired off the field. Greene and Atwater are clearly in a second tier compared to those guys but were among the dominant defensive players of the 1990s. I don’t know much about Friedman and Pollard and really have no opinion on their worthiness. On the one hand, I’m dubious of old timer’s committee nominees, on the theory that they didn’t get inducted in their day for a reason. On the other, there are several Dallas Cowboys from the 1970s that should be in the Hall but aren’t.