There were seven all-decade performers passed over in the election of the Pro Football Hall-of-Fame’s Class of 2017.
But the most glaring omission wasn’t wide receiver Terrell Owens. It was Washington offensive tackle Joe Jacoby and by a wide margin, according to voters in the Talk of Fame Network’s weekly poll.
Included on the slate of candidates were first-team all-decade selections Tony Boselli, Alan Faneca, Kevin Mawae and Brian Dawkins and second-team all-decade selections Jacoby, Ty Law and Owens. Jacoby received an overwhelming 65 percent of the vote, followed by Dawkins at 9.7 percent, Law at 9.5 percent and Owens at 8.6 percent.
Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue also was on the slate but — like Boselli, Faneca and Mawae — he received scant support.
Jacoby was a four-time Pro Bowler and a member of the all-decade team of the 1980s. An undrafted free agent, he became a starter as a rookie and played 13 seasons with the Redskins, winning three Super Bowls. He played left tackle during the golden age of pass rushers, having to block Hall-of-Famers Lawrence Taylor, Fred Dean, Richard Dent, Chris Doleman, Charles Haley, Dan Hampton, Howie Long, Lee Roy Selmon and Bruce Smith.
Jacoby was a two-time first-team All-Pro.
Dawkins went to nine Pro Bowls and made plays on both sides of the line of scrimmage, sacking 26 quarterbacks and intercepting 37 of their passes. Law led the NFL in interceptions twice, picking off nine passes for the Patriots in 1998 and 10 for the Jets in 2005. His 53 career interceptions tie Deion Sanders on the all-time list.
Jacoby will enter his 20th and final season of eligibility as a modern-era candidate in 2018. Boselli enters his 11th year of eligibility in 2018, Law his fourth year, Faneca and Owens their third year and Dawkins, and Mawae their second years.
The Talk of Fame Network hosts, predictably, split on their vote, with Borges casting his ballot for Law and both Rick Gosselin and Clark Judge for Jacoby.
“Law has nearly identical career stats with Deion Sanders and Champ Bailey, except slightly better than both and starkly better when it comes to his ring collection,” Borges said. “He is deserving of enshrinement.”
Both Gosselin and Judge went Jacoby for the same reason – the clock is now ticking on a Hall-of-Fame-caliber career.
“I feel for Jacoby,” Judge said. “To me, he is qualified. What’s more, he has only one more year as a modern-era candidate before he goes into the senior pool and then … good luck. You have an easier time getting out of Mosul than getting into the Hall as a senior candidate. To me, this was his last, best opportunity to reach Canton. And he missed.”