Who deserves the one senior nomination for the Class of 2019?

Pat Fischer photo courtesy of the Washington Redskins

The Pro Football Hall of Fame senior committee will meet later this month to determine its one candidate for the Class of 2019.

This summer the Talk of Fame Network conducted a series of polls of seniors deserving of that nomination in an attempt to show just how difficult the process is. We offered up 48 worthy candidates in the series of five polls and received in excess of 5,500 votes. We decided to have a run off of the winners of those polls … plus a wild-card entry to form a six-player field.

The winners were outside linebackers Maxie Baughan and Andy Russell, quarterback Roman Gabriel, offensive tackle Joe Jacoby and guard Duke Slater. The wild card we added was cornerback Pat Fischer, who received the second most votes in the five polls but lost in his poll to Gabriel. So here’s the slate. Tell us who deserves the one senior nomination for the Class of 2019:

Maxie Baughan. Dick Butkus, Ray Nitschke, Dave Robinson, Tommy Nobis and Larry Morris were the NFL NFL all-decade linebackers for the 1960s. They went to a combined 12 Pro Bowls that decade. Baughan himself went to nine Pro Bowls in the 1960s – four more than any of the all-decade linebackers. But not only was he passed over as an all-decade selection, he’s been passed over by the Hall of Fame. He’s never even been a finalist. A second-round draft pick by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1960, Baughan became a walk-in starter at outside linebacker for an NFL championship team and one of only three rookies selected to the Pro Bowl that season. He would go to the Pro Bowl in five of his six seasons with the Eagles, then was traded to the Rams. George Allen named him as his defensive captain and Baughan would go to the Pro Bowl in each of his first four seasons with the Rams.

Pat Fischer. Voted one of the 70 greatest Redskins and a member of the franchise’s Ring of Honor. Fischer played 17 seasons and 213 games at cornerback, which was at the record for his position at the time of his retirement. He intercepted 56 career passes, which ranks 18th all-time and ninth among pure corners. That ties him with Lem Barney, a Hall of Famer, and Charles Woodson, a soon-to-be Hall of Famer. Fischer overcame a huge obstacle – his size (5-9, 170 pounds) to go to three Pro Bowls and set an NFL record for cornerbacks with his 16 fumble recoveries. He has never been a Hall of Fame finalist.

Roman Gabriel. The NFL MVP in 1969. From 1967-1970, Gabriel quarterbacked the Los Angeles Rams to a 41-11-4 record and was voted to three Pro Bowls. He was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in 1973 and led the NFL that season with 3,219 passing yards and 23 touchdowns. He was voted the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year that year and was sent to his fourth Pro Bowl. He passed for 29,444 yards and 201 touchdowns in his career and also rushed for 1,304 yards and 30 more scores. Gabriel has never been a Hall of Fame finalist.

Joe Jacoby. A 1980s NFL all-decade selection at offensive tackle. An undrafted college free agent, Jacoby was a walk-in starter at left tackle and became a fixture on one of the most recognizable offensive lines in NFL history, the Hogs of the Washington Redskins. Jacoby’s blocking helped the Redskins win three Super Bowls. He played left tackle in the first two and right tackle in the third and final Super Bowl in 1991. The counter trey was the signature play of the Joe Gibbs’ championship era and Jacoby was a key element, pulling from his left tackle position to make a lead block on the right side of the line. Jacoby has been a three-time Hall of Fame finalist.

Andy Russell. Russell arrived in Pittsburgh in 1963 during the pre-Super Bowl era. Translation: bad football. After a two-year stint in the military in 1964-65, Russell returned to start the final 11 seasons of his career. He was the team MVP one season (1971) and the team’s defensive MVP in two others (1968, 1970). Russell served as defensive captain of the Steelers the final 10 seasons of his career and went to the Pro Bowl the final six years of his career. He started on two Super Bowl champions.

Duke Slater. The Jackie Robinson of the NFL. He was the first African-American lineman in NFL history and played 10 seasons, earning all-pro honors six times. He missed only one game in his career – a 1924 game against the Kansas City Blues because blacks were prohibited from playing in Missouri. In 1927, when NFL owners discussed banning black players, eight of the nine African-American players disappeared from pro football. Slater was the lone exception — and he remained the league’s only African-American player from 1927-29. He became a charter member of the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951 and was a two-time Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist.

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  1. Bob
    August 8, 2018

    Gil Brandt’s July 19, 2019 statement on former Kansas City Chiefs safety Johnny Robinson for 2019 Senior Candidate for Pro Football Hall of Fame
    “Johnny Robinson was drafted number three overall in the 1960 NFL draft, and was the Dallas Texans first selection in the AFL draft. He began his career on offense and was a very productive back and receiver. He was then moved to defense, and I cannot think of anyone else who made that change and played so well so quickly. He was very athletic, and his range and recognition made him an outstanding safety. In fact, I believe him to be one of the 100 best football players ever, regardless of position.”
    Gil Brandt, NFL.com Senior Analyst

    Johnny Robinson
    Safety, Kansas City Chiefs (1960-1972)
    Drafted 1st Round, 3rd Overall Pick in 1960

    7x Pro Bowls Selections (6x API First Teams) (voted back then by coaches and players only)
    6x First Team All Pro Selections
    2x Second Team All Pro Selections
    8x All Pro /All AFL in 10 seasons as safety. (first 2yrs. played offense)
    3 AFL Championships ’62, ’66 ’69
    Super Bowl IV Championship (Played with broken ribs) (played Super Bowl I and IV)
    2x Interceptor of the Year ’66, ’70 (AFL & NFL)
    Most Interception Return Yards Leader ’69
    6 Top Ten Finishes: Interceptions ’65, ’66, ’67, ’68, ’69, ’70
    4 Top Ten Finishes: Interception Return Yards ’65, ’66, ’69, ’70
    57 Career Interceptions ( unbelievable 5.7 avg in 10 years) (3rd on all-time list at retirement)
    Interception Return Yards: 741
    18 career touchdowns
    Pro Football Hall of Fame’s AFL All- Time Team
    Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Combined Team of the Decade 1960s
    Pro Football Hall of Fame’s First All Pro First Team
    6x Hall of Fame Finalist
    All Time Super Bowl Team, Nominee
    Considered one of the most effective pass interceptor of all time (only played 10 yrs defense / first 2 yrs on offense)
    The Chiefs had a record of 35-1-1 when Robinson made an interception in the game. A real impact player. He made an interceptions in all three AFL Championships and in Super Bowl IV.
    5x Interception leader of the Chiefs
    His Team never lost a game to the Raiders, Chargers, Oilers, Broncos, Patriots, Jets or Dolphins when Robinson intercepted in a game.
    Kansas City Chiefs All Time Team
    Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame
    Missouri Sports Hall of Fame
    Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame
    LSU Sports Hall of Fame
    LSU Team of the Century
    LSU National Championship Football Team

    Since retirement, Johnny Robinson opened a home for troubled youth. He owns and operates the Johnny Robinson’s Boys Home located in Monroe, Louisiana and is there working every day. His life has been devoted to helping troubled kids. This is in line with the NFL and the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s credos of public service of giving back to the communities. This is an opportunity for the NFL and Pro Football Hall of Fame to shine a positive light on itself buy spotlighting yet another example of one of its former star players being an upstanding, solid, contributing citizen, by promoting the cause Robinson cares so much about and one of which the NFL and Pro Football Hall of Fame seems to care greatly — troubled youth. A Hall of Fame induction, and the attendant publicity that goes with it, is a great opportunity for this. Johnny Robinson has lived a Hall of Fame life!

    Johnny Robinson is every bit as deserving of Hall of Fame induction as any player who has ever achieved that honor. Simply put, Robinson has a gaudy resume and his accolades and play demonstrate that he is truly worthy of induction.

    He has received many endorsements for 2019 HOF induction from
    Lance Alworth, Don Maynard, Bobby Bell, Tom Flores, and many other players, coaches, sports media and authors.

    “Simply put, Johnny Robinson is one of the greatest safeties that I ever faced. In fact, I can’t think of any that I’ve seen in the 50 years since that have been better. When we ran cross patterns against Kansas City, I knew that I was going to get hit hard. I had to prepare myself specifically for him, both mentally and physically. Johnny Robinson absolutely deserves to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”
    Lance Alworth, Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 1978 & Member of the AFL All-Time Team

  2. David Carr
    August 8, 2018

    Yes to Johnny Robinson as 2019 Senior Candidate. With everything that’s been written lately about him and his life story coming out, I think that the NFL and Pro Football Hall of Fame need him as their “Poster Boy” image of a true Hall of Fame life. They could use a very positive image right now!

  3. Charlie
    August 8, 2018

    Until Johnny Robinson is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame it will never seem right. Johnny Robinson began his career in 1960 as a first-round draft choice, third overall to the NFL Detroit Lions and to the AFL Dallas Texans. He was a member of three AFL Championships having made an interception in all three. He is a significant part of Super Bowl history having played in Super Bowl I and Super Bowl IV. He played in Super Bowl IV with three broken ribs and made an interception and a fumble recovery displaying one of the gutsiest performances in professional football history. He led the league in interceptions in ’66 and ’70 with ten each year proving himself in two leagues. He had fifty-seven career interceptions and eighteen touchdowns. He has been a finalist six times. The case for Robinson should be settled. He was known for his determination and tough play throughout his professional career and was recognized in the NFL for his superior play. He was a six-time First Team All Pro and two-time Second Team All Pro and seven consecutive Pro Bowls. In his first year of the merger, he was the 1970 NFL Interception Leader of the year with ten picks, named First Team All Pro and selected to the Pro Bowl. He proved himself in the NFL as a dominate player. As mentioned in a number of places both here and elsewhere, Johnny Robinson was one of the greatest safeties in any era, if not the best to ever play the game.

  4. Irene SIMMONS
    August 8, 2018

    Roman Gabriel by far should be in the NFL Hall of Fame! He was a legendary quarterback that never received the credit he deserves.

  5. Rasputin
    August 8, 2018

    None of the above. Non-scientific polls don’t even accurately capture fan opinion and certainly aren’t a substitute for an actual argument. They don’t prove that it’s so “difficult” to choose that a sound choice is somehow impossible. Committee members should be transparent about the process and willing to rationally defend how they voted to the public. No excuses. Get it right.

  6. Russell Penman
    August 9, 2018

    Pat Fischer and Joe Jacoby should have been in the HOF. I tend to think that the owner Daniel Snyder is so widely hated he is the one common factor why they haven’t been added. Let’s also in Jacoby’s case understand how hard it was and is to play professional football at the level he played being deaf. I hope they get in and until they do, this is just a joke just like the Pro Bowl Game is a joke.

  7. Robert ewing
    August 9, 2018

    Not even baughan or Slater rasputin? Who would you pick then smart guy

    • bachslunch
      August 9, 2018

      You’re new here? 🙂

      Rasputin will say Chuck Howley, and I’m fine with that. I think one can make a great argument to that effect.

      Of these six, I’m fine with either Baughan or Slater. But these polls being what they are, Jacoby will probably win the ballot box stuffing award.

      • Rasputin
        August 9, 2018

        I’m concerned inducting another contemporary LB like Baughan might kill whatever chance Howley still has. I don’t see Slater as a priority when there are so many old but still living guys who have better qualifications anyway. Maybe that would change if we can induct some of those players over the next few years.

        • Robert ewing
          August 11, 2018

          In all honesty id take baughan over howley jmo

          • Rasputin
            August 12, 2018

            I’d take Howley first for his 5 first team AP All Pro selections to Baughan’s 2, Howley’s 43 takeaways to Baughan’s 28, and Howley’s SB MVP.

  8. C.Dub
    August 9, 2018

    When a man gets into the NFL as a walk on and wins 3 superbowls, that man should be in the HOF. That man is Big Joe Jacoby !

    • bachslunch
      August 10, 2018

      Glen Edwards won two Super Bowls with the Steelers and as far as I can tell was an undrafted free agent. Should be be considered, too? (Hint: sorry, no way).

      Joe Jacoby (3/4/80s) pretty much defines the definition of a borderline HoF candidate, actually. If he’s deserving (and I’m on the fence regarding this) then so are guys like Mike Kenn (3/5/none) and Marvin Powell (3/5/none) and Lomas Brown (3/7/none) and Chris Hinton (2/7/none) and Richmond Webb (2/7/none). They’re all guys I can go either way on, but if you put one in, you have to get them all in, am thinking.

      • bachslunch
        August 10, 2018

        My mistake on Webb’s honors in part. He’s also on the all 90s decade team.

  9. Anonymous
    August 9, 2018

    Roman Gabriel was the most dominating QB of the area where you not only called your own plays but you played against the greatest linebackers ever to play the game…he also had to throw to receivers that were getting bumped and grabbed at the line of scrimmage.
    Roman also turned around the Rams who were pretty bad for years before his arrival, do the right thing and get him in before it’s too late !

  10. Dhu
    August 9, 2018

    I read Gil Brandt’s statement on Johnny Robinson. He didnt hesitate to state that he believed Johnny Robinson to be one of the 100 greatest football players ever to play the game, regardless of position.
    I believe Mr. Brandt to be one of the finest judges of talent there is and if he makes that kind of evaluation on Robinson then I believe Johnny Robinson should most definitely be named the 2019 Senior Candidate and inducted into the Hall of Fame. There are too many endorsements from reputable players, coaches, sports writers and researchers concerning Johnny Robinson ‘s qualifications for the Hall of Fame and all seem to be in the opinion that he was really a great player and should have already been inducted. He is always in the discussion according to the voters on the podcast and this seems to be the right time to name him. He is such a significant part of pro football history. I believe what these Hall of Fame voters on the podcast say about him along with what an opponent, Lance Alworth, had to say about Robinson since they witnessed his play. In everything that I’ve read lately which is a lot, it seems an easy choice to make. This year needs to be Johnny Robinson.

  11. Robert ewing
    August 10, 2018

    Agreed about what you said about the o line men Bach’s if you induct jj you have to consider Powell kenn Brown Webb Hinton. Sorry if I was terse yesterday Bach’s i just got off a flight to Vegas and was very tired

  12. Robert
    August 11, 2018

    I just listened to yesterday’’s interview on Talk of Fame Podcast with Lance Alworth discussing his endorsement of Johnny Robinson for 2019 Senior Candidate for Hall of Fame. Most impressive interview and really highlighted Johnny Robinson son’s resume. I wrote down some interesting facts and statistics. I was simply blown away as to why Johnny Robinson is already in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Very impressive credentials and a great endorsement. Truly elite status. Johnny Robinson is the only position First Team player on the Pro Football Hall of Fame Combined Team of the Decade 1960s not inducted in Canton now that Jerry Kramer is enshrined. The PFHOF Combined Team of the Decade 1960s is made up of players who rose above All-AFL and All-NFL play and chosen by Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Each player is also a member of their respective All-Decade teams too. Robinson is also a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame AFL All-Time Team and was selected as a First Team member of the PFHOF First All-Pro Team. He was 8x AllPro (6x API First Team) in 10 years of defensive play. He was selected to 7 Pro Bowls. One thing that was a fascinating piece of history was the fact that Johnny Robinson was the winningest player in the history of the AFL. He was the leader of the defensive unit that won 3 AFL Championships and played in Super Bowl I and IV. I. He played all of Super Bowl IV with three broken ribs and made an interception and a fumble recovery in the Chiefs victory. He led the AFL/ FL twice in interceptions with 10 each time. His first year of the merger he was the 1970 NFL Interception Leader with 10, NFL All Pro First Team and selected to the Pro Bowl. He had 57 career interceptions in 10 years a Chiefs record and 18 touchdowns in his career. He was 5x Interception Leader of the Chiefs and retired third o. The all time list. Another thing that was amazing was the statistic of the Chiefs were 35-1-1 when Robinson made an interception in the game. He made four post season interceptions to when 3 AFL Championships and a Super Bowl. After listening big to Lance Alworth give his account of Robinson an dhow he played I have to say that he is deserving of the 2019 Senior Candidate. He has lived an exemplary life worthy of the Hall of Fame. Glad I listened to the interview. Sold on Johnny Robinson!

  13. August 11, 2018

    Well I think that Roman Gabriel deserves to be in the Hall of Fame with such a storied career in the NFL. I do not know of all of his awards but he deserves to be in the with all of those other players on that great LA Rams teams of the late 60’s and early 70’s that he was their leader. Coming out of NC State he was not supposed to be the leader that he became and took his team to the playoffs many times. Lets add Roman Gabriel into the Hall of Fame right where he belongs!

  14. August 12, 2018

    Roman Gabriel is the most deserving canadetee for the HOF , MY VOTE IS FOR ROMAN GABRIEL

  15. Darnel
    August 14, 2018

    Johnny Robinson should be the obvious pick for 2019 Senior Candidate. Vote him in. The man has waited long enough and don’t leave him as the only player not in from the PFHOF Combined Team. That would have to be the worse feeling for a player to be overlooked and all the rest are inducted but him. Come on Guys. He’s been in the mix for so long and now is the time for him. No use going over his resume and statistics becasue its been sited many times before, but I have to say that in ten years he was All Por eight times and seven Pro Bowls along with 57 interceptions. That’s one of the top averages ever in the history of pro football.

  16. Martin
    August 15, 2018

    Johnny Robinson played two years offense and ten years on defense. In 10 years he had 57 interceptions and was 2x Interception leader of the AFL and NFL with 10 each year. Remarkable average of 5.7 in 10 years. Chiefs were 35-1-1 when he made an interception in a game. Another remarkable statistic. Arguably one of the most effective pass defenders in history. There’s no telling how many interceptions he would have had if he had played his whole career on defense or not had a career ending injury. He had four interceptions in four championship games winning all four. Three AFL Championships and a Super Bowl. Top tier player during his whole career. Very much a hard hitter and sure tackler. 8x All Pro (6x First Team) and 7 Pro Bowls.

  17. August 15, 2018

    How long are they going to punish Jim Marshall? He should have been in long ago.I am a lifelong Minnesota Vikings fan who grew up watching and admiring Jim Marshall play the game with a passion and skill that few other players could match. He played in 282 consecutive games and started 270 of those games over a span of 20 years. That is an incredible feat considering that he played a position, defensive end, where you are being hit on virtually every play (he was also a big contributor on special teams). During his long and distinguished career he compiled a number of impressive statistics:
    • 988 career tackles
    • 127 sacks
    • 30 career fumble recoveries (career leader in this category)
    • Started in 4 Super Bowls
    • Played in 2 Pro Bowls

    • bachslunch
      August 18, 2018

      I don’t think Jim Marshall is being punished for anything. But I also don’t think playing for a really long time all by itself is necessarily HoF worthy. Marshall’s postseason honors are almost non-existent at 0/2/none, and his high number of counting stats come courtesy of hanging around forever. He was also undersized and reportedly vulnerable against the run, something which teams took advantage of in a few Vikes SB losses. If we induct Marshall, it becomes hard to justify leaving out players like Blair Bush, Eugene Robinson, Clay Matthews, and Ricky Proehl, none of whom I think have a HoF argument to speak of.

      No idea why Vikings fans don’t get behind a better home team Senior candidate such as Joey Browner (4/6/80s).

  18. Sam
    August 16, 2018

    2019 Senior Candidate should be Johnny Robinson. Just listened to the Lance Alworth interview on this site and I have to say the Johnny Robinson was an amazing player. A dominate player of his era. The hosts read off a litany of accomplishments and statistics that no one can argue with. Also, Lance Alworth felt this strongly about Johnny Robinson that he volunteered to give an interview just to endorse the guy. .Shaking my head as to how this guy isn’t already in the Hall of Fame. He is definitely part of pro football history. Played Super Bowl I and IV. The host stated that he played entire Super Bowl IV with three broken ribs and made an interception and fumble recovery. I’ve had a broken rib before and I don’t know how he could play like that. It hurt so bad to move any and breathe. Host said that Robinson was the winning-est player in AFL history too. In the year of the merger he was dominate safety achieving the 1970 NFL Interception Leader, All-Pro and Pro Bowl. He had 8 All-Pros and 7 Pro Bowls total for his career. Geez Really. . All-Time Team, All-Decade Team and PFHOF Combined Team of the Sixties and only first team player not enshrined from Combined Team, REALLY?. Enough said. Time for this great player to go in.
    By the way, Go Raiders !

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