There were 11 NFL all-decade performers among the modern-era finalists for the Pro Football Hall-of-Fame’s Class of 2017. Seven failed to muster enough support for a bust in Canton.
America has already heard the displeasure of wide receiver Terrell Owens for being passed over for a second consecutive year. But was he the biggest oversight in this class? What about the other six all-decade performers? That’s the subject of this week’s Talk of Fame Network poll – who was the biggest oversight in the Class of 2017? Here are your eight options:
Tony Boselli. A five-time Pro Bowler and member of the 1990s NFL all-decade team. The second overall pick of the 1995 NFL draft and the first-ever selection of the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars. But his career lasted only seven seasons, covering 90 games, before a knee injury forced his retirement. He was named first-team All-Pro three times and was named the NFL Alumni’s Offensive Lineman of the Year in 1998.
Brian Dawkins. A nine-time Pro Bowler and member of the 2000s NFL all-decade team. A second-round draft pick of the Eagles, Dawkins went on to play 16 seasons, making plays on both sides of the line of scrimmage. He collected 1,100 career tackles, 37 interceptions and 26 sacks. He also forced 28 fumbles and scored three defensive touchdowns. Dawkins was named to the Eagles’ 75th anniversary team, and his No. 20 has been retired.
Alan Faneca. A nine-time Pro Bowler and member of the 2000s NFL all-decade team. A first-round pick of the Steelers, Faneca went on to play 13 seasons and won a Super Bowl in 2006. He played for three teams – the Steelers, Jets and Cardinals – and his offenses ranked in the NFL’s Top 10 in rushing 10 times. He was a first-team All-Pro selection six times.
Joe Jacoby. A four-time Pro Bowler and a member of the 1980s NFL all-decade team. An undrafted free agent, Jacoby became a starter as a rookie and played 13 seasons with the Washington 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. He was a two-time first-team All-Pro.
Ty Law. A five-time Pro Bowler and member of the 2000s NFL all-decade team. A first-round pick of the Patriots, Law went on to play 15 seasons and intercept 53 career passes – as many as Deion Sanders and one more than Champ Bailey. He won three Super Bowls as a member of the Patriots and led the NFL in interceptions twice, picking off nine passes in 1998 for New England and 10 passes in 2005 for the Jets.
Kevin Mawae. An eight-time Pro Bowler and member of the 2000s NFL all-decade team. A second-round pick by Seattle, Mawae went on to play 16 seasons with three teams (Seahawks, Jets and Titans). In eight of his 16 seasons his offenses finished in the Top 5 in rushing. He blocked for 13 1,000-yard rushing seasons by five different backs. In his final year, Mawae blocked for a 2,000-yard rushing season by Tennessee’s Chris Johnson.
Terrell Owens. A six-time Pro Bowler and member of the 2000s NFL all-decade team. A third-round pick of the 49ers, Owens went on to play 15 seasons with five teams. Owens ranks sixth all-time in receptions (1,078), third in receiving touchdowns (153) and second in receiving yards (15,934). He played in his only Super Bowl seven weeks after suffering a broken leg and caught nine passes for 122 yards in a losing cause to the Patriots.
Paul Tagliabue. Served 17 years as the NFL commissioner (1989-2006), during which time there were no work stoppages and unprecedented growth by the league. Tagliabue presided over league expansion from 28 to 32 teams and the implementation of both free agency and the salary cap. Tagliabue also canceled NFL games on the Sunday after the 9/11 attacks.