Forgotten in the Crush of Statistics


By Rick Gosselin

Talk of Fame Network

One of the issues I have with the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection process is that not enough worthy candidates are cycled through the room for discussion.

I tell players you’re not a Hall of Fame candidate until you become a finalist — and there are only 15 of those every year. That’s the only time the full committee of 46 selectors gathers to discuss players worthy of Canton. If you’re never a finalist, you’re never a candidate.

Thus, some very worthy candidates have fallen through the cracks. There are 71 position players eligible for enshrinement who were NFL all-decade selections but do not yet have busts in Canton. Sixty-one of that 71 have never even been discussed as finalists. It should be noted that the all-decade teams are chosen by the Hall of Fame selection committee.

It seems to me if a player is recognized as one of the best at his position during his generation, he deserves some discussion from that same committee as to where he fits in the all-time pecking order. It doesn’t necessarily mean he belongs in Canton — but he does deserve his 10 minutes of discussion from the full committee.

Of the 61 who have never been discussed, 56 are now in the senior pool. That means their 25 years of eligibility has expired. The senior sub-committee is allowed to nominate only two candidates per year. At that rate, it would take the next 28 years just to clear the queue of those all-decade performers. So most of these players and their chances at Canton have been lost forever.

Let me give you two examples of players who, sadly, fell through the cracks — wide receivers Gary Collins and Boyd Dowler.

Both were NFL all-decade selections for the 1960s. Dowler, in fact, was one of six wideouts chosen to the NFL’s 50th anniversary team (also selected by the Hall of Fame selection committee). He’s the only one of the six without a bust in Canton. In fact, he’s the only one of the six never discussed as a finalist. Collins has never been discussed as a finalist, either.

Dowler played 12 seasons, Collins 10. Dowler played in six NFL title games and has five championship rings. Collins played in four NFL title games and has one championship ring. He set a NFL playoff record that day with three TD catches. Collins also was one of the NFL’s elite punters during that era, leading the league with an average of 46.7 yards per kick in 1965. It took 27 years before another NFL punter could average that many yards per kick. Dowler also punted on Green Bay’s championship teams of 1961-62.

Collins scored 70 touchdowns in his 331 career catches. When he retired after the 1971 season, only four receivers in NFL history had more TD catches. He averaged a touchdown every 4.7 catches. Jerry Rice, the greatest touchdown-maker of all, averaged a TD every 7.9 catches.

Collins never led the NFL in receiving and never had a 1,000-yard season but it was a different time, a different era then. When he retired, NFL offenses were throwing the ball an average of 24 times per game. Now they are throwing it 35 times per game. There are more games and more opportunities now for catches, yards and touchdowns as well. In Collins’ final season, there was one 1,000-yard receiver in the NFL. Last season there were 24.

Collins averaged 16 yards per catch. Dowler averaged 15.3 yards. Dowler never led the league in receiving, either, nor did he have a 1,000-yard season. Their lack of statistics will make it difficult for either to be recognized in Canton because the parade into the room of the 1,000-catch receivers has already begun.

Both Collins and Dowler deserved to be discussed as Hall of Fame candidates at some point during the last four decades. The selection process failed them.

And that’s a shame.

Follow Rick Gosselin on Twitter at @RickGosselinDMN

 Gary Collins_01 *

 

Photo Courtesy of the Cleveland Browns

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11 Comments

  1. Philip
    July 19, 2014
    Reply

    The opening sentence says it all: “One of the issues…”
    The Canton facility has so many things wrong that an entire book – or two – could not address all.
    It begins with the name. It is NOT devoted to “professional” football. It is focused on the nfl and what the nfl dictates as policy. Were it, in any way, “professional” football oriented, we would see some attention and recognition given to the MANY professional football leagues that have dotted the history of our Nation and do to this day.
    Next, of course, is the mission statement which is truly a joke and an insult to anyone who is truly a football fan.
    The issue addressed by Mr. Gosselin is certainly at a crisis point but, again, it is but one.
    They want a large hall. Obviously! Why? They need to attract attendance and sell souveniers. Never in my life (3/4 of a century) have I seen such an extensive array of items as their gift shop. Heck! I bet you can get everything from an Al Davis book of matches to a Ray Lewis prayer book to a Roger Goodfellow bobble-head.
    They lowered the bar with the likes of Floyd Little. (Talk about no stats?)
    They tilted the bar so Dick LeBeau could jump over at the low end. (Maybe after retirement as a coach, but not yet?)
    They worship the god of statistics yet, as we approach an 18 or 20 or 24-game season, how relevant will be the magic 1,000? Not too, I daresay.
    At best, statistics and bikinis serve the same purpose – the revelation of the appealing and the concealment of the vital.
    Good Luck, Mr. Gosselin.
    There are supporters of your lament throughout the free world and, most notably, at the Professional Football Researchers Association and other such groups where concern is for the accurate and not a Goebbels’ version of screaming the lie.
    This statement, in no way, reflects the opinion of the PFRA or any organization.

  2. Sports Fan
    March 12, 2016
    Reply

    Talk Of Fame
    Mr. Gosselin
    Mr. Borges
    Mr. Judge
    From when this was written until now,
    How many of these individuals you noted and or named:
    – Are alive?
    – Are Inducted or due Induction?
    – Have been Semi-Finalists/Finalists?
    thank you

  3. Sports Fan
    March 15, 2016
    Reply

    RE-POST of COMMENT
    March 12, 2016 at 12:47 am
    Talk Of Fame
    Mr. Gosselin
    Mr. Borges
    Mr. Judge
    From when this was written until now,
    How many of these individuals you noted and or named:
    – Are alive?
    – Are Inducted or due Induction?
    – Have been Semi-Finalists/Finalists?
    thank you

  4. Sports Fan
    March 19, 2016
    Reply

    RE-POST of COMMENT
    March 15, 2016 at 12:27 am
    &
    March 12, 2016 at 12:47 am
    Talk Of Fame
    Mr. Gosselin
    Mr. Borges
    Mr. Judge
    From when this was written until now,
    How many of these individuals you noted and or named:
    – Are alive?
    – Are Inducted or due Induction?
    – Have been Semi-Finalists/Finalists?
    thank you

  5. Sports Fan
    March 24, 2016
    Reply

    RE-POST of COMMENT
    March 19, 2016 at 8:10 pm
    March 15, 2016 at 12:27 am
    March 12, 2016 at 12:47 am
    Talk Of Fame
    Mr. Gosselin
    Mr. Borges
    Mr. Judge
    From when this was written until now, of the large number of person noted in article
    How many of these individuals you noted and or named:
    – Are alive?
    – Are Inducted or due Induction?
    – Have been Semi-Finalists/Finalists?
    thank you

  6. Sports Fan
    March 28, 2016
    Reply

    RE-POST of COMMENT
    March 24, 2016 at 1:44 am
    March 19, 2016 at 8:10 pm
    March 15, 2016 at 12:27 am
    March 12, 2016 at 12:47 am
    Talk Of Fame
    Mr. Gosselin
    Mr. Borges
    Mr. Judge
    From when this was written until now, of the large number of person noted in article
    How many of these individuals you noted here and or named here:
    – Are alive?
    – Are Inducted or due Induction?
    – Have been Semi-Finalists/Finalists?
    thank you

  7. Sports Fan
    April 1, 2016
    Reply

    RE-POST of COMMENT
    March 28, 2016 at 1:21 pm
    March 24, 2016 at 1:44 am
    March 19, 2016 at 8:10 pm
    March 15, 2016 at 12:27 am
    March 12, 2016 at 12:47 am
    Talk Of Fame
    Mr. Gosselin
    Mr. Borges
    Mr. Judge
    From when this was written 2014 until now,
    regarding the large number of persons noted in this article
    How many of these individuals you noted here and or named here in this article:
    – Are alive?
    – Are Inducted or due Induction?
    – Have been Semi-Finalists/Finalists?
    thank you

  8. Sports Fan
    April 11, 2016
    Reply

    RE-POST of COMMENT
    April 1, 2016 at 12:23 pm
    March 28, 2016 at 1:21 pm
    March 24, 2016 at 1:44 am
    March 19, 2016 at 8:10 pm
    March 15, 2016 at 12:27 am
    March 12, 2016 at 12:47 am
    Talk Of Fame
    Mr. Gosselin
    Mr. Borges
    Mr. Judge
    From when this was written 2014 until now,
    regarding the large number of persons noted in this article
    How many of these individuals you noted here and or named here in this article:
    – Are alive?
    – Are Inducted or due Induction?
    – Have been Semi-Finalists/Finalists?
    thank you

  9. Sports Fan
    July 14, 2016
    Reply

    RE-POST of COMMENT

    April 11, 2016 at 10:19 am
    April 1, 2016 at 12:23 pm
    March 28, 2016 at 1:21 pm
    March 24, 2016 at 1:44 am
    March 19, 2016 at 8:10 pm
    March 15, 2016 at 12:27 am
    March 12, 2016 at 12:47 am
    Talk Of Fame
    Mr. Gosselin
    Mr. Borges
    Mr. Judge
    From when this was written 2014 until now,
    regarding the large number of persons noted in this article
    How many of these individuals you noted here and or named here in this article:
    – Are alive?
    – Are Inducted or due Induction?
    – Have been Semi-Finalists/Finalists?
    thank you

  10. Sports Fan
    July 19, 2016
    Reply

    RE-POST of COMMENT
    July 14, 2016 at 12:47 am
    April 11, 2016 at 10:19 am
    April 1, 2016 at 12:23 pm
    March 28, 2016 at 1:21 pm
    March 24, 2016 at 1:44 am
    March 19, 2016 at 8:10 pm
    March 15, 2016 at 12:27 am
    March 12, 2016 at 12:47 am
    Talk Of Fame
    Mr. Gosselin
    Mr. Borges
    Mr. Judge
    RE: “One of the issues…is that not enough worthy candidates are cycled through the room for discussion.”

    RE: “most of these players and their chances at Canton have been lost forever.”

    RE: “The selection process failed them…And that’s a shame.”

    From the time this was written in 2014 until now,
    regarding the large number of persons noted in this article
    How many of these individuals you noted and or named here in this article:
    – Are alive?
    – Have been Inducted since this was written or are now pending Induction?
    – Have been a Semi-Finalist / Finalist?
    – What is being done to correct this serious oversight?
    thank you

  11. Sports Fan
    January 5, 2017
    Reply

    RE: “…Here’s the hook: where other programs call their analysts “insiders,” our guys ARE insiders. Because they’re on the “inside,” … These hosts can do what no else has: they pull back the curtain on a process…”

    I’ve respectfully have asked since March
    =
    RE-POST of COMMENT
    July 19, 2016
    July 14, 2016
    April 11, 2016
    April 1, 2016
    March 28, 2016
    March 24, 2016
    March 19, 2016
    March 15, 2016
    March 12, 2016
    Talk Of Fame
    Mr. Gosselin
    Mr. Borges
    Mr. Judge
    =
    RE: “ONE OF THE ISSUES…IS THAT NOT ENOUGH WORTHY CANDIDATES ARE CYCLED THROUGH THE ROOM FOR DISCUSSION.”

    RE: “Of the 61 who have never been discussed, 56 are now in the senior pool. That means their 25 years of eligibility has expired. The senior sub-committee is allowed to nominate only two candidates per year. At that rate, it would take the next 28 years just to clear the queue of those all-decade performers. So most of these players and their chances at Canton have been lost forever.”

    RE: “MOST OF THESE PLAYERS AND THEIR CHANCES AT CANTON HAVE BEEN LOST FOREVER.”

    RE: “THE SELECTION PROCESS FAILED THEM…AND THAT’S A SHAME.”

    From the time this was written in 2014 until now,
    regarding the large number of persons noted in this article
    How many of these individuals you noted and or named here in this article:
    – Are alive?
    – Have been Inducted since this was written or are now pending Induction?
    – Have been a Semi-Finalist / Finalist?
    – What is being done to correct this serious oversight?
    thank you

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