Jason Taylor appeared on the Talk of Fame Network broadcast this week for the second time in three months, and it’s not just because he’s a good interview. Nope, it’s because he not only was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame but was elected on his first try.
First-ballot Hall of Famers are rare, and with his election Taylor joins a select group of pass rushers. Before Taylor came along, only four were chosen on their first tries — with Bruce Smith and Reggie White the latest — and, yes, that’s news. In fact, while the exclusion of wide receiver Terrell Owens provoked an uproar after last weekend’s vote, that was not the story.
The ascensions of Taylor, running back Terrell Davis and kicker Morten Andersen was.
Andersen was only the second placekicker chosen in the 54 years of the Hall. Davis was tapped despite a brief career cut short by injury, with his Hall-of-Fame resume not extending beyond four years. And Taylor? He was the Class of 2017’s lone defensive choice despite the history of first-ballot pass rushers.
Ah, but that is where he had an advantage. He was the only pass rusher in this class, and that gave him a boost. The Hall is fond of pass rushers, electing at least one in ten of the past 11 years, including Taylor.
Nevertheless, Jason Taylor made history, and NFL historian and frequent contributor John Turney of Pro Football Journal detailed just how unusual Taylor’s election was in this post: