Who should be the HOF contributor candidate for 2018?


Robert Kraft photo courtesy of New England Patriots.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame created the contributor committee in 2015 to provide a pathway to Canton for worthy candidates whose impact on the game came off the field. The committee has nominated five candidates in the last three years: general managers Bill Polian and Ron Wolf, owners Edward DeBartolo Jr. and Jerry Jones, and commissioner Paul Tagliabue. All but Tagliabue have been elected.

The committee will nominate just one candidate for the Class of 2018 –and that’s the subject of this week’s Talk of Fame Network poll. Who’s the most deserving candidate? Here are your options:

Bobby Beathard, general manager. Serving as a scout, personnel director or general manager, Beathard has had a hand in building seven Super Bowl teams in Kansas City, Miami, Washington and San Diego. His greatest success came during an 11-year run as the general manager of the Redskins, where he drafted Hall of Famers Darrell Green and Art Monk and won three Super Bowls.

Pat Bowlen, owner. Bowlen bought the Broncos in 1984 and, thought he stepped away as the team’s CEO in 2014, still owns the club. During his tenure, the franchise the Broncos have gone to five Super Bowls and won two of them. Furthermore, the Broncos have enjoyed more winning seasons (21) and won more games (320) than any other NFL team.

Gil Brandt, personnel. His 30-year tenure as personnel director of the Cowboys helped produce two Super Bowl champions, three other NFC champions and 18 playoff appearances. His outside-the-box thinking brought to Dallas players with track backgrounds (Bob Hayes), basketball backgrounds (Cornell Green) and military commitments (Roger Staubach).

Bucko Kilroy, personnel. Perhaps the definition of the term “contributor,” Kilroy was an all-decade lineman with the Eagles in the 1940s before embarking on a 46-year career in talent evaluation with the Eagles, Redskins, Cowboys and Patriots. He served as general manager and vice president of the Patriots from 1979 through 1993. He drafted Hall of Famers John Hannah and Mike Haynes.

Robert Kraft, owner. A man crediting with saving football in New England, Kraft has presided over a franchise that has won 14 of the last 16 AFC East titles, seven AFC championships and five Lombardi Trophies. A former season-ticket holder of the Pats, Kraft bought the stadium lease in 1988 to ensure the franchise would stay in Foxboro and then bought the team itself in 1994.

Paul Tagliabue, commissioner. During his 17-year tenure as NFL commissioner (1989-2006), Tagliabue presided over labor peace and an explosion of both television revenues and stadium construction. The NFL went from 28 teams to 32 during his tenure and also brought football to Europe with the World League. It was Tagliabue’s call to cancel games the weekend following the terrorists attacks on 9/11. Tagliabue was a finalist for the Class of 2017.

George Young, general manager. Young served 19 years as general manager of the New York Giants, a franchise suffering through a stretch of 15 consecutive seasons without a playoff berth. Young turned dysfunctional into functional with the Mara ownership family and hired Bill Parcells as his coach to straighten out the franchise on the field. The Giants went to the playoffs eight times in Young’s GM tenure and won two Super Bowls.

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13 Comments

  1. Sports Fan
    August 2, 2017
    Reply

    “THE KNOW HUDDLE”
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  2. Tom K
    August 2, 2017
    Reply

    It’s very close between Gil Brandt and Paul Tagliabue for me. I gave Brandt the nod due to the fact he’s been waiting longer

  3. Stmruler
    August 2, 2017
    Reply

    George Young, 5-time NFL Executive of the Year. Not a close call. Sorry that Bowlen is ill, but this is not an “owner” spot in HOF. Just because he’s passed away doesn’t mean he should be bypassed.

    The top qualified guy is Young, followed by Beathard.

    • August 2, 2017
      Reply

      Think they’re neck and neck, but might give Beathard the edge in a photo finish. With four teams that went to Super Bowls, won four rings and rebuilt Redskins and Chargers.

      • August 2, 2017
        Reply

        Nice response. Had the great fortune of meeting Bobby, and securing an autograph, during his time with the Redskins. One of the kindest, and most humble, men that you could meet. He was being interviewed by “Dallas 40″(?). A program dedicated to the Boys of yesteryear, back in the day. Suggesting that I go inside an ask for a piece of Redskins stationary …
        I missed Bobby Beathard the day he left, and ever since. IMHO, Casserly was good, but part of his glory was related to his inheritance of Bobby’s team. HTTRedskins!

      • August 2, 2017
        Reply

        I also took advantage of the opportunity to work on a park/playground, sponsored by Pat Bowen and Phil Long. Did not have an opportunity for an intro, but was happy to have contributed.
        Phil Long took off from an aircraft carrier twice more than he landed, having been shot down twice. WWII.

  4. bachslunch
    August 2, 2017
    Reply

    All these folks have reasonable HoF arguments, as do Art McNally, Steve Sabol, and a few other owners. In terms of worth, I’d probably rank them today as follows:

    Bobby Beathard
    George Young
    Gil Brandt
    Art McNally
    Steve Sabol
    Ralph Hay
    Robert Kraft
    Paul Tagliabue
    Bucko Kilroy
    Art Modell
    Pat Bowlen
    Bud Adams

    • August 2, 2017
      Reply

      Glad to see you have McNally high. So do I. Think it’s time we had another official (only one in) in Hall, and he’s the guy. Did an awful lot while in charge of officiating at league office.

      • Jeff
        August 2, 2017
        Reply

        Agree completely. There oughta be someone in there who represents officiating, and he’s the obvious choice. It’s a significant omission (there are more than a few umpires and refs in the baseball and basketball HOF). Also very high on Steve Sabol – was nice to see Ed get elected and I know he gets credit as the founder, but Steve was the guy I grew up watching. This site is starting to sell me on Beathard (even as a Redskins fan, I never quite thought of him as HOF material until now).

  5. bachslunch
    August 3, 2017
    Reply

    A good question to ask re contributors is “Are any NFL scouts HoF worthy?” And it’s a good question. Names like Bill Nunn and C.O. Brocato occasionally surface, but I have no way of knowing who the best option (if any) would be. I’m actually a little less concerned about them generally because it appears they have their own HoF, courtesy of Ourlads. Here’s a link:

    http://www.ourlads.com/scouthof/

    There appear to be about a hundred members or so as of now.

    There’s also the question of assistant coaches (folks like Buddy Ryan and Bill Arnsparger, for example), folks who excelled in this capacity but not as head coaches.

    • bachslunch
      August 3, 2017
      Reply

      Just took a look through the list of Ourlads scouts HoF enshrinees, and there are five who are in the PFHoF: two as GM contributors (Bill Polian, Ron Wolf) and three as players (Roosevelt Brown, Jack Butler, Ozzie Newsome). Bobby Beathard and Gil Brandt would join them if they make the PFHoF.

  6. Robert Ewing
    August 4, 2017
    Reply

    id most likley go with beathard since he turned around the redskins after the allen years

    • August 5, 2017
      Reply

      close call but I’m leaning in your direction.

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