Lance Alworth: It’s time for Hall to admit Johnny Robinson

Johnny Robinson photo courtesy of the Kansas City Chiefs

(EDITOR’S NOTE: To connect to the Talk of Fame podcast with Lance Alworth just click on the following link:

The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s senior sub committee nominates a former player next week for the Class of 2019, and Hall-of-Fame wide receiver Lance Alworth would like to help with a suggestion.

Make it Johnny Robinson.

“He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame,” said Alworth.

One of the game’s greatest receivers, Alworth thinks so highly of the former Kansas City Chiefs’ star safety that he volunteered to come on our latest Talk of Fame Network podcast to promote an opponent that, frankly, he can’t believe isn’t already in Canton.

So what made him extraordinary? Easy, Alworth said.

“I used to laugh and say Johnny’s the only guy that was in the right place in the wrong time … for us,” he said. “I don’t think you can say any more than that.

“He knew the game so well, and he understood the game so well that, when you were running patterns against him, he saw the whole pattern. He didn’t just see people coming into a zone or coming into his area. He immediately knew what was happening with the flare-action the backs were using and the routes that the outside receiver and tight end were putting together.

“It was always a big hassle because he was right there all the time. He was very, very smart. He was fast. He was quick. Just a great football player. I’d be happy to see him in there (the Hall) because he deserves it.”

Robinson’s credentials for admission are as considerable as they are exemplary, with the former safety an eight-time AFL All-Pro (including six first-team selections); a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s All-Time All-AFL team; a starter on the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s combined AFL-NFL team of the decade in the 1960s and the only member of that team not enshrined in Canton; a three-time AFL champion; a Super Bowl champion; a five-time interceptions leader of the Chiefs; the AFL’s interceptions leader in 1966; the NFL’s interceptions leader in 1970; and member of the Chiefs’ Hall of Fame, the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and the LSU Sports Hall of Fame.

Then there’s this: He played Super Bowl IV with three broken ribs … and still had an interception and fumble recovery in the Chiefs’ 23-7 defeat of Minnesota.

Surprising? Well, yes and no. Yes, in that he played the game at all. And, no, because when Robinson had an interception, the Chiefs/Dallas Texans (their first designation) were 35-1-1, with Robinson having pickoffs in every AFL championship game and the Super Bowl.

“So why isn’t he already in the Hall of Fame?” Alworth asked.

Good question.

“He should be,” he said. “I don’t think there is any more he could’ve done. But it’s a damn good thing he didn’t, or there wouldn’t be a few of us in there. He’s very deserving, and I’m just sorry he’s been overlooked.”

To hear more with Lance Alworth on Johnny Robinson’s Hall-of-Fame candidacy, connect to the following link:

Previous Remember when August mattered in the NFL?
Next HOF's Tippett sorry T.O. AWOL, Newsome moved by Ray Lewis


  1. Robert
    August 9, 2018

    Johnny Robinson for the 2019 Senior Candidate. Finish the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Combined Team of the Decade 1960s now that Jerry Kramer is enshrined. That is the greatest team of legendary players ever assembled. Its time for Johnny Robinson to finally be inducted. He was a winner on teh field and off.. His resume is incredible and his life story is also. He is what a Hall of Fame member and NFL professional football player should be.
    Great example for kids to look up to. I heard it said before, but Johnny Robinson is could be the “Poster boy” for the Hall of Fame. They need a great example and so do the fans!

  2. CLC
    August 9, 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.

    • August 15, 2018

      I just don’t understand why he’s not in … and then, when I realize he’s not, why he’s not fast-forwarded to the front of the senior line as the next candidate. Hoping that changes this week.

  3. brian wolf
    August 9, 2018

    Thanks guys for letting me comment on articles. Love discussing past NFL football. Especially great players that deserve their due and hopefully will be discovered by new fans. There have been comments about what the HOF should do about a no show like Terrell Owens but honestly, Its actually amazing that no players have refused induction altogether. With so many great players and coaches not getting in plus more owners, their sons and executives getting in, you would think that some players would be past the boiling point, but luckily players understand how much of an honor it is to be voted in. Lets hope Robinson gets his due one day along with other great safeties like Shell of Pittsburgh, Anderson and Scott of Miami, Woodson of Dallas, Logan of Baltimore. Great players that redefined the position while team offences continued to benefit from rules changes.

  4. Rasputin
    August 9, 2018

    At least Robinson has already had 6 chances as a finalist. Chuck Howley, who’s just as qualified, has yet to have that chance.

  5. RD
    August 13, 2018

    Johnny Robinson was a victim of the old AFL-NFL bias that hopefully everyone realizes is stupid now. Th real truth was it was really over the AFL pretty much forcing the NFL to have to pay the players they had more money to compete with the AFL. All about the money boys. So belittling the AFL was expedient to their cause. The NFL approached the AFL in 1963 about having a common draft and potential merge also, having a common Commissioner which they did and Pete Rozelle eventually assumed that title for both leagues. The Hall of Fame is about recognizing the best players that played professional football period. Their is no doubt that Johnny Robinson was the best safety of his time and maybe of any era. Robinson was just a great athlete who more than excelled at his position better than anyone else of his period. His prior finalist were definitely bias, but now he should be voted in. Its time. Its way past time. I do think that Johnny Robinson should go in this time and finish out the Combined Team of the 60s. I wish that he could go in now so he can appreciate it before its too late. He has suffered so many health issues yet he still goes to work with those troubled youth at his place in Louisiana every day. Anyone that really understands football and knows Johnny Robinson’s credentials and talent should know that he definitely one of player of the ages. An elite player who belongs in Canton.

  6. Greg
    August 13, 2018

    Yes to Johnny Robinson for 2019 Senior Candidate. Absolutely, it’s about time. This man is part of pro football history.The winning-est player in AFL history. Unbelievable career and dominated the position of safety in pro football. His accolades speak for itself. When they ran down his accomplishments in that podcast I was wondering how could he not already be in the Hall of Fame. He was too great not to be inducted if that’s really what the Pro Football Hall of Fame is all about. Honoring the best and greatest players ever to play pro football. Johnny Robinson literally wrote the book on how to play free safety in modern football. When your opponents sing your praises then the HOF should listen. Great athlete and great human being! This would be a great pick for the Hall of Fame. They need someone to lift up to the kids as a role model and really give pro football a positive image. Johnny Robinson is your man!

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.