The Talk of Fame Network visits this week with Hall-of-Fame general manager Bill Polian to get his viewpoint on the Class of 2017 inductees and the controversy over the exclusion of wide receiver Terrell Owens for the second year. Your Hall-of-Fame Guys also sit down with first-team all-decade defensive lineman Richard Seymour to discuss his first-year of Hall-of-Fame eligibility.
Like many of the critics of the Hall’s 48-person committee, Polian suggested it may be time for the Hall to “take a fresh look at how everything is done.’’ But his reasoning is not because Owens failed to make it in his second year of eligibility. In fact, Polian supported the rejection of Owens.
“What did he do to make his team better?’’ asked Polian, pointing to both his penchant for dropped passes and internal bickering that led several teams to unload him despite his on-field production.
Hall-of-Fame voter Paul Domowitch, a T.O. supporter, wrote after the election that former Eagles’ safety Brian Dawkins told him it took two years for the Eagles to recover from the internal problems created by Owens after he was let go.
Asked if he would take Hall-of-Fame finalist Isaac Bruce over Owens, Polian said, “Yes.’’
So why does Polian feel the Hall might want to take a look at both its processes and the size of the annual class of inductees? Because of the committee’s rejection of former commissioner Paul Tagliabue for the fourth time, with the latest as a senior nominee.
“It broke my heart to see it happen,’’ Polian said.
He then proposed several ideas for the Hall to consider, including expanding the size of the class. When the Hall opened in 1963, rosters had 33 players on a dozen teams. The size of the league has nearly tripled, and roster sizes have nearly doubled, Polian said, “but it’s the same number of inductees.’’
Seymour hopes one day to be an inductee himself after making seven Pro Bowls, five All-Pro teams and winning three Super Bowl championships during his years with the New England Patriots. But he recognizes that playing Bill Belichick’s two-gap system limited his personal statistics. Despite being considered the league’s best defensive lineman for much of his eight-year career in New England, Seymour finished with only 57.5 sacks.
“At the end of the day, for me, it was always about wins and losses,’’ said Seymour, whose teams were 12-3 in the post-season and won four AFC titles and those three Super Bowls. “The Hall of Fame is the ultimate individual accomplishment. I could make a case. Trust me.’’
Very likely he will.
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