Chester: Hall should take “hard look” at more seniors

Former tight end Raymond Chester isn’t in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but he could be. And maybe he should be.

He was a pass catcher in an era when most tight ends were viewed as third tackles. A star with the Oakland Raiders, he was the league’s Rookie of the Year. He was a four-time Pro Bowler. He was a Super Bowl champion. He was the USFL’s 1983 Man of the Year, and last month he was named to the Black College Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018.

But what the former Morgan State star is not is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and while he has spoken on his behalf before, he took advantage of an appearance on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast not to argue for himself … but for others who aren’t enshrined in Canton.

“Who I am would not allow me to sit up and petition for myself?” Chester said when asked what he would tall Hall-of-Fame voters. “So I would just say to them this: We really ought to do something about all the great players … who have been recognized as great players … and continue to be candidates. But they continue to be pushed further and further back by a lot of the current players that are coming out — and, specifically, like receivers and things like that.

(Raymond Chester photo courtesy of Raiders Archives)

“I mean, the numbers are astronomical. Guys catching 100, 150 balls, a year. Well, I could never compare with that if you just wanted to talk about how many balls I caught a year. But if you had a way to measure the total value of a player to his team … and every team he played on … I think that should be done.”

He has a point. Tight end Mark Bavaro was an invaluable member of the Giants’ teams that won two Super Bowls and has been recognized as one of the greatest blocking tight ends — if not the best — of any era. Yet he’s never been a Hall-of-Fame semifinalist because voters increasingly measure tight ends by catches.

Chester was never a Hall-of-Fame semifinalist, either, because when you played in his era (the 1970s), receiving was secondary to blocking for a tight end. Nevertheless, Raymond Chester did both, and did them well. But he is not alone. There are dozens of qualified candidates, many of them all-decade choices from the 1900s, left on the wayside, waiting for a call that never comes.

“Something should be done about guys who are 60, 70 years old,” said Chester. “Just like last year, I went to Ken’s … Ken Stabler’s … induction, and it was sad.

“We need to take a hard look at pushing guys further and further back because those guys  obviously … if they’re good enough to be in the Hall of Fame with their numbers and their contribution and character in their era … then they should be in there first.”

Chester’s comments could make a difference. The Pro Football Hall of Fame is considering a one-time proposal for senior candidates to mark the 100th celebration of the NFL in 2020 — with the Hall promoting 10 or more seniors for induction that year. It has support within the building, and, as Chester pointed out, it has support without it, too.

Previous Neil Smith on Hall: "I had everything a complete player needs"
Next State Your Case: Howard Mudd's "body of work": deserves HOF consideration


  1. Kerouac
    November 6, 2017

    “The Pro Football Hall of Fame is considering a one-time proposal for senior candidates to mark the 100th celebration of the NFL in 2020 — with the Hall promoting 10 or more seniors for induction that year.”

    – lip service unless transpires; even come to pass, decades short some long worthy, now quite dead players. 10 or more? Crumbs. How about putting all those deserving in – asap? What is this – Saint Peter ‘keeper keys the kingdom’ Pearly Gates checking credentials?

    Just do it. Great is great – any era, every sport. You know it when you see it, and while often if not always stat is part & parcel, in fact it can transcend.

    Conversely, if one refuses acknowledge (especially WITH THEIR VOTES or NON-VOTES SAME if in such a position) a combination rule changes and manipulation variously equipment, medicinal assist/cheating and the-$traw-that-$tirs-the entire concoction bastardizing the game, any undaunted are as the game itself is become, fraud.

    Aforementioned factors given a nod & wink terms integrity, relegates results illegitimate, genuine replaced counterfeit. Terms Hall of Fame voting & objectivity, appears that positive bias exists nod modern era players, while dismissiveness dominates toward vintage.

    Turnabout being fair play & reverse bias acceptable, requiring modern players obliterate vintage stats qualify HOF would seem only fair. After all, if one buys into the ‘hype’ today’s players so much faster, stronger, bigger & just more swell all around don’t we know, should be easy for them trample the past’s marks, right?

    Yet (examples), ancient Cy Young’s 511 wins MLB remains tops, same NFL no team has matched let alone topped Packers 5 Championships in 7 years, NY Yankees storied success MLB, Canadians same NHL, or Celtics NBA, all from the distant past I argue was superior today’s era.

    Chamberlain’s NBA stats severally remain unbroken; ditto DiMaggio & Williams MLB. NFL, so much passing today yet no one has sniffed still the records Tunnell or Krause interceptions… can specify many more records, same, offense, defense, special teams and other sports too.

    Athletes so much better today, so much faster, bigger & stronger, yet curiously, unable replicate nor exceed not only aforementioned, and other stats, but the likes Bob Hayes speed, Ernie Ladd’s size & height/ weight combo – the list is endless. Tiger Woods golf still trails & likely never will match let alone exceed the best ever Jack Nicklaus; should be child’s play, yet no cigar; it’s a conspiracy I tells ya, a conspiracy.

    How about the pinball wizard fraud MLB 2017 it’s magically delicious – check that – ‘suspicious’ baseball’s engineered for flight? Broken bats, home runs travel 450 feet, one-armed swings reaching the seats well beyond power alleys/the opposite field even… where’s the vomit bag. These the players sports voters oooh and ahhh about, variously?

    Sport stats & results same today and for a long, Long LONG time now?


    Shy Pro Football Hall of Fame getting exiting high horse, looking down yesteryear’s players, blessing but a few in lieu recognizing ‘totality’ the greatness was, HOF will remains a complete and utter joke.

  2. Rasputin
    November 7, 2017

    I certainly support about anything to increase the number of seniors inducted. There’s a huge backlog of deserving players and it doesn’t help that they’ve already skipped older (but still living), more deserving players in favor of some who are both younger and less deserving.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.