If players were voted into Canton based strictly on productivity, Joe Jacoby and Everson Walls would already have their busts. But Jacoby didn’t get into the room as a finalist until his 18th year of eligibility and Walls didn’t reach the room until his 20th year. The clock was ticking on them the moment they arrived. They wouldn’t have the luxury of 20 years of potential discussions like a Lewis, Moss and Urlacher.
Joe Jacoby started in four Super Bowls and his Washington Redskins won three of them. Jacoby started at left tackle for the first two Lombardi Trophy winners in the 1980s and at right tackle for that third NFL champion in 1991.
In the last 12 Hall of Fame classes, offensive linemen have been shut out only twice (also 2011). The last time two blockers were inducted the same year was 2013 when Jonathan Ogden and Larry Allen both received busts. But that was when the classes included six modern-era candidates.
At least six Hall-of-Fame worthy candidates are in their last year of eligibility as modern-era candidates, and if they don’t make it to Canton as part of the Class of 2018 they might never make it, period.
The sad truth about former Washington tackle Joe Jacoby is that if he doesn’t make it to Canton in 2018, his odds of getting there increase dramatically — and that is being kind — as a senior candidate.
LaDainian Tomlinson is the only certainty with this year’s Hall of Fame class. The class is so uncertain that as many as seven all-decade choices could be left on the outside — with few certain just who they are or could be.
There are at least nine players who are worthy of the Hall of Fame who will not be elected to the Class of 2017. And therein lies the problem with this process — there are too many qualified candidates and too few slots.
Hall-of-Fame guard Joe DeLamielleure thinks there are two former linemen who belong in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and they’re both named Joe — defensive lineman Joe Klecko and offensive lineman Joe Jacoby.
Running back LaDainian Tomlinson heads a list of 26 semifinalists named Wednesday night for the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017. This is Tomlinson’s first year of eligibility, and the smart money says he makes it to Canton as a first-ballot choice.
Joe Jacoby wasn’t drafted, but he did play in the NFL … so well, in fact, that he’s a serious candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. So does he belong? “Absolutely,” says former GM Charley Casserly.