Terrell Davis may have had one of the most challenging Hall-of-Fame resumes to evaluate in NFL history, but, in the end, he did what he’d always done during his brief stint in the NFL. He got across the goal line.
Davis was among the 2017 Hall-of-Fame class of inductees selected two weeks ago, and the glow of that selection has yet to wear off of the former league and Super Bowl MVP.
“I can’t stop smiling,’’ Davis told Talk of Fame Network hosts Ron Borges, Rick Gosselin and Clark Judge on this week’s show. “I was pretty surprised.’’
Davis had three of the most brilliant seasons in NFL history with the Denver Broncos, rushing for 1,538, 1,750 and 2,008 yards and 49 touchdowns while gaining another 1,140 yards and two Super Bowl titles in three playoff appearances before a terrible knee injury cut his career short. He would ultimately play seven seasons, but only 16 games over the final three years of his career.
Longevity is a major component of any Hall-of-Fame career. Gale Sayers’ five-years of dominance have always been considered the outlier in that area, the brevity of his time in the NFL not being seen as enough to mar its brilliance.
The debate over Davis lasted several years before the knock came on his door. When it did, Davis was so sure it would not happen this year — primarily because of the presence of fellow running back LaDainian Tomlinson on the ballot — that he prepared a graceful acceptance of another year of waiting.
In fact, Davis said he asked his wife to create a tweet congratulating this year’s winners, expressing his disappointment and hoping that 2018 would be his year.
“The process is difficult, as it should be,’’ Davis said. “You only have five slots per year. How do you cram in all these players who are so deserving? Tim Brown told me when this started ‘be patient.’’’
Asked whether longevity is a legitimate issue for Hall-of-Fame induction, Davis conceded it was but added, “I never thought of it in that fashion. My career wasn’t short. It was efficient.’’
Indeed it was, so efficient that next August Terrell Davis will join the most exclusive fraternity in sports at the Hall of Fame.
This week the guys also visit with Hall-of-Fame voter Dan Pompei, who next year should argue the case of Bears’ linebacker Brian Urlacher, if he becomes a finalist. Urlacher will be in his first year of eligibility but faces a difficult road with a potential slate of 13 first-team all-decade selections, including the Ravens’ Ray Lewis, who was the measuring stick at middle linebacker during the era they shared.
In our weekly “State Your Case’’ segment, Clark makes a strong case for a receiver time has forgotten. When Billy Howton retired in 1963 he was the NFL’s all-time leader in both receptions and yardage, yet has never gotten a sniff of Hall-of-Fame consideration. Clark wonders why and makes a strong argument for his inclusion.
Our resident Dr. Data is also back. Rick dons his lab coat and explains why this time of year the NFL becomes a young man’s game that threatens the careers of players 30 or older, almost regardless of their resumes.
There’s all that and more during the weekly two-hour show from the Rinnai Studios available on SB Nation Radio, Sirius 93 Wednesday nights at 8 Eastern or on the show’s free podcast at iTunes. You can also hear the show simply by going to our website, talkoffamenetwork.com.