(Everson Walls photo courtesy of Dallas Cowboys)
Talk of Fame Network
This week our Talk of Fame guys spoke to two more multi-time Pro Bowl players with Hall-of-Fame aspirations — players who seem to have been forgotten.
Cornerback Everson Walls and nose tackle La’Roi Glover.
Walls is one of only two players to lead the NFL in interceptions three times and the only cornerback in NFL history to do so. A four-time Pro Bowl selection and a Super Bowl champion, Walls has never even been a Hall-of-Fame semifinalist, a fact that mystifies him and many who watched him play for the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants.
Undrafted out of Grambling because scouts claimed he was too slow, Walls signed with Dallas and led the NFL in interceptions in his rookie season. He believes that being undrafted has impacted how some viewed him his entire career.
“Everyone wants to justify why I was not drafted,’’ Walls said this week. “I was not supposed to get interceptions. In the Flex defense (in Dallas) (cornerbacks) were not supposed to make plays. But I was too hungry and too angry not to make plays…I got it done.’’
Hall-of-Fame eligible for 19, Walls has never come close to being a finalist, and it’s difficult to understand why. His 57 interceptions rank 10th all-time 23 years after his retirement. He has a Super Bowl ring, NFL records and longevity (14 NFL seasons). The only thing he lacks, it seems, is a draft number … and a bust in Canton.
“I was always trying to climb uphill,’’ Walls said.
Asked if he feels he belongs in Canton, Walls broke on that question the way he once did on thrown footballs.
“I really do,’’ he said. “I look at some of the numbers. I got it done.’’
So did Glover, who has his own remarkable distinction. An all-decade selection, Glover was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2000 when he led the league in sacks with 17. That was 15 years ago, and no defensive tackle has led the NFL in that category since and only one other tackle ever, Hall-of-Famer John Randle, managed to do it.
Unlike Walls, Glover’s wait has only been four years, but he, too, has never yet come close to reaching the final 15. Worse, his name this year was not even included on the preliminary ballot of 94 nominees.
“It’s a tough process to get in,’’ Glover acknowledged. “Hopefully, I do get recognized for my body of work. I played 192 straight games. I rushed the quarterback and put the quarterback on the ground. Based on those measurements, I believe I do deserve to stand there.’’
One guy who was finally standing where he belongs this weekend was Tom Brady, who returns from his four-game “Deflategate’’ suspension to face the Cleveland Browns. Our Hall-of-Fame hosts, Rick Gosselin, Ron Borges and Clark Jones, found a different way to look at Brady, and the entire issue when they spoke with Dartmouth College government professor Brendan Nyhan.
Nyhan was one of three Dartmouth professors who published a study focusing on how people’s opinions on Brady’s guilt or innocence were influenced by their perception of the facts and their willingness to believe in conspiracy theories.
“People are very suspicious of the powerful,’’ Nyhan said, and that, he added, often colored their conclusions about Brady and/or the Patriots.
One conclusion we arrived at was this: This had to be the first study done by three Ivy League government professors on deflated footballs. Such is the power of the NFL’s grip on the public.
Speaking of grips, one guy who always had one on a football is the subject of this week’s State Your Case segment. Ron makes the Hall-of-Fame argument for long-ago Denver Broncos receiver Lionel Taylor. Taylor led the AFL in receptions six straight seasons from 1960-1966 after leaving the Chicago Bears when they tried to make him a linebacker.
Also featured is our monthly ‘Fassel on Football’, were we visit with former New York Giants head coach Jim Fassel to get his take on what’s going on around the NFL. This week he explains the shocking success of so many untested rookie quarterbacks and explains why he believes Tom Brady will have a big game vs. Cleveland.
Fassel’s Giants lost Super Bowl XXXV and failed to make the playoffs the following season. Fassel says the Panthers may face the same fate because “it’s a phenomenon none of us can explain, but it’s a phenomenon that happens.’’
For two hours each week so does the Talk of Fame Network on SB Nation, Sirius and 80 radio stations around the country. You can also find it on iTunes podcast, by downloading the TuneIn app or at our website talkoffamenetwork.com. Just go on line and click the helmet icon.