(Photo of Ken Houston courtesy Tennessee Titans)
(Photo of Kurt Warner courtesy Arizona Cardinals)
Talk of Fame Network
With a week to go before the 2017 Hall-of-Fame class is announced, the Talk of Fame Network reached out to Hall-of-Famer Ken Houston, Hall-of-Fame nominee Kurt Warner and the Hall-of-Fame voter with one of the toughest assignments this year.
Houston, who is the last safety inducted into the Hall to have played in an NFL game (back in 1980), spoke of the apparent slight in recent years of the position and offered his opinions on the three safeties up for election this year: Senior candidate Kenny Easley and modern-day candidates John Lynch and Brian Dawkins.
Although Houston is a believer in the importance of longevity, he feels Easley did more than enough in his seven NFL seasons to gain entrance to the Hall. As for Dawkins and Lynch, he agreed that, fairly or not, history says they face an uphill battle to gain entrance to Canton simply because of history.
There have been only seven pure safeties ever selected.
Despite taking two teams to the Super Bowl and posting some of the most outrageous passing numbers in NFL history, Warner said it still amazes him that he went from stocking shelves in a grocery store in Iowa after a brief, failed summer tryout with the Green Bay Packers, to standing on the doorstep of the Hall of Fame.
“To believe there’s no other guys out there (like Warner the grocery clerk) is crazy,’’ Warner said. “I was just fortunate. I believe there are plenty of guys who just didn’t get the (same) opportunity.
“I just wanted a chance. A glimmer of opportunity. To be in this category (of Hall-of-Fame finalist) for the third time is such an honor. I was the guy who was never supposed to play. It’s not always the number of moments you get, it’s what you do with them.’’
Warner did plenty, resurrecting two moribund franchises – the St. Louis Rams and the Arizona Cardinals – and taking them to the Super Bowl. He won with St. Louis and would have won with the Cardinals, as well, but Ben Roethlisberger threw perhaps the greatest pass in Super Bowl history to Santonio Holmes with only seconds to play to frustrate him.
Hall-of-Fame voter Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area also drops by to explain the difficulty of trying to make the Hall-of-Fame case for controversial wide receiver Terrell Owens. Owens is second all-time in receiving yards, third in touchdowns and eighth in receptions and so would appear to be a slam dunk for induction. But his numerous problems with teammates, coaches and management led the 49ers, Eagles and Cowboys to get rid of him at the height of his career — problems that made him so contentious a candidate a year ago that the debate among the voters took nearly an hour before he was rejected.
Now he’s back for a second shot and it’s Maiocco’s job to argue for him.
“On the numbers, it’s clear,’’ Maiocco said. “Those are Hall-of-Fame numbers.’’
He has a plan to counter the other side of Owens’ resume, and he shares it with Talk of Fame Network hosts Ron Borges, Rick Gosselin and Clark Judge.
There’s that and much more during this two hours of football talk. You can hear it all on over 75 SB Nation stations, on Sirius radio, the TuneIn app or on the free podcast on iTunes. You can also access the show by going to our website, talkoffamenetwork.com and clicking on the helmet icon.