Who should be the senior candidate for the Class of 2019?


Johnny Robinson photo courtesy of the Kansas City Chiefs

Since establishing a senior committee in 1972, the Hall of Fame has enshrined 44 senior candidates. Since 2010, every senior candidate nominated has been enshrined except one – 1950s all-decade guard Dick Stanfel. He was turned down in 2012 but was subsequently enshrined in 2016 when he was again nominated.

Linebacker Robert Brazile and guard Jerry Kramer were the two senior candidates in the Class of 2018. There is only one senior candidate scheduled for the Class of 2019. So who should get that nomination? That’s the subject of our weekly Talk of Fame Network poll. Who deserves to be the 45th nominee from the senior committee. Here are your options…and candidates:

Ken Anderson. A four-time NFL passing champion (two each in the 1970s and 1980s), an NFL MVP (1981) and a Super Bowl appearance (1982). Anderson also became the first quarterback of the modern era to complete 70 percent of his passes in a single season. He threw 197 touchdown passes in his 16-year career and also rushed for 20 scores.

Randy Gradishar. The 1978 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Gradishar was the 14th overall pick of the 1974 draft by the Denver Broncos who stepped into the starting lineup in his second season and went on to collect a franchise-record 2,049 tackles. He was voted to seven Pro Bowls in his 10-year career and was a first-team all-pro inside linebacker in 1977-78.

Cliff Harris. There were 22 positions players selected to the 1970s NFL all-decade first team and 20 have been enshrined in Canton. The two that haven’t? Cowboys Cliff Harris and Drew Pearson. An undrafted college free agent from tiny Ouachita Baptist, Harris became a starter in his second season and went to the Pro Bowl in six of his final nine seasons. Harris also returned punts and kickoffs early in his career, averaging 25.7 yards per career kickoff return and 6.3 yards per punt.

Winston Hill. Spent his career protecting Joe Namath’s blind side with the New York Jets. Hill went to four AFL All-Star games, then four Pro Bowls after the merger. Light afoot – Hill was a prep tennis champion in his home state of Texas — he played 15 seasons and at one point started 174 consecutive games. Hill, who passed away in 2016, has been enshrined in the Jets’ Ring of Honor.

Alex Karras. One of three all-decade defensive tackles for the 1960s but the only one not enshrined in Canton. Both Bob Lilly and Merlin Olsen were first-ballot selections but Karras has never even been a finalist. Karras played one fewer season than Warren Sapp but had one more sack (97 ½) – and Karras played in an era when NFL teams ran the ball far more than they threw. Sapp, by the way, was a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

Eddie Meador. One of four NFL all-decade safeties for the 1960s, Meador still holds franchise records of the Los Angeles Rams for interceptions (46) and blocked kicks (10). But like Karras, he has never been a Hall finalist so his candidacy has never been discussed by the selection committee. Meador was voted to six Pro Bowls in his 12-year career as both a cornerback and safety.

Tommy Nobis. The first overall pick of the expansion Atlanta Falcons in 1966, Nobis became a walk-in starter who set a franchise record with 294 tackles as a rookie. He went to the Pro Bowl each of his first three seasons before suffering a knee injury in the opening month of the 1969 season. So impressive was Nobis in his first four seasons that he was voted to the 1960s NFL all-decade team. Knee injuries and subsequent surgeries to both his left and right knee slowed his career but could not prevent him from making five Pro-Bowl teams.

Drew Pearson. From the 1930s through the 1990s, there were 16 first-team NFL all-decade selections at wide receiver. Fifteen of them have been enshrined in Canton. Pearson is the only one still without a bust. And he has never even been a finalist. Pearson led the NFC in receptions in 1977 and was on the receiving end of one of the most famous passes in NFL history, the Hail Mary from Roger Staubach that upset the Vikings in the 1975 playoffs.

Johnny Robinson. With Jerry Kramer now enshrined in Canton, only one position player selected to the first-team 1960s all-decade team remains without a bust – Robinson. He began his career with the fledgling Dallas Texans as a running back but after two seasons moved to safety. He played there for his final 10 and intercepted 57 passes, which ties him for 13th all-time. He led the AFL with 10 interceptions in 1966 and then led the NFL, again with 10, in the first season of the merged leagues in 1970. He went to seven Pro Bowls and helped the Texans/Chiefs win three AFL championships and a Super Bowl.

Andy Russell. Russell arrived in Pittsburgh in 1963 during the pre-Super Bowl era. Translation: bad football. After a two-year stint in the military in 1964-65, Russell returned to start the final 11 seasons of his career. He was the team MVP one season (1971) and the team’s defensive MVP in two others (1968, 1970). Russell served as defensive captain of the Steelers the final 10 seasons of his career and went to the Pro Bowl the final six years of his career. He started on two Super Bowl champions.

Vote now!

Previous 1st female sportswriter enters Pro Football HOF, visits TOFN
Next How first female writer in Hall fulfilled her "lifelong dream"

39 Comments

  1. June 20, 2018
    Reply

    The NFL as per usual forgets anything that has happened more than five years ago. Some of the names listed and I am sure there are more if we think about it that should be in the HOF…more so than who has entered the hall lately.

    The NFL doesn’t even count NFL Championships anymore…they refer to the Green Bay Packers as four-time Super Bowl Champions instead of 13-time NFL Champions…Super Bowls are merely NFL Championships, and had the AFL not come along…it would still be called the NFL Championship Game.

    I say let’s induct more of the legacy players…bring back the game’s history…the legends that help build the monopoly that the NFL is today.

  2. Bob Thompson
    June 20, 2018
    Reply

    Johnny Robinson, Safety, Kansas City Chiefs (1960-1972)
    Drafted 1st Round, 3rd Overall Pick in 1960
    7x Pro Bowls / All Star Selections (’63, ’64, ’65, ’66, ’67, ’68, ’70)
    6x First Team All Pro / All AFL Selections (’65, ’66, ’67, ’68, ’69, ’70)
    3x Second Team All Pro / All AFL Selections (’63, ’64, ’71) injury years
    9x All Pro /All AFL in 10 seasons as safety. (first 2yrs. played offense)
    3 AFL Championships ’62, ’66 ’69
    Super Bowl IV Championship (played Super Bowl I and IV)
    2x Interceptor of the Year ’66, ’70 (AFL & NFL)
    Most Interception Return Yards Leader ’69
    6 Top Ten Finishes: Interceptions ’65, ’66, ’67, ’68, ’69, ’70
    4 Top Ten Finishes: Interception Return Yards ’65, ’66, ’69, ’70
    57 Career Interceptions (3rd on all-time list at retirement)
    Interception Return Yards: 741
    17 career touchdowns
    Pro Football Hall of Fame’s AFL All- Time Team
    Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Combined Team of the Decade 1960s
    Pro Football Hall of Fame’s First All Pro First Team
    6x Hall of Fame Finalist
    All Time Super Bowl Team, Nominee
    Ranked the third most effective pass interceptor of all time (only played 10 yrs defense / first 2 yrs on offense) Only two HOF members have a higher rating compared to Robinson’s 5.7 average and both played longer on defense.)
    The Chiefs had a record of 35-1-1 when Robinson made an interception in the game. A real impact player. He made an interceptions in all three AFL Championships and in Super Bowl IV.
    5x Interception leader of the Chiefs
    His Team never lost a game to the Raiders, Chargers, Oilers, Broncos, Patriots, Jets or Dolphins when Robinson intercepted in a game.
    Kansas City Chiefs All Time Team
    Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame
    Missouri Sports Hall of Fame
    Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame
    LSU Sports Hall of Fame
    LSU Team of the Century
    LSU National Championship Football Team
    Since retirement, Johnny Robinson opened a home for troubled youth. He owns and operates the Johnny Robinson’s Boys Home located in Monroe, Louisiana and is there working everyday. His life has been devoted to helping troubled kids. This is in line with the NFL and the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s credos of public service of giving back to the communities. This is an opportunity for the NFL and Pro Football Hall of Fame to shine a positive light on itself buy spotlighting yet another example of one of its former star players being an upstanding, solid, contributing citizen, by promoting the cause Robinson cares so much about and one of which the NFL and Pro Football Hall of Fame seems to care greatly — troubled youth. A Hall of Fame induction, and the attendant publicity that goes with it, is a great opportunity for this. Johnny Robinson has lived a Hall of Fame life!
    Johnny Robinson is every bit as deserving of Hall of Fame induction as any player who has ever achieved that honor. Simply put, Robinson has a gaudy resume and his accolades and play demonstrate that he is truly worthy of induction. He scored the highest with one other player in film play.
    He has received many endorsements for 2019 HOF induction from
    Lance Alworth, Don Maynard, Bobby Bell, Tom Flores, and many other players, coaches, sports media and authors.

    “Simply put, Johnny Robinson is one of the greatest safeties that I ever faced. In fact, I can’t think of any that I’ve seen in the 50 years since that have been better. When we ran cross patterns against Kansas City, I knew that I was going to get hit hard. I had to prepare myself specifically for him, both mentally and physically. Johnny Robinson absolutely deserves to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”
    Lance Alworth, Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 1978 & Member of the AFL All-Time Team

  3. bachslunch
    June 20, 2018
    Reply

    My choice would be Johnny Robinson, but I wouldn’t complain if any of these folks except Nobis or Russell got the nod. The reason I’m not in favor of Nobis or Russell is that there are tons of LBs who I think are more deserving: Howley, Baughan, Gradishar, Fortunato, Grantham, Forester, Stratton… the list just goes on.

    Far, far too many deserving Senior candidates, sorry to say.

    Any further news on the possibility of an expanded Senior pool for 2020? Just curious. It’s badly needed.

  4. Robert ewing
    June 20, 2018
    Reply

    And there isthe annual whine fest about nobis and Russell from Bach it’s getting old

  5. Rasputin
    June 20, 2018
    Reply

    Chuck Howley is the only player with 5 first team AP NFL All Pro selections in the 20th Century Super Bowl era who’s not in the HoF. Of the 10 men with such accolades the other 9 are already in Canton. So are almost all eligible players with 5 first team All Pro selections from any era, even the early decades. Every player from the entire 20th Century with 6 or more first team NFL All Pro selections is in the HoF, as are the vast majority with 4 first team selections. Having 5 or more first team All Pro selections is an even better indicator of making Canton than All Decade status is. That means you were voted the very best at your position in the entire league for at least fully half a decade.

    Howley also has 6 Pro Bowls, which, along with his first team All Pro selections, are spread across 7 different accolade seasons. Howley was the first defensive player to earn Super Bowl MVP honors, and still the only MVP to come from the losing team. Always the classy team-first competitor, Howley rejected the award. He was considered for MVP again the following year when the Cowboys defeated the Dolphins 24-3 in SB VI, still the only time a SB team has held its opponent without a TD. Howley’s early fumble recovery tilted momentum the Cowboys’ way and set the tone for the game. His late interception of Griese and 41 yard return set up the final score and sealed the win. If the Dolphins had scored on that drive it would have been 17-10 with several minutes left and a whole different ballgame. Little wonder that during the broadcast Pat Summerall said that in the prior days when he had asked the Dolphins which Cowboy they respect the most Chuck Howley’s name came up most often. Howley was a smart player, a physical tackler, a collegiate wrestler and gymnast, and collegiate sprinter who flew all over the field making impactful plays. Howley is still the only athlete in WVU history to letter in 5 different sports.

    He’s in the exclusive 20/20 club with 26.5 sacks and 25 interceptions.

    Howley’s 43 combined takeaways rank 2nd in NFL history among OLBs.

    According to Pro Football Researchers, Bob Lilly and Chuck Howley were the two defensive players given special leeway to operate more freely within the rigid Landry system. They cite assistant Dick Nolan (future 49ers head coach) as estimating that Howley’s instincts were about 90% of the time. A sampling of his many other feats include returning a fumble 97 yards for a TD and once catching Leroy Kelly from behind despite the HoF RB having a 10 yard head start.

    While Howley was bizarrely left off the 60s All Decade team despite being overwhelmingly qualified, timing is an issue, his career peak straddled decades, and his resume only got stronger in the 70s. Respected football historian John Turney (often cited by this site) recently named Chuck Howley first team All Decade OLB on his 1965-1975 team, alongside legends Dick Butkus and Bobby Bell, and ahead of HoFers Dave Robinson, Dave Wilcox, and Chris Hanburger.

    John Turney flat out said on the Pro Football Journal site that, “Chuck Howley should be in the HOF.”

    People seemed to assume back then that he would be in the HoF, judging by how quickly Dallas made him the 4th member of its exclusive Ring of Honor only 4 years after he retired. He’s the greatest 4-3 linebacker in franchise history and only 3 Cowboys have more first team All Pro selections, Bob Lilly (7), Randy White (7), and Larry Allen (6), all first ballot HoFers.

    Not only is Howley more qualified than anyone in your poll but he’s older than any of them and still alive while some of them have passed away, meaning if he’s inducted soon he could still enjoy it. And yet Howley has never even been a finalist and had his case heard “in the room”. Which makes one wonder why he’s bizarrely omitted from the options in your poll. Howley should have been included instead of Cliff Harris and Drew Pearson, unless the INTENT was to split the Cowboys vote while sheltering Robinson (and dark horse Andy Russell, LOL) from more serious competition. But that would be a cynical suggestion.

    I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that you had some different factor for again excluding Howley that seemed reasonable in your head.

    What was it?

    • Rasputin
      June 20, 2018
      Reply

      That should read that Nolan estimated that Howley’s instincts were RIGHT about 90% of the time.

  6. social media
    June 20, 2018
    Reply

    Mr Gosselin
    In addition to your list

    http://www.talkoffamenetwork.com/10496-2/

    Players
    CANNOT NOT WRITE HISTORY OF PRO-FOOTBALL WITHOUT EITHER ONE
    Roman Gabriel – Trailblazer
    Jim Plunkett – Trailblazer

    &

    Dave Grayson
    Jack Tatum
    Cliff Branch
    Lester Hayes
    Jim Marshall
    Bob Kuechenberg
    Mark Bavaro
    Zach Thomas

    to name a few, the person waiting longest should be considered first

  7. Rob Petrose
    June 20, 2018
    Reply

    Randy Gradishar! He is on of many overlooked Broncos. Compare his stats to other LBs of his day. He is without doubt deserving.

  8. David Carr
    June 21, 2018
    Reply

    Johnny Robinson, Safety, Kansas City Chiefs (1960-1972)
    Johnny Robinson for the Pro Football Hall of Fame
    6x First Team All Pro, 3x Second Team All Pro
    7x Pro Bowls
    57 career interceptions
    18 career touchdowns
    168 games
    3x AFL Championships
    Super Bowl IV Champions (played Super Bowl I & IV)
    Pro Football Hall of Fame AFL All-Time Team
    Pro Football Hall of Fame Combined Team of the Decade 1960s
    Kansas City Chiefs All-Time Team
    Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame
    All-Time Super Bowl Team, Nominee

    Below are recent, 2018, quotes received from players, coaches and sports media endorsing the nomination of Johnny Robinson for the Pro Football Hall of Fame:

    “Simply put, Johnny Robinson is one of the greatest safeties that I ever faced. In fact, I can’t think of any that I’ve seen in the 50 years since that have been better. When we ran cross patterns against Kansas City, I knew that I was going to get hit hard. I had to prepare myself specifically for him, both mentally and physically. Johnny Robinson absolutely deserves to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”—Lance Alworth, San Diego Chargers, Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 1978 and Member of the AFL All-Time Team

    “Johnny Robinson is one of the best to ever play the game and is long overdue for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was a great and honorable player, and I never had to worry about taking a cheap shot from him. It was my honor to play against Johnny Robinson, and I would surely cast my vote for him.”—Don Maynard, Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 1987 & Member of the AFL All-Time Team

    “Johnny Robinson was one of the best defensive players Kansas City has ever seen. He was a marvel to play football with, and the best teammate you could ever hope to have. Johnny is most deserving of hall of fame recognition!”—Jim Lynch, Kansas City Chiefs

    “I would play with Johnny Robinson any day and put him up against anybody. I put him at the top as a safety. Playing with Johnny was like having a coach on the field. It was great to play with a guy who was such a student of the game. Johnny Robinson should have been put in the hall of fame a long time ago.”—Bobby Bell, Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 1983 & Member of the AFL All-Time Team

    “He was a remarkable player at his position. A dynamite tackler and superb defender vs. the pass. Was the best at his position in the AFL!”—Ron Wolf, member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame 2015, GM Green Bay Packers, past Raiders, Jets, Buccaneers franchises

    “Johnny brought class and leadership to the free safety position. He was calm and disciplined and always prepared, rarely out of position. Without fanfare, he defined the position.”—Tom Flores, 10-Year AFL Player & Two-Time Super Bowl-Winning Head Coach

    “I’ve got to take my hat off to Johnny Robinson. He, Bobby Bell, Willie Lanier and Buck Buchanan are the ones who stick out in my mind when I think about the Chiefs. Johnny wasn’t as big as those other guys, but he was as sure a tackler as the Chiefs ever had. One of the very best.”—Paul Lowe, San Diego Chargers & Kansas City Chiefs

    “Offense, defense, return teams…Johnny Robinson could do it all and do it well. Carried over his offensive skills catching and running with the ball to defense, an all-time great safety. Tough, fast and determined. What is a hall of fame without him?”—Chris Burford, Kansas City Chiefs

    “Johnny Robinson, as one of the greatest defensive backs in pro football history, deserves a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It’s not just because of his remarkable interception record, picking off 57 passes in 10 years as a safety, but also his uncanny intelligence as the air-traffic controller on the great Chiefs’ defense of the “60s and early “70s. Blessed with agility, grit, instincts and composure, he was one of the defining players of his era, justly earning his spot on the All-Time AFL team. All that’s left is his much-deserved bust next to his peers in Canton.”—Michael MacCambridge, Author, America’s Game

    “Johnny Robinson was fantastic. There’s no doubt about it. When you watched him against the receivers on your team, and saw the respect they afforded him, you quickly understood how great a player he was.” –Bob Talamini, New York Jets, Houston Oilers, AFL All-Time Second Team

    “Johnny Robinson was the most athletic defensive back in the league. He could also play wide receiver and running back and did at times. He should, without a doubt, be in the hall of fame.”—Tony Banfield, Houston Oilers

    “Johnny Robinson was a fantastic safety and really controlled the great Chiefs defense of the 1960s. In fact, the Kansas City Chiefs would not have been the Kansas City Chiefs without him. I have absolutely no reservations about saying that Johnny Robinson deserves induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. —Clem Daniels, Oakland Raiders, AFL Career Rushing Leader & Member of the AFL All-Time Team

    Past quotes endorsing the nomination of Johnny Robinson for the Pro Football Hall of Fame:

    “Induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame is a well overdue honor that Johnny Robinson exceedingly deserves. His leadership, physical abilities, character and person contribution to the game of football are very worthy of this honor.

    I have never competed against a more clever free safety during my 16-year career. In addition to leading a World Championship team, he brought the position to a higher standard of play as was apparent by his seven-time Pro Bowl achievement. He is an amazing credit to the game of football from playing a Super Bowl with three broken ribs to being the interception leader five times while with the Kansas City Chiefs. His dedication is clear by being one of only 20 players who was in the American Football League for its entire 10-year existence. The role of a safety was redefined as Johnny gained the respect of his teammates as well as his fans.”—John Hadl, San Diego Chargers

    “Johnny Robinson was as complete a safety as ever played. He was as valuable as Len Dawson, Willie Lanier and Bobby Bell, all of whom are in the Hall of Fame.”—Hank Stram, Texans/Chiefs head coach 1960-1974 and Hall of Fame Class of 2003

    Johnny Robinson was a six-time First Team All-Pro selection, three-time Second Team All-Pro selection and seven Pro Bowls. He is credited by many to have redefined the role of safety in modern professional football. His career was more than spectacular. He was the consummate team player who did whatever it took to help his team win. His statistics do not lie, and his impact on the game of professional football is immeasurable.

    “Johnny Robinson is at the top of my list of the greatest and revered football players of all time. He deserves to be inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It is an honor that is long overdue.” –Me

  9. Anonymous
    June 21, 2018
    Reply

    Although I’m a little lukewarm toward Drew Pearson, I’d be fine with any of these players getting in . Robinson gets my vote for #1. Not sure why he’s never been a senior nominee after being eligible so long and coming so close as a modern candidate.

    Why isn’t Chuck Howley on the list? If I could personally chose any eligible player to be the next senior inductee, it’d be him. He’s a tremendous oversight.

    I probably shouldn’t get started, but….Billy Howton? Lemar Parrish? Quite a few other names I’d rank ahead of the guys on this very strong list. Just goes to show that they really need to do something about the senior backlog.

    • Rasputin
      June 23, 2018
      Reply

      I’d love for Gosselin to explain his decision to omit Chuck Howley from even appearing on this list. It’s a fair question.

      • Rick Gosselin
        June 25, 2018
        Reply

        Check back with me in five weeks when the senior poll series concludes

        • Rasputin
          June 25, 2018
          Reply

          Does that mean you’re doing multiple polls like this featuring different different candidates?

  10. Brennan
    June 22, 2018
    Reply

    Nominate Johnny Robinson for Senior Candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame

    Its past time for Kansas City Chiefs All Pro Safety Johnny Robinson to be inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Now that Jerry Kramer made it Johnny Robinson is the only player on the Pro Football Hall of Fame Combined Team of the Decade 1960s not inducted. He deserves his bust in Canton. He was the leader of the fierce Chiefs defense of the 1960s. He was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s AFL All-Time Team and the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s First All Pro Team. He was 7x All AFL / All Pro, 7x Pro Bowls, 3x AFL Championships, 8x Division Championships, and played in Super Bowl I and Super Bowl IV. He was a member of Super Bowl IV Championship team having played that entire game with three broken ribs he sustained from the AFL Championship game the week before against the Oakland Raiders. He made a fumble recovery and an interception to stop any chance of a Vikings’ comeback. He retired as the interception leader of all active players and the all-time interception leader of the Chiefs with 57. He was five times the interception leader of the Chiefs. Two-time Interception Leader of the AFL /NFL. Only player to ever lead two leagues in interceptions. The Chiefs were an amazing 35-1-1 when Robinson made an interception proving he was a real impact player. He had a total of 18 career touchdowns. One of only twenty original players to have played the entire existence of the AFL and two years beyond.
    He was the NFL Interception Leader for 1970 the first year of the merger proving his talent. All-Time Super Bowl Team Nominee and a member of the Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame, Chiefs All-Time Team, LSU Sports Hall of Fame, LSU Team of the Century, Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. LSU National Championship Team and All-SEC First Team. He is credited as redefining the role of safety in modern professional football. Pro Football Hall of Fame members and All-Time Team members like Lance Alworth, Don Maynard, Bobby Bell, Clem Daniels and Coaches Tom Flores and Hank Stram stated that Johnny Robinson was the best safety and should have been in the Hall of Fame many years ago. HIs contemporaries thought he was the best. Many state that he redefined the position of safety in pro football. He played from 1960-1972. Let’s please induct this great player and complete the greatest Pro Football Hall of Fame Team of the Decade ever named. These were legends of the game.

  11. Jordan Daniels
    June 22, 2018
    Reply

    Johnny Robinson for 2019 Senior Candidate and induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame

    There are many people who have said that Johnny Robinson is one of the greatest safeties to ever play in the modern era. He was certainly among the best to play as he was voted to the All-Time AFL team by the Pro Football Hall of Fame and to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Combined Team of the Decade 1960s.

    Johnny Robinson was a converted running back – flanker who adapted to the role of safety effortlessly. Coach Stram needed his leadership on defense and Robinson brought it. Stram had coached at the University of Miami and knew Robinson’s defensive play from when Miami played LSU in 1958. LSU went on to win the National Championship. Robinson started on both sides of the ball during college. He was starting right halfback and starting safety. The first year that Stram placed him at safety he led the team to the 1962 AFL Championship that season. Robinson would twice lead the AFL/NFL in interceptions and cemented himself as the master of the position. The statistics that Robinson accrued were impressive. Robinson was a six-time First Team All Pro, three-time Second Team All Pro along with seven Pro Bowls. His fifty-seven career interceptions are most impressive considering that he only played ten years on defense since his first two years were playing offense. Robinson led the defensive core to three AFL Championships and a Super Bowl win making an interception in each game. Quarterbacks avoided him, and it is no stretch to say that offenses worked their systems around him. He was the coach on the field for the defense.

    When Johnny Robinson intercepted a pass, his team went 35-1-1. That is evidence of a dominant player and a true game breaker. Johnny Robinson’s career was impressive by any measure just ask the men who played with him and against him. It is time for Johnny Robinson to be recognized for his accomplishments to professional football as one of its premier position players.

  12. June 22, 2018
    Reply

    Let’s put this in historic perspective, both recent and long ago.
    Last year former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Cliff Branch was a senior candidate finalist for the third straight year and lost by the narrowest margin in Seniors Selection Committee history.
    After Houston Oilers linebacker Robert Brazile was voted in, there was a runoff between Branch and Jerry Kramer to break a tie for the second spot. A poll after the fact revealed Kramer won the runoff, 3-2, thereby eliminating Branch by the slightest of possible margins.
    How Branch goes from there to being not mentioned within months must be the latest testimony to his remarkable speed, I guess.
    Branch was a seniors finals for the last three years because he belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That was the unwavering testimony of 17 current Hall of Famers, presented in the meeting and in wire stories.
    I covered the Oakland Raiders during his career and in preparing advance stories for each game, Branch was always the No. 1 single concern of opposing offenses. Not Ken Stabler, Art Shell, Gene Upshaw, Jim Otto, David Casper or even David Casper. It was the mere presence of Branch that kept opposing defenses on edge the week before a game against the Oakland Raiders.
    “Everybody feared Branch, designed their defense to account for him first and foremost,” said HOF safety Ken Easley (Seattle Seahawks). “I lined up almost five yard deeper and we doubled him, but he blew by me in a heart beat. If speed kills, Branch was a mass murderer and I was among his victims. I feared him more than any receiver in the game.”
    And with good reason.
    • Branch exploded onto the NFL scene during his first season as a starter in 1974, leading the NFL with 1,092 yards and 13 touchdowns. He became an instant star receiver, playmaker, and the game’s most feared deep threat … garnering First Team All-Pro honors.
    • During a 7-year stretch (1974-1980) Branch led the NFL with 6,047 receiving yards, more than the other HOF receivers who played during that period, including:
    •John Stallworth
    •Charlie Joiner
    •Lynn Swann
    •Steve Largent
    • In 1976, Branch again led the NFL with 12 touchdowns and a jaw-dropping 24.2-yard average. Branch was named First Team All-Pro for the third consecutive year (1974, 1975 and 1976). During his 3-year run as First Team All-Pro from 1974-76, Branch caught 157 passes for 3,096 yards and 34 touchdowns, the highest consecutive 3-year total for ANY receiver during the 1970s, including all 1970s HOF receivers:
    •Paul Warfield
    •John Stallworth
    •Charlie Joiner
    •Lynn Swann
    •Charley Taylor
    •Fred Biletnikoff
    And what about his impact on big games?
    • Branch retired in 1985 as the NFL’s All-Time leading receiver in post-season history with 73 receptions for 1,289 yards and an average of 17.7 yards per catch.

    • He won a ring in three Super Bowls (Raiders 3-0 in Super Bowls with Branch, 0-2 without him) . They were with quarterback Ken Stabler and coach John Madden (1976 season) and then quarterback Jim Plunkett and coach Tom Flores (1980, 1983 seasons).
    Shell, a former teammate as well as former Raiders head coach, explained was also a key reason why the team so successful with its power running game.
    “Cliff also made our running game go because a corner couldn’t cover Cliff by himself, so defenses needed a safety, too,” Shell explained. “So, he took out at least two defenders on every play. At least. And always.”
    Added Casper:
    “Look at our Super Bowl (XI). Stabler threw less than 20 passes and completed 12. None of us had more than 3-4 catches. But the running game exploded. Clarence Davis had well over 100 yards. Freddie B caught four. The key? You can be sure the Vikings had 2 guys on Cliff the whole game.”
    Let’s hear from one of Branch’s most bitter rivals, HOF cornerback Mel Blount (Pittsburgh Steelers). Blount admits he was benched against the Raiders because Branch embarrassed him, which created a key point in the career of a cornerback who came back the next year to earn defensive player of the year honors.
    “Voters can look at stats but really the only people who know whether someone should be in the Hall of Fame are the guys who played against them,” Blount said. “I’m in the Hall of Fame and Cliff Branch definitely deserves to be in here. In fact, he could have played in any era. The 70s, 80s, 90s and today. You can’t say that about a lot of players in the Hall of Fame, but you absolutely can say that about Cliff Branch. He was a difference maker then and he would be in today’s game.”
    There is an update that shouldn’t impact Branch’s candidacy one way or the other, especially considering he is already worthy of HOF honors.
    During the horrific fires that leveled much of Sonoma County last year, Branch lost his home and all his awards and mementos. He was thankful that he was able to escape and even maintained his constant upbeat demeanor when asked how if his own life was in danger.
    “The fire was horrible, it all happened so fast,” he said. “Thankfully, I was faster.”

    • social media
      June 24, 2018
      Reply

      Your post on Cliff Branch

      is this, are you HOF voter “Frank Cooney”?

      The Frank Cooney?

    • Rick Gosselin
      June 25, 2018
      Reply

      Check back with me in five weeks when the senior poll series concludes

    • social media
      June 26, 2018
      Reply

      this post on Cliff Branch

      are you the HOF voter “Frank Cooney”?

      The Frank Cooney?

  13. June 22, 2018
    Reply

    Fix: That would be No. 1 single concern of opposing defenses, of course.
    I’m sure he didn’t thrill opposing offenses, either…..but obviously not what I meant.

  14. June 22, 2018
    Reply

    add fix….and that list of teammates to fear would include David Casper and Fred Biletnikoff, rather than Casper twice. Not even in Casper’s mind was Casper worth two mentions. I think.
    Next time I’ll use an editor….or not rush the remark

  15. Joshua B
    June 23, 2018
    Reply

    My vote would be for Johnny Robinson. 6 First Team AllPros, 3 Second Team AllPro is hard to overlook considering he only played ten years at defense. 7 Pro Bowl appearances and 3 AFL Championships with two Super Bowl appearances. Played Super Bowl IV with three broken ribs and still made an interception and fumble recovery for a team victory. Iron man if there ever was one. And look at what he has done for kids since he left football. What a role model!
    Johnny Robinson has seen every player on the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Combined Team of the Decade 1960s get inducted. He is the only member of that team not in the HOF after the induction of Jerry Kramer. His peers are the best testimony of how great he was and what others thought of him during his time. He was simply great. He could play in any era. He was such an incredible player and as Don Meredith said during the second Monday Night Football game when the Chiefs played the Colts, “Johnny Robinson is recognized as the best there is at the safety position.” The Jack Kemp who led the Bills to AFL Championships stated “Johnny Robinson redefined the role of safety in modern professional football.” Many credit Robinson with being perhaps the greatest safety in the history of the game.
    It’s past time for Robinson to take his place among the elites of the game.

  16. Brady
    June 23, 2018
    Reply

    Are you framing kidding me. Johnny Robinson hands down. It’s time to get him inducted. Last player on Pro Football Hall Of Fame’s Combined Team of the Decade 1960s. That was the greatest team of legends there ever was! Johnny Robinson deserves it now!

  17. Raider21
    June 25, 2018
    Reply

    It’s pathetic that Kenny Anderson is not in the Hall of Fame.

    • bachslunch
      June 27, 2018
      Reply

      +1

  18. Aaron Thompson
    June 25, 2018
    Reply

    Johnny Robinson for the 2019 Senior Candidate
    Safety, Kansas City Chiefs (1960 – 1972)
    57 interceptions
    18 touchdowns
    9 total All-Pro selections 6 First teams / 3 Second Teams (in ten years at defense)
    7 Pro Bowls
    Professional Football Hall of Fame’s AFL All-Time Team
    Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Combined Team of the Decade 1960s
    Pro Football Hall of Fame’s First All-Pro First Team,
    Silver Anniversary Super Bowl Team
    All-Time Super Bowl Team, Nominee
    Kansas City Chiefs All-Time Team, Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame,
    Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, LSU Sports Hall of Fame
    LSU Team of the Century, LSU National Championship Team

    Johnny Robinson played with same the franchise for 12 years. He was one of only 20 players who played the entire length of the AFL. He would play beyond the merger and was the NFL Interceptor of the Year in 1970. This was his second time as the league Interceptor of the Year with the first being 1966. He was five times the interception leader for the Chiefs.
    Johnny Robinson was the leader of that mighty Chiefs defense that won 3 AFL Championships and appeared in 2 Super Bowls. He played the entire Super Bowl IV with 3 broken ribs making an interception and a fumble recovery. He was a true ironman of the AFL/NFL.
    Robinson was the first of a new breed of defensive backs in pro football. He dominated opposing receivers up the middle with hard hits and intimidating play, but it wasn’t this that made him such a great player. Other teams soon began to work their offenses around Robinson with the focus on keeping the ball away from him. He became recognized in his day as the best safety that played the game. In the second Monday Night Football game in history when the Chiefs played the Colts in Baltimore, Robinson made three interceptions and recovered a fumble for a 48-yard touchdown run. He did this against Johnny Unitas and Earl Morrel. The Colts would go on to win the Super Bowl that year. During that game Don Meredith and Howard Cosell recognized Robinson as the best there ever was at safety. He was touted as the one who redefined the position at free safety and was the new modern safety of the pro game. In the Monday Night Game against the Jets in 1971 Robinson was again recognized for his play by Don Meredith as an amazing athlete who was somehow always where the ball was and came up with the big play for a turnover.
    Robinson forced turnovers and scored touchdowns with the best of them. His 57 career defensive interceptions in a ten-year period ranks among the all-time elite. He continually ranked among the top ten in interceptions and interception returns during his playing years. He finished with 18 career touchdowns. He was third on the all-time list at retirement and was the Chiefs all-time interception leader.
    Some players and sports media have concluded that he is one of the greatest safeties to ever play the game if not the greatest. Johnny Robinson deserves his place in Canton with the teammates of that great Chiefs defense. He alone is the last player not enshrined yet from the Combined Team of the 60s now that Kramer is in. Let’s get him in and complete the greatest Team of the Decade in History.

  19. D. Arrington
    June 25, 2018
    Reply

    I would nominate Johnny Robinson of the Kansas City Chiefs. I was there during that time and know how good he was. Everybody had their favorite players, but none were more beloved, revered and recognized as great as Johnny Robinson the original Chief.
    People that know of Johnny Robinson can’t understand why he isn’t already enshrined. His career was just amazing and with all the things he’s been selected to by the Pro Football Hall of Fame itself it seems ridiculous that he is not inducted and that we are still having this discussion. Let’s please induct.

    Respectfully submitted.

  20. Greg Bell
    June 25, 2018
    Reply

    Got to go with Johnny Robinson as my #1 vote. He was awesome and had a tremendous Hall of Fame career. Great athlete and a super person off the field. I read all those quotes that were listed by players who were opponents and teammates of Robinson along coaches and sports media that stated he was the best or the greatest safety to play the game. I think that if they feel that way it only confirms Robinson’s play on the field during his career and how respected he is among his peers. Its simply time to put the man in the Hall of Fame. He needs to join his teammates and the rest of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Combined Team of the Decade 1960s since he is the last one whose bust inst in Canton. Please consider Johnny Robinson for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and make him the 2019 Senior Candidate.

  21. Wesley Boston
    June 25, 2018
    Reply

    Give it to Johnny Robinson. Its time for him. He’s waited way too long. He’s seen all of his teammates on the Pro Football Hall Fame’s Team of the Decade 1960s get inducted and now with Jerry Kramer being enshrined its time to complete that team of legendary players and induct Robinson. He’s the last player on that team not inducted yet now that Kramer is in. As I saw something written by one of the HOF voters, “Johnny Robinson has a gaudy resume and its about freaking time.”

  22. D Harris
    June 25, 2018
    Reply

    Time for Johnny Robinson to be inducted.. Ridiculous that he is still not in yet. As NFL Films’ John Focenda once called him on NFL Films title “To Be Champions Again”, in the second game of the 1970 season against the Baltimore Colts, John Facenda stated as Robinson made his third interception in that game after returning a 50 yard fumble for a touchdown, ” and three interceptions and a fumble recovery for a touchdown by ALL-Everything Johnny Robinson of the Kansas City Chiefs, the NFL’s Leading Inteceptor of the Year.”
    That’s how Johnny Robinson was thought about in his day .

  23. Darren Davis
    June 25, 2018
    Reply

    After looking at the listed players carefully i have decided that
    Johnny Robinson (safety) should receive the vote for 2019 Senior Candidate. His resume is impressive.

    • Dallas Texans / Kansas City Chiefs (1960–1972)
    • 7x Pro Bowls (’63,’64,’65,’66,’67,’68,’70)]
    • 57 career interceptions NFL interceptions leader (1970)
    • 5x Interception leader of the Chiefs
    • Retired as interception leader of the Kansas City Chiefs
    • 18 career touchdowns
    • 3× AFL Championships ’62,’66,’69AFL champion (1962, 1966, 1969)
    • Super Bowl IV Championship
    • 7× First-team All-AFL/All-Pro All-AFL / All-Pro (’65,’66,’67,’68,’69,’70,’71)
    • 2× Second-team All-AFL/All-Pro (1963, 1964 )
    • 2x Interception Leader of the Year ’66,’70 AFL/NFL
    • Pro Football Hall of Fame’s AFL All-Time Team
    • Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Combined Team of the Decade 1960s
    • Pro Football Hall of Fame’s First All-Pro Team First Team
    • Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame
    • Kansas City Chiefs All-Time Team
    • Silver Anniversary Super Bowl Team
    • All-Time Super Bowl Team, Nominee
    • Missouri Sports Hall of Fame
    • Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame
    • LSU Sports Hall of Fame
    • LSU Team of the Century
    • 1958 undefeated National Championship Football Team
    • 2x All-SEC (1958 1959)

    Why are we still wondering if he belongs? Really? The guy was apparently a dominate player during his day or anyone’s’ day.
    Just noticed that NFL.com named him to their Kansas City Chiefs All-time team June22, 2018. He was already a member of the Kansas City Chiefs All-Time First Team The analyst must have seen the same things I saw. He was simply phenomenal and his peers absolutely think so.
    No doubt in my mine he belongs and apparently no doubt in many other players and sports personalities.

  24. Robert
    June 25, 2018
    Reply

    There are many great players yet to be inducted. Some are listed on this page. I would never take the argument of opposing anyone’s choice. They each have their reasons. I only appeal to the voters for one candidate that being Johnny Robinson. I believe with all of his accolades and awards on the field that his play is more than deserving consideration. I wish to tell of him after football and what his life has been. He gave his life in helping troubled youth that were either abused, imprisoned, neglected or unwanted. Sometimes all four. He founded a home for troubled boys and has raised hundreds if not, thousands of boys who would otherwise not have had a chance. He provides them with housing, clothing, food, and education. He sees that they get healthcare and that they receive mental and emotional help as needed. If there ever was such a thing as a Hall of Fame Life then he lives it everyday. He is there everyday.
    Please consider Johnny Robinson for 2019 Senior Candidate. He will never disappoint or embarrass the NFL or the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He should be their poster boy.

  25. Joshua
    June 26, 2018
    Reply

    Johnny Robinson of the Kansas City Chiefs. Only player on the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Team of the Decade 1960s not inducted now that Kramer is in. He was a seven time First Team AllPro , two Second Team AllPro, 7 consecutive Pro Bowls and player. He is a member of the AFL All-Time Team as selected by the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

    It’s time !

  26. Danny Johnson
    June 26, 2018
    Reply

    Johnny Robinson was recently endorsed for the Pro Football Hall of Fame by Hall of Fame member Lance Alworth on a video that Lance made June 2, 2018 and is currently circulating in social media such as Facebook. I’ve seen it several times and its posted on my Facebook page and there are two different ones by Lance Alworth on Johnny Robinson’s Facebook page. Alworth also wrote an endorsement of Robinson calling Johnny Robinson the best defensive player that he ever faced and the best he has seen in fifty years.. He makes no mistake about who he would like to see as his 2019 Senior Candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That is also posted on Facebook on Johnny Robinson’s page.
    Johnny Robinson Safety (1960-1972)
    7 First Team All Pros, 2 Second Team All Pros, 7 consecutive Pro Bowls
    3 AFL Championships, Super Bowl IV Championship (Played in Super Bowl I & IV)
    57 career interceptions which was Chiefs record at retirement. He only played defense 10 years at safety. That puts him in the elite of those in the Hall of Fame. First two years he was star running back. First year that he was moved to safety the team won the Championship. Chiefs were 35-1-1 when Robinson made an interception in the game. When he made an interception in the game the Chiefs never lost to the Raiders, Chargers, Jets, Patriots, Oilers, Broncos or Dolphins. He made interceptions in all three Championship and Super Bowl IV while playing that game with three broken ribs.
    Interception Leader of the Year 1966, 1970
    Five times interception leader of the Chiefs
    Pro Football Hall of Fame Combined Team of the Decade 1960s ( Now that Jerry Kramer was inducted it leaves only Robinson left not inducted from the Pro Football Hall of Fame Combined Team of the Decade 1960s.)
    Pro Football Hall of Fame AFL All-Time Team
    Pro Football Hall of Fame’s First All Pro Team
    Silver Anniversary Super Bowl Team
    All Time Super Bowl Team, Nominee
    Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame
    Kansas City Chiefs All-Time Team
    Missouri Sports Hall of Fame
    Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame
    LSU Sports Hall of Fame
    LSU Team of the Century

    Hard to dismiss his record. I think it’s time for Robinson to be inducted.

  27. Jawaski Bethy
    June 26, 2018
    Reply

    Johnny Robinson should be inducted this time. He is a senior and its way past his time. With Kramer going iin its no reason not to induct Robinson. The man had a tremendous reputation among all football during his day.
    When you read about what other players, coaches and media have to say about him, much less opponents, and how much he was respected by everyone for his elite play, then its hard to imagine that he’s not already in the Hall of Fame. Surely, if the Hall is representative of the best players during each of their periods of play then Johnny Robinson should certainly be enshrined in Canton for his play during the 1960s and early ’70s. He was a dominate player that all knew and respected.

  28. L. Brown
    June 26, 2018
    Reply

    Johnny Robinson. With Jerry Kramer now enshrined in Canton, only one position player selected to the first-team 1960s all-decade team remains without a bust – Robinson. He began his career with the fledgling Dallas Texans as a running back but after two seasons moved to safety. He played there for his final 10 and intercepted 57 passes, which ties him for 13th all-time. He led the AFL with 10 interceptions in 1966 and then led the NFL, again with 10, in the first season of the merged leagues in 1970. He went to seven Pro Bowls and helped the Texans/Chiefs win three AFL championships and a Super Bowl.

    I will only add to what has been stated of Robinson. He was 7 times First Team All Pro and two time Second Team All Pro. He led the great Chiefs defense during their glory years to 3 AFL Championships and a Super Bowl IV victory palying with three broken ribs. I know that this has been stated before in other places, but really this guy was as tough as a player could get in pro football. He epitomizes pro football.
    I saw the video on Facebook that Hall of Fame member Lance Alworth recently made endorsing Johnny Robinson and I read two written endorsements Alworth made that are posted on Johnny Robinson’s Facebook page. If that’s not enough to convince anyone how great Robinson was thought of by his peers during his career then i don’t know what is. Alworth thought he was the best e ever played against and ever has seen in fifty years. In fact, there are other players and coaches and some sports writers who have written their endorsements of Johnny Robinson.
    Johnny Robinson has earned his place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

  29. Rick Newsome
    June 26, 2018
    Reply

    Wow is all I can say. What more can you get for endorsements. I just watched Lance Alworth’s video endorsement of Johnny Robinson and read the many endorsements that Robinson has received from other Hall of Fame members, other players, sports writers and coaches.
    Johnny Robinson deserves to be in. If that many peers and opponents take the time to write those things and Lance Alworth would make a video endorsing Johnny Robinson, that should be enough to prove how great he was during his day. Wow. If you could go to Johnny Robinson’s Facebook page and read what Lance Alworth wrote about him. Alworth stated that Johnny Robinson was the best defensive player that he ever played against and that he had ever seen in fifty years. You cant get any compliment any higher than that! I dont know if anyone ever reads these things, but if you do you should check out Johnny Robinson’s Facebook page and just look at the things on there. Amazing.
    As Lance Alworth states, “Yep, Johnny Robinson, He’s my man!”

  30. Bob
    June 26, 2018
    Reply

    Geez did anyone read Johnny Robinson’s information. Remarkable to be an All Pro every year he played defense as safety. Immediately won a championship first year that he was moved to safety from offense then went on to lead them to a total of three championships and a Siper Bowl. What a resume!
    Give it to Johnny Robinson!

  31. Josh
    June 27, 2018
    Reply

    Johnny Robinson for Senior Candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame

    After seeing everything written about Johnny Robinson and listening to the video that Hall of Fame member Lance Alworth made endorsing Johnny Robinson, I have to say Johnny Robinson deserves it based on real credible evidence. When your peers say you were the best at your position and worthy of the Hall of Fame what more evidence do you need.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.