Congratulations to Michael Irvin, Gene Hickerson, Bruce Mathews, Charlie Sanders, Thurman Thomas and Roger Wehrli for being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
And congratulations to the Hall of Fame voters who resisted the temptation to select Paul Tagliabue. As much as I can understand the temptation, I don't think Tagliabue deserved selection this year. Pete Rozelle deserved to be inducted the year after he retired because Pete Rozelle created the National Football League. OK, maybe he didn't create the NFL, but it became the modern-day National Football League under Rozelle's watch.
But Tagliabue did not have the same track record as Rozelle. True, the NFL saw increased popularity - record popularity in fact -- and an increase in the number of franchises. But a lot of the NFL's popularity since Tagliabue took control of the NFL is a result of fantasy football, not anything Tagliabue necessarily did.
So, now that we know who is in the 2007 HOF Induction Class, let the speculating begin about the 2008 NFL Induction Class. I love to do this kind of thing, speculate who I think will make the Hall of Fame from players who will be on the ballot for the first time in 2008.
The two players who should be shoo-ins for the Hall of Fame are Cris Carter and Darrell Green. Granted, it is easy to look past these two players when the list of other eligible players include perrenial backup QBs Ray Lucas and Jim Miller, punter Lee Johnson and wide receiver Darnay Scott. But I am going to go out on a limb and declare that none of those players have a shot at making it into the hall.
So here are the resumes of the two most likely members of the 2008 Pro Football Hall of Fame class:
Cris Carter didn't start off his career on the right foot. Originally drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles, Carter battled through a substance-abuse problem, and was eventually released by the Eagles in 1989 because of his addictions, even though Carter was the Eagles number one receiver.
He was cut by the Eagles and head coach Buddy Ryan, who has admitted it was the toughest thing he had ever done. Once sober, the Vikings claimed Carter off of waivers for the modest sum of 100 bucks. The rest, as they say, is history.
Carter is second in NFL history in both receptions and receiving touchdowns. He is fourth in receiving yards, and finished in the top ten in receptions in every year of the 1990s except 1992. In 1994 and 1995, Carter caught 122 passes (at the time setting the NFL record for catches in a season).
Carter was named to the 1990s All-Decade team as well. Although he never made it to the Super Bowl, he was a perrenial All-Pro, and without question, one of the best receivers of his time and a well-deserved Hall of Famer.
There are a number of reasons why Darrell Green should be a first ballot Hall of Famer. For one, Green spent his entire 20 year career with the Washington Redskins - a record he shares with Hall of Famer Jackie Slater. In the era of free agency, Green's loyalty to the Redskins should not go unnoticed.
Green - a defensive back and a returner at the start of his career - is best known for holding "The NFL's Fastest Man" title four times.
He holds the NFL record for most consecutive NFL seasons with an interception (19). He has 54 career interceptions, and was named to the 1990's All-Decade Team. Green was a 7-time pro bowler and three time Super Bowl Champion.
And of the players who are eligible but did not make it in 2007, I suspect Russ Grimm, Art Monk and Richard Dent will be joining Green and Carter in Canton, Ohio.