Monday, February 4, 2013

Living Members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame As Of February 4, 2013


This past Saturday, Super Bowl Eve, as is the custom, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its newly-elected members.

Honored this time were, in chronological order of their careers:

Dave Robinson, linebacker, 1960s Green Bay Packers.

Curley Culp, defensive tackle, 1960s Kansas City Chiefs and 1970s Houston Oilers.

Bill Parcells, coach, 1980s New York Giants, 1990s New England Patriots and New York Jets, 2000s Dallas Cowboys.

Cris Carter, receiver, 1990s Minnesota Vikings.

Larry Allen, guard, 1990s Dallas Cowboys.

Jonathan Ogden, offensive tackle, 1990s-2000s Baltimore Ravens.

Warren Sapp, defensive end, 2000s Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

All are still alive (Robinson and Parcells are the oldest at 71), and all were deserving. As to who is deserving but is not yet in, that's a post for another time.

Two of them are New Jersey natives: Robinson of Mount Laurel in Burlington County, and Parcells of Oradell in Bergen County.

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Here is a list of the living members of the Hall, located in Canton, Ohio, supposedly on the site of the Hupmobile showroom where the founding team owners met to start the league on September 17, 1920.

Inductees are listed with a team if they played, or coached, or were an executive, with them for at least 4 seasons.

I have divided moved teams accordingly (i.e., Johnny Unitas never took a snap for the Indianapolis Colts). “Sure future Hall-of-Famers” are not included, because, as we have seen in baseball, there is no such thing anymore. Coaching/executive tenure is only counted if they were elected as such.

Ties in the rankings are broken by more players (as opposed to other categories), and then by time in the league (a team with 3 players in 50 years is ahead of one with 3 players in 80 years).

1. Dallas Cowboys, 13: Bob Lilly, Mel Renfro, Rayfield Wright, Mike Ditka, Roger Staubach, Randy White, Tony Dorsett, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, Deion Sanders, Larry Allen and Bill Parcells (coach).  Parcells did coach them for 4 seasons, so that counts.  For all their complains about how their team doesn't have enough HOFers, Cowboy fans can now know that no team has more living HOFers.

2. Washington Redskins, 13: Chris Hanburger, Bobby Mitchell, Sonny Jurgensen, Sam Huff, Charley Taylor, Paul Krause, Ken Houston, John Riggins, Russ Grimm, Art Monk, Darrell Green, Bruce Smith and Joe Gibbs (coach).  Jurgensen and Huff have also been broadcasters for the team.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers, 13: Jack Butler, Joe Greene, Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Jack Lambert, Jack Ham, Lynn Swann, John Stallworth, Mel Blount, Rod Woodson, Dermontti Dawson, Dan Rooney (owner) and Chuck Noll (coach).  (On last year's list, I had the Steelers with 14, and thus as Number 1, but that was because I had mistakenly listed Jack Ham twice.)

4. Minnesota Vikings, 11: Carl Eller, Paul Krause, Randall McDaniel, Alan Page, Fran Tarkenton, Ron Yary, Gary Zimmerman, Chris Doleman, John Randle, Cris Carter and Bud Grant (coach).

5. Oakland Raiders, 11: Jim Otto, Willie Brown, Fred Biletnikoff, Dave Casper, Ted Hendricks, Art Shell, Mike Haynes, Marcus Allen, Howie Long, Jerry Rice and John Madden (coach). Note that I’m making an exception to my one-city-only rule for the Raiders, treating them as a continuous Oakland franchise, since they did return, even though their Los Angeles edition became a cultural icon (and not for good reasons). Madden has also been elected as a broadcaster.

6. Buffalo Bills, 10: Billy Shaw, O.J. Simpson (had to list him), Joe DeLamiellure, James Lofton, Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, Marv Levy (coach), Ralph Wilson (owner) and Van Miller (broadcaster).

7. San Francisco 49ers, 10: Hugh McElhenny, Bob St. Clair, Y.A. Tittle, Dave Wilcox, Jimmy Johnson, Joe Montana, Fred Dean, Ronnie Lott, Jerry Rice and Steve Young.  The Jimmy Johnson listed above was a black cornerback in the 1960s and '70s, and should not be confused with the white coach for the Cowboys -- although this Jimmy Johnson, unlike the coach, was actually born in Dallas.

8. Green Bay Packers, 10: Herb Adderley, Willie Davis, Forrest Gregg, Paul Hornung, Bart Starr, Jim Taylor, Dave Robinson, Willie Wood, Jan Stenerud and James Lofton.

9. Miami Dolphins, 9: Nick Buoniconti, Larry Csonka, Bob Griese, Jim Langer, Larry Little, Paul Warfield, Dan Marino, Dwight Stephenson and Don Shula (coach).

10. Kansas City Chiefs, 9: Bobby Bell, Len Dawson, Willie Lanier, Emmitt Thomas, Curley Culp, Jan Stenerud, Marcus Allen, Willie Roaf and Mary Levy (coach).  Dawson has also been elected as a broadcaster.

11. New England Patriots, 7: Nick Buoniconti, John Hannah, Mike Haynes, Andre Tippett, Curtis Martin, Bill Parcells (coach) and Don Criqui (broadcaster). This counts players from their AFL days, when they were officially the Boston Patriots.

12. Cleveland Browns, 7: Jim Brown, Bobby Mitchell, Leroy Kelly, Mike McCormack, Paul Warfield, Joe DeLamiellure and Ozzie Newsome.

13. New York Giants, 7: Frank Gifford, Sam Huff, Y.A. Tittle, Fran Tarkenton, Harry Carson, Lawrence Taylor and Bill Parcells (coach).  Gifford has also been elected as a broadcaster. So has Pat Summerall, but as a CBS & Fox broadcaster, not as a Giants player or broadcaster.

14. Chicago Bears, 7: Doug Atkins, Mike Ditka (player & coach), Dick Butkus, Gale Sayers, Richard Dent, Dan Hampton and Mike Singletary.

15. San Diego Chargers, 6: Lance Alworth, Fred Dean, Dan Fouts, Charlie Joiner, Ron Mix, Kellen Winslow.

16. Detroit Lions, 6: Yale Lary, Joe Schmidt, Lem Barney, Dick LeBeau, Charlie Sanders and Barry Sanders (no relation to each other).

17. Denver Broncos, 5: Willie Brown, Floyd Little, John Elway, Shannon Sharpe and Gary Zimmerman.  Last year, I mistakenly had the late broadcaster Charlie Jones listed here.

18. New York Jets, 5: Don Maynard, Joe Namath, John Riggins, Curtis Martin and Bill Parcells (coach).  Although the Big Tuna only coached the Jets for 3 seasons, he was an executive with them for 4 seasons, and thus meets my qualification for a Jet HOFer.

19. Philadelphia Eagles, 4: Chuck Bednarik, Sonny Jurgensen, Tommy McDonald and Bob Brown.  Steve Van Buren, star of the Eagles' 1948 and '49 NFL Champions and once the league's all-time leading rusher, died this past August at age 91.  Irv Cross was elected as a media personality, but, while he made 2 Pro Bowls as an Eagle cornerback, he is not in the Hall as a player.

20. Baltimore Ravens, 2: Rod Woodson, Jonathan Ogden.

21. Indianapolis Colts, 2: Eric Dickerson and Marshall Faulk. From their Baltimore days, count Raymond Berry, Art Donovan, Ted Hendricks, John Mackey, Gino Marchetti, Lenny Moore and Don Shula.

22. Seattle Seahawks, 2: Steve Largent and Cortez Kennedy.

23. New Orleans Saints, 2: Rickey Jackson and Willie Roaf.

24. Cincinnati Bengals, 2: Charlie Joiner and Anthony Munoz.

25. Tennessee Titans, 1: Bruce Matthews.  He only played 3 years as a “Tennessee Titan,” but counting 2 as a “Tennessee Oiler,” he qualifies for the Titans.  His brother, Clay Matthews Jr. of the Browns and Falcons, is not in the Hall, but should be.  Bruce's nephew, Clay Matthews III of the Packers, might be a future HOFer.  (Clay Sr. played for the 49ers in the 1950s, but wasn't HOF quality.) From their days as the Houston Oilers, in addition to Bruce Matthews, count Curley Culp, Elvin Bethea, Earl Campbell, Dave Casper, Ken Houston, Charlie Joiner, Warren Moon and Mike Munchak.

26. St. Louis Rams, 1: Marshall Faulk. From their Los Angeles days, count Deacon Jones, Tom Mack, Jackie Slater (who did play their first season in St. Louis), Jack Youngblood, Eric Dickerson and broadcaster Dick Enberg.

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1: Warren Sapp.

28. Atlanta Falcons, 1: Deion Sanders.

From the defunct NFL version of the Brooklyn Dodgers (played 1930 to 1948), 1: Clarence “Ace” Parker. He is 100 years old, having been born on May 17, 1912 in Portsmouth, Virginia. He is the oldest living professional football player, and the oldest living Hall-of-Famer in any of the 4 major sports. He also played Major League Baseball, and is their 2nd-oldest living player, behind 101-year-old Connie Marrero, a pitcher for the 1950-54 Washington Senators (debuted late because of the color barrier). Parker, a native of Portsmouth, Virginia and a Duke graduate, is also the oldest living member of the College Football Hall of Fame. (The oldest living NHL player is Al Suomi, of the 1936-37 Chicago Blackhawks, who will be 100 if he makes it to this year's October 29; 95-year-old Elmer Lach is the oldest living Hockey HOFer; and while the NBA has only been around for 66 years, its oldest living player is HOFer Bill Sharman, 86.)

29. Houston Texans, none. Not surprising, as they are the newest franchise.  While the Texans have made the Playoffs the last 2 seasons, it's not clear who their first HOFer would be.

30. Carolina Panthers, none: Not surprising, as they are one of the 4 newest franchises -- 3 if you count the Browns as an established team (and you should, even if they have looked like an expansion team). Mike McCormack was an executive with them, but that’s as close as they come. Reggie White, who played for them in 2000 and died in 2004, is their only former player thus far inducted.  Perhaps Sam Mills might end up being their first elected HOFer, but he's dead, so he wouldn't count on this list.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars, none: Also one of the 4 newest franchises.  I have no idea who their first HOFer would be.

32. Arizona Cardinals, none: Emmitt Smith wasn’t with them long enough.  Kurt Warner was with them for 5 seasons, so he would make it if he is elected, and he might well be.  From their Chicago days, count Charley Trippi. From their St. Louis days, count Larry Wilson, Dan Dierdorf, Jackie Smith and Roger Wehrli.

I have said, on a number of occasions, that Frank Gifford is the only person in any of the 4 major league sports to have been elected to his sport's Hall of Fame as both a player and a broadcaster.  I had forgotten that it was no longer true.  Frank's former Monday Night Football broadcast partner Dan Dierdorf received the 2008 Pete Rozelle Award in 2008.  Len Dawson made it a threesome last year.

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