Sanders was a seven-time Pro Bowler and made the All-Pro selection three times. On the face of it, he was one of the best tight ends of his generation. But the problem is that there weren’t a lot of great tight ends back then. NFL historians can only compare the Detroit hero to his contemporaries. However, there wasn’t a lot of talent during the era in this position.
As a result, Sanders stood out without being amazing. He only made a single postseason appearance in a miserable 5-0 defeat against the Cowboys. Furthermore, he only had more than 500 yards in a season once in his career and it was in his rookie season. Once that’s removed, Sanders’ career looks much more average than before. He was good but not magnificent (via Detroit Free Press).
Stabler is another quarterback who benefited from his team’s mystique. There’s no denying that he’s one of the Raiders’ most iconic players. But that doesn’t mean that he was a bonafide Hall of Famer. Many average players won Super Bowls because superior talent surrounded them. Also, several elite stars fell short because they were members of weak rosters.
However, Stabler was in the former. He led the NFL in passing touchdowns twice. But the four-time Pro Bowler doesn’t have the stats to back up his place in Canton. He has a quarterback rating of 75.3 which is decent but not exceptional. Meanwhile, his overall numbers correlate with the likes of Matt Hasselbeck and Jay Cutler. No wonder some people think he should be removed (via NBC Sports).
When it comes to quality on the field, there’s no denying Irvin delivered. The former Cowboys wideout spent his entire career in the NFL. He was a three-time Super Bowl champion as part of the franchise’s greatest dynasty. Meanwhile, he led the league in receiving yards in 1991. That’s all well and good, but it could also be argued that Irvin is also one of the sleaziest ex-players out there.
Irvin endured a high-profile arrest in 1996. Police picked him up as part of a prostitution sting and also discovered plates of cocaine. Since retirement, Irvin faced multiple sexual assault investigations. Furthermore, ESPN suspended him after multiple arrests related to drug use and DUIs. Some believe that Irvin’s behavior justified having him removed from Canton (via ABC News).
Tippett spent his entire career with the Patriots. The linebacker showed a lot of consistency for New England after a great college run with Iowa. He was a five-time Pro Bowler and also won the 1985 NFL Defensive Player of the Year award. Furthermore, he played a key role in the Patriots’ run to a Super Bowl appearance that same year (via Bleacher Report).
Many critics believe that this was also one of the worst Super Bowl contenders ever. This run was more of a freak occurrence and should be removed from consideration. Another issue with Tippett was that his best years came early. He amassed 100 sacks in 11 seasons but over 30 came in his first two years. He was less effective as the years rolled on.
Martin made the Hall of Fame in 2012. He’s a deserving member of the Jets Ring of Honor but arguably not a bonafide Canton selection. The running back was a five-time Pro Bowler so there was consistency across his career. But it’s debatable whether he was ever the best running back in the NFL across any of his seasons (via CBS Sports).
Critics believe that he should be removed because he wasn’t exceptional. They argue that he was a standout player for a garbage team. Sometimes it’s easier to look great when everybody else is trash. However, this doesn’t fully reflect their ability to compete. Martin is one of those borderline players who may not have stood out with better teammates.
It’s difficult to think of many contemporary Lions’ players who will make it to Canton. But believe it or not, they have had a few HOF’ers over the years. LeBeau entered the hallowed land in 2010. However, some critics believe that he should be removed as a player. Instead, the Hall should include him as a coach because that’s where he has excelled (via USA Today). He won two Super Bowls as a defensive coordinator.
LeBeau was a three-time Pro Bowler during his playing days with Detroit. He spent 14 seasons in the NFL with 62 career interceptions. This is an impressive number but it comes with a caveat. Opposition attackers targeted LeBeau because he was the weak link in the Lions’ backline. Other members include Dick Lane and Lem Barney as well as Yale Larney.
It’s difficult to judge Carter’s record. Maybe it’s too much to say he should be removed from the Hall of Fame. However, it’s reasonable to question his place in it. Carter was brilliant at catching touchdowns. But some argue he didn’t do much of anything else. He led the NFL in receiving touchdowns on three occasions. Meanwhile, he was an eight-time Pro Bowler and a three-time All-Pro first-teamer (via Sports Illustrated).
On the face of it, his place here may seem ludicrous. However, his playoff record was awful. Carter never played in a Super Bowl. Some of his best seasons came when he was the second-best receiver on the team. Randy Moss outshone significantly. Carter was a very good player but arguably not an elite one.
Grimm is one of the more controversial inclusions on this list. After all, he was a three-time Super Bowl champion as a player. Then the four-time Pro Bowler added another ring as a Steelers’ coach. There’s no denying that he had an outstanding start to life in the NFL. The gruff guard became an instant starter and a firm fan favorite (via Bleacher Report).
However, his productivity dropped off after 1986. He essentially became Washington’s third-best guard. Arguably, this doesn’t justify a place in the Hall of Fame. He had four outstanding seasons from 1983 to 1986. But it’s debatable whether that’s enough to earn a place in Canton. Nobody begrudges him his place but his coaching career enhanced his status.
Riggins was a tough, bulldozing back. He was a fan favorite because of his work ethic and his output. But a player shouldn’t be a Hall of Famer just because their supporters love him. There’s an argument that Riggins should be removed because he wasn’t elite. He was a one-time Pro Bowler and won a Super Bowl with the Redskins. Then, in 1992, he made the Hall (via Washington Post).
There’s a strong argument that the latter affected the public’s perspective of him. He averaged just 3.9 yards per carrying and was never the best in the league during his prime. Riggins possibly belongs in the Hall of Very Good rather than Canton. Many players generate a lot of momentum because of their fame and personality. It’s safe to say that Riggins was a beneficiary of this.
Taylor was a phenomenal player and earned his place in the Hall of Fame. However, many fans and players believe that Canton should revoke his inclusion because of his disgusting actions off the field. Unfortunately, the institution’s by-laws state that external behavior doesn’t affect a player’s eligibility (via Slate). The time for change is overdue.
A convicted rapist shouldn’t be in the NFL Hall of Fame. It doesn’t matter how good Taylor was because he is a sex offender. Children walk past his bust in Canton every day. This may or not seem harsh depending on your views, but Taylor made his choices. In addition, police charged him with child endangerment. The two-time Super Bowl champion isn’t easy to root for because of his life decisions.
‘Broadway Joe’ simply doesn’t have the numbers to justify his Hall of Fame bust. Yes, he out-dueled Johnny Unitas as he helped the Jets to a Super Bowl win. He also won the game’s MVP award for his actions. But it’s debatable that the defense was even more important to their win. Overall, Namath threw 173 touchdown passes with 220 interceptions (via Sportscasting).
That leaves him with an average quarterback rating of 65.5. The game has indeed evolved over the years, but Tim Couch remains ahead of him. That alone is reason enough for him to be removed from the Hall. Namath’s Super Bowl win and his personality are the main reasons why Canton enshrined him. Sometimes reputations outweigh reality.
Some of the inclusions on this list are controversial but Hayes is one of the worst Hall of Fame selections ever. Hayes is the only Olympic and Super Bowl champion ever. But this should not influence his place in Canton. The NFL Hall of Fame celebrates the greatest football players. Hayes’s exploits on the tracks aren’t relevant.
True, his first two seasons were decent. He broke the 1,000-yard barrier in consecutive years. Then, his numbers immediately dropped and Hayes never achieved 1,000 yards again (via ESPN). He was a three-time Pro Bowler as well as a two-time NFL receptions leader. Of course, he also won a Super Bowl ring in 1971. Hayes should be removed from the Hall of Fame because he wasn’t exceptional.
Bettis is one of the most divisive players on this list. Many fans support his inclusion in the Hall of Fame. However, others are adamant that he should be removed. Ultimately, it’s a question of whether he was truly great or just very good. It’s difficult to argue that he belongs in the former category because he didn’t prove it. He was an NFL Comeback Player of the Year as well as a six-time Pro Bowler.
Furthermore, he retired after a glorious Super Bowl win. But Bettis wasn’t the best running back of his generation. Nor did he post incredible seasons like Terrell Davis. ‘The Bus’ was a very popular individual with a lot of talent. It seems likely that the former affected voting. Sometimes a cult of personality is enough to seal a place in Canton (via NBC Sports).
There’s no good reason why Simpson is still in the Hall of Fame. After all, the man is one of the most notorious criminals in football. Sure, he never received a murder conviction. But the court found him responsible for two deaths. Also, he served time in jail for armed robbery and kidnapping. He was indeed a great player but his character brings football into disrepute.
Many fans wish that Simpson was removed from Canton because of his terrible deeds. On the field, he was brilliant. The 1973 NFL MVP was a five-time Pro Bowler (via Sportscasting). He also led the league in rushing touchdowns twice. But Simpson’s notorious reputation tarnishes everybody by association. It’s difficult to argue football should simply ignore when a player commits a vile act such as this.
Many believe that Allen is one of the most overrated players in the Hall of Fame. They strongly feel that he should be removed from Canton. They correctly argue that he only had one outstanding season. That came in 1985 when he ran for 1,759 yards. However, it was also the final time that he broke 1,000 yards after achieving it for three consecutive years.
Allen had outstanding longevity for a running back. He managed 16 seasons in the NFL but he was a fading force before he joined the Chiefs. His crowning achievement wasn’t the Super Bowl he won with the Raiders in 1984. No, it was his landmark record of 10,000 rushing yards and 5,000 receiving yards (via Fansided). But he’s still one of the most overhyped individuals ever.
It’s wild that Griese has two Super Bowl wins to his name but Dan Marino has none. In short, Griese’s pair of rings are the main reason why he’s in the Hall of Fame. There’s an argument that he should be removed because he was lucky. Quarterbacks always receive more attention than other players. It’s undeniable that Griese’s numbers were unexceptional (via Bleacher Report).
It’s highly unlikely that he’d be in Canton if he played for another franchise. Griese had a quarterback rating of 77.1. However, his pass completion rate was just 56%. Nobody is saying that he wasn’t a good player. But he wasn’t a world-beater along the lines of other past and future stars. Instead, he was lucky because he played for a great team.
Aikman is another player with a glittering resume who arguably doesn’t deserve a spot in the Hall of Fame. The former Cowboys quarterback was a three-time Super Bowl champion but that doesn’t mean he earned his place in Canton. That’s because his career stats don’t stack up. He was good but he wasn’t an outstanding QB.
He was a six-time Pro Bowler but he never made an All-Pro team (via ESPN). Meanwhile, he threw 141 interceptions and 165 touchdown passes. Many people believe that he was lucky because he was an average player in an excellent team. Dallas didn’t need an elite quarterback because the rest of their roster was so strong. In the end, Aikman’s status and team success more than his abilities earned him his jacket.