"Road To Canton" transcript

"Road To Canton" transcript

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“Road to Canton”

PAUL BURMEISTER: Since 1963, the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, has presented the story of the game. Its all time players, coaches, teams and contributors, as well as its heroes and villains. A virtual pig skin nirvana for the fan. With interactive exhibits celebrating its rich history and its iconic annual event.

But the main attraction is this hallowed room. The Hall of Fame enshrinement gallery where the greatest team lives forever. Who will join them in 2010? Welcome to the Pro Football Hall of Fame "Road to Canton" presented by Van Heusen at JC Penney.

Hello, I'm Paul Burmeister, thank you for being with us. I'm not only honored to be surrounded by the busts of the 253 best professional football players of all time. We're also very much looking forward to the company of some of the top pro football historians in the country. They'll be with us here momentarily.

Our goal throughout the next 60 minutes is to peel off the layers of the voting process. To take you inside the room. Let you know what it's like to be on the selection committee, and to let you know just how finalists become members.

To my left, the distinguished panel, to my far left, Rick Gosselin of the Dallas morning news. He had 14 years on the voting committee. Next to him, Nancy Gay from AOL Fanhouse. Nancy entering her fourth season on the committee. And a veteran of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Joe Horrigan to my immediate left. He's been with the hall for 32 years. He is the vice president for exhibits and communication. Good to see all of you.

I know this is a sacred place, a sacred room for everyone here. I want to hear from each one of you, Nancy first. When you walk into the hall and think of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, what are your first thoughts?

NANCY GAY: It's overwhelming to me. Now that I've become a selector, I'm really taken aback by just the selection process, and how exhaustive it is.

RICK GOSSELIN: This is where I come first. If I see nothing else in the hall on a given trip, I come to this room. I look at the busts. I grew up as a fan of football in the '60 in Detroit.
I always look up Joe Schmidt's bust, and Dick "Night Train" Lane. And I go up and look at the guys that I've covered over the years in Kansas City and Dallas. The Willie Laniers, Lynn Dawsons and Troy Aikmans.

PAUL BURMEISTER: Even though you're here every day, I'm sure it still strikes you.

JOE HORRIGAN: It does. You come in here every day, and at the same time every day there is something new. You get a new feeling what this is all about. How important it is for the guys that are in this room and for the fans that will come to learn about it.

PAUL BURMEISTER: Today is the first of four shows. Each one in conjunction with the selection process announcement stage. The preliminary lists of candidates has been released with more than 100 nominations. The next step for selectors is to narrow that down to 25 modern era semifinalists.

Six weeks later, the number will be cut to 15. They'll join the two senior candidates for the January 7 finalists announcement. The class of 2010 will be announced the day before the Super Bowl on February 26.

The selection committee is comprised of 44 voters. One each for the club's geographical location. The pro football writer's association president, and 11 at large. During the week of the Super Bowl, the selectors will elect the Hall of Fame class from the 17 finalists. At least four, but no more than 7 candidates will be elected. Both, one, or neither of the senior candidates can be selected. 80% approval is required for each candidate.

I want to get one thing out there from each one of you. A thought on what is the one criteria you look for? No matter what position, what criteria someone has to have to get inside this room?

RICK GOSSELIN: For me it's all about impact. I care less about statistics than impact. Was this guy one of the two or three best players at his position in his era? If you have to think about it, he probably wasn't. If you're going to give me numbers, I want quality numbers. I don't want quantity. I don't want 8 billion catches. I want what he did with the catches how many yards? How much touchdowns, it's the impact and the quality of the stats.

NANCY GAY: I consider the same thing Rick did. But at the same time I think can I write the history of the NFL and not include this player? That becomes my overwhelming criteria in my mind. And that's probably the last thing I think about when I fill out a ballot.

PAUL BURMEISTER: Joe, what are the standards I know you don't vote but the standards you want to see upheld.

JOE HORRIGAN: The first thing we insist on is our selectors consider only what happened on the field. That is very important from what separates us from other Hall of Fames. It is what the player did on the field as a competitor. Same with the contributor or the coach. Their pro football career. This is the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

PAUL BURMEISTER: You've only seen so many of the finalists play, how do you get your information? How much time do you spend on the phone? How much weight do you put on the opinions of others when you are voting if someone should or shouldn't be in?

RICK GOSSELIN: I've been doing this for 35 years covering the NFL. For 35 years I've been making the rounds. When I go to different teams I'll talk to the general managers, coaches, players who are both teammates and played against or coached against these players and asked their opinions.

You want to see a player pass the eye test. You see Gale Sayers, you say that's a Hall of Famer. But you also use your ears. You listen. I'm judging players from the '50s and '60s that I may not be that up to speed on. But I talk to the GM's, and coaches and players and they tell me. Enough people tell me a guy's a Hall of Famer, I believe he's a Hall of Famer.

NANCY GAY: I do a lot of the same thing. This is my 24th year of covering the NFL. So I don't have the perspective and background of players in the '60s, even. But I'll go to Hall of Famers many times and ask their opinion. What do you think about this player on my semifinal list? What did you think when you played against him? I weigh their opinions very heavily. And stats are not as important to me as what kind of player was he as an opponent.

PAUL BURMEISTER: All right, Joe, Nancy, and Rick, thank you very much. Here's a look at what's coming up on the Pro Football Hall of Fame "Road to Canton" presented by Van Heusen at JC Penney.
THE MODERATOR: The debate floor is open. Emmet Smith and Jerry Rice are destined for enshrinement next summer in Canton. But how does that affect the rest of the nominees? Are defensive players underrepresented in the hall? Steve Sabol explained in his own unique way.

Steve Tasker perfected the gunner role on special teams. But will we ever see another special teams player enshrined in Canton? Which quarterbacks will be enshrined into the hall by 2020? There are some obvious choices, but are there other current players to consider? We'll introduce the senior finalists, and get you the first list of preliminary nominees for the class of 2010.

This year, for the first time ever, the fans voice will be heard. We'll be interactive with them throughout the show. All of that and more as the "Road to Canton" presented by Van Heusen at JC Penney continues on NFL Network.

PAUL BURMEISTER: Welcome back. We are just outside the Lamar Hunt Super Bowl gallery. Jerry Rice and Emmet Smith, both first time eligibles for the 2010 class. And all we have there, Rick and Nancy, the all time leader in touchdowns, and the all time leader in rushing yards in the National Football League. Can you think of a class with such star power?

RICK GOSSELIN: I tell you Johnny Unitas and Dick Butkus would be tough to beat. You've got Barry Sanders and John Elway. You can put those names on on any marquis.

PAUL BURMEISTER: When the names come up in the room, is there any discussion at all?

NANCY GAY: On Jerry Rice, I may stand up, say his name and sit right back down, nothing else needs to be said.

PAUL BURMEISTER: Well, Steve Young knew Jerry Rice well. Threw him 112 touchdown passes. Steve, Hall of Fame class of 2005, current ESPN analyst. Steve, when you think about Jerry Rice, what made him not just very good, but the best?

STEVE YOUNG: Well, he combined what I thought was world class work ethic. That's what people don't understand. He's a world class athlete, but he had a world class work ethic. Those two things together, you don't find very often. Usually it's the guy that doesn't have all the talent that's going to be the hard worker. Jerry Rice, supreme athlete, supreme work ethic. That's why he's a Hall of Famer.

PAUL BURMEISTER: Jerry Rice is a first ballot Hall of Famer, he's going in. You have Cris Carter, Tim Brown, Andre Reed. Very successful receivers of the same era. And Rick, there is a theory amongst fans that because Jerry Rice is going to go in, he'll take away votes from players of the same position and of the same era; is that true?

RICK GOSSELIN: I think it would have been in Cris Carter's best interest for all those receivers to get in before Jerry Rice became eligible. Because when he shows up on the ballot, he raises the bar. There is a new standard for statistics for receivers. A guy like Charlie Joiner, if he came in now, he wouldn't get in because of numbers. Jerry Rice is way up in the stratosphere.

NANCY GAY: Much like 500 home runs in baseball, you can assure a spot in the baseball Hall of Fame. Now 100 touchdown catches for a receiver used to be the mark. Now the new measuring stick is Jerry Rice. It will make it more difficult for subsequent receivers to get in.

PAUL BURMEISTER: Steve, I'm going to put you on the spot here as a hall of famer. If you had one vote, just one vote to cast for a wide receiver besides Jerry Rice, would it go to Cris Carter, Andre Reed or Tim Brown?

STEVE YOUNG: I think Cris Carter, because I think Cris was a great route runner. Made spectacular catches and did what most people need to do as a receiver, catch it in the end zone, which is really the money place. So I think Cris Carter would be my pick.

PAUL BURMEISTER: Do you agree, Rick?

RICK GOSSELIN: I'd probably go Andre Reed. I think he was a guy who was a key player on a team that went to four consecutive super bowls. If the Bills had made that kick, the Bills might have won two super bowls already, and Andre Reed would already be in the Hall of Fame. He and Jerry Rice brought the term yards after catch yack.

PAUL BURMEISTER: No love for Tim Brown.

NANCY GAY: Tim Brown is going to be a difficult sell. He reached milestones, the 1,000 yards and 100 touchdown catches. But when you start to measure him against other receivers and the fact he never played on a Super Bowl championship team. He was part of a Super Bowl team, that may hurt him?

PAUL BURMEISTER: Steve, you are the official spokesperson for the Van Heusen fans choice campaign. When the fans do go to the website, what can they expect to do?

STEVE YOUNG: The most important thing they can do is vote. I think that fans want to have their voice heard. And the Hall of Fame has now made an official website that they can, JCP.com/fans where they can go on and actually vote for choice for the Hall of Fame.

Also, how other fans are voting. There are a lot of Blogs and Facebook, Twitter, they can post it on on internet, YouTube videos how they feel about the Hall of Fame, who should be in, who should be out. The website is very interactive, and it's a place, most importantly, they can vote.

PAUL BURMEISTER: Steve, on many levels you are a fan, just like the thousands of other fans who are going to go to the website. The ballot box is officially open. So drop in that first ballot.

STEVE YOUNG: My first ballot is very easy. Jerry Rice, Hall of Famer.

PAUL BURMEISTER: All right, Steve, thank you very much. Hang tight, we'll get back to you in a little bit to talk quarterbacks.

ANNOUNCER: We have a host of fans at Barney's Beanery in Santa Monica, California, casting their votes on which wide receiver he deserves a place in the hall along with Jerry Rice.

FAN: Cris Carter gave the juice. He put fans in the seats. That one hand all day, that's Cris Carter.

ANNOUNCER: So what do you think? Vote your choice at JCP.com/fans.

Coming up, why have so many been overlooked in the past. Steve Sabol joins us to discuss why signature impressions may be the key to opening doors in the hall.

STEVE SABOL: The defense is not getting credit from the opposing team and the media.

ANNOUNCER: Next on the "Road to Canton".

We are deep underground at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Among the greatest documents charting the history of the National Football League, and professional football. One of my personal favorites. There's 19 scrap books kept in tremendous shape over the years.

These are put together by Bert Bell who was the commissioner of the National Football League from 1947 until a year after he died in 1959. Appropriately at an NFL game.

This is the game program from the very first game that Red Grange played in 1925. One of the best ways we can preserve things is through microfilm.

So here's Joe Namath's file, if we had this all in paper, we'd have several banker boxes full of files. We have a collection of over 18 and a half million pages of documents. You can't go anywhere in the world to see what you're seeing here in Canton, Ohio.

PAUL BURMEISTER: Here are some of the defensive players who would like to have a place here in the hall. You could scene even say there are a handful who deserve to be here. Some of the best sackers in NFL history. Richard Dents, Kevin Green, John Randall, all in the top six. And Charles Haley had 100 career sacks and five Super Bowl rings. Nancy Gay, you look at that list, which of these players has the strongest candidacy?

NANCY GAY: Charles Haley jumps out at me as a guy the only player in NFL history with five Super Bowl rings. He won three of those in a four year span with the Dallas Cowboys after leaving San Francisco. Whenever an offensive coordinator has to game plan against a specific player, that's Hall of Fame caliber to me.

PAUL BURMEISTER: I know you're looking at the defensive back field for a player who maybe ought to be in here.

RICK GOSSELIN: Pick a safety, any safety. There are only seven in the Hall of Fame. So let's go with Jacob Scott. He played nine years, went five Pro Bowls, intercepted 49 passes. Was a Super Bowl MVP. In 1978 he intercepted 7 passes and walked away from the game. It's been 31 years now, he's not been discussed by this committee.

PAUL BURMEISTER: I think the number that sums it up the best, since 1970, 59 players in the Hall of Fame who played after 1970. Of those 59, 39 players are offensive. Only 20 on the defense. That is nearly 2 to 1.

So, yes, defense wins championships, but apparently it doesn't win the player the ultimate individual prize that pro football has. NFL Films President Steve Sabol has his thoughts on the offensive number of defensive players in the hall.

STEVE SABOL: There's a reason the NFL has a Hall of Fame and not a hall of facts. Certain players transcend statistics. Gale Sayers played seven seasons and rushed for less than 5,000 yards. Lynn Swann averaged fewer than three catches per game. Joe Namath had a losing record, and threw more interceptions than touchdowns.

But you'll get little argument against any of these players enshrinements. I guarantee it. It's no coincidence that all of these icons played offense. The anticipation that something great is about top happen helps make offensive moments memorable.

Announcer back to throw on Montana, steps up throws. Touchdown 49ers. And the 49ers have won the Super Bowl.

STEVE SABOL: Defense by contrast is reactive. Great defensive moments in the players who create them always take you by surprise.

ANNOUNCER: I don't believe it. I don't believe it. I do not believe what has occurred.

STEVE SABOL: One way for defenders to attract the attention of Hall of Fame electors is to develop a move so unique and disruptive that it gets banned. Because sacks weren't counted as an official stat until 1982, no one knows exactly how many Deacon Jones had. But people still remember his devastating head slaps, which the NFL eventually outlawed.

As a rookie in 1952, Dick Night Train Lane set the single season record for interceptions with 14. But more memorable were his Night Train neck ties. Jarring type of tackle that was also barred.

Mel Blount was another victim of his own success. So effective was his bump and run technique, that the league created the 5 yard contact rule to counteract his aggressive style. Each of these players changed the game and made the league change the rules to better suit offenses. Now it seems like every year a major on offensive record falls.

ANNOUNCER: For Randy Moss, touchdown reception number 23. For Tom Brady, touchdown pass number 50.

ANNOUNCER: Favre has become a National Football League all time leading touchdown passer!

STEVE SABOL: Yet the interception records remain untouched. Since 1979, Paul Krause has held the career mark with 81. No active player is within 25 picks of Krause. Night Train Lane's single season mark of 14 was set during a 12 game season. Nearly 60 years later, that record still stands.

The durability of these records shows the changes in the game have taken away the opportunity to put up eye catching numbers. Meaning defenders must also develop a distinctive style in order to get elected.

PAUL BURMEISTER: Steve Sabol now joins us from NFL films in Mt. Laurel, good to see you. That was a great explanation as to why there are more offensive players in the hall. Are you okay with the lack of defensive players who are here inside this building?

STEVE SABOL: I think, Paul, a lot of this goes back to a mindset. And it's a mindset not only in the media, but among coaches themselves.

If you go to a losing team's locker room and you listen to the coach the first thing he says is well, we've made too many mistakes. We didn't execute. We missed opportunities. Rarely does he give credit to the other team's defense. I'm reminded of the Confederate General, George Pickett, who lost at the battle of Gettysburg. And he was asked do what do you attribute the failure of the Confederacy? And Pickett responded, well, I think the Yankees had something to do with it.

And I think that's what's happened today in the NFL. That the defense just is not getting enough credit from the opposing team, and from the media.

PAUL BURMEISTER: I want you to stay with us and be part of this conversation. We'll call you back in here momentarily. Rick, I don't expect you to quote any generals here. But how, why, why has this happened? Why are there so many more offensive players than defense in your mind?

RICK GOSSELIN: We put great stock in offensive statistics. I can't tell you how many times I've heard Cris Carter's going to get in the hall because he's got the stats. Shannon Sharpe's going to get in the hall because he's got the stats. But look at Paul Krause. He intercepted 81 career passes. It took him 14 years to get into Canton.

Look at the All Decade Team from the 1980s. We've enshrined five of the six pass catchers. The six pass catchers, Jerry Rice, and I think you can pencil him in this class of 2010. On that same All Decade Team there are four safeties, we haven't even discussed them, much less enshrined them.

PAUL BURMEISTER: Is this something that's discussed not only in the room but outside the room when you're talking just before the meeting that, hey, we've got to do about this?

NANCY GAY: There is individual campaigning that goes on throughout the year. We'll pick a player, say Charles Haley and go around to individual selectors and say keep him in mind as you do your cut down list. Let's get him in the room so we can discuss him more fully rather than just look at his numbers on a list and dismiss him or include him.

PAUL BURMEISTER: So it is an initiative to right this wrong, so to speak. Steve, let's get you back in here. What have you heard that as elicited an opinion from you?

STEVE SABOL: I think, first of all, a defense is really team oriented. When you think of great defenses you think of the steel curtain, the purple people eaters, the 11 angry men, the no name defense.
The no name defense that is a perfect example. One of the greatest defenses in history. And you think only Buoniconti is in the Hall of Fame. When people think of defense, it's a collective, rather than an individual achievement.

PAUL BURMEISTER: Steve, would it be too harsh to say that it's a black eye on the Hall of Fame? Which is an incredibly proud place.

STEVE SABOL: No, I don't think it's a black eye. I just think that's the nature of the game. I think that the offense sets the agenda. And defense keeps trying to catch up. All the rules, recently, as I think we stated before, favor the offense. They eliminated spearing, of the clotheslining, the head slap.

If the rules of today were in effect in the 1960's, half the players in the Hall of Fame would have been fined more than they earned, because so many of these distinctive moves had been outlawed?

PAUL BURMEISTER: All right. Steve Sabol, thank you very much. We'll talk to you again here in a little bit and get your take on the evaluation of offensive linemen here in the hall.

ANNOUNCER: Coming up on the "Road to Canton", Jan Stenerud is the only special teams player in the hall. Is it time to enshrine a second? And players like Lynn Swann waited years to get the call from the hall. How do players on the double get the call to join this exclusive club? The answer may surprise you. We get to these topics next on the "Road to Canton".

ANNOUNCER: The Pro Football Hall of Fame. This is the "Road to Canton". Former Green Bay Packer great Jerry Kramer on top of the list. It's, well, I think he'd just as soon not be here. Ten times he's been a finalist waiting for his turn to get into the Hall of Fame. Ray Guy, the great punter from the Oakland Raiders. Seven times a finalist. Now that's we're going to talk about special teams.

Only one pure special teams player is in the Hall of Fame. Jan Stenerud, the kicker, went in in 1991. If there was going to be a second, Nancy, it would seem like Ray Guy would be a great choice.

NANCY GAY: I'm on a campaign to get Ray Guy into the Hall of Fame. I don't understand why a punter is not in the hall, and in particular why Ray Guy has been excluded. He was a part of three Raiders championship teams. And as integral a part of their defense as any player on the defense. And the stat that sticks out to me the most, not once in 14 seasons did he have a punt return for a touchdown. That's remarkable.

PAUL BURMEISTER: The fact that he is not in, Rick, is it a statement that his career was not good enough? Or plenty of the people on the committee feel that punters don't belong here?

RICK GOSSELIN: They say defense wins championships. We don't put defensive players in. They say special teams is a third of the game. This committee is not buying that either.

Ray Guy is arguably the best punter in the history of the game. He's been there seven times. Seven times he's been shot down. I think it's an issue of special teams. It's become a game of specialization. You get a 53 man roster. Everybody has a role. Punters have been specialists for a long time. I think we have to review how we look at these players. Specialization is where football's out, and there was no better specialist than Ray Guy.

PAUL BURMEISTER: It's one thing to keep out a punter. We know the view, not a real football player. Steve Tasker was a tremendous football player. Marv Levy said maybe the best special teams player of all time. Maybe he ought to be here.

RICK GOSSELIN: The Hall of Fame is about the best of the best. Steve Tasker was thee best at what he did, what the Buffalo asked him to be a gunner, to be a punt blocker, kick blocker, to return kicks. He is a guy they almost created that special teams slot in the Pro Bowl.

I mean, if you're going to look at the best of the best. The best quarterback, the best running back, best player, you have to look now at the best gunner. It's a game of specialization, and nobody did it better than Tasker.

PAUL BURMEISTER: We'll see how much longer we have to wait for a second special teamer to get in. A wait was a big part for Lynn Swann. 14 times a finalist before he got in in 2001. Art Monk, eight times a finalist. He finally got in in 2008. What changes inside is a room for a player that so many times hears no, why do they finally hear yes?

NANCY GAY: Year after year you hear arguments pro and against a player. I think over time someone who presents his case may come up with a more compelling argument, a different stat, a different impact the player had. It changes the minds of the voters ultimately. But it's a learning process every year. You know what works and what are doesn't. You try to build on that and try again the next year.

RICK GOSSELIN: In Swann's case, there was a shift in the voting and selection panel. There were four or five new voters. For 12 years they were voting no, no, no. All of a sudden there are five new opinions. Five new people to take a look at the candidacy. I think that played a part in monk's election as well. You have a change in the dynamic of the board that changed the thought process toward these players.

PAUL BURMEISTER: It sounds like it would put a lot of pressure on the presenter to come up with an original, convincing way to sell the person's points. Did you feel that pressure as a presenter?

NANCY GAY: I do. Whenever I'm called upon to present a San Francisco player, it's a tremendous responsibility. And you do feel like in a way you're advocating for the player, but you're also trying to present as clear a selling point for this athlete as you possibly can. You're selling him to 43 other people?

RICK GOSSELIN: I've done several presentations over the years. And I've found you have to have a hook, and it can't be statistical. If the guy doesn't get in, you have to change the presentation. You have to keep it's like Nancy said, move it around, and try to find something that people can find a common ground with. So, yeah, the more presentations you do, the more you figure out the process.

PAUL BURMEISTER: Great stuff. Directly from inside the room. Our "Road to Canton" continues after this.

ANNOUNCER: Coming up, we're in a Golden age of quarterback play in pro football.

ANNOUNCER: That is a monumental milestone in a Legendary career. They're obvious candidates to slip on the golden jacket. What about kurt Werner? A retired dark horse? Our panel mixes it up with Hall of Fame Steve Young next on the "Road to Canton".

ANNOUNCER: In this area we have our three dimensional collection. All our valuable three dimensional artifacts are back here covering the history of professional football.

These are all our footballs. This is from the 1958 NFL championship. The greatest scheme in NFL history. This is Doug Williams' jersey that he wore in Super Bowl XXII. This is Dick Vermeil's playbook from Super Bowl XXXIV.

This is a helmet worn by the Cleveland Skeletons. A semi pro team from the 1930's. This is a piece of the field from three river stadium provided to us by Franco Harris. It was the side of the field where he caught the immaculate reception.

We've caught all eras of professional football. If you think of it, you can pretty much find it down here in the archives.

PAUL BURMEISTER: There are 23 modern quarterbacks in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The last seven all first ballot Hall of Famers. Steve Young is on that list. First ballot Hall of Fame, class of 2005. Steve, what is the one criteria that should hold the most weight when considering if quarterbacks should end up in this building?

STEVE YOUNG: Well, obviously difficult to pick one criteria. I think the one that matters the most is over a long period of time, were you excellent, were you extraordinary in how you performed as a quarterback?
There are a lot of ways to cut that. That is the most fun for fans and voters to decide how they're going to pick a quarterback. But for me, it's being able to be extraordinary at your position for a long period of time.

PAUL BURMEISTER: I think Brett Favre, I think Peyton Manning, Tom Brady fit on that list. They're going to go in some day, five years after they retire. How about Kurt Warner? A quarterback playing now. Playing very well in his late 30s. Do you think he should be a Hall of Fame quarterback?

RICK GOSSELIN: I think it's a really interesting case. He's taken two franchises to Super Bowls. But it's who he took. In the '90s the Rams were the worst team of the decade. Warner shows up, they go to the Super Bowl. Of the Cardinals had been the worst team in the last half century, Warner shows up, they're all of a sudden a Super Bowl team. It's what he's done with historically bad teams that I think throws him into the discussion.

PAUL BURMEISTER: Steve, what do you think about Kurt Warner being in the Hall of Fame?

STEVE YOUNG: I agree. I think that Kurt Warner is a Hall of Famer. Just the fact that he took the Arizona Cardinals to the Super Bowl. A team that hadn't sniffed anything out, not even a playoff win for so many years. And I think it was his leadership and his ability to do something extraordinary, as I mentioned. I think doing it as book ends, extraordinary efforts for the Rams early on, and extraordinary efforts a decade later.

There were years in between you wouldn't say were Hall of Fame. Now you stretch those two book ends, I think he's a Hall of Famer.

NANCY GAY: I think right now the quarterbacks that we're watching is Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh, two Super Bowl championships at a young age. If he can sustain that level of play for a long period of time, I think he's a Hall of Fame caliber quarterback.

PAUL BURMEISTER: I already mentioned that the last seven quarterbacks to go in have been first ballot Hall of Famers. Any retired quarterbacks out there who are still out there outside this building who should come?

RICK GOSSELIN: Yeah, the two that need to be discussed again, Ken Stabler, he's the only all decade quarterback in the '50s, '60s, '70s, and '80s that's not in. Of and also Ken Anderson. People want to put Steve McNair in. If you put Anderson's numbers alongside McNair's, they're identical if not better.

PAUL BURMEISTER: Steve Young, Hall of Fame class of 2005, and current ESPN analyst. Thank you very much. Quarterbacks like Steve Young obviously would not be here inside the Pro Football Hall of Fame had it not been tremendous work from their friends up front. Still some offensive linemen looking to get into the hall. As you look at the great names. Look at how many of these players have been finalists already.

But, again, they're still not in the Hall of Fame. We go back to NFL films and NFL Films President Steve Sabol. Right in the middle of that list we just saw. A name you know a lot about, Jerry Kramer.

STEVE SABOL: The fact that Jerry Kramer is not in the Hall of Fame is a shameful and egregious omission. I mean, here's a guy that was as a p Back to news