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Old 01-13-2013, 04:28 AM    (permalink
BigBanger
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Jonathan Ogden
Larry Allen
Michael Strahan
Warren Sapp

Those are four of the very best linemen that played in the late 1990s to early 2000s. I don't know how you leave one of them off the list.

Jonathan Ogden is the pinnacle of left tackle play. He is arguably the greatest LT that has ever played the game. If he isn't a first ballot type of guy, then I don't know what is. I thought Willie Roaf waited too long. If Ogden misses on his first attempt then there's something. He could make the best pass rushing defensive ends look like boys playing with their dad. One of the strongest, most talented tackles to ever play. Flawless technique, and you'd never see him out of position or reaching. He was fun to watch. I've never seen another tackle man handle Dwight Freeney in pass protection when Freeney was in the prime of his career and just killing OT with his speed / spin move. Ogden was the only one. Just an absolutely dominant player.

Larry Allen is one of the best guards that has ever played the game. Again, he screams of a first ballot Hall of Fame player. These two, to me, are like having obvious choices of Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice. They were freak specimens at two positions where they were routinely the best players at their position. It's impossible to leave him off your ballot. He was part of one of the greatest offensive lines in the history of the game, and he was by far the best linemen on those Cowboys teams. In the same sense that Ogden looked like a man amongst boys, Allen looked like a mammoth man who pulverized litltle boys into the ground. As strong and as powerful and as violent as one linemen gets. Utterly engulfing. He was a freak of nature.

Michael Strahan is one of the most complete DEs of his time. He had ridiculous power and run stopping ability, and he also threw in a ton of sacks. He still holds the single season sack record and ranks 5th on the all-time sack list. I think there's a very short list of defensive ends that were better than him. Bruce Smith and Reggie White would be the only two I'd put over him with any conviction. He was also the most crucial part that the defensive line needed to win a Super Bowl. His resume is about as impressive as it gets. Again, to me, he's a no brainer, first ballot guy.

Warren Sapp seems like another sure thing, first ballot Hall of Famer, but I would not be surprised if he is the only first time finalist left off the induction list this year. He has a myriad of controversies post career, and during his career. Despite having a dominant career and being one of the most talented players that has ever played defensive tackle, I think he gets left off this year. I think he deserves to go in immediately. He was arguably the best defensive player in football at one point in his career. He was was the main difference maker in one of the greatest defenses of the '00s. He's the type of prototypical athlete that teams covet. There isn't a thing he lacks for first ballot Hall of Fame status. He passed the eyeball test with flying colors, he has the production on a year-by-year basis and the longevity needed. And at his position... He was the best defensive tackle in the game for quite a while. Next to Mean Joe Greene and Randy White there probably isn't another interior linemen I'd rank ahead of Warren Sapp. I hated him, but I respected him. Same way I hate Tom Brady and Ray Lewis. They're just too good of players for teams I despise. The Buccaneers of the early 00s was a team I hated. Derrick Brooks and Warren Sapp catapulted that defense from good to all-time great.

They're not running backs, quarterbacks or wide receivers with eye popping numbers or highlights, but those four are about as good as it gets when it comes to NFL players. I think if you add Will Shields to the that list of four, then you have a great class of big men.

Besides that, from what's left, I think Eddie DeBartolo Jr is a must. I don't think there has been a better owner in the history of the sport. From where he took the franchise to where they went to once he left... Complete 180 each time. He was a mastermind and amassed some incredible coaches and players during his tenure. The 49ers were the gold standard of the NFL for about 20 years. He should have been in on the first ballot. One of my personal favorites.

Jonathan Ogden
Larry Allen
Michael Strahan
Eddie DeBartolo Jr
Warren Sapp
Will Shields

Those are the six I think are the most deserving from the finalists. The rest? Some more deserving than others (I hate seeing Andre Reed and Tim Brown as finalists when there were WRs, during their own time period, that were better players), but none of whom do I feel are truly deserving. Charles Haley probably the most deserving of the six I didn't mention.

Now Steve Atwater? Kenny Easley? Sterling Sharpe? Terrell Davis? Bill Cowher? Tony Boselli? Get them in already.


I don't neccessarily agree with it, but I think Jerome Bettis gets in very soon. And I wouldn't put any money on any of these WRs getting in this year. Who gets in? I think these guys make it:

Jonathan Ogden
Larry Allen
Michael Strahan
Jerome Bettis
Kevin Greene
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Last edited by BigBanger : 01-13-2013 at 04:45 AM.
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