The NFL Hall of Fame is probably the most controversial Hall in all of major pro sports. Some guys got into the hall before others, and the reasons behind it sometimes has nothing to do with on the field production. That’s the sad part, the Hall of Fame should always be about on the field production and dominance.
With that being said, who should be in the Hall of Fame?
CB Asante Samuel Sr.
Any normal fan of NFL football over the last 20 years know the name Asante Samuel Sr.. His son, current Los Angeles Charger corner back Asante Samuel Jr. is a spitting image of the great corner.
Back in the early 2000s, Asante Samuel Sr. was known for being a lockdown corner. At any moment, Asante could flip the momentum of the game from his play. No matter how big the receivers were, Asante would shut an entire half of the field down.
Asante was known as a ballhawk in his playing days. Honestly, in every way you want your corner to play, Asante delivered. This is why the four-time Pro Bowl corner was highly sought after when he became a free agent for the first time at the end of the 2007 season.
In his time, Asante Samuel received one 1st-team All-Pro selection, one 2nd-team All-Pro selection, and 2 Super Bowls. He recorded 51 interceptions over his 11-year career. Additionally, Samuel in 2006 recorded 10 interceptions, and in 2009 he almost did it again with 9.
Compare that to defensive backs that were recently inducted into the Hall of Fame like Ronde Barber who only recorded 47 interceptions in 16 years.
RB Fred Taylor Sr.
Another great player still waiting to get the call that he’s headed to the NFL Hall of Fame is former Jacksonville Jaguar Fred Taylor. Taylor is the franchises all-time rushing leader and rightfully so. The once dominant running back gained respect from the best defensive teams in the NFL due to his quick burst, strong running, and break away speed. To many, Taylor’s career is seen as less than others due to the team he played for.
However, Fred Taylor rushed for over 11,000 yards at 4.6 yards a carry. He also recorded 66 touchdowns in his career. Out of all the running backs in NFL history, Fred Taylor ranks as #17 on the all-time rushing list.
WR Chad Johnson
Chad Johnson could go down as the most creative receiver of them all. His quick feet and body control was something many players of his time could not do or did not do. Johnson at times was uncover able. At times, Johnson was so confident in his abilities that he would tell the defender the route he was running. The confidence he played with on the field was exciting to all who watched.
Chad Johnson had over 11,000 yards receiving, 67 touchdowns, and many creative touchdown celebrations to go with them. Additionally, Chad Johnson was a 6x Pro Bowler, 2x 1st team All-Pro, and he lead the league in receiving once in his career. In his time, he recorded 7 seasons of a 1,000 yards or more on the year.
KR Devin Hester
The debate on if a kick/punt return specialist should get into the NFL Hall of fame is an on going one. However, being great should not just be limited to the main position a player plays. The Hall of Fame should be about the impact a player made on the field. Before Devin Hester, Deion Sanders was the only other truly impactful return man that made an impact. But, unlike Primetime, Devin wasn’t that great as a corner or wide receiver.
Needless to say, Devin Hester made an immediate impact on the game his first year in the league. Devin Hester recorded 3 punt returns and 2 kick returns for touchdowns. At the time, that was the most by any return man in NFL history. In his rookie year, Devin Hester took the opening kickoff of the Super Bowl back for a touchdown.
Equally impressive was his game winning punt return against the Arizona Cardinals in primetime and his field goal return for 110 yards.
K Adam Vinatieri
There’s been many clutch kickers in the NFL, but none are as known as Adam Vinatieri. He came to prominence during the New England Patriots Super Bowl run in 2002. In that playoff run, Vinatieri hit two big kicks to secure Tom Brady and the Patriots first Super Bowl in what would become a dynasty.
In the cold snow, Adam hit a game winning field goal against the Raiders that sent the Patriots to the Super Bowl. Needless to say, Vinatieri would do the same against the St. Louis Rams after Tom Brady marched the offense down into field goal range. While the Brady legendary career was born on that night, Vinatieri’s did as well. Vinatieri would hit another game winning Super Bowl kick 2 years later against the Carolina Panthers.
Overall, Vinatieri was a 84% field goal kicker. Out of 715 field goal attempts in a 24 year career, Adam Vinatieri hit 599. Sadly, there are still naysayers to his career. Some point to the lack of many Pro-Bowl appearances. But, what should matter is the impact he had on multiple great players careers. Without Vinatieri, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick don’t have 2 out of the 6 Super Bowls. Without Vinatieri, the Patriots dynasty never happens.
Like Asante Samuel and many other key figures in the great New England Patriots story, Adam Vinatieri doesn’t get enough credit for what he brought to the table.
Regardless of how anyone feels about this list, these NFL Greats deserve to be in the Hall of Fame just as much or even more than others who wear the gold jacket.