This week, I am happy to announce the nominees for the 2016 Class of the Pro Football HOF. What makes me happier is that my predictions for the headliners have been on point. Here is the list:
Without question, Brett Favre would be the headliner in his first year of eligibility. Even though he has threatened to make comebacks numerous times, Favre has reached the grace period to be eligible for induction. His resume has “First-Ballot” written all over it. Brett is the ultimate marquee name anytime his name is mentioned in the Hall of Fame discussion.
Favre’s Co-Headliner is Wide Receiver Terrell Owens. T.O. has edged out Marvin Harrison for a place on the ballot as a nominee. Owens ranks second all-time in receiving yards and sixth in receptions. However, he has a history of off the field antics that have rubbed many reporters, writers, teammates and coaches the wrong way.
Here is the perspective of USA Today Columnist and HOF voter Jarrett Bell:
“I think that’s a consideration, but I don’t think it really is going to be easy to define. Because the bylaws state that you are supposed to only consider what happens between the lines, what happens on the field…but you can also make the argument if there are things that happened off the field that affected things that happened on the field, then it enters the equation. I don’t think it’s going to be the dominant issue with (Owens), but it is the most controversial part.”
Even though Terrell Owens does not have a criminal record off the field, you can make the case that his toxic attitude can enter the equation. T.O. has a history of burning bridges, especially with the best teams he has ever played with (49ers, Eagles, Cowboys). As for now, he has been chosen as a nominee.
Bell’s statement about Owens causes even greater concern for others who have controversy associated to their career.
Speaking of controversy, the most surprising choice for the nomination was Darren Sharper. The former All-Pro Safety plead guilty to sexual assault charges in California, Arizona, Nevada and Louisiana earlier this year making him a serial rapist. He could spend more time behind bars than he did on the field.
O.J. Simpson is still in the Hall of Fame since his enshrinement in 1985, but he did what he did after the fact. Not making excuses, but it is different compared to someone who has a criminal record without a place in Canton.
Darren Sharper is the biggest head scratcher of them all because it is hard to imagine the voting committee giving him the required 80% voting approval needed for induction.
Other nominees include:
Here are other names that could be a challenge to this upcoming HOF Class:
This group of Warner & co would be a serious threat to this class. Favre will still be a shoe in while Owens is holding on by a thread with Marvin Harrison on his trails. I see Kevin Greene still making a strong case to finally get the voting approval he deserves. John Lynch would be a safer choice than Sharper. The HOF still needs a Coach to round out the Class. Names like Tony Dungy, Jimmy Johnson, and Don Coryell come to mind.
Congratulations to the nominees thus far, as my predictions are coming together even more.
Vaughn Resper Jr.
Spark Sports NFL Analyst