Found February 01, 2013 on
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Tomorrow morning a group of 46 will vote on the 2013 class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Before they vote, however, each player will be represented by a writer in that room. Former-Steelers running back Jerome Bettis will have his case pleaded by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer Ed Bouchette. It will be Bouchette’s job to convince that group that Bettis is deserving of their vote and that he should be elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
This is Bettis’ third year of eligibility for the Hall of Fame and it is also the first year that he doesn’t have competition at the running back position. In 2011 Bettis was a finalist along with Marshall Faulk and Curtis Martin. Faulk was enshrined in 2011 and in 2012 Martin was elected into the Hall of Fame. Bettis currently ranks sixth on the all-time rushing list (he retired in the fifth spot and once held the fourth spot before Martin overtook him). That puts him two spots behind Martin and four spots ahead of Faulk.
In terms of offensive position players Bettis may be the most likely to get a spot in the 2013 class. The other sixteen candidates for the Hall of Fame class of 2013 are as follows:
Larry Allen: 11-time Pro Bowl guard/tackle for the Dallas Cowboys (1994-2005) and San Francisco 49ers (2006-07).
Tim Brown: Nine-time Pro Bowl wide receiver/return specialist with the Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders (1988-2003) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2004).
Cris Carter: Eight-time Pro Bowl wide receiver with the Philadelphia Eagles (1987-89), Minnesota Vikings (1990-2001) and Miami Dolphins (2002).
Curley Culp: Six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle with the Kansas City Chiefs (1968-74), Houston Oilers (1974-80) and Detroit Lions (1980-81).
Edward DeBartolo, Jr.: Owned the San Francisco 49ers from 1977-2000. During that time, the 49ers appeared in 10 NFC Championship games and became the first franchise to win five Super Bowls.
Kevin Greene: Five-time Pro Bowl linebacker/defensive end with the Los Angeles Rams (1985-92),Pittsburgh Steelers (1993-95), Carolina Panthers (1996, 1998-99) and San Francisco 49ers (1997).
Charles Haley: Five-time Pro Bowl linebacker/defensive end with the San Francisco 49ers (1986-91, 1999), Dallas Cowboys (1992-96).
Art Modell: Owned the Cleveland Browns from 1961-95 and Baltimore Ravens from 1995-2011. NFL president from 1967-69, played key role in creation of Monday Night Football in 1970.
Jonathan Ogden: 11-time Pro Bowl left tackle for the Baltimore Ravens (1996-2007).
Bill Parcells: Head coach of the New York Giants (1983-90), New England Patriots (1993-96), New York Jets (1997-99) and Dallas Cowboys (2003-06). Won two Super Bowls (XXI, XXV) with the Giants.
Andre Reed: Wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills (1985-99) and Washington Redskins (2000).
Dave Robinson: Three-time Pro Bowl linebacker with the Green Bay Packers (1963-72) and Washington Redskins (1973-74).
Warren Sapp: Seven-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1995-2003) and Oakland Raiders (2004-07).
Will Shields: 12-time Pro Bowl guard with the Kansas City Chiefs (1993-2006).
Michael Strahan: Seven-time Pro Bowl defensive end with the New York Giants (1993-2007).
Aeneas Williams: Eight-time Pro Bowl cornerback/safety with the Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals (1991-2000) and St. Louis Rams (2001-04).
Robinson and Culp are senior nominees and are voted on separately than the 15 modern-era-finalists. Of the modern-era-finalists four are first year eligible players: Sapp, Strahan, Allen, and Ogden.
Bettis will be up against Carter, Brown, and Reed in terms of offensive playmakers. All three of those wide receivers have been overlooked multiple times and even though all three are deserving of a spot in the Hall of Fame it is unlikely any of the three will be enshrined in 2013.
Williams was one of the best players on a bad Cardinals team for a long time, but has not been given his due in terms of the Hall of Fame. With his teams consistently poor records it’s unlikely he will be part of the class of 2013.
Ogden, Allen, and Shields will all take votes from each other, but I expect one of the first year eligible players to be voted in this year.
Strahan and Sapp will outshine Greene and Haley and Strahan has a decent chance to be a first ballot Hall of Famer. Sapp is unlikely to make the Hall in his first year of eligibility, but he will make it in at some point.
Modell, DeBartolo Jr. and Parcells are all deserving of a spot, but Modell and DeBartolo Jr. may steal votes from each other as both were iconic owners. That could mean only one gets in this year.
Predicted Class of 2013:
Edward DeBartolo Jr.
With so many players, coaches, and owners being overlooked each year the Pro Football Hall of Fame should really look into a new model for electing players. Of the finalists any of them deserving of the Hall of Fame should be allowed to be voted in. If they don’t want to go to a layout that works like that they should at least separate coaches and owners from the players.
In a format that separated coaches and owners from players the Hall could elect Parcells, Bartolo Jr., and Modell as well as five players. That system would also fix the logjam of players that are currently eligible for the Hall. Greene is the all-time sacks leader for linebackers and had more career sacks than Strahan, but Strahan will make the Hall before Greene. Carter, Brown, and Reed should all already be in the Hall, but they could all be snubbed again in 2013.
No football fan who follows the Hall of Fame voting can say that the system is fair and that only the players deserving of the Hall of Fame are being voted in each year. This system causes outrage and bickering every year when a city or teams beloved player, coach, or owner is kept out of the Hall. It would be hard to make a case against any of the 17 people on the list for the 2013 Hall of Fame and if they were smarter they would allow more people in each year.
However, this is how the voting is set up and with a strong class up against him it will be up to Bouchette to make a worthwhile case for Bettis. If he can do that then Steelers fans can finally see “The Bus” make his actual last stop on the steps of Canton. Until then “The Bus” will remain idled waiting to make his last stop.
The post Jerome Bettis’ Hall of Fame Hopes Lie With Steelers Beat Writer Ed Bouchette appeared first on SteelBlitz.
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