2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame Watch – The Top 50 Active Resumes

Surefire first-ballot players:

  1. QB Peyton Manning
  2. QB Tom Brady
  3. LB Ray Lewis

No one else has been quite as productive for so long as these three. With Lewis starting his clock, the two quarterbacks whose names have been inextricably linked for the last decade are now our only two surefire first-ballot players.

Borderline first-ballot players:

  1. TE Tony Gonzalez
  2. S Ed Reed
  3. WR Randy Moss
  4. CB Champ Bailey
  5. QB Drew Brees
  6. DT Kevin Williams

Gonzalez would ordinarily be a surefire first-ballot guy, but no tight end has ever gone in first ballot; on the other hand, Gonzalez isn’t exactly a typical tight end. All told, Ed Reed’s honors compare pretty favorably with those of Moss, and I now like his chances of going in first ballot better than I did before, though it’s far from a surefire bet; Bailey remains an iffier proposition. It’s kind of hard to believe the lofty territory Brees is climbing into, where he’s arguably the fourth-best quarterback of the past decade behind Brady, Manning, and Brett Favre. He probably needs to stick around a few more years to really threaten the first ballot, though.

Surefire Hall of Famers:

  1. TE Antonio Gates
  2. CB Charles Woodson
  3. DT Richard Seymour
  4. S Troy Polamalu
  5. TE Jason Witten
  6. LB Brian Urlacher
  7. DE Julius Peppers
  8. DE Dwight Freeney
  9. LB DeMarcus Ware
  10. RB Adrian Peterson
  11. WR Andre Johnson
  12. CB Ronde Barber
  13. G Steve Hutchison

Peterson and Johnson arrive in this group just in time, because otherwise with the exception of Witten (don’t look now but he might be the best tight end of this decade), Ware (who only punched his ticket last year), and possibly Polamalu, this group would be nothing but a bunch of players on the tail end of their careers, no fewer than three of whom retired this offseason. Numbers 11-16 on last year’s list didn’t add any honors to their total, one of them had already retired, and now Urlacher has retired as well. Urlacher didn’t really have a strong enough resume for me to put him in the first-ballot conversation anyway (which jibes with the vibe some have that he was overrated) and there’s no way he’s getting in ahead of Ray Lewis; he might not even go in second ballot. A Manning/Favre situation this is not.

Peterson has about as strong a resume as you could expect from a running back in this era of typically truncated RB careers and multi-RB sets, especially impressive considering the mediocre-to-bad Vikings teams he’s had to play for. Funnily enough, Tiki has been more visible but probably doesn’t have a Hall of Fame resume, while his less-visible brother Ronde, who just retired, is far more likely to get in, though he’ll have to wait.

Borderline Hall of Famers:

  1. WR Larry Fitzgerald
  2. WR Steve Smith
  3. WR Wes Welker
  4. DE Jared Allen
  5. QB Aaron Rodgers
  6. WR Reggie Wayne
  7. LB Patrick Willis
  8. QB Eli Manning
  9. QB Michael Vick
  10. P Shane Lechler
  11. DE Haloti Ngata
  12. DE John Abraham
  13. CB Darrelle Revis
  14. RB Arian Foster
  15. WR Calvin Johnson
  16. QB Ben Roethlisberger
  17. OT Joe Thomas
  18. WR Brandon Marshall
  19. FB Vonta Leach
  20. KR Devin Hester
  21. K Adam Vinatieri
  22. RB Maurice Jones-Drew

Fitzgerald has a similar excuse to what Peterson had before last year, with his only good Cardinals teams coming with Kurt Warner at the helm, but he didn’t come nine yards short of an all-time record last year. Rodgers is interesting, as he’s shockingly elevated himself in just a few years into one of the best QBs in the league and a surefire first-ballot HOFer if he keeps it up… but that’s a pretty big “if”. He had a Pro-Bowl-caliber year last year, but a far cry from his masterful 2011; he could still end up being remembered as a flash-in-the-pan who was, for a brief time, one of the best QBs in the entire league, a figure on par with Brady and Manning who picked up a ring along the way, and one of the great what-could-have-been stories. Would that be enough to get him into the Hall of Fame? Maybe… but it’d be a pretty long wait.

Even more interesting would be Vinatieri: very few non-quarterbacks have been propelled into the Hall of Fame on the strength of their Super Bowls… but Vinatieri could be one of them, despite being a kicker, a position with only one other representative in the Hall at all. And while every quarterback with multiple Super Bowl wins is in the Hall of Fame except Jim Plunkett, they all have substantially better resumes than Roethlisberger (who has only two Pro Bowl selections), which is why he’s so low.

Need work:

  • S Adrian Wilson
  • LB Lance Briggs
  • QB Phillip Rivers
  • CB Nnamdi Asomugha

Not long after this comes a lot of offensive linemen with mediocre resumes all bunched up, including, potentially surprisingly, Jeff Saturday. He’s only been a class lineman since 2005 or so, not quite long enough for a HOF career. Considering his late start, could the lost 2011 “Suck for Luck” season for the Colts, and failure to add to his resume this past year, prove to be poison for his Hall of Fame chances?

Players to watch for the future (exclamation marks indicate players with resumes already strong enough to be among the top 50):

  • OT Jake Long (5th year)
  • RB Chris Johnson (5th year)!
  • RB Ray Rice (5th year)!
  • LB Clay Matthews (4th year)
  • DE Cameron Wake (4th year)
  • DT Ndamukong Suh (3rd year)
  • C Maurkice Pouncey (3rd year)
  • TE Rob Gronkowski (3rd year)
  • DE Jason Pierre-Paul (3rd year)
  • LB Navarro Bowman (3rd year)
  • LB Von Miller (2nd year)
  • WR A.J. Green (2nd year)
  • DE J.J. Watt (2nd year)
  • LB Aldon Smith (2nd year)
  • QB Andrew Luck (Rookie)
  • QB Robert Griffin III (Rookie)
  • QB Russell Wilson (Rookie)
  • LB Luke Kuechly (Rookie)

Can J.J. Watt repeat the torrid performance of his 2012 season? And could three of the five best quarterbacks of this decade turn out to have all been drafted the same year?

Players to watch for the Class of 2017:

  • RB LaDainian Tomlinson
  • S Brian Dawkins
  • DT Jason Taylor
  • WR Chad Johnson
  • QB Donovan McNabb
  • C Olin Kreutz

LDT should go in first-ballot, while Dawkins has an outside shot and Taylor has none but should get in without too much delay. Johnson and McNabb are iffier bets to get in at all; will the HOF voters bring themselves to vote for someone who named himself “Chad Ochocinco”, resume aside? McNabb’s career consists of some pretty good quality production for a number of years, but never quite great, with no All-Pro team appearances and no rings; he’s going to be hotly debated. Both are more likely to get in than not, but they’ll have a long wait, as will Kreutz who isn’t too far behind them.

Sports Ratings Report for Week of July 15-21

Since all my time this week was taken up by the college football TV schedule post, no total day averages this week.

Sports Ratings Highlights for Week of July 15-21: The Open Championship Edition

Numbers compiled from a variety of sources, including TV by the Numbers, The Futon Critic, Sports Media Watch, and Son of the Bronx.

Vwr (mil)




MLB All-Star Game





Home Run Derby





The Open Championship: Final Round





The Open Championship: Third Round




MLB: Regional coverage
(main game: Yankees @ Red Sox)



Sunday Night Baseball:
Yankees @ Red Sox





ESPY Awards





All-Star Celebrity Softball Game





Tour de France: Last Stage




Read moreSports Ratings Report for Week of July 15-21

2013 College Football TV Schedule

With one month to go until the start of the college football season, here is every game involving an FBS team for the first three weeks, plus national television windows for the rest of the season and nationally televised FCS games, as compiled by mattsarzsports.com. Refer to that site for more details and updates throughout the season. Networks in bold are cable; those in bold italics are Internet streams. Please be cautious when opening this post, as certain elements in it are numerous enough that they may slow down the browser.

Read more2013 College Football TV Schedule