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Saturday, February 01, 2014

Bettis snubbed again

Reports have surfaced that Steelers running back Jerome Bettis has again been denied a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year.

This marks the fourth consecutive year that Bettis has failed to garner enough votes to get in. And this could have been his final chance with the regular voters.

It's not often that a player continues to make it to the finals and doesn't get in.

Bettis might now have to wait until he is eligible for the Senior Committee to put him up for the vote again. It's likely this committee - as currently constructed - has heard enough of the argument for Bettis for him to not even make the finalists in 2015.

And therein lies the problem with the voting process for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The way it is currently constructed, the selection committee consists of one media representative from each area with a current NFL franchise. If that area has more than one franchise - ie. New York - it gets two representatives.

A 33rd member is chosen by the Pro Football Writers of America, while there are also 13 at-large members.

That means that currently, and for quite some time now, the Pittsburgh area has one voter, Ed Bouchette of the Post-Gazette. And it has only had one voter for as long as I have been covering the Steelers, some 21 years.

Meanwhile, because of the at-large votes, there are no fewer than five - that I know of - voters who live in the New York City area.

It's a flawed process, to say the least.

I'm not saying the Pro Football Hall of Fame should open up its voting as the Baseball Hall of Fame does. Voting members for that organization need only be members of the Baseball Writers of America for 10 years to get a vote.

But including myself, there are at least five guys who work in the Pittsburgh media and have covered the Steelers - and thus the NFL - for 20-plus years on a daily basis. And only one of us has a vote for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


Anonymous said...

No offense to you Dale, and reporters in general, but the HOF shouldn't not only not work as you say, but voting should not be given to people in the media only

just my two cents

Anonymous said...

I really thought this would be the year. I`m angry as hell but feel even worse for the Bus. The worst part is knowing that all this will never change and there`s nothing anyone can do about it....

NineFingers said...

Not looking good for the future...Here are just a sampling of guys that are eligible in the next couple years: Isaac Bruce, Edgerrin James, Ty Law, Kevin Mawae, Orlando Pace, Junior Seau, Kurt Warner, Brett Favre, Randy Moss, Terrell Owens.

So, how long until Jerome is eligible for the veterans committee?

Dale Lolley said...

Well, somebody has to vote. And if it's going to be the media, it should be a little more inclusive rather than just 40 guys. If you've got five or six dead set against you, you're not getting in.

Dale Lolley said...

To me, and to anyone who follows me on Twitter, they already know this, the fact that Bettis didn't get in and a punter whose career average would have ranked 30th in the league this season, did, is a joke.

First of all, punters shouldn't be in. Secondly, Ray Guy's greatness is a fallacy.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Ray Guy the seniors committee nominee? If so they weren't competing for the final spot. I still think Bus gets in

Anonymous said...

If the fate of Steeler HOF bids rest on pitchman Ed Bouchette, and not the merit of their own careers, expect a persistent drought.

Bouchette has never been good with facts or numbers. I read his case for Bettis in the PG, and it was embarrassing/unfledged. Made more of a case against him than he did for him. Said, don't pay attention to the back end years, because they're a drag on his YPA. Yeah, not really. And if we dismiss his later years, we dismiss the compiled yardage and cheap TDs and along for the ride SB that put him in that rarefied air discussion.

Towards the backend of his career, I thought Bettis was a borderline HOF candidate, but the things that would hurt his bid were relative lack of TDs, no SB ring, and he was never at any one time the best at his position (consistently top 3-5, but never really the best). His last few years he piled on the touchdowns and got his ring. Thought those things would be the tipping point in his favor. The 'big back' argument was always a non-starter, imo. Irrelevant. But I do think his longevity as a big back did help mitigate the 'not the best of his era' problem. Still, no slam dunk. Figured it would take a few tries, especially with all the RBs that were on deck ahead of him. I dunno. This may have been it for him. But I really thought Curtis Martin making it really greased Bettis' skids. Maybe not.

Anonymous said...

First of all, punters shouldn't be in. Secondly, Ray Guy's greatness is a fallacy.

That, I agree with wholeheartedly.

Steve-O said...

Jerome Bettis' path to the HOF seems to mirror his path to a Super Bowl ring. So many times he's come close and came up just a little short. I have to believe that he will make it eventually and the moment will be no less sweet.

HACK said...

Bettis easily should be in....only back with over 12000 yards that isn't..only RB in the top 10 RBs not in....thats all that needs to be looked at.

Anonymous Brian said...

Will be tricky for Hines Ward when it's his turn too. I think he should get in more than Bettis should. (Also think Bettis deserves it.) Ward was clearly one of the best at his position for almost his entire career, IMO. Then the blocking, winning, etc. But I'm partial like most fans.

With WR's exploding stats, I would imagine it gets tougher. I mean, is Wes Welker a Hall of Fame wide receiver? No, I don't think. But his stats are probably insane at this point.

Dr Obvious said...

Couldn't care less. I watched his career. I know how good it was. The navel gazing of sportswriters doesn't really change any of that.

Turn the voting over to former players, coaches, and team executives? Then you'll have my attention

Dale Lolley said...

The senior committee guys don't have to be voted in.

Yes, they are voted on separately, but the fact remains that a punter made it and the NFL's sixth all-time leading rusher did not.

Anonymous said...

Setting the record for completions in a Super Bowl really speaks to the type of great that Peyton Manning is.

-Zac in Tempe

marc said...

great performance by the seahawks defense. so many things could be said of how the steelers need to improve their defense to get even close to that.

and so much for needing to have a great passing offense in the "new nfl". the super bowl champions have a great defense, strong run game, and pass when needed. sound familiar?

Steve said...

Correct, anon. Guy and Bettis weren't directly competing for a spot.

Steve said...

Dr. Obvious I agree that there's a case for players, coaches and gms to be included in the process, but I doubt seriously that it would eliminate personal bias and make things 100% objective.

Steve said...


The only first-time eligible with a really strong chance next time is Seau. I think the rest all wait at least a year. Bettis had made the final 10 two years in a row now. It's very rare that someone makes it that far and doesn't get in, especially when they've made it that far multiple times. I think 2015 is the year for Jerome

Steve said...

Re: Guy

I don't know if he was THE greatest punter, but I don't know if it's fair to boil him down to his career avg. "Hang time" has always been one of the big things associated with him. Beyond that, he has the following on his resume -

*6 time first-team All-Pro
*7 Pro Bowl selections
*Named to the 1970s All-Decade team
*Named to the 75th Anniversary All-Time team

I've also heard multiple players from the era say that they didn't really pay attention to punters but made an exception for Guy.

So he does have his strong points. To be honest, I would've rather seen the Seniors committee give the spot to someone like Chuck Howley or L.C. or Mick Tinglehoff, but at least he's off the ballot now.

NineFingers said...


I hope 2015 is the's just as well, I've been planning since Jerome Bettis retired to go to Canton for the ceremony when he gets in. But, just a week ago we planned a vacation during the first week of August 2014. Now I won't have to miss it.

As for next year: I think these 4 get in before Jerome Bettis, not because I think they necessarily deserve it, but just my feeling...

1. Charles Haley
2. Junior Seau
3. Marvin Harrison
4. Tim Brown

That leaves one spot for either Jerome, Tony Dungy, Eddie DeBartolo, Jr., Will Shields, Orlando Pace and Morten Anderson.

It's as much a joke that Jerome didn't make it as it is that Andre Reed got in before Harrison and Time Brown. But apparently guys have to go into the HOF in the right order.

I certainly hope (almost as much as Bettis getting in) that Harrison and Brown both get in next year, otherwise we'll start to get a logjam of WR's again that will keep Hines Ward waiting longer than he should.

Anonymous said...

Jerome's lack of Touchdowns and YP average are not his fault, but of his coordinators! OR have you all forgotten how the playcalls invariably had Bettis run outside while Parker ran up the middle? bad playcalling cost him 1000 yards and 8 touchdowns!

NineFingers said...

Lack of TD's? Sure, he could've had more but he's tied for 10th ALL-TIME in rushing TDs. Only 9 running backs in the history of the NFL had more TDs. He had enough for the Hall of Fame.

Add the WR's into the mix and only 18 players have had more career TD's than Jerome.

So dumb that he's not in the HOF.

marc said...

I agree with dale regarding ray guy.

unless they use a totally different ball than when he played (I don't know, maybe this ball is juiced up), punting is one position that can be compared from era to era. he may have been great then, but it seems his greatness more a lack of good punters than anything else.

Anonymous said...

Please. He added a quarter of his career TDs in his final 2 years when he was a backup. Willie Parker didn't drag his TDs. Bettis got a bunch of Marcus Allen scores his final 2 years. Nobody remembers that 5 carries for 1 yard and 3 TDs against Oak in 04?

Look, I'm not knocking the guy. I said I thought he belonged in the HOF. I only brought it up because I took exception to Bouchette's discounting his final 2-3 years because it dragged his YPA. It didn't. And if you discount those years, you have to discount his TDs and his SB too. And his TDs were relatively (to HOFers) lacking until his final 2 or 3 years. He had 69 going into his last 2 seasons. That puts him in
'good, not great' company.

As for Ray Guy, good grief. Look, I value a quality punter probably as much or more than anyone. But a punter just does not contribute enough to ever be worthy of a HOF. Ray Guy had 1049 career punts. That means he was on the field for 1049 career snaps. That's the equivalent of 1 friggin season for a D or O player. One. Terrell Davis played 7 seasons and had 3 great years. Won SBs, SBMVP, OPOY, POY, rushing titles, etc. Those 3 years were still way better than Ray Guy's entire career contributions. And he was a jackass. Had no concept of directional punting, pinning teams deep, placement, etc. If he was punting from inside midfield, that ball was going into the Blackhole every time. It's just one of those things that get repeated for decades that gets accepted as fact, that he was the greatest ever. I'd take 25 punters playing today over Ray friggin Guy.