Hall of Fame  

 

Published: Oct. 16, 2013 at 04:42 p.m.
Updated: Jan. 9, 2014 at 07:25 p.m.

Hall of Fame cases for ...

The Pro Football Hall of Fame recently released its list of 126 modern-era nominees for the Class of 2014. NFL Media historian Elliot Harrison will gauge the likelihood of these players' induction in a recurring feature on NFL.com. With a list this large, there are sure to be disagreements; hit up @Harrison_NFL to share your opinions and vote here for your favorites. In this installment, Harrison looks at the six quarterbacks on the list.

6 Photos Total

  • Trent Green is a first-year nominee, a good guy and a former colleague at NFL Network, so we'll start with him. His opportunity with the St. Louis Rams and <a href="http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-network-top-ten/09000d5d8074cbc0/Top-Ten-Nicknames-Greatest-Show-on-Turf">"The Greatest Show on Turf"</a> was cut (very) short by Rodney Harrison -- who's also one of the 100-plus nominees for the Class of 2014 -- but that didn't stop Green from having a productive run with the Kansas City Chiefs from 2001 to 2006, a stint that included three consecutive 4,000-yard seasons. However, Green isn't in the top 15 in any major category and was 0-2 in the playoffs as a starter.<br><br>
Hall probability: None. 6

    David Stluka/Associated Press

    Trent Green

    Trent Green is a first-year nominee, a good guy and a former colleague at NFL Network, so we'll start with him. His opportunity with the St. Louis Rams and "The Greatest Show on Turf" was cut (very) short by Rodney Harrison -- who's also one of the 100-plus nominees for the Class of 2014 -- but that didn't stop Green from having a productive run with the Kansas City Chiefs from 2001 to 2006, a stint that included three consecutive 4,000-yard seasons. However, Green isn't in the top 15 in any major category and was 0-2 in the playoffs as a starter.

    Hall probability: None.

  • There was a time -- though it might seem like it was forever ago -- when Drew Bledsoe was considered the next Dan Marino. His first five seasons were quite productive and successful overall, as he led the New England Patriots to three playoff wins. However, his numbers and performance began to slip; ultimately, he was viewed as a top-15 quarterback -- but no better. Bledsoe never won in the postseason as a starter after 1997 (although he did notch a victory in relief of Tom Brady in the <a href="http://www.nfl.com/gamecenter/2002012700/2001/POST20/patriots@steelers">2001 AFC Championship Game</a>). Bledsoe put up gaudy numbers with the Buffalo Bills during the 2002 season, but his career came to a quiet end in Dallas four years later. He does rank in the top 10 all time in career completions and passing yards, and in the top 15 in touchdown passes, thanks to starting and staying healthy for most of 14 seasons.<br><br>
Hall probability: Slim to none. 5

    Elise Amendola/Associated Press

    Drew Bledsoe

    There was a time -- though it might seem like it was forever ago -- when Drew Bledsoe was considered the next Dan Marino. His first five seasons were quite productive and successful overall, as he led the New England Patriots to three playoff wins. However, his numbers and performance began to slip; ultimately, he was viewed as a top-15 quarterback -- but no better. Bledsoe never won in the postseason as a starter after 1997 (although he did notch a victory in relief of Tom Brady in the 2001 AFC Championship Game). Bledsoe put up gaudy numbers with the Buffalo Bills during the 2002 season, but his career came to a quiet end in Dallas four years later. He does rank in the top 10 all time in career completions and passing yards, and in the top 15 in touchdown passes, thanks to starting and staying healthy for most of 14 seasons.

    Hall probability: Slim to none.

  • Perhaps the most electrifying quarterback to play the position pre-Michael Vick, Randall Cunningham presents an interesting case. Unlike Trent Green and Drew Bledsoe, Cunningham was at one time considered one of the five best players in the NFL ... except that reign only lasted a year. In 1990, he threw 30 touchdown passes and rushed for 942 yards while averaging <i>8 yards</i> per carry with the Philadelphia Eagles. The issue? Cunningham couldn't stay healthy and was inconsistent when he did; he also didn't play his best in the postseason. His incredible comeback season of 1998, when he tossed 34 touchdown passes while helping the Minnesota Vikings to a 15-1 record, won't be enough to overcome a career that felt like a lesson in what might've been. <br><br>
Hall probability: Slim to none. 4

    Gene. J. Puskar/Associated Press

    Randall Cunningham

    Perhaps the most electrifying quarterback to play the position pre-Michael Vick, Randall Cunningham presents an interesting case. Unlike Trent Green and Drew Bledsoe, Cunningham was at one time considered one of the five best players in the NFL ... except that reign only lasted a year. In 1990, he threw 30 touchdown passes and rushed for 942 yards while averaging 8 yards per carry with the Philadelphia Eagles. The issue? Cunningham couldn't stay healthy and was inconsistent when he did; he also didn't play his best in the postseason. His incredible comeback season of 1998, when he tossed 34 touchdown passes while helping the Minnesota Vikings to a 15-1 record, won't be enough to overcome a career that felt like a lesson in what might've been.

    Hall probability: Slim to none.

  • Everybody loves Doug Flutie. Well, we're not sure Mike Ditka did, but you get the point. The lovable little guy had an up-and-down pro career that was highlighted by the way he led the Buffalo Bills to a wild-card berth in 1998 with his clutch play. He also had an incredible run in the Canadian Football League. Flutie is a unique nominee in that he played in both the USFL and CFL, along with the league whose website you're currently visiting. Still, the winner of six Most Outstanding Player Awards up in Canada spent most of his NFL career on the bench. He merely was a decent, if undeveloped, player in the USFL. Of course, the museum in Canton, Ohio, is called the <i>Pro Football</i> Hall of Fame, not the <i>NFL</i> Hall of Fame. But considering Flutie already has been enshrined in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, there won't be a big push for him to get a gold jacket.<br><br>
Hall probability: Slim to none 3

    Roy Dabner/Associated Press

    Doug Flutie

    Everybody loves Doug Flutie. Well, we're not sure Mike Ditka did, but you get the point. The lovable little guy had an up-and-down pro career that was highlighted by the way he led the Buffalo Bills to a wild-card berth in 1998 with his clutch play. He also had an incredible run in the Canadian Football League. Flutie is a unique nominee in that he played in both the USFL and CFL, along with the league whose website you're currently visiting. Still, the winner of six Most Outstanding Player Awards up in Canada spent most of his NFL career on the bench. He merely was a decent, if undeveloped, player in the USFL. Of course, the museum in Canton, Ohio, is called the Pro Football Hall of Fame, not the NFL Hall of Fame. But considering Flutie already has been enshrined in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, there won't be a big push for him to get a gold jacket.

    Hall probability: Slim to none

  • What a toughie, in more ways than one. Steve McNair was cut from the same cloth as Sid Luckman, Don Meredith and Doug Williams: tough quarterbacks who would play through pain to lead their teams. However, determining if McNair merits Hall of Fame consideration is a tough call. His detractors would point out that he never posted much in the way of numbers, failing to surpass 3,400 yards or 30 touchdown passes in a season. But whether he was driving the Tennessee Titans' big comeback in Super Bowl XXXIV or pushing them to the playoffs in 2003 despite playing hurt nearly every game, McNair was an incredible leader -- perhaps as good a leader as there was in the NFL. McNair also shared the MVP award with Peyton Manning in 2003, finishing with a passer rating of 100.4 while giving up just seven interceptions. Any league MVP merits some thought from voters.<br><br>
Hall probability: Low to moderate. He could be a seniors candidate in 20 years. 2

    Scott Boehm/Associated Press

    Steve McNair

    What a toughie, in more ways than one. Steve McNair was cut from the same cloth as Sid Luckman, Don Meredith and Doug Williams: tough quarterbacks who would play through pain to lead their teams. However, determining if McNair merits Hall of Fame consideration is a tough call. His detractors would point out that he never posted much in the way of numbers, failing to surpass 3,400 yards or 30 touchdown passes in a season. But whether he was driving the Tennessee Titans' big comeback in Super Bowl XXXIV or pushing them to the playoffs in 2003 despite playing hurt nearly every game, McNair was an incredible leader -- perhaps as good a leader as there was in the NFL. McNair also shared the MVP award with Peyton Manning in 2003, finishing with a passer rating of 100.4 while giving up just seven interceptions. Any league MVP merits some thought from voters.

    Hall probability: Low to moderate. He could be a seniors candidate in 20 years.

  • Phil Simms certainly rates with McNair, both in the toughness department and as a winner. Simms' legacy is marked by a mid-career comeback -- like Kurt Warner -- with a Super Bowl ring to boot. Also like McNair, Simms lacks big passing numbers, although he surpassed 4,000 yards in 1984 and threw for over 500 versus the Cincinnati Bengals in 1985. Of course, it's for the season following those two, when he led the New York Giants to a 14-2 record and a Super Bowl win, that Simms forever will be remembered for. In the title game, the eight-year vet completed 22 of 25 passes, easily earning the MVP award. He led the Giants to an 11-5 record and a playoff win in 1993 before hanging 'em up.<br><br>
Hall probability: Moderate. A strong candidate for Seniors Committee selection. 1

    Reed Saxon/Associated Press

    Phil Simms

    Phil Simms certainly rates with McNair, both in the toughness department and as a winner. Simms' legacy is marked by a mid-career comeback -- like Kurt Warner -- with a Super Bowl ring to boot. Also like McNair, Simms lacks big passing numbers, although he surpassed 4,000 yards in 1984 and threw for over 500 versus the Cincinnati Bengals in 1985. Of course, it's for the season following those two, when he led the New York Giants to a 14-2 record and a Super Bowl win, that Simms forever will be remembered for. In the title game, the eight-year vet completed 22 of 25 passes, easily earning the MVP award. He led the Giants to an 11-5 record and a playoff win in 1993 before hanging 'em up.

    Hall probability: Moderate. A strong candidate for Seniors Committee selection.

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