The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class for 2014 was just announced, and to say the least, the seven new inductees announced were sure to catch a few folks, or thousands, surprised: Derrick Brooks, Walter Jones, Andre Reed, Michael Strahan, Aeneas Williams and both senior candidates, Ray Guy and Claude Humphrey.
With that, let's get to some takeaways from the induction announcement Saturday, starting with the wow factor. Would love to hear your take as well: @HarrisonNFL is the place.
Still, why now for Reed after eight noes prior to? I'm thinking all of the articles and support for his candidacy pushed Reed in, a la Art Monk in 2008.
2. No Tony Dungy. No Marvin Harrison?
Being mindful that Harrison was always one of the top three wide receivers in the game, his exclusion was certainly noticeable. Harrison retired with the single-season mark for catches in a season, with 143, and had eight consecutive 1,100-yard seasons. Perhaps, and this is just a guess, the allegations of his involvement in a homicide affected some voters. Or, maybe it could have been the logjam at wide receiver, but no one I have ever spoken with put Brown and Reed over the former Colt.
3. The biggest shocker of all -- Aeneas Williams.
I wrote Friday that Williams could possibly be elected in 2017, when there wouldn't be many strong first-year eligibles outside of LaDainian Tomlinson. Boy, was I wrong. After never hearing anything about Williams at the 2013 Enshrinement in the Press Box or talking to people on our Hall of Fame specials on NFL Network, this selection was impossible to predict.
You know what makes Williams' induction kind of awesome? That a guy doesn't have to be a "look at me" player at his position like Deion Sanders -- Williams' contemporary -- or have a Super Bowl ring to get respect. A wonderful player who was a topflight cover corner of the '90s, even if not quite at Prime Time's level, Williams' induction is a win for the little guy.
4. No love for old No. 94 ...
Number of Super Bowl rings for the Class of 2014 modern-day inductees: two. Number of Super Bowl rings for Charles Haley: five. Don't misunderstand, rings aren't everything, but for a guy who was a dominant force for two championship franchises, and has 100.5 career sacks, it's not like a bunch of Lombardi Trophies are all this guy has to his name.
Watching NFL Network on Saturday afternoon, I noticed one of the voters, CSN Bay Area's Nancy Gay -- who had previously talked up Haley -- pumping up former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. That could be detrimental for Haley's Hall candidacy, because with all the great players in wait, there might not be enough room to squeeze two old 49ers in the next couple of years.
It's a shame. As an NFL Media employee, I am ineligible to vote, though definitely mindful of how difficult of a job the voters have. That said, I would like to bring in some game broadcasts from my personal vault to show all the voters -- ah, maybe three drives. That might do the job. What a player Haley was.
5. 2014 and beyond ...
Despite some surprise and slight disagreement from this corner of the universe, all seven members are deserving -- especially Seniors Committee inductees Ray Guy and Claude Humphrey. I remember reading as a kid about what an unstoppable and unknown force that Humphrey was while with the Falcons. But what's next?
How about who's next? Off the cuff, I'll say Dungy, John Lynch, Orlando Pace, Junior Seau and Kurt Warner. Lynch would be an upset, but the guess here is that Brooks will ask for as much during his acceptance speech in August. Warner could be a headliner, as he is the only quarterback coming down the pike that has any shot. Should be fun to track, but that's an article for another day.