The NFL Hall of Fame announced its 2009 inductees this past weekend, a list that included our own Rod Woodson. The 1993 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, a Super Bowl champion with the Ravens in 2001 and a member of the 1990s all-decade team, Woodson deserves to be in the halls of Canton with the greatest players of all time.
In a tribute to my friend Rod, I've decided to start a different Hall of Fame -- one that is based on statistical success and fantasy points. One of the requirements for our hall is the same as Canton -- a player must be retired for at least five seasons before he can be enshrined, so the likes of Emmitt Smith and Jerry Rice can't be included ... yet.
Where our fantasy hall differs is that a player must have been active in 1960 or beyond to make the list, even if his career started in the 1950s and concluded in the 1960s. Super Bowl titles also don't figure into the decision for enshrinement. Again, our hall is based completely on fantasy points -- six points for all touchdowns, one point for every 25 passing yards or 10 rushing and receiving yards and minus-two points for interceptions.
Dan Marino, QB, Miami: The most talented and prolific quarterback to ever grace the NFL gridiron, Marino finished his illustrious career with a record of 61,361 passing yards, 420 passing touchdowns and nine rushing touchdowns. He recorded 4,000-plus passing yards in a season an incredible six times, including a record 5,084 yards in 1984, and threw for 20 or more touchdowns in a season 13 times in 17 seasons. His 4,554 fantasy points based on our scoring system is close to 600 more than his closest competition, Fran Tarkenton.
Fran Tarkenton, QB, Minnesota/N.Y. Giants: Tarkenton, who led the Vikings to three Super Bowl appearances during his impressive career, led the NFL in completions (3,686), passing yards (47,003) and touchdowns (342) at the time of his retirement in 1978. As effective a runner as he was a pocket passer, Fran the Man finished with 3,674 rushing yards and 32 rushing touchdowns and was one of the NFL's first dual threats at the position. His 3,959 fantasy points made him a true stud for his time.
John Elway, QB, Denver: A two-time Super Bowl champion with the Broncos, Elway is currently third on the all-time list with 51,475 passing yards and ranks fifth with an impressive 300 passing touchdowns. He also completed 4,123 passes in his memorable career, which is third all-time behind Brett Favre and Marino. Elway threw for 3,000-plus yards in all but four of his 16 NFL seasons, and his skills as a runner (3,407 career yards) made him an even more attractive starter in the world of fantasy football.
George Blanda, QB/K, Chicago/Baltimore/Houston/Oakland: Imagine a quarterback capable of putting up solid passing numbers, while at the same time kicking field goals and extra points for your fantasy team. Talk about a fantasy superstar! That was the case with Blanda, who finished his career with 26,920 passing yards, 245 total touchdowns, 335 field goals and 943 extra points. While he did post almost 2,000 of his 3,941 fantasy points as a kicker, Blanda would have been a stats machine for owners.
Walter Payton, RB, Chicago: Payton was arguably the greatest running back in NFL history, as he finished his career as the NFL leader in rushing yards with 16,726. "Sweetness" rushed for 1,000-plus yards 10 different times, won the NFC rushing title in five straight seasons from 1976-1980 and won a Super Bowl championship in 1985. While he never had more than 16 total touchdowns in a season, Payton's 2,877 fantasy points is still one of the highest totals among running backs over the last 49 years.
Marcus Allen, RB, L.A. Raiders/Kansas City: A versatile and graceful athlete who could make crowds ooh and ahh with his elusive moves, Allen is sixth on the all-time list with 17,654 scrimmage yards and third behind Emmitt Smith and Rice with 144 total touchdowns. While he rushed for 1,000-plus yards just three times in his career, Allen posted 40-plus receptions six times and 300-plus receiving yards eight times. With 2,629 fantasy points, Allen was a tremendous asset for fantasy owners across the board.
Barry Sanders, RB, Detroit: The most electric running back to ever step between the lines, Sanders was a virtual lock to become the NFL's all-time leading rusher before his sudden retirement after the 1998 season. The talented back rushed for 1,100-plus yards every season of his career, including a 2,053-yard performance in 1997, and scored double-digit touchdowns seven times. He scored 99 rushing touchdowns (ninth all time) and a total of 2,473 fantasy points in his unforgettable 10 seasons in the NFL.
Jim Brown, RB, Cleveland: Much like Sanders, Brown left the NFL at the top of his game. The bruising back out of Syracuse averaged 1,368 rushing yards and 14 total touchdowns in nine seasons, and he only seemed to get better as his career progressed. In fact, Brown posted a career-best 21 total touchdowns in what turned out to be his final NFL season in 1965. Brown, who finished his incredible nine-year career with a total of 2,237 fantasy points, is also ranked eighth in all-time rushing yards with 12,312.
Steve Largent, WR, Seattle: Largent didn't possess tremendous size or speed, but his football IQ and concentration made him one of the best wide receivers the NFL has ever seen. In fact, his 1,922 fantasy points is the most for a retired wideout -- until, of course, Rice is eligible for our FantasyHall of Fame. Largent had eight seasons with 1,000-plus yards and at least eight touchdowns. He is also ranked 11th all time with an impressive 13,089 receiving yards and tied for sixth with 100 receiving scores.
Lance Alworth, WR, San Diego/Dallas: The first AFL player to ever be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Alworth was one of the most feared wide receivers of his time. He averaged 50-plus receptions and over 1,000 yards in nine seasons with the Chargers, including a seven-season stretch where he recorded no fewer than 1,003 yards and averaged over 10 touchdowns. Alworth, who is tied with Paul Warfield for 12th all time in receiving touchdowns, had 1,562 fantasy points during his 11-year pro football career.