MHR Poll of the Week: Super Bowl Ring or Hall of Fame?

So a few weeks ago we saw some interesting discussion about LDT and how he said he would prefer to get into the Hall of Fame compared to a Super Bowl ring. This sparked a lot of debate on which they would prefer, and that didn't exclude the Mile High Report staffers. So in this edition Poll of the Week I'll publish some of the great discussion from the staffers here on MHR and then we'll here what you guys have to say when you vote in the poll and comment.

Let's here what some of the writers had to say:

BroncoPH (Steve):

As a player, I would definitely prefer a HoF bust over a Super Bowl ring. To me it's pretty simple. The concept of "team" in professional sports has so dramatically changed with the expansion of free agency that, while winning a Super Bowl is without a doubt the highlights of one's playing career, it pales in comparison to the history and legacy that comes along with the Hall of Fame. There have been and will be many Super Bowl winners in the history of the NFL, most of whose names will be forgotten except to the pages of history books. Hall of Famer's, however, are guaranteed that their individual accomplishments will be remembered and displayed for all to see for as long as the NFL exists.

Ask me this question forty years ago, when the NFL was a fraction of the sport it is today and teams and its players tended to stick together and I may have chosen the Super Bowl win. In this case, you become nearly immortal in whichever town you played. It became your city, your fans and your legacy. That ultimate achievement would create the memories that would make you a legend. The Hall of Fame would be a nice addition, but I would want that ring and that bragging right.

Today, with team loyalty something of the past, players have to think about their own individual accomplishments and a Super Bowl victory is anything but an individual accomplishment. Teams change too much from season to season. We should be thankful as Bronco fans to have that unique experience of not only winning two Super Bowls with our Hall of Famer, but also knowing that he grew up and retired with just one team, the Denver Broncos. Acquiring Peyton Manning only highlights how good we've had it as Bronco fans over the years. I would despise whichever team Elway was released to if the Broncos had chosen to do to him what the Colts saw fit to do to Manning.

Kirk:

I suppose it would amount to how you see it. Football is a team sport and a Super Bowl Ring is the pinnacle of that. To accomplish a goal shared by 53 others together as a unit is much more satisfying than making an individual accomplishment in a team sport. No one can take a Championship away and for those who feel having a bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame is more important than a Super Bowl Championship are simply being selfish individualists. Unfortunately, that behavior is becoming more prevalent in today's society.

Scotty:

Personally, if I was a player, I would want a Super Bowl ring or rings instead of being elected into the Hall Of Fame. Now don't get me wrong, the Hall Of Fame is prestigious, but it's not what you play the game for. A Super Bowl Championship is something you earn. All your hard work you put in during the OTA's, Mini-Camps, Training Camp, Preseason, on game days, the film room and practices during the week, all pay off for you. You play the game for one thing, and one thing only, a Super Bowl ring. I believe every players dream is to hoist the Lombardi Trophy and celebrate with your teammates and fans as champions. You will forever be know as a Champion, and you will have the ring. That's what you play for.

Now, I'm not discounting The Hall Of Fame by any means. If I was even considered to be among the select few to be elected into The Hall Of Fame, I would be excited, but I wouldn't feel accomplished. Yeah, the individual stats are great, but as I said multiple times, you play the game to win a Championship. Also to be elected into the Hall Of Fame, you have to be elected in. I would feel more accomplished over something I had more control of, just my opinion though.

Now Dan Marino is a great example of this. Probably one of the greatest QB's of all time, but he never won a Super Bowl Ring. His career is shrouded because of it. Marino has set many records and great individual stats, but everyone says "but he never won a ring" So, if I had a choice between a Super Bowl ring, or being a Hall Of Famer, I would pick a Super Bowl ring.
John:
I would take the Hall of Fame career, much more exclusive. There is a pretty easy argument to make, Phil Simms, for instance, is never described as the Super Bowl winning QB that isn't in the Hall... Or if Grossman had won his Super Bowl. Never hear that about Hall of Fame QB's.
Brian:
I want to begin by admitting that I never played pop warner football, nor did I play in junior high school, high school or college -- in fact, the small school in Oklahoma where I attended college did not even have a football team. All of my experiences as a football player were through backyard, schoolyard and intramural programs, then later on in life, as a teacher who played the game with his students. That being said, I have often wondered what it might have been like had I played in high school and college and become good enough to catch a spot on an NFL team.

I'm guessing that my NFL career would have paralleled my experiences in impromptu games and intramurals -- I was never the first one picked, nor was I the last one chosen. I was of average size but possessed above average speed and quickness. I was almost always tapped to play defensive back because while I had the speed and quickness of a wide receiver, I was a touch shorter than most of my peers at that position and I lacked the consistent hands for making the catches. I was, however, quick enough to stay with the wide receivers and/or close the gap on a throw to either breakup the pass or tackle the receiver after the catch. So my guess is that should the fantasy of playing in the NFL have occurred, I would have ended up as a middle to late round draft pick who served as a situational/backup defensive back.

That being said, if my choice were to be between a Super Bowl ring or enshrinement in the Hall of Fame, I would have to say that I would prefer to have the Super Bowl ring. Given the above mentioned belief that I would have had a career as a serviceable backup -- and content to be such -- I do not see how I would have ever qualified for Hall of Fame consideration. There are, on the other hand, a very large number of situational/backup players who played for Super Bowl winning teams and thus received a Super Ring. I would have counted myself fortunate to be among that select few.
Topher:
This is tricky since it is heavily tied to position. When you look at quarterbacks, a ring is almost a requirement to even get into the Hall, unless you are just amazing, even if Peyton Manning didn't win a Super Bowl and had two Super Bowl losses, he'd still make the Hall because he was so amazing on his own. Same we see from Marino, who was nearly unmatched in passing prowess, or Kelly who made four Super Bowls in a row, just amazing. So for a quarterback, a ring is more important for their legacy, but I doubt it's more meaningful.

But then we have the remaining positions. So many positions in the NFL have little control over their teams overall success. Let's look at a recent Hall of Fame player, Cortez Kennedy. He was one of my favorite players as a young man, but he was on a lot of TERRIBLE teams. The Seahawks only had two winning seasons during his career, but that didn't stop him from having a great career. Outside of getting into the Hall he had 8 Pro Bowls and 3 All-Pro awards, only one of which came during a winning season. I think that getting into the Hall is a vindication for a player on a terrible team but played well.

You could say the same for offensive tackle Willie Roaf, or running backs Floyd Little and Barry Sanders. They were on average-at-best teams, they did their part and never got rings. The Hall is a reward for what a player can control, a ring is a reward for being on a good team. I mean Jim Sorgi and Dennis Dixon have Super Bowl rings.

It takes incredible individual effort to get into the Hall, but individual effort isn't enough to get a ring, you need a good coach, a good QB, and a good team, all those things you can't control, you can play your whole career as an All-Pro and never win a ring, that says everything to me about which I'd choose. Why would you want a reward that you have little control over? I'd rather take the reward that is based on what I control, if I'm the best at my position, I can be in the position to never win a Super Bowl, so why should I focus on something out of my control, I focus on doing my job which gets me into the Hall but doesn't help me win a Super Bowl.


Now we want to hear from you, let us know what you think in the poll and in the comments section.
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