Deciding on who deserves to get into the Hall of Fame is always an interesting proposition. There are always going to be sure fire Hall of Famers, that get in without any debate. John Elway was one of those guys, and so was Shannon Sharpe. But many players who get in have to play a waiting game that seems less than dignified.
As Ian St. Clair and I discussed on the Mile High Report Radio podcast, the process for selecting players to the Hall of Fame must evolve. For years it has been a convoluted process more secretive than the selection of a new pope. Only when the gray cigar smoke flows out the opening door of the voting room do we know who gets to don the hideous baby puke yellow jacket.
But why is there so much secrecy? What is the 48-person selection committee hiding. It certainly isn’t a bias against the Broncos. So, why can’t we know more? If you want the rules for how it works, check it out here. That doesn’t really paint the picture though.
The build up to the final vote is a sham of reality TV, with a whittling process that eventually gives the NFL a show. Selection Saturday is a time when the league can milk the affair for all the ad dollars they can muster, and then five guys get in. Forget about who is or isn’t worthy. There is a limit, and they stick to it. Never mind if there are 7 or 8 players who should get in. They will just have to wait.
You will never know how a member of the committee voted unless he tells you. There is no transparency, and no voter is required to truly defend their picks. Instead, they get the freedom of anonymity, which allows voters to pass over more deserving players because they don’t like a certain franchise, or never got an interview from player X.
Steps can be taken to improve the process. For starters, it is time to move toward what Major League Baseball does. Voters can no longer hide their votes, and fans will have the ability to question their decisions. It seems unbelievable that Babe Ruth wasn’t a unanimous decision to get into the hall. That will change in baseball because of the new voting rules. The NFL should do the same.
Imagine voters being forced by fans to explain why Curtis Martin or Jerome Bettis is a Hall of Famer, but Terrell Davis isn’t. Or what if you could question the votes of a member of the committee, forcing him to explain why Steve Atwater, two time Super Bowl Champion, 8 time Pro Bowler, 2 time first team All-Pro, and member of the 1990’s All-Decade team is unworthy of the Hall of Fame.
A voter who downgrades Lynch's candidacy as a player for taking a GM job is a voter who should have his/her vote revoked. https://t.co/E4yP1DPNyw— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) January 31, 2017
It might also be time to purge older voters, or expand the number. It is truly an honor to be a member of the committee, but with the expansion of the NFL, and the popularity of the game, more voters would be a good place to turn. That might also help with the bias that voters have for certain franchises.
Changes are need. Not just because it would lead to more Broncos in the Hall of Fame, but that doesn’t hurt.