Ballot ballet

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on April 13, 2011 – 4:10 pm

My top 10 ballot for the Hall of Fame comes out looking like this (in order):

Ken Riley, Lemar Parrish, Corey Dillon, James Brooks, Rodney Holman, David Fulcher, Sam Wyche, Tim Krumrie, Jim Breech, Bill Bergey.

Which is a little bit different than Tuesday’s first returns:

Krumrie, Brooks, Collinsworth, Riley, Wyche, Fulcher, Parrish, Dillon, Max Montoya, Breech.

(And the vote to cut to the 10 finalists keeps going through April 20.)

We’re all tussling over the thing. After the charter class of Paul Brown, Anthony Muñoz, Ken Anderson, Boomer Esiason, and Isaac Curtis, it’s a tough call.

Here’s what went through my mind:

Riley should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the only Bengal that has gone to more than Parrish’s six Pro Bowls is Anthony Muñoz. They are the last two guys in my mind that absolutely have to be in there. And Dillon is close because he’s the club’s all-time rusher and broke two of the NFL’s biggest single-game records as a Bengal.

But I understand the arguments against him. A lot of times he was prickly and difficult and tried to engineer trades back when Carson Palmer was trading baseball cards. And blew up a few locker rooms along the way. Long-time Bengals public relations director Jack Brennan, who also covered the club for a decade, puts the vote in context best.

“While Corey is arguably the best running back in Bengals history, he was a more difficult case in his relationship with the fans and Krumrie and Collinsworth were engaging and accessible characters,” Brennan said.

Which is fine. It is the fans’ Hall of Fame. They’re making the call and every fan/writer/broadcaster/player/coach has different values, which ought to be celebrated and not strait-jacketed into someone else’s belief.

Me? I’m just uncomfortable with the whole judgment thing. It’s hard enough to judge these guys as players without getting into a moral and philosophical morass of pontification that would make your head hurt.

All I know is that Corey Dillon ran like hell for a long time without a lot of help and he passes my Hall of Fame test. How many times did he make you save a ticket stub?

(But I’ve got no room for Manny Ramirez in my Hall. He cheated after drug testing. The other guys in the pre-testing Steroids Era, let them in. It was like stealing signs and scuffing the ball. Getting an edge, except it is feared to cause cancer instead of RBIs. Blame the commissioner and the union for entering into an unspoken and unholy alliance. Please, no votes for Donald Fehr and Bud Selig for Cooperstown. It was their arrogance/ignorance/greed that gave rise to the juice.)

And, of course, you can say it is never personal but we know it always is.

If I used the same criteria for Carl Pickens that I am for Dillon, maybe he should be on there. But while Pickens had some big games and one big year (17 TDs in ’95), he didn’t excel at his position for as long as Riley, Parrish, Dillon, Brooks Holman, Fulcher and Breech did. Bergey was only here five years, but people rave about those five years.

And, truth be told, Pickens made my life miserable as a reporter like no one before or since and I always got along fine with Dillon. Plus, Dillon never did what Pickens did, which is hold out of training camp, pocket $8 million, and 14 weeks later rip the head coach so badly that they had to cut him. But, that’s a judgment, isn’t it?

What was worse? Dillon saying he’d rather flip burgers than play for the Bengals or Pickens walking off the field and into free agency singing “This is it” after Tampa Bay hammered them, 35-0? Who knows? Ask one of these millionaire moralists that decides who’s worthy and who’s not.

But my head already hurts, so I’ll just stand on the premise that Pickens flashed, but not long enough to go in before these guys.

Holman is the most underrated player in Bengals history. Boomer Esiason still talks about him reverently. A terrific two-way tight end, his versatility was a big reason Sam Wyche’s no-huddle worked so well. He blocked for a running game that was in the NFL’s top five for five straight seasons while averaging 13.6 yards per career catch. His 34 TD catches are just two fewer than what Collinsworth had at wide receiver.

Brooks was simply a beast running and catching. He was the concept of Marshall Faulk before Marshall Faulk and you wonder what he would have done if he began his career with Wyche and the Bengals. And Wyche has to be on this list because he was so far ahead of his time with his Xs and Os in how he used those two guys and all the rest in the no-huddle.

Bengaldom’s most underrated stat may be Fulcher’s 31 career interceptions, third in team history. That from a strong safety ferocious against the run that helped defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau change the game. Krumrie is there equally for courage and talent. Breech will always have nine lives: Nine-for-nine in OT.

That’s my ballot. Thanks for sharing yours. Keep it going until the 20th.

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Posted in Hobson's Choice | 17 Comments »

17 Responses to “Ballot ballet”

  1. By overthroensamoan on Apr 14, 2011 | Reply

    Really good to see Bergey on your list. Very deserving. I’m still surprised Reid,Trumpy and in my opinion the most overlooked Bengal Dan Ross are not getting more votes.

  2. By wnyjoe on Apr 14, 2011 | Reply

    I really hope Dillon makes it. He was my favorite Bengal when I began to really understand football. Now looking back on it, I wish I could watch him run again. Watch him bust a 20 yard run with 8 or 9 in the box. I keep waiting for NFLNetwork to show the Bengals vs Broncos game when they do their classics. I want to watch it again and really appreciate it. I can’t blame Corey for any of his actions towards the team. That’s how I take them, towards the team. He wasn’t mad at fans. Just like some of our best players. Boomer, Pickins, Chad Johnson, and now Carson Palmer. All have had their differences with the club. Are we going to keep them from being remembered as one of the greats to wear stripes? I’ll always think highly of those guys. After all, aren’t most of us frustrated with the team at times too?

  3. By whodeysteve on Apr 14, 2011 | Reply

    @wnyjoe I love watching NFLNetwork too. NFL Network creates a ton of amazing programming but I kind of hold it against them that they seem to show a lack of Bengals players or game’s. I remember watching there top 100 players of all time and seeing Terry Bradshaw at number 50 and while I like the fact that they gave him some credit there is no way Terry Bradshaw was better than Kenny Anderson. His arm may have been better but that was it. I mean just look at how high Anderson’s numbers were when he retired. When Anderson completed 64.9 percent of passes in 1974 it was just unheard of. In fact I hope we one day retire his number and the fact that lesser passer’s like Bob Griese are in the HOF it’s just a shame. If anybody was never able to see him play check youtube for some footage.

  4. By wnyjoe on Apr 15, 2011 | Reply

    Steve I think you’re looking through orange glasses. We all love Kenny Anderson. I didn’t get to see him play, but I have the Chargers playoff game and his superbowl recorded on my DVR. It must have been a good time to be a Bengals fan. Is he a better player than Bradshaw? I can’t make that case. I think the Steelers win all those superbowl with Anderson at QB too. But you can understand why Bradshaw was #50 and in the HoF. He was a Steeler and he won multiple Superbowls. Its the difference between alot of players.

  5. By mwindle1973 on Apr 15, 2011 | Reply

    I can’t believe Tommy Cassanova is not even in the discussion. My ten in order is: Ken Riley, Lemar Parish, Corey Dillon, David Fulcher, Tommy Cassanova, James Brooks, Mike Reid (49 sacks in 64 career games, plus he’s already in the Nashville Songwriter’s HOF!), Tim Krumrie, Bob Trumpy, Bill Bergey. My next 5 in order would be: Dan Ross, Rodney Holman, Forrest Gregg, Sam Wyche, Jim Breech. I agree on the Dillon issue. While this guy may not make the NFL HOF. He is close, and will at least have an outside chance. You can’t say that about many Bengals. There is no way Brooks belongs above him. Dillon definitely belongs between 1 and 3 on the list. But no lower than 3.

  6. By mwindle1973 on Apr 15, 2011 | Reply

    Good article on the QBs Hobs. I seen a point you made about some of the QBs being more suited for vertical passing teams. That point is true. I’ve read this before, but I don’t really consider us a true west coast team. We won’t know until we see the plays roll out. But remember a key word Lewis used when describing the new offense. Question: (actually asked by Hobs, in an attempt to get clarification)So, is it the west coast offense? Answer by Lewis: In nomenclature, yes. Nomenclature is terminology. I’m sure they are talking about more than using words instead of numbers. But Gruden said there will be a combining of the 2 offenses. Some things would be kept. Plus Palmer is more of a Air Coryell, tall, big armed, kind of slow QB. And he can run any offense you want. In fact many consider him more suited for the WCO.

  7. By whodeysteve on Apr 15, 2011 | Reply

    I just read your “QBs poised to run?” article Hobson and I have a question. If we draft let’s say Von Miller with the 4th pick and Carolina Panthers pick Cam #1 overall and we do happen to miss out on the quarterback’s with our 2nd pick, do you think if Carolina released Tony Pike we would go after him? Cause I would like Pike over most of these guy’s that are going in the 3rd-7th round. He may not be Greg Cook but he did have great work ethic.
    @ wnyjoe Yes, I get why he is in the HOF cause of his ring’s. I don’t have a problem with who is in the HOF. I have a problem with who they keep out.

  8. By hobsonschoice1 on Apr 15, 2011 | Reply

    WINDY _ Good stat on Reid and good point on the offense.

    We’re not going to know what exactly the system is until it is rolled out there. A lot of it depends on the trigger man that Gruden doesn’t even know yet, but we can go by a pretty good track record and what Gruden said when he arrived.

    His work in Tampa was done in what is considered a pretty pure West Coast set, given Jon Gruden studied under Andy Reid and Mike Holmgren. Back in February, Jay Gruden talked about quick throws, timing, yards after catch, play-action, which sounds a lot like West Coast.

    Mallett doesn’t sound like a West Coast guy (can’t move), but Kaepernick could be. And if you like Mallett, you tweak it so it’s not Jeff Garcia’s West Coast or Rich Gannon’s West Coast.

    Palmer won a Heisman in a West Coastish scheme, so it shows if you’ve got the arm, decision-making, and some legs, you can make it work.

    It seems to all fall into the file, “It’s Not Brain Surgery.”

  9. By mwindle1973 on Apr 16, 2011 | Reply

    Hobs: I’m an ametuer songwriter so I wanted to put Reid at the top. But I honestly believe he belongs above Krumrie. And I spent part of my youth growing up 15 miles form the tiny hometown of Krumrie, Menomonie, WI. He was a local legend there through the 80’s. On the QBs I agree with you totally. You made my point better than I could’ve (and in less words 🙂 ). The point being you can tweak a WCO to the QB. Even an guy like Mallet. You can strectch it pretty far. Actually what made me think of it was Brad Johnson. And how Gruden utilized him in Tampa. I think in the WCO the most important quality in a QB, may be his brain power.

  10. By mwindle1973 on Apr 16, 2011 | Reply

    I have weigh in on the Bradshaw/Andersen debate. I think Kenny was a better pure passer than Bradshaw. But there is a lot more to it than just passing mechanics. Terry had a few things that make him a head above his contemporaries. He had a cannon, and could throw the ball a mile in the air. Jeff Blake type stuff but better. He was the toughest of his era. Lastly his ability to deliver when it mattered most. Anderson belongs in the HOF. But IMO he is not on par or better than Terry Bradshaw.

  11. By mwindle1973 on Apr 16, 2011 | Reply

    Hobs: You recently wrote that 55% of NFL starters are drafted in the first 3 rounds. I just read an article where Jerry Glanville said 11% of NFL starters are undrafted. Hobs, can you verify the accuracy of this? If it’s true that’s suprising.

  12. By wnyjoe on Apr 19, 2011 | Reply

    Not starters, but players on your roster. I believe the Colts & Saints each had at least 8 undrafted players on their 2009 super bowl roster. I believe the actual number is 10.something. Hobs can probably verify but I remember reading it in one of those media Emails from the NFL.

  13. By 2ndboot on Apr 18, 2011 | Reply

    Dillon? Forget it.. I’ll never forgive what he said after the free agency deal.. They don’t even wanna win.. Maybe so, but as a fan I’ll never forgive it. Talk bad about my team and you’re on my s-list of former Bengals for life even if you get elected pope or even win the Nobel Peace Prize for permanent world peace and harmony later on.. Ya JUST DON’T say bad things about the Bengals..even if it’s true. Hey, it’s my fantasy and I’ll run it the way I want..

  14. By whodeysteve on Apr 18, 2011 | Reply

    If you want to know I base my QB’s on 10 different area’s. I was blessed enough to be able review ever game played from 1973-1976 played by the Steeler’s and Bengal’s. After the 1974 season Anderson lead the NFL in six passing stat’s and outside of the AFC Central he did not get one single vote to go to the pro bowl(in favor of James Harris?) and they referred to him as “The Unknown Quarterback” they didn’t even take the time to learn his name.(Even though he never said anything about it you know it had to hurt Anderson that the people thought so lowly of him) While Terry lost job to Joe which believe it or not all the fan’s wanted cause Terry up to that point had never threw for more TD’s then INT’s goes on to play good in the playoff’s and is remembered as maybe the greatest QB in the 70’s while Anderson who lead the NFL again in 75 is to this day remembered as “That Quarterback”. After watching him play I would say he does deserve the HOF cause after that playoff run he did play better but I can’t look at myself in the mirror and say he was better than Kenny was. I guess we will just have to agree to disagree on this.

  15. By mwindle1973 on Apr 18, 2011 | Reply

    “The Bengals designate specific positions for each round, and their first round is being used for a wide receiver.” THis is a quote from an article done today on by Michael Lombardi. Hobs, does this guy have any idea what he’s talking about? Earlier in the article he says every year we know what postion we are going to draft in each round. In the past he has claimed to have inside knowledge on and connections to the Bengals front office. How would we know already that we are drafting a WR?

  16. By mwindle1973 on Apr 19, 2011 | Reply

    Another issue that’s come out. Is that we are interested in Dalton. I now have a firm belief that we won’t draft Newton or Dalton. We have publicly stated or leaked that we want them. That’s a sure sign we don’t. In the same article I referenced above. It was believed that teams are smoke screening when it comes to Mallett as well. The article states that teams have not found his off field issues to be very accurate. And that regardless of how much teams try to paint him as a 2nd round pick that he will be gone be pick 15. I agree with that. I also agree that whenver a team says they are interested in a player, you can rule out them taking that player most of the time. And so far we’ve mentioned interest in Jones, Green, Newton & Dalton. And Lewis has publicly down-played this years DEs. Lewis usually answers every press question with cryptic, riddle-like statements. I don’t see him being an open book about the draft.

  17. By mwindle1973 on Apr 19, 2011 | Reply

    Thanks Joe! Sounds more realistic. 11% for starters seemed kind of hard to believe. But that’s what they printed in the story. I love how nothing is edited before hitting the “press” in today’s media.

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