Are you ready to read something stupid? The Pro Football Hall of Fame elected, for the 2020 class, to include 20 total inductees, among them the usual five modern candidates, but also 10 senior candidates, plus three contributors and two coaches, in order to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the league.
And then they passed a motion that will see them treat the 15-member class of senior candidates, coaches, and contributors as one body.
The committee will give up or down votes for the entire group. Either all of them will enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame, or none of them will. The only guarantee is that there will be five modern candidates, all of whom will be narrowed down and voted on individually, as has been the case.
According to Pro Football Talk, many voters are not happy about this, among them Peter King. One of the reasons that they don’t like the idea—and one of the reasons that perhaps they elected to do so—is because of the belief that they want to push former commissioner Paul Tagliabue into the Hall this year.
Michael David Smith writes that “some voters are dead-set against inducting Tagliabue because they believe his response to research into players’ brain injuries was unacceptable”. Having the group up or down vote would then force people to either put someone into the Hall whom they feel adamantly does not deserve it, or to penalize up to 14 others just to keep him out.
In such an event, it could damage the case of some potential Pittsburgh Steelers alumni who may be included in that 15-person group, such as former players L.C. Greenwood and Donnie Shell, both of whom were members of the team’s four Super Bowls in the 1970s, as well as Bill Nunn as representing the brilliance of the scouting department of that era.
There are many issues that could arise, however, even simply the fact that not everyone is going to agree that every member of the 15-member group is worthy of going into the Hall. As King explained:
Let’s say I believe 11 of the 15 nominees are solid and should be admitted, and let’s say I’m waffling on one, and let’s say I do not think three are Hall of Famers. Should I vote yes on the entire class as a bloc, knowing I will be voting yes on three or four who I believe do not belong? For me, that would be a very tough call. An unnecessary one, I believe. We should vote on the 15 one by one, the way the Hall has been admitting the legends of the game since 1963.
The good news is that they can still change this between now and February, when the Hall of Fame voting takes place. It really seems like a foolish idea to take this approach, yet I have a hard time believing that they will deviate from it at this point. I just hope it doesn’t result in a tainted class—or none at all.