Is the Pro Football Hall of Fame no longer an elite club? One of its premier members thinks so; Deion Sanders made waves yesterday with harsh criticism of Canton's selection process and what he perceives as watering down the honor of being inducted.
If anybody's qualified to start this discussion it is arguably the best cornerback in NFL history. Deion was an eight-time All-Pro and Pro Bowler, two-time Super Bowl champion, and Defensive Player of the Year in 1994. He is generally considered one of the top game-changers in football history and as elite as anyone to ever play.
While “Prime Time” has never questioned his own greatness, Sanders clearly doesn't believe that some who've joined him in the Hall of Fame were as deserving. Here are some samples of various comments he made:
.@DeionSanders: NFL Hall of Fame is becoming a “FREE FOR ALL”
"The Hall of Fame ain't the Hall of Fame no more."
"A lot of Hall of Famers think the same thing." pic.twitter.com/DIaXcedrBa
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) August 12, 2022
Deion Sanders thinks Canton is getting crowded
Thoughts? 🧐 pic.twitter.com/VrrlyluJ7i
— Pickswise (@Pickswise) August 12, 2022
"My head isn't supposed to be by them."
Deion Sanders had some thoughts on the Pro Football Hall of Fame and called it a "free for all" 👀
➡️ https://t.co/is05wyWHSy pic.twitter.com/JymNeQr9cD
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) August 12, 2022
It's an interesting conversation. There are now 362 inductees in the Hall but there are definitely some with more legendary status than others. The likes of Sanders, Jerry Rice, Reggie White, Joe Montana, Lawrence Taylor, Peyton Manning, Larry Allen, Ronnie Lott, and others are often considered the best to ever play their positions; the elite of the elite.
The case could be made that the Hall of Fame needs to have a special wing for these true legends, or perhaps a “first-team” lineup for who it considers the best to play at each position. This might help rightfully distinguish certain talents while also allowing others to be recognized for their contributions.
It seems that Tony Boselli, one of this year's inductees, has been at the center of criticism of the selection process. While Boselli had a solid career, a three-time All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler, some feel his selection was more about giving Jacksonville Jaguars their first player in Canton.
This inclusionary attitude is what Sanders, and no doubt others less willing to make it public, is talking about. But while their point has merit, others view Canton as a museum for the history of professional football. Making sure players with different types of careers and the representation of various franchises becomes more logical then.
Do you agree with Deion Sanders? Or do you think that the Hall of Fame has been too restrictive, such as in how it kept Drew Pearson out for so many years?
Sound off in the comments!