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Top 10 People Not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as of 2014
The Pro Football Hall of Fame is seen as the ultimate accomplishment in a player or coach's career. Many players make it their goal to compete at high level in order of making it to Canton.
The selection process is a long one. A committee consisting of one media representative from each pro football city with two from New York, in as much as that city has two teams in the National Football League. A 33rd member is a representative of the Pro Football Writers of America and there are 13 at-large delegates. The committee meets annually at the time of the Super Bowl to elect new members. There is no set number for any class of enshrinees but, the Committee's current ground rules do stipulate that between four and seven new members will be selected each year. Each inductee must be five years removed from football and gain an 80% approval from the committee.
But with all the great players and coaches inducted into the Hall of Fame, there are those who consistently slip through the cracks. This list is to recognize those men who deserve to be immortalized in Canton. For this list, I'm ranking players and coaches on how many times they have been passed over and how they've impacted the game of football today.
10. Drew Pearson
Drew Pearson was undrafted free agent quarterback who signed with the Dallas Cowboys and became one of the greatest wide receivers in the 1970s.
Known as Mr. Clutch, Pearson became known for making game winning touchdowns catches. Most notably the "Hail Mary" catch he made in the 1975 playoff game against Minnesota. Pearson amassed almost 500 receptions, 7,800 receiving yards, and 50 touchdowns while being named All-Pro three times and winning Super Bowl XII with the team.
Pearson's career was cut short in 1984 after a tragic car accident. The accident took the life of his brother and forced him to retire due to severe internal injuries.
His legacy continues to live on in Dallas as his jersey number 88 is only issued out if the team sees a player as the next best wide receiver. The team has only issues the number to Michael Irvin, Antonio Bryant, and Dez Bryant since.
9. Terrell Davis
A sixth round draft pick in 1995, running back Terrell Davis was a long shot to make the Denver Broncos roster. After making a big impression during the preseason, Davis started 14 games his rookie year and proved to be a corner stone for the team moving forward.
Davis rushed for at least 1,000 yards in each of his first four seasons. He helped the team to back to back Super Bowl wins in 1997 and 1998. He set a Super Bowl record with three rushing touchdowns in Super Bowl XXXII and was named the game's MVP. In 1998, Davis became the fourth running back in NFL history to rush for over 2,000 yards in a single season and was named the league MVP that year.
After the 1998 season, injuries derailed his promising career. In his final three seasons, he only played in 17 games and the injuries ultimately forced him to retire.
In seven NFL seasons, Davis was named All-Pro three times, offensive player of the year twice, and was a member of the leagues All-decade team of the 1990s. You can also make an argument that without Terrell Davis, John Elway would not have retired with a Super Bowl ring.
8. Steve Tasker
After being cut by Houston in 1986, Steve Tasker was claimed by the Buffalo Bills. Once in Buffalo, he took on the role as gunner on special teams.
Tasker instantly made an impact on special teams despite his small frame. He quickly gained a reputation for being a fierce tackler forcing many fumbles on punt and kick coverage. Tasker was named to seven All-Pro teams in his career and was even named the MVP of the Pro Bowl in 1992 while helping the team to four straight Super Bowl appearances. He was also an impact on offense averaging 15 yards per catch and 9 touchdowns in his career.
Bills quarterback Jim Kelly lobbied head coach Marv Levy to allow Tasker to play wide receiver more but Levy said he was needed more on special teams.
With the induction of punter Ray Guy in 2014, the door is now open for a special teamer to be inducted in Canton. Tasker is widely considered to be the greatest gunner/ special teamed to ever play and his play should be recognized by the Hall of Fame.
7. Alex Karras
Many people remember Alex Karras as an actor in movies in TV shows like Blazing Saddles and Webster, but many often forget how dominant of a defensive tackle he was.
A first round pick by the Detroit Lions in 1958, Karras quickly became a force on the defensive line. He was named to four Pro Bowls and to the 1960s All-decade team. Karras only missed one game due to injury in his 12 year career and the Lions defense were always ranked towards the top when he was playing.
One reason he is not in the Hall of Fame is because of his 1963 suspension for gambling along with Green Bay running back Paul Hornung. Hornung has since been inducted. He was also considered a dirty player but then again, everyone played dirty in the early years of the league. Being one of the most dominant defensive lineman of his era, Karras deserves to be reconized in Canton.
6. Jerry Smith
A ninth round draft pick in 1965, Jerry Smith proved to be a force on offense for the Washington Redskins.
Although undersized for the tight end position, Smith showed a great ability to get open and make a play receiving. In his 13 seasons in Washington, he had 421 catches, over 5,400 receiving yards, and NFL record 60 touchdowns that stood for 27 years until Shannon Sharpe broke it.
Although Smith's numbers are Hall of Fame worthy, his personal life is most likely what has kept him out. Smith died of AIDS in 1986 but never came out publicly as gay. His homosexuality was confirmed by teammates after his death but because of head coach Vince Lombardi, the team had a homophobic-free locker room.
With all the circumstances surrounding players outside of football who do make Canton, Jerry Smith deserves to be recognized for his play on the field.
5. Ken Anderson
A third round draft pick in 1971, quarterback Ken Anderson was named the starter for the Cincinnati Bengals in his second year.
Anderson became the first quarterback to implement Bill Walsh's west coast offense and have success with it. He was praised for being on of the most consistent quarterbacks to come out of the 70s and 80s. Anderson set the bar for completion percentage in the decades he played as well as being underrated for his play. Anderson finished his career with four pro bowl, two seasons leading the league in passing, and the 1981 NFL MVP.
The big glare on his career was the Super Bowl loss to San Francisco in the 1981 season. Although he played well, he never did enough to get past the other teams in the division in Pittsburgh and Houston in the 70s.
With Anderson's stats speaking for themselves, he deserves to be recognized as a Hall of Famer. His touchdown to interception ratio alone is better than a lot of quarterbacks that are already in Canton.
4. Tom Flores
After the departure of John Madden, Tom Flores was promoted to be the new head coach of the Oakland Raiders.
In nine seasons with the Raiders, Flores won two Super Bowls in the early 80s and won a total of 83 games.. He became the first man in NFL history to win a Super Bowl as a player, as an assistant, and as a head coach.
His quiet persona often make him an after thought when mentioning the great Raiders teams of the 80s. That and he was seen as taking credit winning with talent established by John Madden.
Along with Jimmy Johnson and George Seifert, Flores has not been inducted into the Hall of Fame despite winning multiple Super Bowls. His personality brought control to a locker room full of characters and for that, he deserves to be remembered.
3. Roger Craig
A versatile back, Roger Craig proved to be the perfect fit at running back for Bill Walsh's west coast offense in San Francisco.
Used primarily as a fullback in his first two seasons, Craig stepped up as the teams running back in 1985. That season he became the first running back in NFL history to rush and receive for 1,000 yards in the same season. His high-knee running style made it difficult for defenders to bring him down. In his career, Craig amassed over 13,000 total yards and 73 touchdowns in 11 seasons.
His late fumble 1990 NFC Championship cost the team a chance at a three-peat. His final three seasons spent in Oakland and Minnesota plus the emergence of Ricky Watters made him an after thought pretty quickly.
Craig's ability to run with power and catch the ball out of the backfield made him the first in a new breed of running backs. Marshall Faulk may have taken it a at further, but the Hall needs to recognize the man who did it first.
2. Jim Marshall
Playing 20 NFL seasons at defensive end, Jim Marshall is footballs Cal Ripken.
As a member of Minnesota's "Purple People Eaters," Marshall was a forceful defensive end who posted an unofficial 127 sacks in 19 years in Minnesota. At one point he held the league record for most games played and games started. He's still holds the NFL record for the most opponents fumbles recovered with 30.
Unfortunately for Marshall, one play can make or break a career. Other than losing dour Super Bowls, Marshall is most famous for his "Wrong Way Run" where he returned an opponents fumble in the wrong direction for a safety.
Despite this one play blunder, Marshall had a stellar 20 year career. One play should not be how he is remembered. With his teammates on the line in Alan Page and Carl Eller already in Canton, its time for Marshall to join them.
1. Jerry Kramer
With all of the Green Bay Packers of the Lombardi era, Jerry Kramer deserves to be represented in Canton as much as anyone.
The staple of the Green Bay offense in the 60s was the Packers sweep and Kramer was the ideal guard for that team. His run blocking paved the way for Hall of Fame running backs Jim Taylor and Paul Hornung. In the 1967 NFL Championship, he made one of the most famous blocks in history paving the way for Bart Starr to score the game winning touchdown. In his 11 seasons, Kramer was named All-Pro fives times, won five NFL championships, and two Super Bowls.
Playing right guard, there isn't a statistic to separate him from skill positions. His skill set was over shadowed by many on his team.
Being named to the league's 50th anniversary team, Kramer is the only member on that team that is not in the Hall of Fame. It is time for him to join his fellow Green Bay offensive linemen in Jim Ringo and Forest Gregg in Canton.