Sam and I had an interesting conversation about a number of players and whether or not they would make it into the Hall of Fame if they were to retire right now. A few were no-brainers, like Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison, and it looks like LaDainian Tomlinson would probably be a shoo-in as well.
But no-brainers are no fun. So we encountered a few that we weren't too sure about, and I figured I'd open it up for debate.
First, Donovan McNabb.
His career QB rating is 85.2, and he sports a 152-72 TD to INT ratio. He is, in fact, the 2nd least intercepted quarterback in NFL history (Neil O'Donnell is #1, though, so don't know how much to take that into account). He has accumulated 22,000 passing yards, an average about about 3,400 per full season.
But that's part of McNabb's problem. Only three times in his eight-year career has he played all 16 games, which means that his individual seasons haven't been that impressive. He's got three seasons with 20 or more passing TDs, and four with 3,000+ passing yards.
Not helping McNabb's cause is his playoff history. He's had more 3 INT games (2) than 3 TD games (1). That's not to say he hasn't had his moments in the playoffs. 4th and 26 comes to mind, a game in which he threw for 248 yards and ran for 107 more. But he'll be best remembered for his failure in the Super Bowl against the Patriots when the Eagles offense inexplicably chose to not convert to a 2-minute offense, essentially throwing away the game. While most people attribute Terrell Owens' comments about McNabb being "tired" during that last drive to Owens' distaste for his (now former) teammate, you have to wonder if there's some truth to it. Every fan across the country knew it was crunch time, but the Eagles putzed along like they had all day.
In the end, we both agreed: as of right now, McNabb is out of the Hall.
Next, we viewed Torry Holt.
Holt was drafted the same year as McNabb, so the equal time under their belts makes this a slightly easier comparison. He's got 64 TDs, an average of 8 per season since his debut in 1999. He's picked up yardage by the ton, with two seasons of over 100 yards/game. Additionally, over the past four years, he's picked up at least 9 TDs and at least 1150 yards.
One advantage Holt has over McNabb is that he does, in fact, have a Super Bowl ring. Additionally, he was a crucial part of his team's success, one of the main pieces of the "Greatest Show on Turf." However, while Holt was an important part, he wasn't even the #1 receiver on that team. So while his statistics are impressive recently, his team's success, a strong determining factor in the eyes of many NFL Hall of Fame voters, has been minimal while he's been "the man."
Holt was also the fastest in NFL history to reach 10,000 receiving yards, so he's certainly at the very least on pace for a Hall of Fame career. But again, Sam and I agreed that, were he to retire today, Torry Holt would not make the Hall of Fame.
Finally, we reviewed Shaun Alexander.
Alexander was drafted in 2000, but as a running back, has likely completed more of his career than either McNabb or Holt. Alexander has been a touchdown machine, scoring 16, 18, 16, 20, and 28 from 2001-2005. He missed 6 games last year due to injury and scored only 7 touchdowns, and his yards per carry was down to a career-low 3.6, from 5.1 the previous season. He has 96 rushing TDs, and 107 total for his career.
He held the single-season rushing touchdown record....for a year.
While Alexander has been an outstanding producer for 5+ years, again, Sam and I both believe that he would need to add to his career statistics to justify a spot in the Hall of Fame.
In the comments for this post, give your input on these three players, whether you agree or disagree, and suggest other borderline players who you'd like to debate. I'm happy to look at stats and pass judgment on people far more athletic than me.
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