A Hall of Fame Comparison – BOB TALAMINI

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autographed 1964 topps bob talamini

#085 – Bob Talamini

There is a feeling among AFL fans that the American Football League players are consistently overlooked for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  In truth there are many players, the bulk of whose careers were spent in the AFL, that deserve serious consideration, if not outright induction.  In an effort to spark some discussion regarding their hall of fame worthiness, I will occasionally compare AFL players to their NFL (and Hall of Fame) counterparts. The short biographies on the NFL players have been taken directly from the Pro Football Hall of Fame website.

Today’s comparison is between Bob Talamini of the Houston Oilers and New York Jets, and two HoF offensive guards, Gene Hickerson and Tom Mack.

Robert Guy “Bob” Talamini – 1960 draft choice of the Houston Oilers…  Earned his starting position as a rookie, and played in all 126 regular season games during his career…  Named to six AFL All-Star games…  Named All-AFL seven times (6 first team, 1 second team)…Three-time AFL champion, and Super Bowl III champion…

Robert Eugene “Gene” Hickerson – Selected as future choice by Browns, 1957 draft … A tackle in college, shifted to guard as a rookie to better utilize speed … Lead blocker for three Hall of Fame running backs – Jim Brown, Bobby Mitchell, and Leroy Kelly … All-NFL five consecutive seasons, 1966-1970 … Voted to six straight Pro Bowls … Browns posted 1,000-yard rusher in 9 of Hickerson’s first 10 seasons, featured league’s leading rusher seven times …

Thomas Lee “Tom” MackRams’ first round draft pick, second player overall in 1966 NFL draft. . .One of only two rookies on veteran-laden team. . . Earned starting role as rookie and held left guard position for next 13 seasons. . .Extremely durable, never missed a game during 184-game career. . .Named to 11 Pro Bowls. . .All-NFL five times. . . All-Western Conference once, All-NFC eight times…

There are not a lot of offensive guards that have been voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, so it is difficult to find comparisons from the proper era.  However, I think that Bob Talamini matches up very favorably against these two, especially against Hickerson.  While the Browns had one of the top running games in the NFL, Talamini’s Oilers were often tops in the AFL in passing.  Thoughts?

Todd Tobias (781 Posts)

Todd Tobias's interest in the American Football League began in 1998, when he wrote my master's thesis about Sid Gillman. He created this site to educate and entertain football fans with the stories of the American Football League, 1960-1969. You can follow Todd and get more AFL history on Twitter @TalesfromtheAFL.

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7 Responses to A Hall of Fame Comparison – BOB TALAMINI

  1. Kevin Carroll says:

    Bob Talamini was an outstanding guard throughout his eight seasons with the Oilers and his Super Bowl season with the Jets. His Oiler teammates and coaches claimed that Talamini had a great work ethic; always giving 100% in both games and practices. Teammate Jerry Helluin said, “Bob picked up the fundamentals and physical aspects of the game as quickly as anyone whoever played in the Houston organization.” He had some legendary battles with Charger Ernie Ladd. Although only 225 pounds when he started his pro career, teammate Dan Lanphear remembers, “Talamini was all muscle, and when he came to block you, he came growling!”
    A key player in the Jets march to the world championship,Talamini retired from football after that Super Bowl season because the New York management refused to give him a $3,000 raise. Upon learning that, Jets quarterback Joe Namath supposedly said, “Heck, I’d have paid him the three grand myself to have him come back for another season.”
    A great player – very deserving of H.O.F. consideration.

  2. Howard says:

    This guy seems like s shoo in. If you compare his All-Pro type career with Mack and Hickerson. I’ve long argued that any AFL player who was All-AFL for three or more seasons should be automatically inducted into the HOF.

  3. lin butler says:

    thier are a lot of great players that played afl and never played in the nfl before they merged. but pro football is pro football, so why don’t they honor these guys, hadl played in both, im not sure bout kieth lincoln but he needs to be honored by the hall of fame, after all afl did merge so why should’nt they honor them.

  4. Tom says:

    If statistics mattered Keith Lincoln would have gotten the Canton call before Bambi. Lincoln is the single big play leader the AFL produced, if you don’t beleive me…look it up. Talamini like Plunkett and Johnny Sample belong in Canton.


  6. Robin Talamini Campbell says:

    I just want to say THIS is my Dad & I would love to some how…some way get him nominated for induction.
    I know it has been 45years BUT he was an awesome athlete, a fantastic person & I am lucky enough to call him ‘Dad’!

  7. Andy Stewart says:

    I was 12 in New York when the Jets won the Super Bowl. Bob Talamini was one the 2-3 best players on that team. Namath had great protection and Matt Snell had nice-size holes to run through. Talamini is deserving HOFer.

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