AFL Snubbed Again by HoF Seniors Committee

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The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced their Seniors Committee finalists for the HoF Class of 2014 on Wednesday.  Oakland Raiders punter, Ray Guy, and Falcons & Eagles defensive end, Claude Humphrey were given the nod this year.  Once again, a host of worthy AFL candidates were left to “wait ’til next year.”

At this point, I don’t know what to say other than the system is broken and needs to be fixed.  Honestly, I have no problem with Ray Guy.  He is among the top two or three to ever play his position, and truly changed the game during his career.  He has been long overlooked, and is due his moment in the sun.  As for Humphrey, I just shake my head and ask, “why?”

Claude Humphrey was a very good player – some might even say that he was great.  He was a five-time All-Pro, and six-time Pro Bowl member, and was a reckoning at defensive end.  However, he was a Senior Committee nominee in 2009, when he was passed over in a class that consisted of Bruce Smith, Rod Woodson, Ralph Smith, Randall McDaniel, Bob Hayes and Derrick Thomas.  I am wondering what Humphrey has done in the past four years to make him a more worthy candidate than he was back in ’09?  If the answer is nothing, which it undoubtedly is, then why is he given another opportunity at enshrinement when guys like Johnny Robinson, Walt Sweeney, Art Powell, Charlie Hennigan and so many others don’t even get an initial look?  For that matter, what about Packers guard Jerry Kramer, if there truly is an AFL bias?

If the HoF voting didn’t mean so much to the fans of this great game, then I would say that it has become laughable.  But that is not fair – though frankly, neither is the shotty voting, and perhaps, even the process in general.  The AFL featured a whole host of men who not only ran, hit, sweated and bled to make themselves and their teams better, they did that while carrying the burden of playing in a league that sometimes could not even guarantee their paycheck, let alone their season.  These men deserve honest, informed and unbiased voters to weigh their careers and determine their worthiness for induction.  When 20-or-more worthy candidates can be glossed over based on throwaway comments such as “there was no defense in the early years of the AFL,” then it becomes obvious that the voters are simply not interested in putting in the time to truly understand the contributions of the players in question.  And if that is the case, then they should be replaced by someone who will.

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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14 Responses to AFL Snubbed Again by HoF Seniors Committee

  1. Chris Garbarino says:

    Well said Todd!

  2. 1967 says:

    Common fans are not allowed to vote for ‘Pro Football Hall of Fame’ enshrinees, presumably because of the bias/favoritism that would be evidenced. While I have no doubt this is a legitimate concern, what demonstrated distinction exists re: the current ‘pure as the driven snow’ lot of anointed ones voting? Beyond mere title/tenure, what demonstrably makes their mere mortal fan/writer/elector vote any more sacrosanct?


    In essence, what you get is a handful deciding for the majority, a mathematical farce whether the venue be Washington D.C., Canton or Cooperstown, an glorified men’s club – members only – a Supreme Court answering to no one but themselves; that is the essence Hall of Fame voting.

    As for the Seniors Committee, NFL, perhaps a case of having their own senior moments? Though irreverent one-liners reference former players/voters having had one too many their own concussions to cast intelligent votes would be in bad taste, one has to wonder nonetheless based on the annual head scratching that results from those eliminated, or not even considered/nominated at all.

    There must be a better way. If not, then let every man (child and woman) cast votes- it is the American way, right? Can’t muck things up any worse than the present clusterfudge. Why I say, the only Hall of Fame that really matters is the one resides in the hearts & memories of every fan.

    Everyone is biased, none are uninfected by subjectivity. My opine, there is & should be a distinction between a Hall of Famer & a great player, a very good player and an average, etc. In voting practice, good luck locating & applying said distinction. If there were hard & fast guidelines in effect that voters had to abide by, would be better. If such a mechanism is already in effect, I would like the various Hall of Fame voters every sport to elaborate.

    What to think of MLB’s annual All Star voting? It is a farce in my opinion, a glorified popularity contest. “Yes, but it’s for the fans!” comes the cry. If so it’s in essence no different than Hall of Fame voting. So, if what is good for the goose is good for the gander, let them also pick the MLB Hall of Fame enshrinees.

    Why not? Because equity is as hypocri$y of course, and only bends the way which butters the bread, man.

  3. bobbflo says:

    humphrey or sestak…really???? Old Tom may never get his deserved day in canton…and that my friends, is a crying shame!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Rosie says:

    The Hall of Fame Seniors Committee snub of AFL players and Jerry Kramer year after year is jeopardizing the legitimacy of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. For the last several years most of the AFL players snubbed are better than those elected. The Jerry Krmaer snub is a mystery all to itself. How are you named to the NFL’s 50th Anniversary Team and not a Hall of Famer? Everyone else on that team is. Throw in that the backfield that ran the famed Packer Power Sweep [Bart Starr, Jim Taylor and Paul Hornung] are all in the Hall of Fame and neither of the two guards Jerry Kramer and Fuzzy Thurston are not. You have to wonder what the heck is going on? It is time the Pro Football Hall of Fame wakes up.

  5. Howard says:

    I think going forward; anytime a QB or RB is elected, then a Senior candidate should go in along with that new member. Warren Moon and Jim Kelly should have been accompanied by John Robinson and Jim Lynch etc.

    The bias is not only against senior players, it is also to an extent against defensive players. Far too many above average but not great offensive players get in. Troy Aikman, Dan Fouts, Fran Tarkenton, Curtis Martin; all very good, but not in my opinion worthy. But, ultimately my opinion is worth sh**.

  6. Ian says:

    The fact that Johnny Robinson is not in is a joke. His numbers are way better than Larry Wilson who is in the hall. I wish that there was something fans could do to get Johnny in now.

  7. dean boatwright says:

    speaking of things not worth a sh**, that would be the hof voters..all the great ones left out, but yet they vote in trash like sapp,,who’s next..moss…god help us

  8. Charles Oakey says:

    Maybe there should be an American Football League Hall of Fame.

  9. Eddie Arminio says:

    Charles, that’s the best comment I’ve heard in a long time. It will be a one time enshrinement, and it will finally give recognition to a lot of good football players.

  10. Jimax says:

    I’ll never understand HOF voters. In baseball, I ask “if Tony Perez, why not Steve Garvey”. In football it’s “if Larry Wilson, why not Johnny Robinson”. Look at the numbers. Amazing.

  11. Bob says:

    I hope everyone who subscribes to this site also knows about, by Ange Coniglio, an amazing website by the premier AFL historian around.

  12. Billd says:

    the Tex Maule influence lives. Many AFL stars along with Don Coryell should have been in the HOF years ago.

  13. Erik says:

    First off, what a great site this is. I was born in 1967 but have come to respect and love the American Football League.

    What a travesty that so many great AFL stars are snubbed by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The NFL should thank the AFL for the game it is today.

    Great players like Otis Taylor and Charlie Hennigan, among others, DESERVE to be in the Hall of Fame.

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