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 Johnny Robinson of the Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs, and two HoF defensive backs, Larry Wilson and Willie Wood.
Johnny Nolan Robinson…First-round draft choice of the Texans in 1960… Played first two seasons at halfback… One of just 20 men to play all 10 years of AFL…Six-times AFL All-Star and First Team All-Pro… 57 career interceptions, twice led the league…Had interception and fumble recovery in Super Bowl IV, despite playing with three broken ribs…Three-time AFL champion, 1970 super bowl champion…Member of All-Time AFL First Team.
Larry Frank Wilson. . .Two-way star at Utah, No. 7 draft pick, 1960. . . Cat-like defender, exceptional team leader. . . Became NFL’s top free safety, made “safety blitz” famous. . . All-NFL six times. . . Played in eight Pro Bowl games. . .Had steals in seven straight games, led NFL interceptors, 1966. . .Once intercepted pass with both hands in casts. . . Had 52 career interceptions.
William Vernell “Willie” Wood. . .Signed as free agent, 1960. . .Soon developed into premier free safety. . .Played in six NFL championships, Super Bowls I, II, eight Pro Bowls. . .All-NFL six times. . .50-yard interception return key play in Super Bowl I. . . Career record: 48 interceptions, 699 yards, 2 TDs; 187 punt returns, 1,391 yards, 2 TDs. . .Led NFL in punt returns (1961), interceptions (1962).
Johnny Robinson is perhaps the most egregious AFL omission from the pro football hall of fame. He was a dominant defense back, and a leader of a very tough Kansas City defense. Johnny Robinson’s career spans nearly the exact same period as Wilson and Wood, and despite his playing 1960 & 1961 on offense, Robinson’s numbers are still much better! Truly, there is no legitimate reason for Robinson to have no been enshrined in Canton long ago. Thoughts?