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 Winston Hill of the New York Jets/Los Angeles Rams and two HoF tackles, Bob Brown and Art Shell.
Winston Cordell Hill – Drafted by Baltimore Colts in 11th round, picked up by Jets… Eight-time AFL All-Star/NFL Pro Bowler… Named to numerous all-pro teams… Incredibly durable, missed only 1 game over 15-year career… Overpowering blocker, guarded Joe Namath’s blind side over entire career… Super Bowl III champion… Member of the AFL All-Time Second Team
Robert Stanford “Bob” Brown – First-round draft pick (2nd overall), 1964 draft. . .Aggressive blocker who utilized great size and strength. . .Battled knee injury for much of career. . .Named first-team All-NFL seven times. . .Earned NFL/NFC offensive lineman of the year three times. . .Elected to six Pro Bowls – three with Eagles, two with Rams, and one with Raiders. . . Named to the NFL’s All-Decade team of the 1960s.
Arthur “Art” Shell – No. 3 draft pick, 1968. . .Possessed size, speed, agility, intelligence, strength to be premier offensive tackle. . .Mild-mannered, hard working, great team player. . .Equally adept on running, passing plays. . . Starred in Super Bowl XI vs. Vikings. . . Played in 207 regular-season, 23 post-season games, eight Pro Bowls. . .All-Pro, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977. . . All-AFC six times.
When discussing AFL offensive tackles, Jim Tyrer and Ron Mix are usually the players most thoroughly discussed, while Winston Hill is somehow overlooked. Hill was a workhorse on the Jets line, playing in 195 of 196 games during his 14 seasons in New York. With eight all-star/pro bowl appearances, he matches Mix and falls short to Tyrer by just one. He was also a member of the Jets Super Bowl III team, and fended off a tough Colts defensive charge, and while helping lead Matt Snell to 121 yards rushing. Additionally, Hill excelled in both the pre- and post-merger eras. How is it that this man has never even received a sniff from HoF voters? Thoughts?