Can you choose the 10 best AFL players not in Canton? Our voters will
The AFL is woefully underrepresented in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, with only 14 of 48 members of its All-Time club -- first and second teams -- enshrined. So we decided to do something about it.
We're going make a Call for the Hall.
Meaning? Meaning that in the next three weeks we will name the 10 best AFL players missing from Canton and hope that maybe, just maybe, we can push some of them toward Ohio.
How? Good question. We formed a panel of 15 voters to determine the Top Ten regardless of position. The selectors are a group of Hall-of-Fame selectors, NFL and AFL historians, league personnel and one Hall-of-Fame player ... and they're on the clock beginning today.
Over the next three weeks they will cut today's preliminary list of 52 candidates to the AFL's 10 best choices for Canton -- with the hope that some of the names gain the attention of the Hall's senior committee.
Before we get to the details, let's make sure you understand something: Though there are Hall-of-Fame voters involved, this has nothing to do with Canton ... is in no way sanctioned by Canton ... and is purely an exercise of this website, talkoffamenetwork.com.
However, it is our way of drawing attention to AFL luminaries who deserve it, yet somehow escaped the notice of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Now let's get started.
As I said, there are 15. They include five members of the Hall's senior committee -- John McClain, Ira Miller, Ira Kaufman, Rick Gosselin and Ron Borges. They also include five historians: John Turney of Pro Football Journal, Todd Tobias of talesfromtheamericanfootballleague.com, Chris Willis of NFL Films, author and former coach T.J. Troup and Ken Crippen, president of Professional Football Researchers Association. In addition, we have former Denver public relations director Jim Saccomano; former Kansas City Chiefs' assistant PR director Doug Kelly; Elliott Harrison of NFL Network, former Rams' executive Bob Wallace and Hall-of-Fame lineman Art Shell. Six of the individuals were part of the Hall's Blue Ribbon Panel that chose the 2020 Centennial Class.
Voters will choose 20 finalists from our preliminary list by next Wednesday, June 10, and, as mentioned, their choices are regardless of position. They simply choose the 20 most qualified.
Granted, there are significantly more offensive players (31) than defensive choices (19), but the list was compiled after suggestions by voters and readers.
Selectors will then be presented the group of 20 finalists and charged with naming the 10 best by Wednesday, June 24. Afterward, they will be asked to choose the one player missing from the Top Ten that they would have liked included.
You may notice the field grew slightly since it was published last week. That's because I invited nominations from readers and gained six that we've included -- running backs Mike Garrett and Matt Snell; wide receivers Gary Garrison and George Sauer, Jr.; tight end Billy Cannon and safety Jim Kearney. That increased the number of candidates from 46 to 52 and made the choices more difficult for our voters.
So who are the candidates? Keep reading.
QB – John Hadl (San Diego, 1962-72; L.A. Rams, 1973-74; Green Bay, 1974-75; Houston 1976-77), Jack Kemp (L.A./SanDiego, 1960-62; Buffalo 1962-69), Daryle Lamonica (Buffalo 1963-66; Oakland 1967-74).
RB – Clem Daniels (Dallas, 1960; Oakland, 1961-67; San Francisco, 1968), Cookie Gilchrist (Buffalo, 1962-64; Denver, 1965, 1967; Miami, 1966), Mike Garrett (Kansas City, 1966-70; San Diego, 1970-73), Abner Haynes (Dallas/Kansas City, 1960-64; Denver, 1965-66; Miami, 1967; N.Y. Jets, 1967), Keith Lincoln (San Diego, 1961-66, 1968; Buffalo, 1967-68) Paul Lowe (L.A./San Diego, 1960-68), Kansas City, 1968-69); Jim Nance ( Boston/New England, 1965-71; N.Y. Jets, 1973), Matt Snell (N.Y. Jets, 1964-72).
WR – Chris Burford (Dallas/Kansas City, 1960-67), Gino Cappelletti (Boston, 1960-70), Elbert Dubenion (Cleveland, 1959, Buffalo, 1960-68), Gary Garrison (San Diego, 1966-76; Houston, 1977) Charlie Hennigan (Houston, 1960-66), Art Powell (Philadelphia, 1959; New York Titans, 1960-62; Oakland, 1963-66; Buffalo, 1967; Minnesota, 1968), Lionel Taylor (Chicago, 1959; Denver, 1960-66; Houston, 1967-68), George Sauer, Jr. (N.Y. Jets, 1965-70), Otis Taylor (Kansas City, 1965-75), Warren Wells (Detroit, 1964, Oakland, 1967-70), .
TE – Fred Arbanas (Dallas/Kansas City, 1962-70), Billy Cannon (Houston, 1960-63; Oakland 1964-69; Kansas City, 1970), Dave Kocourek (L.A./San Diego, 1960-65; Miami, 1966; Oakland, 1967-68).
OT – Jim Tyrer (Dallas/Kansas City, 1961-73; Washington, 1974), Ernie Wright (L.A./San Diego Chargers, 1960-67; Cincinnati, 1968-71; San Diego, 1972).
OG – Ed Budde (Kansas City, 1963-76), Wayne Hawkins (Oakland, 1960-69), Walt Sweeney (San Diego, 1963-73; Washington 1974-75), Bob Talamini (Houston, 1960-67; N.Y. Jets, 1968).
C – Jon Morris (Boston/New England, 1964-74; Detroit, 1975-77; Chicago, 1978).
DT – Houston Antwine (Boston/New England, 1961-71; Philadelphia, 1972), Tom Keating (Buffalo, 1964-65, Oakland, 1966-67, 1969, 1970-72; Pittsburgh, 1973; Kansas City, 1974-75), Ernie Ladd (San Diego, 1961-65, Houston, 1966, Kansas City, 1967-68), Tom Sestak (Buffalo, 1962-68).
DE – Earl Faison (San Diego, 1961-66; Miami, 1966), Rich Jackson (Oakland, 1966; Denver, 1967-72; Cleveland 1972), Ike Lassiter (Denver, 1962-64; Oakland, 1965-69; Boston/New England, 1970-71), Jerry Mays (Dallas/Kansas City, 1961-70), Gerry Philbin (N.Y. Jets, 1964-72, Philadelphia 1973).
LB – Dan Conners (Oakland, 1964-74), Larry Grantham (N.Y. Titans/Jets. 1960-72), E.J.Holub (Dallas/Kansas City, 1961-70), Mike Stratton (Buffalo, 1962-72; San Diego, 1973), George Webster (Houston, 1967-72, Pittsburgh, 1972-73; New England, 1974-76).
CB – Butch Byrd (Buffalo, 1964-70, Denver, 1971), Dave Grayson (Dallas Cowboys, 1961; Dallas/Kansas City, 1961-64, Oakland, 1965-70).
S – Goose Gonsoulin (Denver, 1960-66; San Francisco, 1967), Jim Kearney (Detroit, 1965-66; Kansas City, 1967-75; New Orleans, 1976), George Saimes (Buffalo, 1963-69; Denver 1970-72).
SPECIAL TEAMS (2)
P – Jerrel Wilson (Kansas City, 1963-77; New England, 1978).
PK – Jim Turner (N.Y. Jets, 1964-70; Denver, 1971-79).