Will Easley, Tagliabue and Jones survive Hall of Fame vote?
(Jerry Jones photo courtesy of Dallas Cowboys)
(Kenny Easley photo courtesy Seattle Seahawks)
Talk of Fame Network
The Pro Football Hall of Fame made big news this week, and our Talk of Fame Network hosts were right in the middle of it.
On Monday, co-host Ron Borges joined four other members of the Hall’s senior committee in Canton, Ohio to debate the 15 2017 Hall-of-Fame finalists from the senior pool. They finally settled on nominating former Seattle Seahawks' safety Kenny Easley for induction next February.
That elated Ron’s co-host and fellow senior committee member Rick Gosselin, who has campaigned for years to get another safety admitted to the Hall. The last game played by a pure safety in the Hall of Fame was 36 years ago, when Ken Houston retired after the 1980 season.
Easley is a former NFL Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and all-decade performer whom Ronnie Lott once called on the Talk of Fame Network “the best safety who ever lived.’’ Lott should know, and so should former Pro Bowl pass rusher Jacob Green, who played with Easley in Seattle.
“He was unbelievable on the football field,’’ Green said on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast. “He’s extremely deserving.’’
(Paul Tagliabue photo courtesy of Talk of Fame)
He was also extremely intimidating, a player who protected the middle with a ferocity not seen today with the emphasis on player safety and controlled tackling.
“No question he’d be in NFL prison if he played today,’’ Green joked. “He’d be broke. He’d be fined for every tackle. He’d be called for a personal foul for hitting too hard.’’
A day after Easley's selection, the Hall’s contributors committee met, with Rick in attendance. After debating 10 finalists, the committee settled on two nominees, Dallas owner Jerry Jones and former commissioner Paul Tagliabue. This is the fourth time Tagliabue has been a finalist and the first for Jones.
Like Easley, to gain admission to the Hall both must gain 80 percent of the vote of 48 selectors when they meet Feb. 4, 2017.
The Talk of Fame Network this week also kicks off a four-week series on high school football, focusing on former NFL players now giving back to the game by coaching high-school players. First up is former New England Patriots' quarterback Drew Bledsoe, who followed in the footsteps of his father, Mac, a high school coach in Washington who coached both Drew and his brother Adam.
Drew has coached several of his own sons as offensive coordinator at Summit High School in Bend, Ore. Summit won the state championship last year with one Bledsoe quarterbacking the team, another hauling in passes and a third calling the plays from the sidelines.
“It’s so much fun working with these kids,’’ Bledsoe said, adding that the real joy is watching boys develop into more confident young men as they learn to work together toward achieving team-oriented goals.
Historian John Turley of Pro Football Journal also makes his monthly visit to discuss sacks before they were a recognized statistic and who had most of them, while our Hall-of-Fame guys debate the merits of a contributor ans senior candidates not nominated -- including Green Bay Packers’ guard, Jerry Kramer.
The two-hour show can be heard on 80 SB Nation radio affiliates around the country as well as on the show’s iTunes podcast by simply going to talkoffamenetwork.com and clicking on the microphone icon. The show can also be accessed using the TuneIn app.