The Minnesota Vikings have been fortunate in the last few years in terms of Hall of Fame inductees, as Chris Doleman, John Randle, and Randall McDaniel have all been enshrined within the last four years. They were all great players, and they were all well deserving.
So you'll probably think this is my annual screed about the continued snub of The Best Wide Receiver In The History Of The NFL Not Named Jerry Rice, one Cris Carter.
Earlier today, PFT reported that the Hall of Fame announced the two senior veteran candidates this year are former defensive tackle Curley Culp and former linebacker Dave Robinson. Culp played primarily for the Houston Oilers, and Robinson was a key member of the Vince Lombardi era Green Bay Packers.
I have nothing against these guys, and if they are voted in, I will congratulate them for what is a well deserved achievement. Robinson was a little before my time, but I remember Culp--he was a big guy, great player, multi-All Pro.
But in my opinion, neither of these guys should even be in the same sentence with Jim Marshall or Mick Tingelhoff. Why in the name of Bud Grant isn't somebody in the Vikings organization pounding on desks, cussing out somebody on the phone, or putting a horse head in someone's bed about these two guys?
Marshall was the most durable player in NFL history at one of the most demanding positions in football--the defensive line. He never missed a game in Vikings history until his retirement in 1979, was a founding member of one of the most ferocious defenses in NFL history, and started in all four Super Bowls the Vikings appeared in. He played through sprains, breaks, dislocations, concussions, and some of the most brutal weather the NFL had to offer. And he didn't play in a defensive line rotation--he was out there on almost every play, playing at an elite level for over a decade. He might not have been the avsolute best defensive end in the NFL when he played, but he was in the top 5.
Tingelhoff was just as dominant a center as Marshall was a defensive end. I've posted this before, but it's worth posting again. Peter King (who is a Hall of Fame voter, BTW) wrote this about Tingelhoff a few years back:
I have never met the most deserving candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame who is not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But there is Mick Tingelhoff, on the sidelines of Vike practice.
I don't know what to say when we shake hands. He is 65 now, hearty and friendly.
"Great to meet you,'' I say. "An honor. Sorry we haven't put you in the Hall by now.''
"Thank you,'' he says.
I tell him I'm going to write to Rick Gosselin, a respected member of the Seniors Committee, before the Aug. 22 Seniors meeting in Canton, held to pick the two senior candidates for next year. I tell him I will try my best.
Tingelhoff entered the NFL as a free-agent center from Nebraska in 1962. He was the staarting center by the third week of training camp. He started the first preseason gme, the first regular-season game, and then every single pre-, regular- and post-season game in Vikings history for the next 17 years. He made more all-pro teams than any center of all time, including the two centers from his era, Jim Langer and Jim Otto, who are in the Hall.
I am befuddled. He snapped for punts and kicks for 17 years. He played through six finger dislocations, a fully torn calf muscle, a separated shoulder --a nd, remarkably, no broken leg or arm bones and no torn knee ligaments. That he knows of, anyway. There were FULL SEASONS when he did not miss a single play. the Vikings went to four Super Bowls with him anchoring the offensive line.
"Sometimes it bothers me,'' he tells me. "I think I belong. Is it something I did? Or didn't do? I can't figure it out.''
I feel like crap. I tell him I'll try to help
That was written in 2005. Both Tingelhoff and Marshall are in their 70's, and well, let's just say it would be a shame to induct these two great Vikings posthumously.
But that would be better than not at all. Seriously, somebody explain to me how these two aren't in the HOF. And if you try to explain, just stop. Because whatever your reasons are will be completely ridiculous, especially if you try to trot out the "they didn't win a Super Bowl".