Tough HOF Picks

Peter King ponders an interesting bunch--Phil Simms, Ken Anderson, Albert Lewis, Cliff Branch, and most interesting of all (to me at least) Albert Lewis, and Lester Hayes. I actually thought Hayes was already in, but I was confusing him with his mate, the great Mike Haynes. I like to see Hayes, and Lewis, get in. How can you keep out a Star Wars fan who played cornerback, and dubbed himself The One True Jedi?

Related--Cold Hard Football Facts makes the case for an underrated Ken Anderson:

The fact that Dan Fouts and Warren Moon are in the Hall of Fame and Ken Anderson is not stands as the greatest injustice to hit Canton since England sedated half of China during the Opium Wars.
 
Anderson is a first-ballot Hall of Famer who history has forgotten in favor of lesser performers like Fouts, Moon, even Jim Kelly, among others.
 
This guy was awesome - certainly Hall of Fame-caliber awesome - and certainly more awesome than Fouts or Moon.
 
For example, let's have a little pop quiz: Who led the league in passer rating four times, Anderson, Fouts or Moon?
 
If you guessed Anderson, you're right! In fact, Fouts or Moon never led the league in passer rating. Anderson accomplished this feat in 1974, 1975, 1981 and 1982.
 
To put those numbers into perspective, consider that only Sammy Baugh and Steve Young led the league more often in passer rating (six times each).
 
But those historic numbers tell only part of the story.
 
Anderson's 81.68 career passer rating is second among multi-era players, behind only the great Roger Staubach. He even holds the single-season record for completion percent (70.6) - though the fact he set it in the strike-shortened, nine-game 1982 season makes it jump out as a clear statistical outlier. Still, he did it.
Clearly a conspiracy to slight white quarterbacks. The media was very desirous that Warren Moon be in the Hall. All jokes aside, CHFF is right about Anderson's numbers. He was at the tail-end of his career when I started watching football, so I only barely remember him.

That can be good and bad. Warren Moon was awesome--but I remember him being more awesome than his numbers actually are. I always wonder what he would have been had the NFL not tried to make receiver out of him. He spent his best years in Canada. Reminds me of Satchel Paige.

I love Warren for that game when he was like 50 yards away from breaking Joe Namath's Norm Van Brocklin's all-time record for yardage. He did it against a Chiefs secondary that was one of the greatest of its era (Lewis, Deron Cherry etc.) But by the fourth quarter, the game was over and Moon sat out. The next day, a lot of black folks were pissed because here was this brother who'd declined to break The White Man's record. But Moon said he didn't want to be out there just piling up yardage, he wanted it to happen in the flow of the game. I was mad at him at the time. But a few years later I got it.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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