The power of the Cold, Hard Football Facts took another leap forward with the announcement Saturday of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2008.
The six-member class (see the whole list below) includes four defensive players. It's the largest class of two-platoon-era defenders in Hall of Fame history.
And perhaps it's mere coincidence, but the historic tide of defensive players inducted into the Hall comes just one year after the Cold, Hard Football Facts brought to the attention of voters the gross disparity between the way they treat offensive and defensive players. (See our discussion with HOF voters here.)
The shocking news for these voters was that they historically inducted offensive players into Canton at a rate of nearly 2 to1 over defensive players, and greater than 3 to 1 among Live Ball Era players. Let's hope that the Class of 2008 begins to rectify the situation.
But there's certainly still work to do. The count of Modern Era Hall of Famers now stands at 111 offensive players and 67 defensive players. Among players who spent their entire NFL careers in the Live Ball Era, the count is now 21 offensive players and 8 defensive players. Former Redskins cornerback Darrell Green, for example, is just the second (yes, 2nd) Live Ball Era defensive back to enter Canton. The other is Ronnie Lott.
Like we said, folks, the Hall of Fame election committee still has years of work ahead before it can right the wrongs of the past 45 years (the first class was inducted in 1963). But the Class of 2008 is a nice start.
The Class of 2008 looks like this:
Fred Dean, DE, San Diego 1975-81; San Francisco 1981-85
Was one of the marquee defensive players for San Francisco's first two Super Bowl champions and led the NFL with 17.5 sacks in 1983. His career sack totals are unknown, as it was not an official stat until 1982.
Darrell Green, CB, Washington 1983-2002
He played two decades in the NFL and, at the peak of his powers in the late 1980s and early 1990s, was perhaps the league's dominant player at his position. He's a members of the NFL's 1990s All-Decade Team.
Art Monk, WR, Washington, 1980-1993; N.Y. Jets 1994; Philadelphia 1995
Clearly the most controversial member of the Class of 2008. Monk played in just three Pro Bowls. He won three Super Bowls with the Redskins and appeared in one other. But he was not the leading receiver on any of those four teams. There are probably 50 Art Monk-caliber defensive players who will never sniff the Hall of Fame
Emmitt Thomas, CB, Kansas City 1966-78
Thomas is the fourth defender from the 1969 Super Bowl champion Chiefs inducted into Canton, joining Bobby Bell (a member of the CHFF All-Time 11), Buck Buchanan and Willie Lanier.
Andre Tippett, LB, New England 1982-93
The Cold, Hard Football Facts led the charge to get the great linebacker into the Hall of Fame, first stacking up his career against Lawrence Taylor's two years ago, and then inducting Tippett into our debut Hall of Awesome in 2007.
Gary Zimmerman, OT, Minnesota 1986-92; Denver 1993-97
Another original member of the Cold, Hard Football Facts Hall of Awesome. Zimmerman is a no-brainer as a HOF inductee, as a member of both the 1980s and 1990s All-Decade teams (which are voted on by the same Hall of Fame induction committee).
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