Thursday, April 19, 2007

HoF Case for Bledsoe, Part 2

Visitors already know where I stand on this. I acknowledge that Bledsoe is a borderline Hall of Famer, but, based on the history of the quarterbacks enshrined, I would say that he is a HoFer never the less. I hear a lot of people talk about how you can not look at these statistics in a vacuum. In that case, let's not.

I addressed in my last post a number of the statistical let's look at something else that's relevant, Hall of Famer players with whom these players played that might have made the quarterback's job easier - defense, linemen, wide receivers, running backs, etc.

Let's even take a look at some of the current quarterbacks that reports regularly call "future HoFer..."

For the purposes of this I am not going to count Vinatieri (even though his best seasons came with Brady), due to the fact that other deserving kickers have been unable to get enshrined, and until Vinatieri is actually voted in, I will not count a kicker amongst the sure-fire or even likely to make it into Canton.

Let me start by posing the following question - Name more than one sure-fire HoF player that Bledsoe played with for more than a season. The only likely candidate I can come up with for Bledsoe is Curtis Martin. The only wide receiver with a shot? Terrell Owens with whom he spent one season and seldom passed to because (this was from a Dallas newspaper) he hadn't bothered to learn the playbook. So Bledsoe played with one definite. The only other is likely Ty Law.

So let's give him two there.

Tom Brady? Four - For at least one of the Super Bowl runs he had a future HoF in running back Corey Dillon and one and a third for Ty Law, for two of them Rodney Harrison, and in all three, Richard Seymour. Remember, I am going with the players with which HoF gets mentioned.

Peyton Manning? Four, possibly five - Marvin Harrison, Edgerin James, Marshall Faulk, possibly Tarik Glenn and some have even begun to mention Reggie Wayne.

Brett Favre? One - Reggie White.

Dan Marino? One - Dwight Stephenson. And even when Stephenson was gone, Marino had go-to guys Mark Duper and Mark Clayton for multiple seasons, Bledsoe never had the same pair of starters for more than two consecutive seasons.

Troy Aikman? When all is said an done it could be as many as three - Michael Irvin, Emmitt Smith, and there has been talk about Larry Allen.

Dan Fouts? Only one - Kellen Winslow (and Fouts didn't have to jump right in like Bledsoe did - his first season he was able to learn under Johnny Unitas and see how things were done by veterans like Deacon Jones).

Terry Bradshaw? Eight - Lynn Swann, John Stalworth, Joe Greene, Mel Blount, Jack Hamm, Franco Harris, Jack Lambert and Mike Webster.

Joe Montana? Two - Jerry Rice, Ronnie Lott.

Warren Moon? Two - Bruce Matthews, Mike Munchak (and even Earl Campbell for a season...and talk about statistics being aided by longevity - he played in the NFL for 20 seasons not including his work in the CFL).

Jim Kelly? Two - James Lofton, Thurman Thomas.

John Elway? The only quarterback that has none listed with him, although Bob Kuchenberg and Terrell Davis have stirred up debates on it (Kuchenburg making it to the round of 17, and Davis being debated by the actual voters), so I give Elway two.

Almost all of those HoF QB's had HoFers catching their passes. The exceptions? Elway, Moon, Favre and future HoFer, Brady. Of those without a big presence catching the ball, Moon played behind two HoF pass-protectors and Elway played behind one on the verge. So only Brady, Bledsoe and Favre among the above lacked the pass catcher and/or protection that all the other quarterbacks benefited from.

Of the quarterbacks to throw for more than 3000 yards at least nine times in their careers (Bledsoe, Favre, Marino, Manning, and Moon), only Favre has done it while surrounded with less talent on the offensive side of the ball.

So, in the modern era of passing who has done more with less? Very few. You can count on one, maybe two hands tops the quarterbacks who have done more with less than Bledsoe - Favre definitely, maybe Fouts, maybe Moon, Steve Young (who also had Rice and Lott), and Elway, but you're going to be hard pressed to argue that any of the other recent Hall of Fame inductees at quarterback did more to raise mediocre talent to a championship level than Bledsoe.

His one truly talented receiver? The oft injured and and mentally impaired Terry Glenn. His most reliable target? Ben Coates who hasn't even sniffed Canton. Outside of those two, non-Pats fans would have a hard time remembering that Bledsoe's big receivers were less a list of who's who at the position than of who's that with Vincent Brisby, Ray Crittenden, Michael Timpson, and Shawn Jefferson. Even with Montana everyone remembers Gary Clark.

1 comment:

sugarshane024 said...


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