Monday, February 02, 2004

Hall of Fame

I don't mean to be greedy, but i think the Hall of Fame voters messed up by not selecting L. C. Greenwood. Then they rubbed salt in the wound by voting Carl Eller in.

Only two tackle/end tandems are in the HOF: Merlin Olsen/Deacon Jones and now Alan Page/Carl Eller. Yet the Fearsome Foursome never played in a Superbowl while the Purple Gang were 0-4. One might think that the 4-0 Steel Curtin deserved a second representative more.

Older players like Greenwood are hurt by sportwriters's obsession with statistics. Greenwood's sack totals are unimpressive by current standards (73.5 career, 11 in his best season.) But he played at a time when teams threw much less. In the early 70s teams passed around 360 times a season against him. Now 500 attempts is more common. Greenwood simply had fewer sack opportunities.

Before the game was opened up, the first job of a D-lineman was to stuff the run. No easy matter against guys like Csonka, Earl Campbell, or O. J. SImpson. Greenwood was a much better run stopper than Eller.

In four Super Bowls the Vikings got pushed around; they gave up an average of 215.5 yards rushing. (Franco Harris set a record with 158 yards against them in IX and Oakland piled up 266 yards in XI). In contrast, Pittsburgh held the Vikings to 17 yards on the ground despite having one D-lineman playing with pneumonia and losing two all-pro linebackers in the second half.

Fran Tarkenton said that Eller "was the dominant outside pass rusher of his day.? I guess Tark has blocked out the trauma of having three passes batted back in his face by number 68 in SB IX.

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