Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com has an interesting article over on the NFC South blog about former Kansas City Chiefs TE Tony Gonzalez and I thought it would be interesting to bring up the topic here. Yasinskas is making an argument that Gonzo should, without question, be voted in tot he Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.
An NFL player is eligible to enter the hall five years after he retires. I had never really given much thought to whether Gonzo would go in during his first year of eligibility. In my opinion he is the greatest tight end to ever play the game so I would think his immediate entrance to the hall would go without saying.
Yasinskas, however, brings up some interesting points that I had never considered.
There are currently just seven tight ends in the Hall of Fame. That number will increase to eight later this summer when Shannon Sharpe is inducted. The mere mention of Sharpe’s name and Hall of Fame voting shows that it’s not a slam-dunk that Gonzalez will go in on the first ballot.
A few years back, Sharpe was in pretty much the same spot Gonzalez will be in. Sharpe retired in 2003 as the holder of virtually every all-time record for tight ends. He also had three Super Bowl rings.
He’s right. As much as I don’t like Shannon Sharpe (for obvious reasons) he was a fantastic TE. There are some that could even make the argument that he should be listed ahead of Gonzo due to his Super Bowl pedigree, though I disagree. The point is that, for whatever reason, there seems to be a bias against certain positions in the Hall of Fame voting process.
The whole thing is kind of absurd. If you are the absolute greatest to ever play your position, you should go into the hall as soon as possible, whether you played tight end or punter. Still, these unwritten rules seem to exist and could hold up Tony’s entrance into infamy.
Thus, I have two questions for you.
1. Should Tony Gonzalez be a first ballot Hall of Famer?
2. Will he retire a Falcon or a Chief?
I know that he alluded to the fact that he would like to retire a Chief when he was traded away, however things could change, especially if he were to win a Super Bowl with the Falcons. What do you guys think?