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Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2010 Announcement - The case for Roger Craig

Fooch's Note: We've created a new post for Jerry Rice's selection.

At 2:00pm pacific today, the NFL will announce the 2010 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinees.  The announcements will be broadcast live on the NFL Network.  Once we know who has made it we'll get additional posts up.  We know Jerry Rice will make it.  The big question mark is Roger Craig, who is a semifinalist for the second time since he first became eligible ten years ago.

Over the course of his 11 year career, Roger Craig put together a very solid, although maybe not "spectacular" body of work.  He finished with 13,100 total yards from scrimmage, which included 8,189 rushing yards and 4,911 receiving yards.  I would argue he was Marshall Faulk and Ladanian Tomlinson, before those two ever came along.  In saying that, I mean that he was an all-purpose weapon that was a critical component of his team's offense, in this case the West Coast offense.

I did some searches at Pro Football Reference (I think I'm addicted to their search function) and came up with a few numbers and rankings I thought I'd throw out there.  His career rushing numbers rank him 36th all-time.  Not fantastic, but still ahead of Hall of Famers Larry Csonka and Leroy Kelly.  If you take a look at his career total yards from scrimmage, he ranks 35th all-time.  He is ahead of Hall of Famers like Art Monk, Charlie Joyner, Michael Irvin, Joe Perry, and Lenny Moore among many others.

If you're talking titles, he finished with 3 Super Bowl titles and was an important component of all three title runs.  If you're looking to compare him with other running backs of his era, he had two of the top eleven single seasons for total yards from scrimmage.  Part of the problem in assessing his candidacy is the fact that he was often overshadowed by teammates like Joe Montana and Jerry Rice.  Additionally, because of his all-around game, his rushing totals were not always monstrous.  He put up 1,502 yards in 1988, but other than that he only had a pair of 1,000 yard seasons.  Hopefully the committee will acknowledge his all around brilliance and honor him as a Hall of Famer.

After the jump we have the complete list of semifinalists.

Cliff Branch, WR – 1972-1985 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders

Tim Brown, WR/KR – 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Cris Carter, WR – 1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins

Don Coryell, Coach – 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers

Roger Craig, RB – 1983-1990 San Francisco 49ers, 1991 Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-93 Minnesota Vikings

Terrell Davis, RB – 1995-2001 Denver Broncos

Dermontti Dawson, C – 1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers

Richard Dent, DE – 1983-1993, 1995 Chicago Bears, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1996 Indianapolis Colts, 1997 Philadelphia Eagles

Chris Doleman, DE/LB – 1985-1993, 1999 Minnesota Vikings, 1994-95 Atlanta Falcons, 1996-98 San Francisco 49ers

Kevin Greene, LB/DE – 1985-1992 Los Angeles Rams, 1993-95 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1996, 1998-99 Carolina Panthers, 1997 San Francisco 49ers

Russ Grimm, G – 1981-1991 Washington Redskins

Ray Guy, P – 1973-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders

Charles Haley, DE/LB – 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys

Lester Hayes, CB – 1977-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders

Rickey Jackson, LB – 1981-1993 New Orleans Saints, 1994-95 San Francisco 49ers

Cortez Kennedy, DT – 1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks

Art Modell, Owner – 1961-1995 Cleveland Browns, 1996-2003 Baltimore Ravens

John Randle, DT – 1990-2000 Minnesota Vikings, 2001-03 Seattle Seahawks

Andre Reed, WR – 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins

Jerry Rice, WR – 1985-2000 San Francisco 49ers, 2001-04 Oakland Raiders, 2004 Seattle Seahawks

Shannon Sharpe, TE – 1990-99, 2002-03 Denver Broncos, 2000-01 Baltimore Ravens

Emmitt Smith, RB – 1990-2002 Dallas Cowboys, 2003-04 Arizona Cardinals 

Paul Tagliabue, Commissioner – 1989-2006 National Football League

Steve Tasker, Special Teams/WR – 1985-86 Houston Oilers, 1986-1997 Buffalo Bills

Aeneas Williams, CB/S – 1991-2000 Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals, 2001-04 St. Louis Rams