The Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee has spoken, and unfortunately the Class of 2014 will not include Charles Haley or Eddie DeBartolo. Both were part of the 15-person group of finalists. According to ESPN's Bill Williamson, Haley made it through the first cut down to 10 people, while DeBartolo did not make that cut.
The official the Class of 2014 will include a modern class of LB Derrick Brooks, OT Walter Jones, WR Andre Reed, DE Michael Strahan and CB Aeneas Williams. The senior class will include punter Ray Guy and DL Claude Humphrey.
It remains a shame that Eddie DeBartolo and Charles Haley are not in the Hall of Fame. DeBartolo continues to face a tough task of being a contributor and not a player. While I disagree with his exclusion, I'm not entirely shocked by it. Add in the controversial end of his ownership with the 49ers, and it is even less surprising.
While I am not "shocked" Haley is not in the Hall, I am disappointed. His exclusion strikes me as due almost entirely to beefs some media might have with a guy who was not really a nice guy. The numbers support him as one of the all-time great pass rushers in this league. If you want to talk rings, no HOF player has more. It all comes down to his volatile nature. And yet, after his career, he was diagnosed as being bi-polar. It makes this all the more ridiculous.
And yet, even if media could not stand him as a person, this is not the Hall of "nice guys". This is the Hall of Fame, which is meant to celebrate the entire history of the game. Voter bias and general stupidity has turned Hall of Fame voting in baseball into an absolute farce. Football has done a slightly better job, but when a guy like Haley, viewed by many as the best pass rusher of his time, is not in the Hall of Fame, something is wrong.
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