The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2018 was announced on the eve of the Super Bowl, and many San Francisco 49ers fans were pleased to see that Terrell Owens finally made it in after a couple years of silly snubbing. In addition, we found out that John Lynch, not a former 49ers player but the current 49ers general manager, did not make it.
Looking forward to 2019, it’s not the most crowded year, and probably one where Lynch can get in. I personally think Lynch should already be in, and it would have been great to see two players at all three positions that went in this year.
Either way, the 49ers don’t have any significant connections to 2019 first-year eligible players. Nnamdi Asomugha, longtime Oakland Raiders cornerback, will be eligible and spent the 2013 season with the 49ers, but that’s it.
Meanwhile, that class does have some big names, including former Kansas City Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez and former Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed, both of whom I believe will make it as first-ballot Hall of Famers. Cornerback Champ Bailey is a player I also think should make it from the first-year eligibles, though I could see it taking a bit longer.
But 2020 is where it gets really interesting for the 49ers, because one of their greatest-ever players will be eligible ... Carlos Rogers!
OK, that was a joke. Rogers is eligible, but I’m talking about linebacker Patrick Willis. The argument against him is that his career was short, but he packed as much success in those years as Brian Urlacher did in a much longer career. Willis has the awards and the stats to back it up, but I bet the Hall will keep him out.
Then there’s Justin Smith, a player I also think is deserving of making it. Some have joked in the past about their being a “workman” Hall of Fame, and I think that’s a stupid idea. Players can have value in so many different ways, and Smith was the absolute best at what he did.
That class also has Maurice Jones-Drew, Reggie Wayne, and Troy Polamalu.