Chiefs Who Should Be In Canton


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Jan 22, 2006
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Chiefs Who Should Be In Canton
Aug 06, 2006, 7:46:02 AM by Bob Gretz - FAQ

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RIVER FALLS, WI – On Saturday, six more men joined the Pro Football Hall of Fame during induction ceremonies in Canton, Ohio.

That brought the number of Hall of Fame members to 235.

Check around the league with the 26 teams that were in place when the AFL and NFL merged in 1970, and they can probably name 235 more players and coaches that they feel should also be enshrined. It seems every city has three, four, even five players that have been forgotten or overlooked.

That is most certainly the case with the Chiefs, and we are not talking about just the late Derrick Thomas either. Thomas is now in his third season of eligibility and still has time to gain admission to Canton.

But there are others who’ve worn the red and gold who have been passed over through the years. In this man’s opinion, there are five former Chiefs players that deserve serious consideration for the Hall of Fame. Some have never been finalists for induction, which means their merits have never been discussed in front of the entire voting committee for the Hall.

In order of their qualifications they are:

Comparisons are always hard to make when comparing players from different eras. But when the players are contemporaries, what better way to evaluate players head-to-head. Here are the pertinent numbers comparing non-Hall of Famer Robinson with Hall of Fame safety Larry Wilson.

Wilson was chosen to the All-1960s NFL team. Robinson was named to the AFL’s All-Time team. Wilson led the league in interceptions one year with 10. Robinson led the AFL in interceptions in 1966 and the NFL in 1970 with 10 in each season. Plus, Robinson spent his first two years in the league with the Dallas Texans playing running back/flanker. On top of those interceptions, he has 1,886 offensive yards and 15 touchdowns on that side of the ball.

At least Robinson got consideration: he was a finalist six different years (1980-81-82-83-85-86), but could not gain induction. There’s little doubt that some of the voting in those years was tainted by an AFL bias among the writers who covered the NFL teams.

Robinson can now make the Hall only through the seniors voting. Hopefully, he’ll be given that opportunity in the near future.

The Chiefs former cornerback (1966-78) is easily the most forgotten of Kansas City players who hasn’t gotten a sniff for Hall of Fame induction. He’s been eligible since 1983, but has never been among the 15 finalists for discussion.

And there should be discussion about Thomas. Former AFL defensive backs have been ignored by Hall of Fame voters; only Oakland cornerback Willie Brown and Houston safety Ken Houston have roots in the league.

Thomas’ qualifications match those of other cornerbacks who have gained induction:

At this point, the only way Thomas can make the Hall is through the seniors voting.

Based on the numbers that wide receivers are throwing up today, Taylor’s career numbers pale in comparison:

More recent receivers like Art Monk can’t gain induction and he had 940 career catches for 12,721 yards and 68 touchdowns.

But Taylor’s impact on the Chiefs and the game was far more than numbers. Lynn Swann’s numbers were not among the career leaders, but he got in because of the body of his work. That’s what four Super Bowls will do for a guy. Taylor has the Super Bowl on his side as well: his 46-yard touchdown catch against the Vikings in Super IV. It’s been called the signature play of the franchise by Lamar Hunt.

Taylor played at a different time; in the 1971 he led the NFL in receiving with 1,110 yards on 57 catches. That season he was the only receiver to go over 1,000 yards. That was a time when over five seasons (1971-76) only five receivers had 1,000 yards in a season. Since 1981 in a full-season of play, the league has never had fewer than nine 1,000-yard receivers in each season.

Here’s the worst part of the Taylor story: he became eligible in 1980 and has never once been a finalist for induction. At least once, Otis Taylor and his qualifications should have been given the opportunity in front of the voters.

Now, his only hope is the seniors committee.

They were the foundation of the offensive line during the championship seasons of the Chiefs in the 1960s. Both Tyrer at tackle and Budde at guard were members of the All-Time AFL Team as selected by Hall of Fame voters.

Tyrer played 13 seasons and was named to the AFL-All Star game or Pro Bowl nine times. Budde played 14 seasons and earned seven nominations to the All-Star game or Pro Bowl.

Among AFL offensive linemen Ron Mix, Jim Otto, Gene Upshaw, Art Shell and Billy Shaw have been honored with induction.

Tyrer was a finalist once (1981) and Budde has never been among the last group for consideration. At this point, there only hope is the seniors committee.

There are two others that deserve consideration as well: tight end Fred Arbanas and punter Jerrel Wilson. Arbanas was the tight end on the All-Time AFL Team. In nine seasons, he caught 196 passes for 3,101 yards and 34 touchdowns. He was All-AFL five times and played in both Super Bowl I and IV. Wilson kicked for 15 years with the Chiefs, averaging 43.4 yards per punt, with a net average of 35.4 yards. He was also the punter on the All-Time AFL Team, played in three Pro Bowls and led the AFL or NFL in punting four times, more than any other punter in history. In recent years, campaigns have been mounted in support for induction of former Raiders punter Ray Guy. In 12 seasons with Oakland, Guy averaged 42.5 yards per punt.

The opinions offered in this column do not necessarily reflect those of the Kansas City Chiefs.
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