We follow our gut feelings and narrow down the field of 17 to the best five options for this year's induction.
GS: It's Hall of Fame voting day. I think we can agree we would like Gene Upshaw voted out on the he's-a-chucklehead ticket. But who should we put in?
JR: Seeing as how I couldn't get enough people to support Bert Blyleven for baseball's Hall of Fame, I'm switching parties and nominating him for football's Hall of Fame.
GS: Isn't Bert already in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame from his work with the Drifters?
JR: Yeah, but he declined after he found out the Bee Gees were also being inducted. Okay, let's play our usual game of Hall of Fame survivor. There are 17 finalists this year. I'm voting off three. Marshall Goldberg, because I never heard of him. Paul Tagliabue, because I have heard of him. Russ Grimm, because I need a third.
GS: As I remember, either we were lousy at this game last year, or the selection committee was. I'll vote off Randy Gradishar, Emmitt Thomas and Andre Reed. There are better players on the list.
JR: That leaves 11, far too many. I'm whacking Fred Dean and Bob Kuechenberg. And if you've lopped off Reed, then I'm saying pfffft to Art Monk.
GS: Ouch. I was really hoping this would be the magic year for Monk, who fits my description of a Hall of Famer. Dean, too. I guess my next three omissions would be Richard Dent, Gary Zimmerman and Randall McDaniel, three fine football players.
JR: I know I'm more stat-obsessed than you, but why Monk and not Reed? Reed's numbers were better across the board and he had more than double the number of Pro Bowls.
GS: Like a lot of these things, it's a gut feeling. The Bills threw so much, the stats are out of whack. But with Cris Carter on the ballot, I'm not sure another receiver is going to get in.
JR: So, according to our considerable guts, the feeling is Carter, Darrell Green, Ray Guy, Derrick Thomas and Andre Tippett are the best of this year's class. I'm not sure about Tippett, but I feel pretty good about the rest of that list. How about you?
GS: I covered the AFC East when Tippett played, and he was a heck of a player. I feel good about it. But the voters didn't vote for Guy or Thomas last year. Did you ever figure out why?
JR: Either they're not as smart as us, or there is a vast chicken wing conspiracy to make us look foolish. Not that we need any help.