Clark Judge
Clark Judge
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Is the Steelers' Mike Tomlin on a path that could lead to Canton? It sure looks like it

Is the Steelers' Mike Tomlin on a path that could lead to Canton? It sure looks like it

When people today talk about NFL coaches on a Hall-of-Fame trajectory, they start with Bill Belichick, move to Andy Reid and might throw in a Pete Carroll or Sean Payton. Fair enough. Nine Lombardi Trophies and 15 Super Bowl appearances are in there.But how come almost nobody includes the Steelers' Mike Tomlin?He’s won a Super Bowl like Reid, Carroll and Payton. He’s been to two, like Carroll. And he’s never had a losing season … unlike Reid, Carroll, Payton and Belichick. You can look it up. In 14 NFL seasons of head coaching he never finished worse than 8-8.Unusual? Nope. More like...

Apr 21
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State Your Case: Why Canton's doors should be open now to 49ers' George Seifert

State Your Case: Why Canton's doors should be open now to 49ers' George Seifert

George Seifert hasn’t been on the Hall-of-Fame radar since he left the NFL following the 2001 season. But he should be now, and here’s why.Tom Flores.He was just elected to the Hall’s Class of 2021 as the first coaching candidate, and good for him. He’s deserving. He was the first Hispanic head coach to win a Super Bowl (he won two), and he compiled an 83-53 record -- including 8-3 in the playoffs -- with the Raiders.But if Tom Flores qualifies, why not Seifert?The easy answer is: Because he wasn’t a social pioneer like Flores. Except that isn’t a necessary qualification for election to...

Mar 2
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Historian's message to Hall voters for the Class of 2022: "Respect the queue"

Historian's message to Hall voters for the Class of 2022: "Respect the queue"

(EDITOR’S NOTE: To access the John Turney interview, log on to the following attachment: )The rush to anoint first-ballot Hall of Famers could … no, should … subside next year when the Pro Football Hall-of-Fame’s modern-era Class of 2022 is elected. That’s because there are no dead-bolt cinches as there were this year when Peyton Manning, Charles Woodson and Calvin Johnson were chosen.There’s DeMarcus Ware. And Robert Mathis. Anquan Boldin. Andre Johnson. Steve Smith, Tony Romo and Vince Wilfork. In short, no one who should move to the head of the line. Which means ...Uh-huh, which means...

Feb 13
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Jason Witten will reach Canton ... but not as a first-ballot choice; here's why

Jason Witten will reach Canton ... but not as a first-ballot choice; here's why

When tight end Jason Witten retired last week he was described as “a future Hall of Famer...” which he will be. But he was also described as a “first-ballot” Hall of Famer … which he may not be.And should not.That’s not because Witten isn’t Canton worthy. He is. But the frenzy to turn receivers and tight ends with inflated numbers and Pro Bowl mentions into first-ballot Hall of Famers is out of control. Consider, for instance, that of the past 20 modern-era inductees, nine – or 45 percent – have been first-ballot choices. Included are the 2018-19 classes where six first-ballot candidates...

Feb 2
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Willie Anderson: Why "The Blind Side" was "the greatest detriment" to right tackles

Willie Anderson: Why "The Blind Side" was "the greatest detriment" to right tackles

(EDITOR'S NOTE: To access the interview with Willie Anderson fast-forward to 19:20 of the attached audio: )Willie Anderson is one of 25 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall-of-Fame’s Class of 2021, and you’re excused if you didn’t know.First of all, it’s his first time as a semifinalist. Second, he played all but one of his 13 NFL seasons with Cincinnati, a franchise that hasn’t won a playoff game since 1991 and has one … one … former player in Canton. And, third, he played one of the most overlooked positions in pro football.Right tackle.Quick, now, tell me the great right tackles...

Dec 11
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State Your Case: Why Michael Dean Perry is worthy of a HOF conversation

State Your Case: Why Michael Dean Perry is worthy of a HOF conversation

There aren’t many football players who have a sandwich named after them, but Michael Dean Perry is one of them.You can look it up. When Perry played defensive tackle with the Cleveland Browns, he was so good … so dominant … so massive … that McDonald’s had a burger named in his honor. It was called the “MDP,” and it was available only in the Cleveland metro area.It was also huge. A triple cheeseburger with bacon. The burger was a hit, and so was Perry. A fan favorite in his seven seasons with Cleveland, Perry was a four-time All-Pro (including twice as a consensus choice), a six-time Pro...

Dec 8
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Attention, Hall voters: Here's why it's time to make Clay Matthews a finalist

Attention, Hall voters: Here's why it's time to make Clay Matthews a finalist

Clark JudgeLinebacker Clay Matthews is one of 25 modern-era semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall-of-Fame’s Class of 2021, and nothing new there. He’s been a semifinalist five times, including the past three years. But he’s never been a finalist for Canton, and that must change.Now. Or else.Because if he fails to reach the Final 15, Clay Matthews may never have another chance to have his case heard by the Hall’s board of 48 selectors. Reason: He’s in his 20th – and final – year of eligibility as a modern-era candidate, which means a failure to become a finalist would condemn his candidacy...

Dec 3
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Manning, Woodson head 25 semifinalists for Hall's Class of 2021

Manning, Woodson head 25 semifinalists for Hall's Class of 2021

Clark JudgeQuarterback Peyton Manning, defensive back Charles Woodson and wide receiver Calvin Johnson are among eight players in their first years of eligibility named Tuesday to the Pro Football Hall-of-Fame’s list of 25 semifinalists … and no surprise there.Manning and Woodson are slam dunks to be first-ballot Hall of Famers, while Johnson is a possibility. But the rest of the first-year group? Not so much. They are defensive back Eric Allen, defensive end Jared Allen, offensive tackle Willie Anderson, linebacker Cornelius Bennett and safety Rodney Harrison.Also, no surprise in some of...

Nov 24
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State Your Case: George Andrie was a pillar of the "Doomsday Defense"

State Your Case: George Andrie was a pillar of the "Doomsday Defense"

Clark JudgeThe Dallas Cowboys have four players from the 1960s in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but their fans insist they should have more.So they push linebacker Chuck Howley. And running back Dan Reeves ... linebacker Lee Roy Jordan ... and offensive lineman Ralph Neely. There are even some behind a Don Perkins campaign.But almost no one mention defensive end George Andrie. And that’s a mistake. Along with Hall-of-Famer Bob Lilly, Andrie was a pillar of the famed “Doomsday Defense” that took Dallas to the 1966 and ’67 NFL championship games and Super Bowls V and VI.A sixth-round draft...

Nov 17
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State Your Case: Browns' fan makes the Hall pitch for Dick Schafrath

State Your Case: Browns' fan makes the Hall pitch for Dick Schafrath

Clark JudgeTwo weeks ago, I received an e-mail from a long-time friend of mine, with a request: Someone had sent him a letter he hoped to have passed on to Pro Football Hall-of-Fame voters. So he passed it on to me, and I share it with you today.It is written by Mark Leonard of Sandusky, Ohio, and it makes a persuasive Hall-of-Fame case for former Cleveland offensive lineman Dick Schafrath. He played for the Browns from 1959-71, was a six-time Pro Bowler, a four-time first-team All-Pro and an NFL champion.As a left tackle, Schafrath protected the blind sides of quarterbacks, helped open...

October 6, 2020
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