TSX picks potential HOF players on each roster
The Sports Xchange
By Frank Cooney, The Sports Xchange
Every day somebody -- including the media, players and coaches -- casually refers to a current star as a "future Hall of Famer."
Most of the time these capricious comments are without merit. If every recent or current player referenced as such were really headed to the HOF, the contractors in Canton, Ohio must begin now constructing another hundred thousand square feet in the Hall of Fame in order to properly display all those bronze busts.
The main reason this won't happen is evident in this weekend's induction ceremony, which includes the maximum number of players allowed in each year, seven. The 2014 class enshrines are linebacker Derrick Brooks, defensive lineman Claude Humphrey, wide receiver Andre Reed, defensive back Aeneas Williams, punter Ray guy, offensive lineman Walter Jones and defensive lineman Michael Strahan.
The Sports Xchange polled its network of writers covering each team and asked for the best potential Hall of Fame candidate on the current rosters. Based on 22 years as a selector, we viewed many of the responses as examples that show people really do not know how difficult it is to become a Hall of Famer -- which is as it should be.
Still, in the future this decade may be considered a golden era of quarterbacks, depending on how strongly feelings are about the impact of evolving rules that are making it easier for quarterbacks and receivers to roll up mind-boggling statistics.
Regardless, barring some astounding pratfall, it would seem safe to say that four current quarterbacks will someday be in the HOF -- Denver's Peyton Manning, Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers, New Orleans' Drew Brees and New England's Tom Brady.
Two quarterbacks notably absent from this list here are two quarterbacks who won two Super Bowls -- Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger and the New York Giants' Eli Manning. In fact, Roethlisberger wasn't even named as the best HOF prospect by the Steelers' veteran TSX correspondent.
Although not always the case, that is as it should be because hardware -- even the Lombardi Trophy -- is a team honor. The HOF should reflect the best individual players regardless of the success or failure of his team.
Other current players with enough experience who we believe will be in the HOF are Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson, Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson, San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis and Oakland Raiders defensive back Charles Woodson.
Players who are great, but not a sure thing for HOF, include Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu, Houston wide receiver Andre Johnson, Baltimore, San Diego tight end Antonio Gages and Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
Outstanding players who still have more to prove include Carolina's Luke Kuechly and New York Jets' Chris Johnson and Seattle's Russell Wilson, who still must prove he is the catalyst in that offense and not just a facilitator.
Here is a closer look at players named on each team by Sports Xchange reporters (teams listed alphabetically):
--Receiver Larry Fitzgerald. In 10 years, he went to eight Pro Bowls, caught 846 passes for 11,367 yards and 87 touchdowns. In the 2008, he had the greatest post-season of any receiver in history. Fitzgerald set NFL records for receptions in the post-season (30), yards, (546) and receiving touchdowns (7). He has scored 9 touchdowns in six career playoff games. He leads the franchise in nearly every receiving category.
--Wide receiver Roddy White is the best potential Hall of Famer on the current roster. He holds nearly all of the teams receiving records. The four-time Pro Bowler had a stretch of six seasons from 2007 to 2012 with 1,000 yards or more receiving.