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Snubbed Again

More by Ed Fulda
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The list of NFL Hall of Fame finalists was just released. The Raiders and Steelers were well represented, but no Chiefs were on the list. One of the reasons for that is that the most likely candidates are not eligible yet. Another reason is that the voters seem to have short memories when it comes to the accomplishments of players that spent most or all of their careers in the American Football League.

Marcus Allen, Neil Smith, Derrick Thomas, Tim Grunhard, and Dave Szott should all garner more than token attention when they become eligible for the Hall. Of the five, however, the only one who is a "lock" is Marcus Allen.

Derrick Thomas was an absolute terror as a pass rusher. He created turnovers by the bushel basket. He was the heart of the Chiefs defense and opposing offensive coordinators always had to design their games plans to account for him. Unfortunately, he was not a "complete" player and there were too many games where he was virtually invisible. Whether the voters consider his shortcomings or not will determine the outcome.

Neil Smith was also an excellent pass rusher. However, he is right on the border between "very good" and "Hall of Famer." Frankly, I would put him in the same group with Mike Bell and Art Still.

Tim Grunhard was a tremendous leader and anchored the line for many years. Unfortunately, the Hall of Fame voters don't induct many centers. That bias may hurt Grunhard's chances.

Dave Szott was a consummate professional and many considered him the best pure guard in the AFC until injuries took their toll. However, he was generally overlooked during Pro Bowl voting and that will probably keep him out of the Hall.

Of the AFL-era Chiefs, the ones who should have been named to the Hall were Johnny Robinson, Emmitt Thomas, Jim Tyrer, Ed Budde, Otis Taylor, and Jerrel Wilson.

The two most dominant tackles in the AFL were Tyrer and Ron Mix. Both were named to the all-time AFL squad. Both were named to the AFL all-star team virtually every year. Tyrer appeared in two Super Bowls while Mix sat at home. However, Mix is in the Hall while Tyrer isn't.

Ed Budde is almost in the exact same situation as Tyrer. The only guard in the AFL that was on the same level as Budde was Buffalo's Billy Shaw. Shaw is in the Hall but Budde isn't.

Robinson and Thomas are the two most prolific pass interceptors in Chiefs history and both rank in the top 10 in that category in NFL history. Both were named all Pro, all-AFL, all-everything, yet neither one gets as much as a sniff from the HOF voters.

Jerrel Wilson is in much the same boat as Grunhard. For whatever reason, the voters don't care for punters. However, Ray Guy is a finalist this year and if he is elected then the voters need to put Wilson in too.

Finally, there is Otis Taylor. If Otis had played for a pass-happy team like the Chargers, there is no doubt that his stats would have been at least doubled and he would have been selected in his first year of eligibility. Unfortunately, Otis played for a team that, despite the glittzy formations, was mainly a power running team. Still, Taylor's stats are nothing to sneeze at, he was a tremendous blocker, and he ate opponents up with his ability to run after the catch.

Every one of the AFL-era players above deserves to be in the Hall and their continued exclusion is criminal in my opinion. Unfortunately, the voters will probably continue to ignore them unless the Chiefs get back to the Super Bowl.

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