Best OLB not in Canton? Maxie Baughan

Maxie Baughan went to five Pro Bowls with the Philadelphia Eagles and four more with the Los Angeles Rams, all in the 19060s. Yet nine Pro Bowls in a single decade hasn't been able to garner him consideration for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


(Maxie Baughan photos courtesy of the Philadelphia Eagles)

Talk of Fame Network

Maxie Baughan went to nine of the 10 Pro Bowls in the 1960s.

Yet he wasn’t named to the NFL all-decade team, nor has he been a candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That’s a wrong that needs to be righted according to last week’s Talk of Fame Network poll. We asked our listeners and readers to identify the best outside linebacker not in the Hall of Fame, and Baughan prevailed, receiving 32.3 percent of the vote.

Baughan edged Chuck Howley, the only Super Bowl MVP from a losing team, who received 30.3 percent of the vote. They were followed in the voting by Robert Brazile at 21.2 percent, Andy Russell at 9.1 percent and both George Webster and Joe Fortunato in single digits.

"These guys all have strong resumes," Talk of Fame Network co-host Ron Borges said, "but it's tough to ignore all that Maxie Baughan accomplished during a long and distinguished career with the Eagles and Rams. He played well on bad teams, helped make them good, then played well on good teams. What else is there? There's this: he made the Pro Bowl nine timesin 11 years, then came out of retirement (in 1974) to help out a third team, the Redskins, learn how to play."

What’s puzzling from Baughan’s omission from the all-decade team is that the five linebackers selected -- Dick Butkus, Ray Nitschke, Tommy Nobis, Larry Morris and Dave Robinson -- went to a combined 10 Pro Bowls in the 1960s. So as a group they went to only one more total Pro Bowl than Baughan, yet he’s the odd man off the all-decade team.

Baughan went to five Pro Bowls with the Philadelphia Eagles in the Eastern Conference and four more with the Los Angeles Rams of the Western Conference. He started as a rookie for the Eagles in 1960 and won his only NFL championship. He retired after the 1970 season, then came back for a cameo appearance with the George Allen Redskins as a player-coach in 1974. He then went on to coach for 18 NFL seasons, serving for stretches as a defensive coordinator for both the Colts and Lions.

Baughan has been eligible for the Hall of Fame now for 37 years now but still awaits for his first turn as a finalist.

"Maxie Baughan was to defenses what (Johnny) Unitas was to offense -- a thinking man who made big plays when big plays were demanded," Talk of Fame Network co-host Clark Judge said. "That he's never been discussed by the Hall of Fame's board of selectors is not just perplexing; it's an injustice."

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