(Brain Dawkins photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Eagles)
Talk of Fame Network
The Talk of Fame Guys continue their Insider/Outsider series this week, visiting with another member of the Hall of Fame preliminary list of 94, as well as someone who should be on the list but isn't. This week’s guests are 2000s NFL all-decade safety Brian Dawkins, the insider, and four-time Pro Bowl tight end Jimmie Giles, the outsider.
Dawkins looms as an early favorite to make it to the final 15 and have his case discussed and debated by the 48-Hall-of-Fame voters (which includes Talk of Fame Guys Ron Borges, Rick Gosselin and Clark Judge), while Giles remains on the outside looking in-- 23 years into his 25-year window of eligibility despite having been told by Hall of Famers that his arrival in Canton is overdue.
“Growing up in Jacksonville, FL. I never thought I’d have any conversations with anyone about the Hall of Fame,’’ said Dawkins, who was a six-time Pro Bowl player with the Philadelphia Eagles and a member of that franchise's 75th anniversary team. “I never dreamed I’d be a Hall of Famer. It wasn’t on my list of goals. I just wanted to get vested (for the NFL pension).’’
Dawkins accomplished far more than that. Now he’s in his first year of eligibility and viewed as a sure shot to at reach the final 15 despite playing a position that has been all but ignored for three decades by Hall-of-Fame voters.
Dawkins admits his road to Canton might have been smoother had the Eagles won a Super Bowl and says he remains “haunted’’ by having gone to four straight NFC championship games and “never capitalized.’’
Giles certainly capitalized on his skills, but he was a player condemned to play nine of his 13 NFL seasons in Tampa long before Tony Dungy arrived to resurrect the Bucs. To a great extent that is why, despite being one of the best tight ends of his era, Giles has never been a Hall-of-Fame semifinalist and this year found his name missing from the preliminary list.
“We were the butt of a lot of jokes,’’ Giles says of his days in Tampa. “(But) since I retired I’ve had a number of Hall-of-Fame players ask me when I thought I’d be with them in the Hall of Fame. If they say that, I’m not going to sit here and tell you I wasn’t (a Hall-of-Fame caliber player).’’
Also visiting is New York Times best-selling author Michael Holley, whose new book “Belichick and Brady’’ is an appreciation for how those two “revolutionized’’ pro football in the salary cap era. Holley argues the present system is geared to prevent building the dynasty those two have constructed in New England, then goes about explaining how they beat that system.
“The genesis of winning is an understanding of how things and people work and that is one of (Brady’s) overlooked skills,’’ Holley says.
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