This is the week we learn the identities of the two senior candidates for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018. The Hall’s seniors committee will name them after deliberating Thursday, Aug. 24, in Canton.
The pool is rife with potential nominees, many of who you can name. So Hall-of-Famer Curley Culp was only too glad to plug two of them – both former teammates of his -- on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast.
Safety Johnny Robinson of the Kansas City Chiefs and linebacker Robert Brazile of the Houston Oilers.
Robinson was a six-time finalist but never elected to the Hall despite a gaudy resume that included seven All-AFL selections, member of the all-time All-AFL team, AFL interceptions leader (1966), NFL interceptions leader (1970) and a Super Bowl ring.
Oh, yeah, he’s also in the Chiefs’ Hall of Fame, and for good reason: When he had an interception, the team was 35-1-1.
“Johnny Robinson, as you know, was a great leader and teammate,” said Culp, who began his pro career with the Chiefs, “and I think he’s deserving for consideration. He was a seven-time All-Pro for the Dallas Texans and Chiefs, and his contribution to the Chiefs team over, I guess, a period of a decade was remarkable.
“So, in my opinion, he’s truly worthy for becoming a Hall of Famer and joining others from the Chiefs team in the Hall. Johnny was a sparkplug, and he basically kept us on the same page play after play.”
Robinson was a key member of the 1969 Chiefs’ defense that led the league in four categories – the run, the pass, yards and points – and that yielded five Hall of Famers, including Culp. Yet he hasn’t been discussed since 1986.
Brazile, on the other hand, hasn’t been discussed … period. No matter that he’s a seven-time Pro Bowler, six-time All-Pro, former Defensive Rookie of the Year and an all-decade choice. Voters haven’t named him as a finalist or semifinalist since his retirement following the 1984 season.
“I would love for Robert to become a Hall of Famer,” said Culp, who joined the Oilers in 1974. “He’s a seven-time Pro Bowler, NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1975 and a (member of the) NFL all-decade team of the 1970s – (those) are just a few of his accomplishments.
“I’ve had an opportunity to play with Robert on the Houston Oilers and watch him become one of the best outside linebackers of his era. He could pass rush. He could blitz. And he had the ability to cover a running back out of the backfield. He was the total package.”
Brazile and Robinson should be two of the leading candidates for consideration. But there are plenty of others, including guard Jerry Kramer, a member of the NFL’s 50th anniversary team – with results announced the afternoon of Aug. 24.