With the Hall-of-Fame vote two weeks away, we visited with first-time voter and first-ballot Hall-of-Famer Dan Fouts to get his take on the field of finalists and what he’s expecting.
Fouts and Hall-of-Fame wide receiver James Lofton have been added to the list of voters, increasing the number to 48, giving a voting voice to Hall-of-Fame members for the first time. When Fouts learned of the honor he said he would try to be a voice for the Hall of Famers themselves ... and, on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast, he said has been true to his word.
“It’s a real honor to be in the room with you guys,’’ Fouts told our co-hosts, Ron Borges, Rick Gosselin and Clark Judge, who between them have nearly 50 years of Hall-of-Fame voting experience. “I told (his fellow Hall of Famers), ’You now have a voice.’ I’ve gotten quite a bit of input (from polling his fellow Hall of Famers on this year’s class of candidates).
“I anticipate being asked my opinion.’’ Fouts added. “I’m sure you guys will want to know what the Hall of Famers think.’’
Fouts said he believes the candidacy of quarterback Kurt Warner will “be an interesting debate,’’ citing non-candidate Jim Plunkett’s equally remarkable life story and two Super Bowl rings as a contrast to Warner.
He also said the presence of four offensive linemen and three defensive backs as finalists should make for a lively discussion. But most revealing was his position that longevity matters “more than you think. It’s a physical grind. It’s a mental grind….how a guy finishes is important.’’
Our guys also sat down with Hall of Fame defensive end Chris Doleman, who assessed the four offensive linemen who are finalists: Left tackles Joe Jacoby and Tony Boselli, center Kevin Mawae and guard Alan Faneca. Doleman had particularly interesting views on Boselli and Jacoby, whom he faced regularly. Which way did he lean? Tune in and listen to him tell you who and why.
Doleman also mentioned two semifinalists who didn’t make the final cut this year, tackles Chris Hinton and Mike Kenn. Of the four, “I’d tip my cap to Chris Hinton,’’ Doleman said. “He was All-Pro at every position but center. He was a stout, stout player.’’
Speaking of stout players, our guys debate the candidacies of those four linemen and how they rate their chances of induction and then predict their longshot candidates in a year Talk of Fame sees as a wide open Hall of Fame race.
Fellow Hall-of-Fame voter Jeff Legwold also pays a visit to discuss the three nominees with ties to the Denver Broncos: Terrell Davis, John Lynch and Brian Dawkins. He will present arguments for Davis as the representative of that city, while Lynch will be presented by the Tampa Bay representative and Dawkins by the Philadelphia representative. But Legwold asked him why the Broncos have twice as many Super Bowl appearances (8) as Hall of Famers (4).
“It’s a great mystery,’’ Legwold said. “Especially when you think of the (Denver) players who have never even been discussed like Louie Wright and Karl Mecklenburg.’’
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