by Ron Borges
Talk Of Fame Network
It surely came as no surprise to Deion Sanders that 52.8% of Talk of Fame Network voters named him as the best cover corner in NFL history, easily outpolling fellow Hall of Famers Dick "Night Train'' Lane and Mel Blount as well as likely future Hall of Famer Champ Bailey. How could someone who dubbed himself "Prime Time,'' and lived up to that nickname think otherwise?
Despite his tendency to leave the tackling to others, Sanders was long considered to be one of the few corners who simply took away one side of a pass offense, often convincing them to not even consider trying to throw in his direction. That's the main reason he ranks only 24th all-time in interceptions with 53.
That reputation gave Sanders a wide edge over Lane, who was selected to both the NFL's 50th Anniversary and 75th Anniversary all-time teams at cornerbacks and who still holds the single season record for interceptions with 14 despite the fact the length of the season has grown by 33% since he did it in 1952. Lane retired in 1965 with 68 career interceptions, a number that still has him ranked fourth all-time 49 years after his final game.
"This was easy -- Lane was voted to the 50th anniversary team and selected the best cornerback in the game's ,'' Rock Gosselin said. "His single-season interception record has stood up for 62 years now. And he picked off those 14 passes in a 12-game season.''
I agree with Goose. Dr. Data has the facts. As for Clark Judge, he waffles more than the breakfast chef at a Waffle House but settled on Lane...sort of.
"Most people today will tell you Deion Sanders, and that's what our poll says. But the best corner I saw was Mike Haynes because he could do what Sanders could (blanket receivers) and something Deion could not (tackle). If I'd been voting, it would have been a close call between Haynes and Night Train, with Haynes getting the edge based on what I saw."
Lane pulled in 22.2% of the vote, with the Steelers' Blount receiving 19.4% and Bailey getting 5.6.%.
Sanders and Lane will now move on to Talk of Fame Network's first "Final Four,'' after the conclusion of the second half of the all-time shutdown corner poll this week. They will face the top two vote getters selected by our listeners and voters from a field that includes: Mike Haynes, Jimmy Johnson, Rod Woodson and Charles Woodson.
Photo courtesy of the Dallas Cowboys