It was as much Hall of Fame weekend as Super Bowl Sunday last week so the Talk of Fame Network invited one of the newest inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and a member of the College Football Hall of Fame to drop by to discuss their careers and what it feels like when the knock of fame comes to your door.
Former New England Patriots’ cornerback Ty Law has been a frequent guest here at the Talk of Fame Network over the years so when he was among the eight men elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame last Saturday we wanted to get his reaction to finally getting in after being a three-time finalist.
“You try not to get caught up in being overly concerned (about the voting) but you can’t help it,’’ the 2000s All-Decade selection said. “They were talking about three first-ballot (selectees), which means only two (slots) left. Especially with another guy as direct competition (first-ballot selection Champ Bailey), where does that leave me?
“This one would have stung a little bit more if I was hopped over by someone at my own position.’’
That didn’t happen as Law and Bailey joined Tony Gonzalez, Ed Reed, Kevin Mawae, senior candidate Johnny Robinson and two contributors, former Broncos owner Pat Bowlen and long-time Dallas Cowboys’ scout Gil Brandt, in this year’s class. So when Hall president David Baker finally knocked on Law’s door, how did he react?
“You tell yourself you ain’t gonna cry!’’ Law joked. “Be a man. But I couldn’t do anything but that. I’d been talking about this since my rookie year…You never die when you’re in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I’m number 323 (the 323rd person inducted in the Hall’s 56 year history.’’
Two-time AFC Defensive Player of the Year and five-time Pro Bowl linebacker Cornelius Bennett mysteriously has yet to be a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame after 14 years of eligibility but a decade ago heard his name called for the College Hall, an honor he still remembers.
So why is a five-time Pro Bowl selection and 1990s All-Decade player never been fully debated by the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s selection committee? That beats the guy they used to call “Biscuit.’’
“I’ve asked in the past what more do I have to do?’’ Bennett admitted. “What am I missing?’’
Nothing we can think of but while Bennett can’t quite fathom why he’s been excluded thus far, he’s not bitter about the process. He realizes had the Bills won even one of the four Straight Super Bowls they appeared in during their dominate 1990s run he might very well already be a hall of Famer but he accepts life as it is.
“Fourteen years I’ve been eligible,’’ Bennett said. “It’s amazing to still be thought of. In a sense, that’s gratifying.’’
To listen to all that Law and Bennett had to say about their careers and their Hall of Fame experiences, you can tune into any SB Nation Radio network station or download our free weekly podcast at ITunes or by using the TuneIn app. You can also find this show and all our past ones on our website, talkoffamenetwork.com.
This week you’ll find not only Law and Bennett but also retiring Hall of Fame executive director Joe Horrigan, who is leaving his position after 42 years in Canton. Horrigan finally reveals the player he’d most like to see inducted if he had a Hall of Fame pass and gives his thoughts on the recent explosion of first-ballot Hall of Fame selectees and what the long-term impact of that might be.
Hall voters have sent eight first-ballot selections to Canton in the past three years and 35 since the dawn of the new millennium. That contrasts with only 42 in the previous 37 years, a stunning change in the process it would seem. Hear Horrigan and our Hall of Fame co-hosts, Ron Borges, Rick Gosselin and Clark Judge (who are all long-time HOF voters) discuss that issue as well as an analyst of this year’s class and the futures of those who didn’t make it at talkoffamenetwork.com or by downloading the free podcast.