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Old 02-14-2010, 05:47 PM   #27
Brad O.
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 792
Brad O. will become famous soon enough

Originally Posted by bachslunch View Post
You as well. No question you're the most challenging poster I engage in these kind of exchanges with. It's most welcome.
Thanks. I've devoted a great deal of time to becoming an expert on these matters, and I'm gratified that you find me "challenging".

Originally Posted by bachslunch
There's been some talk about the relative worth of different organizations' 1st team all pro squads over at pfraforum and other sites in the past. Some folks over there think the NEA and UPI squads hold as much weight as AP ones. I'm not so sure on this, but for those who value the NEA 1st team all pro squads as much, Jackson made two of them. He did not for AP in any year, that's for sure, and that's surely not a point in his favor -- perhaps a big one. Depends on what one values, I guess.
You know, I'm sympathetic to that idea. But the AP names two OLBs per season, and Jackson never made their top two. Even if we accept NEA and UPI as equally valid, we can safely assume that Jackson was never the #1 player at his position, and (because he didn't make the AP squad) never a clear #2.

There were a couple years when he might have been the second-best, but there wasn't a single season in which it was, "Oh, well he's obviously the best besides LT" or Tippett or whoever.

Originally Posted by bachslunch
The only point I can think re Banks and Anderson is why they got a vote at all on the 80s all-decade team. Politics may have played a role here as well given that only one vote is involved -- more votes for either candidate might have made things different, of course. Comparing Jackson, Banks, and Anderson one on one, I'd have chosen Jackson over the other two -- and for me, this raises some questions. And the big question in this case is, if not Banks or Anderson, then who belongs on this team? It might not be Jackson, either. Who should it be? Or do we assume there were no questions to be asked and accept both Banks and Anderson?
There is no question in my mind that Jackson was a stronger candidate than Anderson or Banks. The one vote is just a little flukey. I would never dream of ranking Jackson behind those two, but I think it's a real concern that nobody voted for him. Everyone voted for LT, and the other votes were split among Ted Hendricks, Tippett, and a pair of head-scratchers. None of the voters thought Jackson was better than Hendricks and Tippett.

What we're left with is a player who was probably the 4th-best OLB of his own era* and was never the best at his position. I appreciate Jackson's consistency and longevity, but those don't sound like HOF credentials to me.

* Hendricks really was not his era; their careers only overlapped by 5 years. But if we take Hendricks out, I think we have to add people like Bennett and Swilling with whom Jackson is roughly equal.

Originally Posted by bachslunch
--outside linebacker is a poorly represented position in the HoF, while running back is arguably the most over-represented. As a result, I can see stretching the HoF to accommodate more of the former, not so much the latter.
Great point.

It's sort of amazing how quickly I've shifted from complaining that OLBs are underrepresented to worrying that too many are getting in.

Originally Posted by bachslunch
--I don't see that voting in Jackson necessarily establishes a new floor level at his position regarding the HoF. I can see Jackson fitting in with a lower floor level of HoF LBs such as Harry Carson, Derrick Thomas, and Andre Tippett -- and perhaps guys like Dave Wilcox and Sam Huff from earlier eras as well.
Carson (also never an AP all-pro) is a decent comparison, though his 9 Pro Bowls make me feel better about him. Agreed that Jackson is comparable to Thomas and Tippett, and I won't argue with Huff. Wilcox, I think, was a level above. He made more Pro Bowls, more all-pro teams, and was on Dr. Z's All-Century Team. Wilcox is widely regarded as the most unblockable OLB in history.

Originally Posted by bachslunch
Maybe there are other LBs who belong there, too, but I'm not sure Jackson doesn't qualify. If this question can actually be answered affirmatively ("Is Jackson near the top of that group? Probably."), we may be more talking the difference between half full and half empty glasses than anything else. With Little, it's different -- in fact, I'm finding it tough to think of other HoF RBs that share his level of accomplishment. Maybe Paul Hornung qualifies, but I'm thinking he's a unique HoF mistake. And I'm not sure short career guys like Gale Sayers equate here.
I think Little is comparable to (or significantly better than) George McAfee, Tony Canadeo, Bill Dudley, Charlie Trippi, Doak Walker, Frank Gifford, and Larry Csonka. I like your characterisation of Hornung as "a unique HoF mistake." He's not one of the 100 best RBs in history.

These impressions came from reading things at pfraforum and elsewhere, plus some chats I've had. Here's one such thread involving Jackson I started over there and some thoughts from a poster over there named Bryan Lutes:

Saints '90s LB quartet -- how good on run, pass, in coverage? - Professional Football Researchers Association

I'll have to hunt up something regarding Tippett, and will post a link if/when I find one.
Hmm. That's not a very authoritative source. Honestly, I suspect it's pretty accurate, but the post doesn't specifically mention pass coverage or playing the run.

In their careers, Jackson and Tippett had 8 interceptions and 1, respectively. Lawrence Taylor, who had almost no coverage responsibilities, had 9. I would suggest that even "decent in pass coverage" overstates their credentials, Tippett's in particular. He was the Derrick Thomas of the 80s. Jackson was a bit more balanced, but he was primarily a pass rusher.

Originally Posted by bachslunch
Looking forward to it. <grins> Hope my being an opinionated horse's patoot helped out a little here.
Well, I don't think I would call you opinionated per se. On the contrary, you seem pretty open-minded about most of these issues.
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