Monday, July 12, 2010

Hall of Shame

You have got to be kidding me. The Pro Football Hall of Fame is becoming a bad joke.

Today it was announced that Chris Berman would be inducted as the recipient of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award.

This would not be that egregious of an issue if 1 – if the award weren’t given such a prominent place in the building, 2 – so many deserving players and coaches weren’t on the outside looking in 3 – if Berman had done anything of substance other than stupid nicknames for the past 20 years.

I was pretty much unaware of the award up until my visit to the Hall last season. And chances were would have missed the plaque entirely if it were anywhere else in the building with is overflowing with NFL history.

But there it is, right on the 1st floor as you enter the building, before you start to ascend the spiral ramp to the main museum area. Before you get to the greats of the game, you pay your respects to the media? How is that right. But there it is, with such luminaries as Peter King and Dr. Z listed before the Lombardis, Paytons and Montanas.

To me this is a problem. When a writer such as Peter King can proclaim that a player such as Ray Guy didn’t have enough of an impact on the game to deserve enshrinement, how can he in good conscience accept a prominent place in the hall? Is writing about Mary Beth’s softball exploits or Starbucks coffee more impactful that ensuring your defense great field position?

The roster of deserving players and coaches who are on the outside looking in would field a team that would run roughshod over the league. Ken Stabler throwing to Tim Brown, Chris Carter and Sterling Sharpe in a Don Coryall offense. Dermonti Dawson, Steve Wisnewski, Howard Mudd, Jerry Kramer opening holes for Bo Jackson and Terrel Davis following Alan Ameche. Alex Karras, Jim Marshall, Richard Dent up front on defense. Steve Tasker flying down the field under Ray Guy punts and any kicker you may want (as there are none in the hall) kick offs. I could go on and on.

Instead Brett Favre’s official jock cleaner, Peter King, gets a place of prominence.

Now joining King is none other than Chris Berman, who’s act got tired 2 seasons after it started. A guy who’s most notable contribution to the game is bad nicknames and “HE..COULD..GO..ALL..THE..WAY”, pathetic. Would the NFL be any less popular now had we never been introduced to Natrone Means “Business”, rather than just plain of Natrone Means? Would the Bills failures been any less heartbreaking/hilarious had we never learned of their proficiency in circling the wagons?

I would argue that the league would be in better shape had Berman not done so much to dumb down the discussion of the game. His buffoonery overshadowed otherwise great play, turning the sportscaster into a celebrity, rather than a conduit for information.

If the Hall of Fame is going to display the names of men like Berman and King, it should be reserved for a wing where others of their ilk could reside. Others like the Raiderettes and Cowgirls. Those who appease the casual fan while waving pom-poms for their favorite quarterback the way King has for Favre and Berman for Kelly.

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