Riggo discusses Hall of Fame voting
If there's one NFL market where fans have spent more time debating Hall of Fame voting procedures more than any other, D.C. might have dibs. The lingering Art Monk debate got to the point where Skins fans were creating petitions and Web sites, writing to selectors and parsing every word the voters had ever typed.
Which is why we'll take a pause from Vinny Cerrato transcriptions here to plug FansChoice.com, a Web site that's encouraging fans to follow the same procedure that Hall of Fame selectors use, eliminating candidates and selecting finalists and the whole thing, to see what differences result.
Now, would fans annually come up with a rational Hall of Fame list? Probably not. The real voters and the fan voters are both down to 25 candidates, and 11 of the names are different, with the fans going for big names like Randall Cunningham, Jim Plunkett, Phil Simms and Joe Theismann, people who likely are quickly dismissed by the real voters. Still, why not, I guess.
"Not that it means anything to the people who actually vote, but it's almost like a poll that the president doesn't necessarily pay attention to," said John Riggins, who is helping promote the site. "Maybe it does influence and inform him, maybe this will at least make voters open their mind a little longer for a certain candidate. I think it's a good thing...Who's to say indirectly they can't have an influence on some of the things that happen?"
Of course, the real voters--who once upon a time rewarded Riggins with his jacket--are media members. Whether they're the proper people to make such decisions is a whole different debate, with questions about whether they're the most qualified to decide, and whether they're hurting their objectivity by fighting over votes.
"I don't think anything's gonna change in the future with this but it gives fans a chance, the people who are the lifeblood of this thing a chance to express their views," Riggins told me. "If a bunch of professional athletes get together--because we read things you write--and whenever you retire, a few years after that, we get together and decide who are some of the best sportswriters of all time, or bloggers, or whatever. And if we vote on it, do you go 'Wow, this is a great honor,' or do you go 'What the [bleep] do these guys know about it? Half these guys didn't get through college, and they're telling me I'm a great writer?' It's not exactly your peers who vote for it, so go figure."
And while the fans' top 25 doesn't include Russ Grimm, he does make the actual list of 25 semifinalists, which makes me think maybe the pros know a bit about what they're doing. I asked Riggins which excluded Redskins deserve to be in the Hall, and Grimm was one of the first names he mentioned.
"Clearly Joe Jacoby and Russ Grimm," he said. "I go so far--and this is maybe where I lose my credibility, but a guy like Jeff Bostic, I'm telling you, he played as well as any center in his era. Donnie Warren doesn't have the numbers as a tight end, but that was because they didn't want to use him, but he could block damn near as good as Jacoby and Grimm could. In this regard I'm probably not completely objective, but still, few people would put up an argument I would hope with Russ Grimm and Joe Jacoby. They were to Washington what Gene Upshaw and Art Shell were to Oakland, and both those guys are in. So I don't know how that works."
Either do I, but if you want to go vote yourself, have at it.
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