The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2014 is one for the real fans. For those of us who can appreciate the underappreciated; who can see past today’s Madden-ized QB-worshipping, fantasy-means-more-than-reality football culture and still love the parts of the game that don’t show up on the highlight reel.
This year’s class of inductees — which was officially enshrined this weekend in Canton, Ohio — featured an offensive tackle (Walter Jones), an across-the-middle possession receiver (Andre Reed), a linebacker who was better at pass coverage than rushing the passer (Derrick Brooks), a cornerback who actually liked to hit people but was perpetually overshadowed in the era of Prime Time (Aeneas Williams), a defensive end who is so old-school they didn’t officially keep track of sacks during his career (Claude Humphrey), and, yes, even a punter (Ray Guy).
(Michael Strahan is part of the class, too. But he’s a Super Bowl champ who played in New York and has a stranglehold on every TV in America for like four hours each morning, so he doesn’t really fit into what I’m doing here.)
But don’t worry if this group leaves you feeling underwhelmed. After this, there will be plenty of Hall of Fame classes headlined by superstar quarterbacks and flashy playmakers and other mainstream household names. Some of those names you’ll find here, among the future HOFers getting ready to continue building their Canton resumes in the 2014 NFL season.
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