One day, I hope to eventually reach the point in my football writing career where I can actually have a vote as to who gets into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I'm a heck of a long ways away from that now, but that just means that, being in the position I'm in now, I can pretend like I have a ballot.
So, if I did have a ballot this year. . .keeping in mind that only five "modern day" candidates are likely to get into the Hall this year. . .here's what my list would look like.
-Cris Carter, WR, Philadelphia Eagles/Minnesota Vikings/Miami Dolphins - Yeah, like I was going to leave him off. Should have been a first-ballot Hall of Famer. In fact, if Cris Carter isn't a first-ballot Hall of Famer, maybe we should just stop having first-ballot Hall of Famers all together.
Nah. . .just because America's football writers have stupidly punished Cris Carter doesn't mean that we should stupidly punish others. For example. . .
-Deion Sanders, CB, Atlanta Falcons/San Francisco 49ers/Dallas Cowboys/Washington Redskins/Baltimore Ravens - Quite possibly the greatest coverage cornerback the National Football League has ever seen. So what if he was allergic to tackling? He defined what a "shutdown cornerback" is.
-Marshall Faulk, RB, Indianapolis Colts/St. Louis Rams - Probably could have been a three-time NFL MVP. . .he only won one. . .and may have been the most versatile running back in the history of the NFL.
-Dermontti Dawson, C, Pittsburgh Steelers - Was to the center position in the late 80s and throughout the 90s what Randall McDaniel was to the guard position during that time. When you're clearly the best player in the league at your position for as long as Dawson was, you deserve to be recognized.
-Richard Dent, DE, Chicago Bears/San Francisco 49ers/Indianapolis Colts/Philadelphia Eagles - As a Viking fan, I would love to see Chris Doleman get into the Hall of Fame, but I can't, in good conscience, put him in ahead of Dent. Dent was a cornerstone of a dominant defense, and has been on the ballot for a while longer than Doleman has. Doleman will get in, but I think Dent goes in ahead of him.
But that's who I'd vote for if I had a 2011 NFL Hall of Fame ballot. Who does everybody else have?