Most of the readers who answered our sound-off question this week believe Denver Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey will easily get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame after his career is over. Last week, Bailey, 32, signed a four-year contract to remain in Denver.
There was a thought around the league that Bailey would test the free-agent market in an attempt to land with a contending team. Denver was 4-12 last season and is rebuilding. Bailey told me in the past that he thought he needs to win a Super Bowl ring to cement his chances to make the Hall of Fame.
Yet, most of the readers believe that Bailey has already done it. I tend to agree. I’m not sure Bailey will be a first-ballot inductee without a Super Bowl ring -- because of the great competition for the few open spots each year -- but he will end up in Canton.
Below are some of your responses. Thanks to everyone who participated:
Will Young from Portland: Champ was the premier shutdown cb of an era. He still is arguably a top 5 cb. Arguably the greatest run defending cb ever. In 2006 should have won DPOY. There is nothing you can say to warrant him not belonging in the hall.
Damien from Oklahoma City: Bill I've been waiting for this question forever and finally I can answer it. YES YES YES Champ Bailey deserves to be in Canton. In my humble yet biased opinion Champ Bailey is the greatest corner to ever play the game. He is second only to Ray Lewis as this generations greatest defensive player. There will be doubters because his resume does not include a championship, but he is a true professional. I never saw a defensive player as dominate as he was during the 2006 season. If I were a professional quarterback, I would rather throw at Nnamdi or Revis before I test Champ. He is truly a player that has set the highest standard for the league and his peers. The Broncos community is truly blessed to have him for four more years. He is the second best Bronco ever, only behind John Elway. He deserves to be in Canton, and I can not wait to see it happen.
Adam from Nashville: Bill, as a long time complete hater of the Broncos, I would love to yell NO as loud as possible. If it were up to me, the bathrooms in Canton would be called the "Bronco Wing". That being said, grudgingly, yes, he deserves is now without adding anything else to his resume. He is the most complete player of his generation, and even now they fear him when they play him. He is top 5 right now, but for at least 8 years, he was arguably the best in the business. I will be getting a sandwich during his speech when he is inducted, but he will get in.
Chad Dewey from Lincoln, Neb.: Bill, with regards to Champ making the HOF I have to say its a long shot that he gets in right away. The only chance broncos have to get into the HOF is to have several rings and odds are champ will not get that. Does he deserve to get in... yes. Will he... not right away if at all. If he played for Dallas then yes he would get in on the first ballot.
Brandon from Minneapolis: Champ Bailey is a lock for the HOF as long as he plays at or near the level he's currently performing. A Superbowl would only add to an already stellar career!
Scott Ryan from Fort Collins, Colo.: Simply put, Champ Bailey does not need a Super Bowl ring to make the HOF. Anyone looking at the numbers, as well as the fact he's been to 10 straight Pro Bowls, can see he definitely has the numbers to make it in. However, if he's looking to make it to the HOF the first year he's eligible, he'd need a ring, there's too many amazing players in the league to have someone make it into HOF their first year who's never won a Super Bowl.
Nathan Adas from Hays, Kan.: I think if anything this should strengthen his chances of getting into the HOF. Personally I'm tired of all the players leaving their teams just for the Super Bowl. Baily is showing more courage and what this game is all about by staying With his team through thick and thin. Bailey should go ahead and start his speech and book a hotel room at canton.
Michael from Palmer Station, Antarctica: As a Chief's fan, I have disliked Champ Bailey for too long because of his talent and lock down abilities. There is no doubt he is a hall of famer in my opinion because he deserves it. Unfortunately, I don't think he is a first or possibly second ballet candidate, because the lack of a big game performance. But if the question is just "does he belong", then begrudgingly I must say, "Heck yea."
Scott from Portland: Absolutely Champ gets in. Pro Bowls are often a measuring stick for getting into the HOF. With 10, and most of any CB ever, I think he is in the first time.