IRVING, Texas -- NFL Nation Raiders reporter Paul Gutierrez wrote a story last week about the Pro Football Hall of Fame voting process and asked fellow reporters for the biggest omissions per team.
I came up with Cliff Harris, Darren Woodson, Chuck Howley and Lee Roy Jordan. You might have some other names to include, like a Harvey Martin or Drew Pearson.
The voters have an incredibly difficult job. More difficult than people know. Just about every team has a player not in the Hall of Fame that has a case for enshrinement.
As an all-decade player in the 1970s, with six Pro Bowl selections and a four-time All-Pro pick, I believe Harris is the biggest snub. In 2004, he made it to the final 10 in the voting process but was eliminated on the cut down to six players. If he makes it to Canton, Ohio, it will be as a Senior Committee pick. There are two players in that pool each year, so Harris will have to wait. So too will Howley, the MVP of Super Bowl V, and Jordan.
To me, Woodson should get more consideration for the Hall of Fame. He was a five-time Pro Bowl pick and a three-time All Pro. He was on three Super Bowl winners. He is the Cowboys’ all-time leading tackler.
But Woodson had to suffer through some horrendous seasons as the Cowboys moved from Super Bowl contender to afterthought. Just as the Cowboys appeared ready to turn the corner under Bill Parcells, Woodson was forced to retire early because of a back injury in 2004. The Cowboys still haven’t replaced him. Think about that for a second.
Woodson was a linebacker at Arizona State and made the transition to safety. For all of the talk of a safety’s ability to cover receivers now that the game is so spread out, Woodson was at his best in the slot. He could cover receivers. He could cover tight ends. He was ahead of his time to a degree.
Woodson’s game was more than just numbers, which may be why he will not get in the Hall, but he should at least be brought up for debate.