There weren’t any AFC West surprises Saturday when the 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame class was announced.
Curley Culp and Warne Sapp were the favorites of the four finalists with AFC West ties, and they ended up in the Hall of Fame class. Former Oakland receiver Tim Brown and former Kansas City guard Will Shields -- the two high-profile players with AFC West ties of this year’s finalists -- did not get into the final 10. They were both considered longshots this year.
Culp, a senior committee nominee, played his first seven of a 16-year career in Kansas City. Sapp played his final four seasons in Oakland. Sapp did little with the Raiders, and he will always be remembered as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer.
Culp does have legitimate AFC West ties. He was a key part of the Chiefs’ Super Bowl IV winning team. He was a nose tackle and considered the first real 3-4 nose tackle. Culp is in the Chiefs Hall of Fame, and he participates in alumni programs. His election Saturday will be embraced and celebrated in Kansas City.
“On behalf of the entire Chiefs family, we’d like to congratulate Curley Culp on his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” Chiefs owner Clark Hunt said in a statement. “Curley was a dominating force on the defensive line for the Super Bowl IV championship team and one of many great players that helped build the tradition and foundation of the Kansas City Chiefs … “We look forward to seeing him take his rightful place in Canton.”
Saturday’s developments are disappointing for Brown and Shields. But there are silver linings for both. Cris Carter finally gained election, so the receiver logjam lessened. I still think Andre Reed might get in before Brown.
I know there has been some chatter that Brown’s recent comments that former Oakland coach Bill Callahan “sabotaged” the team’s Super Bowl loss to the Buccaneers 10 years ago might have hurt his chances. Brown was considered a longshot prior to causing that firestorm.
Shields was likely blocked by first-year nominee Larry Allen, who gained election. With Allen in, I can see Shields getting elected in the next couple of years.