Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas eligable for the 2017 Hall of Fame

The NFL released the list  the 2017 modern-era nominees for the Hall of Fame. The list includes 94 players and coaches and it will be reduced to only 25 come this November. Two former Dolphins players are on the list; Zach Thomas and for the very first time Jason Taylor is eligible.

First let's break down Jason Taylor. I can tell you with 100% certainty that Jason Taylor will get in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, it just won't be next year. Taylor retired with 139.5 sacks and there were many men (Chris Doleman and Kevin Greene come to mind) who retired with more sacks and who had to wait many many years before getting voted in. Taylor is Hall of Fame worthy and he will get in someday, but it won't be on the first ballot and next year.

Zach Thomas had a nice little NFL career but he unfortunately isn't a Hall of Fame linebacker in my opinion. If you look at the numbers Thomas has the stats to back up getting in, but there is more to it than that. Thomas wasn't the dominate middle linebacker of his era (he was at best 4th,) behind Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher, and Junior Seau. Zach never won a Defensive Player of the Year award and he was the second best player on his teams defense. Zach Thomas was a very good player and if it was the Hall of Very Good then by all means he would get in. But not being the dominate middle linebacker of his era (or even second) and being overshadowed in his era by more than a few better middle linebackers who could do more on the field will hurt Zach's chances. And if you think I am in the minority with this opinion, back in 2010 shortly after Zach retired ESPN spoke with 3 Hall of Fame voters and they all said at the time as they didn't think Zach would get into the Hall of Fame. CLICK HERE to see what they said. 

I think with Zach it is close though and the Pro Football Hall of Fame has been watered down over the years. A lot of "very good" players have gotten in when in all honesty they shouldn't have. Andre Reed comes to mind as his stats are ordinary at best and he isn't Hall of Fame worthy, yet he got in. Jerome Bettis is another who doesn't belong in. Bettis is the epitome of a "compiler" and was someone who hung around forever and just padded his stats long after he was productive and an asset on the field. His last 4 years in the league were a joke and his stats are embarrassing those last 4 years. Art Monk being another who got in within recent years. A guy who ran button hooks his whole career, was never the best WR on his own team, and a guy who never caused a defense coordinator to stay up late at night and worry, yet he got in the Hall. So, it is not impossible for Zach to get in. In my opinion though, and in the opinion of many others, he just isn't a Hall of Fame linebacker.

Former Dolphins head coach Jimmy Johnson is also a finalist for the 2017 Hall of Fame and in all honesty he should be in already. Marv Levy got in, and he went 0-4 in Super Bowls. So how on god's green earth can you leave Jimmy Johnson out who beat Levy twice in the big game? And Jimmy has the same number of rings as Bill Parcells who just recently got in as well. To me Jimmy is an easy selection and it's a crime he isn't in yet. And if Bill Cowher another guy on this years list get's in before Jimmy that is a crime! Cowher is a guy who never saw a big game he couldn't hand away with terrible coaching decisions. He has one super bowl ring by the grace of god and some bad referee calls.

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