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Six former Giants are among the early HOF Nominees

Mr. P

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Six former Giants, including quarterback Phil Simms and GM George Young, are among the nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2011.


Now, before you start popping your champagne, they are two of 113 nominees and there is a long, long, long way to go before they get to Canton. In fact, the likelihood is they never will.


But right now, they are on the not-so-short list, which also includes four other ex-Giants - - RB Otis Anderson, TE Mark Bavaro, T Lomas Brown and coach Dan Reeves.


The list will be whittled to just 25 names by the Hall’s board of selectors in mid-November, and will then be whittled again to 15 sometime in January. Then those 15, plus two senior candidates, will be voted on by the board on Saturday, Feb. 5 in Dallas - - the day before Super Bowl XLV.


I don’t believe any of them will reach the final 15, but an interesting case can be made for Young, Simms, and even Reeves - - though obviously not for his short Giants tenure.


Simms threw for 33,462 yards in his 14 years with the Giants, playing in the cold and windy northeast and, most often, the swirling winds of Giants Stadium. With a mostly unheralded - - and sometimes unimpressive - - group of receivers, he still completed 55.4 percent of his career passes in those conditions, threw 199 touchdown passes.


And oh, by the way, he had one of the most remarkable Super Bowl performances ever. By anyone.


My take on this has been the same for years. I think Simms falls just short of being a Hall of Famer. Unfortunately for him, injuries and quarterback controversies took too many games and too many passes away from his career. I put him on the next tier of great NFL quarterbacks, just below the immortals.


However, had he stayed healthy in 1990 and had he won a second Super Bowl ring in Super Bowl XXV, there is no doubt - - none at all - - that he’d be a Hall of Famer. Every QB in history with two Super Bowl rings except for one has made the Hall (not including the ones that are still playing). Simms would have made it, too.


Reeves won 190 games over his 23-year coaching career and took two teams to four Super Bowls, after having been in two as a player. He doesn’t get enough credit for what he did in Denver (110-73-1, six trips to the playoffs in 12 years), mostly because of John Elway. Had Reeves won just one of those Super Bowls, he might be in the Hall, too.


As for Young, the late GM was thrust into one of the most difficult situations in NFL history and told to rebuild a flagship franchise while being a buffer between the feuding Mara family. He did it with dignity and with remarkable success. He was a five-time NFL Executive of the Year and built two Super Bowl teams, including one that won with a backup quarterback of the helm.


Credit anyone else you want for the Giants’ success of the ‘80s, but he hired the coach, drafted the players and built the foundation of that team. He should have been in the Hall a long time ago.



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