Players that do not deserve the praise they receive
Jarrod Thurman @JarrodChiefsFCS Chiefs Focus @Chiefsfocus
Who is the first player that comes to your mind when you think of overrated NFL players? I have a few that immediately come to mind and a couple more I had to think about for a little bit. I didn’t have any specific requirements when I made my list, just that I had to of seen a large amount of praise about this player, not necessarily that they should be in the Hall of Fame. In the end, my list includes 2 Hall of Famers, 3 that some have said should be in the Hall of Fame, and 1 that was considered by some to be one of the best at their position of their era. I do want to clarify, I’m not saying these players weren’t good, just they weren’t as good as everyone thinks they were.
In no particular order, I’m starting with the one mentioned above that is considered one of the best of their era. This player had to put his career on hold for 2 seasons due to off-the-field issues. This player is Michael Vick. Vick was basically a running back with an arm. He broke 3,000 yards passing twice and 20 passing touchdowns twice as well. His career interception percentage was 2.7%. For comparison, former Chiefs and Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon finished with 2.5% and doesn’t get the same praise as Vick. Vick also had a 61-51-1 career record, which isn’t that great. His career playoff record was only 2-4.
Next, is a recently retired player. This player for some reason and I’m totally clueless as to why has been mentioned as a future Hall of Fame. Before I say his name, would you think a receiver that retired not even in the top 80 all-time in receiving yards and touchdowns despite playing 11 seasons is a Hall of Famer? I’m guessing not. This player is Julian Edelman. People try to jump on the “playoff performance” bandwagon because he’s 2nd all-time in playoff receiving yards. Travis Kelce is averaging 92.2 yards per playoff game, 17 more than Julian Edelman, as a tight end. Kelce only has 150 fewer yards in 4 fewer playoff games. It takes more than strong playoff performances to be a Hall of Famer, even if you have 3 Super Bowl rings. Edelman shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame.
Would you think a running back who averaged 3.6 yards a carry who retired 22nd in rushing touchdowns should be a Hall of Famer? Some people think that about Eddie George. Eddie George broke 4 yards per carry twice in his career. Sure, he’s in the 10,000-yard club but he has the lowest yards per carry of every 10,000-yard running back. There are 4 running backs who finished with 200 yards of what Eddie George had. All four accomplished this with at least 200 fewer carries. When it boils down to it, Eddie George just doesn’t deserve any of the praise he gets.
A quarterback from the 70s and 80s I’ve seen get mentioned as a player that should be in the Hall of Fame is Jim Plunkett. For me, the best way to measure quarterbacks from the 1960s through about 2000 is to see where they were ranked all-time at the time of their retirement in the major statistical categories of their
position. Plunkett retired 21st in passing yards and 24th in touchdowns. Not exactly Hall of Fame numbers. He’s another case of journalists focusing too much on championships and not enough on stats. Sure he has 2 rings but that’s enough in my mind with those stats.
The final two players I will talk about will be more controversial as they both are in the Hall of Fame already. The first one, won multiple Super Bowls, thanks in part to a historic defense and a strong running game. His individual performance in his career was not that great. I’m talking about Terry Bradshaw. Terry Bradshaw did finish 9th in passing touchdowns when he retired and was 13th in yards. But where my big criticism of him comes from is he only threw 2 more touchdowns than interceptions. He threw an interception on 5.4% of his passes. Put this in today’s terms, the average quarterback in 2021 had about 600 attempts. That would be like throwing 32 interceptions in a season in today’s NFL. If Aaron Rodgers for example would have an interception percentage of 5.4% he would have 384 career interceptions. That combined with a slightly above average career passing yards and touchdowns, doesn’t make a Hall of Famer in my eyes.
On June 7th, I gave the career stats of two quarterbacks on my Twitter and asked everyone to vote which one they think is in the Hall of Fame. As a refresher, it was: QB A: ~30,000 yds 160-180 TDs 140-150 INTs, QB B: ~40,000 yds 240-260 TDs 180-190 INTs. Most of you selected quarterback B. Quarterback B is former Bengals quarterback Boomer Esiason, who as most of you probably know, is not in the Hall of Fame. Now the next question is, who is Quarterback A? That leads me to my 6th and final overrated player.
How is Troy Aikman in the Hall of Fame? By the way, he’s Quarterback A. Aikman retired 20th in passing yards and 37th in touchdowns. In an era when most good quarterbacks were throwing over 3,500 yards, he never broke 3,500 yards passing. In an era when most good quarterbacks were throwing over 25 passing touchdowns, he broke 20 one time. He also only threw 24 more touchdowns than interceptions and had a QB rating of over 90 one time. He’s another case of a player getting judged by rings instead of actual stats. He wasn’t a terrible quarterback by any means, but I just cannot call him a Hall of Famer with his stats. I don’t see what everyone else saw in him as a quarterback. Even just in the playoffs, he only averaged 240.6 yards per game which is slightly below average for that era. I just struggle to see what everyone else sees in him. I laughed when he was named one of the best 100 best players in NFL history. I laugh every time some calls him one of the best quarterbacks of the 90s. Give me Brett Favre or Steve Young over Troy Aikman.
This entire article is simply my opinion. Again, I don’t think these players were terrible. I just don’t think they were as good as everyone else thinks. One thing all but 2 of these players have in common is multiple championships. In all sports, too much focus is placed on championships, and not enough focus is given to stats. How about we start focusing on stats for greatness?