With the Hall of Fame last weekend, lets take a look at a previous class with the Throwback Tuesday! Enjoy!
Who was the best player inducted into the
David Snipes (in red) v. Dave Williams (in Black)
Out of all the Hall of Famers, if I had to pick from any of them to put on my team it would be Gary Zimmerman. In an eleven-year career Zimmerman made the Pro Bowl seven times and was First Team All-Pro nine times. In additon he is one of the few players to make TWO all-decade teams. He is also one of only SIX ex-USFL alumni to make the Hall of Fame. Consider how Zimmerman’s career is also overlapped by other Hall of Fame tackles such as Anthony Munoz, Jim Lachey, Webb, Armstrong, Wolford and the Dallas O-Line dominance.
But the main reason I look to Zimmerman is the fact that for ten years he missed two games. He went over eight straight years without missing a game — and they were all at left tackle. He only missed six games in twelve years, all at tackle until his last year in Denver.
With 184 games played, you put Zimmerman on your team and you can forget about that spot for the next decade.
Let’s look at his stats in twenty seasons:
• 54 interceptions for 621 yards and 6 touchdowns
• Played 15 or more games 16 times
• Runner-up for the AP Rookie of the Year
• Interception in 19 straight seasons
• 2 INTs for TDs in post-season play
• 4-time All Pro
• 7-time Pro-Bowler
• Member of the 1990s all-decade team
Green had great speed, even into his forties.His key goal-line pass deflection against the Vikings late in the 1987 NFC Championship game sent the Redskins to the Super Bowl. He was a kick and punt returner as well — he scored a touchdown the first time he ever touched the ball in the NFL, a 61-yard punt return for a touchdown in a preseason game. Green led the team in solo tackles his rookie year with 79 (finished fourth on the team in overall tackles with 109). He is one of the greatest defensive backs to play the game — you could count on him almost every single game and you knew that side of the field was covered.
Compare that to say Rod Woodson during his cornerback-only years (1988-98): 4.6 interceptions, 74.3 tackles per year. Or legendary tackler Deion Sanders: 30.8 tackles 5.8 interceptions (and his last two years in Baltimore really hurt his 16-year average). Green never returned more than one interception in any season — in fact he only had six touchdowns off picks his ENTIRE career.
Antrel Rolle got three last year…
Darrell Green made four All-Pro teams but only ONE first team All-Pro. Gary Zimmerman made nine FIRST team All-Pros, meaning while Green was only judged the first- or second-best cornerback in the NFL ONCE, Zimmerman was thought of as ONE or TWO all nine times.
Dave: I don’t have to compare him to the other DBs he played with, only to the other members of this HOF class which were Zimmerman, Tippet, Thomas, Dean and Monk so I don’t know why you brought those up. But in comparing DB to DB, you need to look at the defensive schemes they played on their teams and what their main responsibilities were.
Comparing Deion to Green — yes, Deion got more interceptions but he couldn’t tackle to save his life (was afraid of getting hit). Comparing Green to the other DBs with closer numbers – Green maintained a higher average for tackles over a longer career. Pretty impressive for a 40-year old to still be putting up those kinds of numbers. Green was also hurt by playing in the run-first NFC East of the 1980s and 1990s. The Giants and Cowboys both preferred the run so six games a year he had fewer chances for tackles/interceptions. Comparing All-Pro etc. for a DB to an O-Lineman is tough. Normally, once an O-Lineman makes the Pro Bowl/All-Pro, they will get it each year based on their name alone; however, for a DB, they always picked the guys who had the interceptions over the total package (speed, coverage, tackling etc.).
David: I bring up the DB to DB comparison to show that one would not be happy if they knew that they were going to draft a CB who is going to get less than three picks a year – and is going to the Pro Bowl every five years. Would you be happy with that?
But if I told you that you were going to take a LT who is going to be a dominant one for the next decade — and go to Hawaii (admittedly a bit of a popularity contest) and will ALSO be selected to the First All-Pro team almost every year (an honor given to Green only ONCE) you’d be ecstatic. Green made the All- Decade team only ONCE- despite the fact he played in three decades- Zimmerman was honored in EVERY decade he played in. In the dozen years Zimmerman played he missed eight games in total in his career. Green missed sixteen in his first 12 years.
More All Pro Bowls
More trips to Hawaii
More All-Decade teams-
and I Assure you they do NOT just hand those out-Steve Young did not make the All-90s team despite 2 MVPs and 7 All-Pros in the ‘90s.
Troy Aikman? No go… Tony Dorsett? Nope. Marshall Faulk (6 All-Pros and an MVP) not happening.
Zim? BOTH Decades he played. Who would YOU take if given the choice?
Dave: You bring up the All-Pro arguments and actually bit yourself in the butt with it… Steve Young didn’t make the ‘90s team… but why? Because there were others who were playing at the same time. The same argument could be made for Green — how many other DBs were playing at the same time compared to how many LTs? Let’s see, each team has 1 starting LT but 4 starting DBs (corners and safeties). Just by pure numbers alone, Zimmerman stood a better shot at getting selected because there was only 1 guy per team who played the position that could be considered for that spot, compared to 4 per team that Green was competing against.
Zimmerman was a great LT for 11 seasons. Darrell Green was a good/great DB for 20 consistent years…whose work ethic, attitude etc. were never questioned. Green also maintained his shape and conditioning for twenty years at a speed-intensive position. If he slowed down at all he never makes the Hall. But he didn’t — he was able to maintain his level of talent for 20 years.
So who would you take?
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