I will admit that I am biased towards Minnesota sports and Minnesota sports figures.
If you gave me a choice between Peyton Manning and Tommy Kramer, I would pick. . .OK, so I’m not that much of a homer. Although, if the choice was for someone to go have a cold one with, you couldn’t beat Kramer as a sidekick.
As for NFL players, Manning and Kramer are at the opposite ends of the spectrum. Nobody outside the Land of 10,000 Lakes knows who Kramer is, while Manning may be on his way to a hall of fame career.
Speaking of the hall of fame, six new members were announced Feb. 2. There are always players who definitely deserve the honor, while others tend to raise eyebrows as to whether they really belong with the elites of the game.
Lifetime Redskins cornerback Darrell Green is the no-doubter. The other five are defensive end Fred Dean, receiver Art Monk, cornerback Emmitt Thomas, linebacker Andre Tippett, and offensive tackle Gary Zimmerman.
I’m not going to argue that any of these players doesn’t belong in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but I think the list of inductees is a little short, and this is where my Minnesota bias comes into play.
While one former Viking, Zimmerman, got in, he is not the one I was expecting to get inducted.
Zimmerman had a great career with the Vikings (1986-1992) and the Denver Broncos (1993-97), but I find it difficult to believe anyone could argue Zimmerman had a better career than former Viking guard Randall McDaniel.
McDaniel has been on the ballot twice now, and I would like someone to explain to me why he is still going to be on the ballot next season.
No other player in the history of the NFL, at any position, has played in more Pro Bowls than McDaniel, who played in 12. McDaniel also had a stretch of 202 consecutive games played that ended when he retired with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the 2001 season.
By comparison (how else can you judge offensive linemen), Zimmerman played in seven Pro Bowls, was named to two NFL all-decade teams (1980s and ‘90s) and had a streak of 169 straight starts with the Vikings at one time.
Both résumés are impressive, so why is Zimmerman in the hall of fame and McDaniel not?
The answer may lie in a piece of jewelry a Super Bowl ring.
Zimmerman won two Super Bowl rings with the Broncos, while McDaniel never made it to the big game.
If a ring makes a player a hall-of-famer, there is something wrong with those who vote. What that tells me is that if Gary Anderson would have made a 37-yard field goal in the NFC Championship game following the 1998 season, and the Vikings would have gone on to beat Zimmerman and the Broncos, McDaniel would be in the hall of fame.
We all would have loved for that to happen, but it didn’t, and now McDaniel can’t get enough votes for the hall of fame it seems, because of Gary Anderson. What sense does that make?
Oh, and if Art Monk is in the hall of fame, how can Chris Carter not be? Don’t tell me it’s the Super Bowl ring theory again.
Carter is second to only Jerry Rice in career receptions (1,101), and touchdown catches (130), is sixth in receiving yards (13,899) and fifth in touchdowns (131). Monk is seventh in receptions (940), 12th in yards (12,721), and tied with Rod Smith and Raymond Berry for 31st in touchdown catches (68).
In comparing Carter and Monk, there is no comparison.