Category Archives: Hall of Fame

GridFe Hall of Fame Coaches

There are two primary reasons coaches become legends: they won or they influenced. Some coaches are known for winning championships. Others are famous for their innovations. A few have the distinction of falling in both categories. How we perceive head coaches often depends not just on what they did but how they did what they did. Don Coryell is rightly regarded as one of the league’s greatest offensive minds – but he didn’t win enough. Marty Schottenheimer is one of just seven coaches with more…

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GridFe Hall of Fame Safeties

Expectations for safeties have evolved as offensive trends philosophies have evolved. The earliest pure safeties lived up to their names, acting as safety nets deep behind the rest of their defense, combating the long ball tendencies of the day. As offenses became more sophisticated, roles on defense became more complex. Safeties now had to be able to cover most all areas of the field, as well as run and pass blitz, as well as their requisite support against the rush. The position has seen several…

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GridFe Hall of Fame Cornerbacks

Cornerbacks have one of the toughest jobs in football. Usually playing in a reactionary posture, they have to rely on technique and savvy to keep some of the most athletic people in the world from catching the ball. They have to do this on every play of every game. Okay, not every play. On running plays, they have to first respect the pass and then react to much larger men coming their way to clear a path for the runner. When they do their job…

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GrideFe Hall of Fame Outside Linebackers

Even among contemporaries, outside linebackers are difficult to compare with one another. Those who excel in coverage tend to be overlooked for postseason honors in favor of pass rushers, and both (perhaps rightfully) overshadow the pure run pluggers. This problem is exacerbated when trying to assess the relative accomplishments of outside linebackers across different eras. How do you evaluate Dave Wilcox, a run stopping maven from the 1960s, against Seth Joyner, a hypertalented cover backer from the 1980s? And how do you measure either against…

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GridFe Hall of Fame Middle Linebackers

For a large portion of NFL history, middle linebackers have been referred to as quarterbacks of the defense, and they are expected to possess the football intelligence to match the title. Mike backers must have the ability to do a little bit of everything: make tackles sideline to sideline, stop runs up the gut, maintain coverage (usually on backs and tight ends), run and pass blitz, and get personnel into position and make necessary adjustments.1 With the wide array of skills needed to play at…

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GridFe Hall of Fame Defensive Tackles

Manning the interior line, defensive tackles tend to be the biggest and strongest players on the field. Their lower bodies must simultaneously be powerful enough to anchor against the run and quick enough to bypass blockers. Their arms must be both mighty and precise, in order to disengage linemen to make plays (or occupy linemen to allow others to make the plays). More so than their line mates on the outside, defensive tackles tend to have higher expectations to shut down rushing attacks and lower…

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GridFe Hall of Fame Defensive Ends

The ideal defensive ends are immovable objects against the run and unstoppable forces against the pass. In reality, the best ends tend to be great at one or the other, or good at both, with a few extraordinary exceptions. As a committee, we strove to recognize those defenders who had few holes in their game, and we had an implicit preference for the guys who excelled in both areas. However,  we recognize the importance of the pass relative to the run, and we honor those…

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GridFe Hall of Fame Centers

Today’s GridFe Hall of Fame post focuses on arguably the most dangerous position in football, the center. The man in the middle: he touches the ball on every play, usually directs the line, protects against inside penetration, and serves as the pivot man in the run game. He also takes repetitive head shots on every down and doesn’t just put his body on the line; he literally puts his mind on the line for the team. We honor those men for their sacrifice on the…

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GridFe Hall of Fame Offensive Guards

When it came to selecting guards for the GridFe Hall of Fame, voters tended to go with mauling run blockers who also happened to have the ability to protect quarterbacks. This makes sense, as for most of football history coaches have devoted more attention to power in the middle and finesse on the edges. However, it is clear that guards of the future will have to be able to prioritize mitigating interior pressure while also providing a push in the rushing attack. With the continuing…

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GridFe Hall of Fame Offensive Tackles

The ability to protect the quarterback is paramount in the modern game, but it is a mistake to assume it wasn’t always important. While a Sandra Bullock voiceover may proclaim a sea change occurred in 1985, keeping legendary passers like Johnny Unitas and Bart Starr upright was just as important to the Colts and Packers title teams as clearing lanes for their versatile ball carriers. In reality, the infamous Joe Theismann injury only elevated the esteem and paycheck of the position. It seems the GridFe…

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