The Pro Football Hall of Fame has announced its full list of modern-era nominees for the class of 2014, which will be whittled down to 25 semifinalists in November, 15 finalists in January, and finally the enshrinees (a max of five from the modern era) are to be picked on February 1st.
The Seahawks bust count remains low, depending on how you tally. The only "real Hawks" in the Hall of Fame are WR Steve Largent, inducted 1995, and DT Cortez Kennedy, inducted in 2012. There's two more guys who at least added to their Hall of Fame resume with their brief stints with the Hawks, in QB Warren Moon and DT John Randle, and then there's a set of guys for whom the Hawks were just a pit-stop on the way to retirement, in RB Franco Harris, DE Carl Eller and WR Jerry Rice.
We definitely need more Hawks in there!
The list of first-year eligible people includes RB Shaun Alexander, LT Walter Jones and coach Mike Holmgren.
Walter Jones is a slam dunk Hall of Famer, it's just a question of when he'll get it. Arguably the best left tackle in a generation of great left tackles, perhaps even the best left tackle to play the game, Seahawks fans should be well familiar with his unique brand of dominance. The Hawks were generally good during his career too, which helps give him that needed recognizability with the media. I will argue to my dying breath that the 2005 MVP award that went to Shaun Alexander should by all rights have gone to Walter Jones. Or at least the OPotY. Jones is such a slam-dunk Hall of Famer the Hawks retired his jersey number the moment he retired, whereas with Largent and Kennedy both the team waited until enshrinement.
Shaun Alexander is a slam dunk not a Hall of Famer. Even though the NFL has become a passing league, we have been looking at a steady stream of all-time great running backs, and while Alexander was definitely great for a while, it wasn't long enough. The second knock on him was that while he was likely the best pure runner the Hawks ever had, even though his odd effortless style was hard to appreciate fully, he was not a very well-rounded RB at all, bad at catching passes and terrible at blocking. There's better running backs still waiting to be enshrined, and better running backs still coming.
Mike Holmgren is a more open question to my mind. He could make it, but he's not a slam-dunk. He won one Superbowl and lost two, which is not a great record, but he was very successful on sustained runs with two different franchises and two different franchise quarterbacks, which does count for something. He has a .67 win record with the Packers, and an impressive .643 post-season win record. His record with the Seahawks is less outstanding but he still had a dominant run with them for years, where no other team in an (admittedly weak) NFC West could challenge us. Both the Packers and Seahawks were losing, slumping teams when he arrived. It's an impressive pair of achievements, and might just be enough.
The backlog for Seahawks nominees is not very big. There's six candidates for enshrinement listed in total.
RB Ricky "Running" Watters has been on a few ballots, and his 10K+ yards and five pro bowls make him a legit candidate, but some say his demeanor is keeping him out. He was solid but unspectacular in his four seasons with the Hawks.
Coach Tom Flores won two Super Bowls as a head coach and dominated with the Raiders. He was hired by the Seahawks as president/GM but named himself coach after firing Chuck Knox. He went 2-14 in the historically awful 1992 season, probably one of the worst offenses ever fielded, before going 6-10 in '93 and '94. His time with the Seahawks really does not help his case. His win record with the Raiders was .61 and .727 in playoffs, with the Hawks it was .292 with no playoff appearances.
Coach Chuck Knox was named NFL Coach of the Year three times, including once in 1984 when coaching the Seahawks. Knox coached for a long time and got impressive results in pretty much every stint, except his final run with the LA Rams. The 1983-1984 Seahawks teams remain one of the franchise's most impressive runs; the 1983 Seahawks went 9-7 and tied for second in the AFC West, but won two playoff games to reach the AFC Championship, losing to the Raiders. In 1984 star sophomore running back Curt Warner went on IR, but the Hawks still went 12-4, second in the AFC West (which between the Raiders, Hawks and Broncos was one tough division) and won their wild card game against the Raiders before getting knocked out by the Dolphins in the divisional playoffs. For must of Chuck's remaining years the Seahawks would remain respectable but not impressive, hanging in the 7-9 to 9-7 field, but that was more than any Hawks coach had accomplished, and more than any would until Holmgren.
So, what should we expect? My personal expectation is that Walter Jones makes it in this year (next on the outside), Mike Holmgren will make it but not on his first year. Shaun Alexander will not make it to the Hall of Fame, and I'm unsure if any of the other three will, I'm not expecting them to (and we shouldn't care much about Flores). What do you think?