The 2014 NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame class has been announced in advance of the NFL Honors Awards Show tonight. This year's class includes Derrick Brooks, Ray Guy, Claude Humphrey, Andre Reed, Michael Strahan, Aeneas Williams, and Seattle Seahawks legend Walter Jones.
The finalists who didn't make it include Will Shields, Tim Brown, Charles Haley, Kevin Greene, Edward DeBartolo, Tony Dungy, Marvin Harrison, John Lynch and Morten Andersen.
Walter Jones is a no-brainer as a Hall of Famer, and it just tells you how incredibly dominant he was that he gets in on his first ballot. Jones is considered by many as the best left tackle of all time, could be considered among the best offensive linemen in the NFL's history, and is obviously up there as one of the Seahawks' best players ever.
As our own Kenneth Arthur wrote recently,
It's not unanimous that Jones is the best left tackle in the history of football, but of all the players that most of us have gotten to see with our own eyes, he'd probably get the most votes on the duh-factor scale.
Jones was selected sixth overall in the 1997 draft, a strong class that included Orlando Pace, Tony Gonzalez, James Farrior, Warrick Dunn, Jason Taylor and the Barber twins. The Seahawks hadn't made the playoffs in the eight years prior to Jones joining the team, but they did make it six times in his 12 years, including the 2005 Super Bowl.
(Also eligible for the Hall of Fame again this year is Jerome Bettis.)
Out of all the people that you could associate with the Seahawks 2000s success, from Mike Holmgren to Shaun Alexander to Matt Hasselbeck and Brian Russell, I don't put any of them in the same class as Jones. It's hard to believe that for four seasons, the Seahawks had two Hall of Fame players at the same time with Jones and Cortez Kennedy, but in a Mariners-esque move only made the playoffs once.
Now Seattle is preparing for hopefully it's first championship in franchise history, and while Jones could not overcome Bettis and the refs in 2005, maybe we can make 2013-14 the time to be and the Northwest the place to be. Jones himself says that this team is special, though he says that the '05 team "set the standard" for Seattle football.
Thomas Beekers added, back in September,
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.
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