Ronde Barber And Canton ChallengesMay 10th, 2013
Yes, there will be debate about Ronde Barber and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. There shouldn’t be, but there is.
Joe just thinks it is nonsense when people label Barber a system player. Exactly what player in the NFL is not a system player? Every NFL team runs an offensive and defensive system.
Now Joe believes Barber will eventually enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but he may have to wait a while. Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune represents the Tampa Bay area among the 45 voters who select and induct players into Canton.
Kaufman explains just how tough it will be for Barber as defensive backs are a rare breed to have their busts in Canton.
There are only 23 defensive backs in the Hall, and among defensive backs who have retired in the past two decades, only four have been inducted: Darrell Green, Ronnie Lott, Deion Sanders and Rod Woodson.
That’s the kind of scrutiny Barber faces when he first becomes eligible for the Class of 2018.
Barber has thrived while facing down competition for 16 NFL seasons, but the 2018 Hall of Fame class could feature a killer group of other first-time eligibles: Ray Lewis, Randy Moss, Charles Woodson and Brian Urlacher. And don’t forget about returning candidates who fall short in 2017.
Remember, it will be Kaufman who will present — and argue for — Barber to be inducted, if Kaufman is still in the business come 2018. He’s on Barber’s side but is just being honest about the uphill climb.
Then again, it was Kaufman who did the unthinkable and got a non-player, non-coach, non-owner elected in NFL Films founder Ed Sabol, and he also convinced his fellow voters that Warren Sapp should be a first-ballot inductee, which many thought to be a dicey proposition at best.
Joe will leave it at this: If Roger Wehrli can get into Canton (granted, on his final try), so too can Barber.