In August, the NFL will induct its 2010 Hall of Fame class. Once again, that class won’t include former Pittsburgh Steelers center Dermontti Dawson, despite the fact that Dawson might be the best player in the history of the league at his position.
Dermontti Dawson was an elite player who should be in the Hall of Fame. Here’s why.
Dermontti Dawson’s Hall of Fame career
Dawson was drafted by the Steelers in 1988, took over the starting center job from Hall of Famer Mike Webster the following year, and never looked back.
He became one of the first centers to regularly pull out and lead on end-around running plays. Time and again, Dawson would race out to set huge blocks to spring Barry Foster or Jerome Bettis on a big run. Before Dawson, few centers were used this way. They simply weren’t athletic enough. Dawson changed the way people viewed the center position.
Dermontti Dawson: Hall of Fame snubs
Obviously, the reason Dawson isn’t in the Hall of Fame is because he played center, one of the least-appreciated positions in the game. Dawson’s credentials are impeccable: Seven Pro Bowls, eight All Pro selections and 170 consecutive games started from 1988 to 1999. And his teams were among the league leaders in rushing yards nearly every season he played. Offensive linemen simply can’t do any more than that.
Could you imagine a quarterback or wide receiver who was an eight-time All Pro not getting voted into the Hall on the first ballot? Yet Dawson still waits for the call.
Dawson is unquestionably one of the five greatest players in NFL history at his position. In recent years, less-than-elite players like Rickey Jackson, Gary Zimmerman and Thurman Thomas have been voted into the NFL Hall of Fame.
Those are all fine players, but would anyone argue that Rickey Jackson is one of the five best linebackers in NFL history? Or that Thurman Thomas is one of the five greatest running backs of all-time? Of course not. Yet, inexplicably, they made it to Canton before Dawson. It’s time for the NFL to correct this oversight.
Dermontti Dawson: Hall of Fame chances
Most observers believe it’s only a matter of time before voters come around and decided to enshrine Dawson in the football Hall of Fame. His first four years of eligibility, Dawson didn’t even make the cut for the final 10. The past two years, he made the final round of voting, a sign that he’s getting closer to being inducted.
However, over the next couple of years, more great players from the skills positions will become eligible, meaning that Dawson could again be overlooked.
Dermontti Dawson should be in the Hall of Fame: Summary
Will Dermontti Dawson make it to Canton as a member of the Hall of Fame in 2011? If the voters truly want the NFL Hall of Fame to represent the game’s greats, it’s a no-brainer. Dermontti Dawson is a Hall of Famer.
Dermontti Dawson should be in the Hall of Fame: Sources