Originally Posted by Vinny
its almost impossible to compare stats from the 70's. You could mug a wr all over the field...literally knock their blocks off at any time - today, every stat or new rule has gone on to enhance the stats of the offensive players in this newer era. In the greater picture, football is a sport very much unlike the stat-driven game of baseball (as an example of making HOF cases on pure stats alone). I think you have to look past raw data to see the impact of a football player. Sometimes you get a lot of catches because the defense is really doubling Ricky Sanders (Art Monk, cough, cough). AJ is a dominant blocker, an elite route runner, makes teams gameplan totally around his skill-set, and has been on some really bad teams. I think the voters will see that and there are tons of things players do to dominate games that don't end up on stat sheets. Stats are for baseball and fantasy leagues.
I recognize and agree with most of that statement. A.J. was the one stud on a sucky team. But now the offense goes thru Foster. Defenses don't fear A.J. like they fear Foster. What's more likely to happen... an opposing defense doubling A.J. with a CB and safety or them putting that safety in the box to stop Foster??
The part I disagree with is that you're giving the HoF voters more credit than they're due. They won't care that A.J. is a great downfield blocker or a great route runner. There's no evidence that they are that smart. Carter and Harrison are two of the best route runners this side of Jerry Rice. Carter still isn't in and it will be interesting to see if Harrison gets in when eligible (I think he's still 2-3 years away).
I'm telling you A.J. needs a ring or two to cement his chances.