One of the issues today is the old-timers - the HoF players who vote - look at today's pass-happy game with a bit of disdain. The perceive QBs as having official-sanctioned "protection bubbles" around them. And they see receivers no longer scared to go across the middle and rule changes that clearly favor offensive players.
I think AJ should go in first ballot, but I'm not a voter. What the voters think is what matters, and there is no doubt that they think today's NFL is watered down and gaudy stats reflect those changes.
How often have we seen multiple 5000+ passing yards for QBs? How long did the record stand for 7 TDs in a game before TWO QBs have already tied it this season (one of them being some unknown dude at that?).
400 yards passing in a game is no longer special. Check this out:
There was a time in the NFL when a quarterback who passed for 400 yards in a game had done something really special. That time has passed.
Consider this: In 2005, there were only two 400-yard passing games all season, both by Marc Bulger of the Rams. In 2013, that total has already been surpassed, and Week One isnít even over. Peyton Manning, Eli Manning and Colin Kaepernick all topped 400 yards this week.
NFL quarterbacks have picked up this season right where they left off in the last couple of seasons. Over the last 35 weeks of the regular season, stretching back to Week One of 2011, there have been 36 quarterbacks who threw for 400 yards in a game. Basically, in the NFL these days, we average a 400-yard passer a week.
And when you see something every week, it stops being special. In the 1970s, there were five 400-yard passing games for the entire decade.
I'm not arguing against AJ in the HoF.
Rather, I am seeing a clear trend that will be taken into account by HoF voters. You simply cannot compare raw numbers of Art Monk to a modern receiver, because the game is drastically changing to favor offenses.
From the same article:
Quarterbacks are protected from hits. Wide receivers are protected from hits. Pass interference, illegal contact and defensive holding are called much more stringently.
What has also changed is that young quarterbacks come into the league ready to command an NFL offense immediately. In the old days, it took years for quarterbacks to make the transition from the college game to the NFL. Now young quarterbacks can do it immediately. In NFL history, there have only been four 400-yard passing games by rookie quarterbacks, and all four of them happened in the last two years.
Just food for thought. Hopefully voters take into account AJ's career with an expansion team, the dignity that he has represented, and of course his consistently amazing talent that just got showcased the past couple of weeks with some spectacular TD catches.