The HOVG and "Super Seniors" over the last decade

Discuss candidates for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the PFRA's Hall of Very Good

The HOVG and "Super Seniors" over the last decade

Postby TanksAndSpartans » Fri Apr 10, 2020 12:16 am

With the 2010s in the book and the first due date for nominations of the new decade nearly upon us (04/30), I took a look back at how "super seniors" fared in the HOVG. There were 83 players and coaches inducted, but just 4 who began their careers prior to 1950: Ox Emerson, Riley Matheson, Ted Nesser, and Swede Youngstrom.

I'm interested to hear what the committee/others think, but I'd like to see separate consideration for this group. If every other year, we had a separate ballot such that one player could get in, that would give us 5 per decade which is better than 4 and perhaps more importantly to me, I think it would be fun to have the spotlight on these players. With the way it is now, even if they make the final group, they are pretty much ignored - their short careers and in many cases PFR cards that are devoid of statistics don't compare well with the more modern players.
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Re: The HOVG and "Super Seniors" over the last decade

Postby ChrisBabcock » Fri Apr 10, 2020 1:10 pm

Something to consider is that the more recent you get in history, there are more NFL teams. More teams = more players. ...and therefore more HOVG level players to nominate from recent years.

I do nominate Tony Latone every year though.
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Re: The HOVG and "Super Seniors" over the last decade

Postby TanksAndSpartans » Fri Apr 10, 2020 1:59 pm

ChrisBabcock wrote:Something to consider is that the more recent you get in history, there are more NFL teams. More teams = more players. ...and therefore more HOVG level players to nominate from recent years.

I do nominate Tony Latone every year though.


Thanks for that - Andy usually lets me replace him with another choice :)

I don't think there's enough interest in the early history anymore for them to get a shot without a subcommittee or something carved out for them. Even a bigger no-brainer to me than Latone, who does require you ask yourself some tough questions about unofficial statistics, weighing testimonials, weighing non-NFL pro football, etc. is George Christensen. I nominate that guy every year to no avail. My ultimate interest though would be to get deeper into pre-NFL. The NFL isn't paying us, so nothing stopping that in my opinion other than lack of interest.
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Re: The HOVG and "Super Seniors" over the last decade

Postby Reaser » Fri Apr 10, 2020 5:25 pm

I nominated Latone for a lot of years until others took over the mantle.

The HOVG is a three part process:

Nominations by the entire membership: i.e. players aren't considered if they aren't nominated.

Then the HOVG Committee votes/ranks the nominations to form the final ballot: to alleviate any concerns that the committee isn't voting for your guys. I can share that I've ranked Latone and Christensen as my top two in both 2019 and 2018, I ranked both top three in 2017, both top five in 2016, Latone number one in 2015, number two in 2014, and so on. So those players are getting their due during this part of the process.

Finally, the entire membership votes: naturally people are going to vote for their favorite era, players, or names they know. Which will always make it tougher for older players.

Perhaps time it to when voting is going to happen? When the final ballot is posted (always posted on the forums first) make a post in this section of the forum during that time and run a campaign for them or something? I think people are inclined to vote for who they're going to vote for but perhaps it'll open eyes to these players that they're unfamiliar with? I certainly believe both should be in the HOVG, at a minimum.
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Re: The HOVG and "Super Seniors" over the last decade

Postby TanksAndSpartans » Fri Apr 10, 2020 8:14 pm

@Reaser, thanks for the thoughtful post. Maybe I'm a pessimist by nature, but I've made some of those campaign posts and I can't help but wonder if they may have the opposite affect i.e. annoy people into not voting. I published an article on Latone this past August and offered it to anyone interested and didn't get any takers. HOVG has been there for 20 years and Ted Nesser is the only pre-NFL player. I'm not saying it should be about the players I want in, I'm just saying I think the HOVG should be covering all eras. I had a little debate on another board recently about Coffin Corner - that's something that got me more riled than I thought it would, I probably wouldn't get that riled about HOVG. Ted Nesser as the only Ohio League player after 18 years? You don't agree with that, right? My fix would be every year to focus on an early decade - even limit it to only 1 player making it if people are somehow concerned that having early players waters things down, but at least give them a chance. I'd go all the way back: 40s, 30s, 20s, 10s, 00s, 90s. It could parallel the current process exactly and occur concurrently, just be a separate pool of players.
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Re: The HOVG and "Super Seniors" over the last decade

Postby Reaser » Fri Apr 10, 2020 8:39 pm

TanksAndSpartans wrote: I had a little debate on another board recently about Coffin Corner


What was that about?
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Re: The HOVG and "Super Seniors" over the last decade

Postby Andy Piascik » Fri Apr 10, 2020 9:22 pm

I understand some of your frustration. I’ve disagreed about some who have been elected to the HOVG and am disappointed about some who have not. The best way to address that is by what others have said: nominate and vote for those you support and initiate discussions of their worthiness here at the Forum.

Here’s some information that goes beyond the fact that only four players who began their careers before 1950 were elected in the 2010s:

From 2003 to 2009, 21 of the 66 people elected to the HOVG primarily because of their playing careers (meaning not Buddy Parker, Jim Lee Howell, Lou Saban and a few others)began their careers before 1950. Mention has already been made of the much large player pool of recent decades. Consider, too, that at that time the rules were that a player only had to be retired 20 years instead of the current 25, meaning that the field was open to include more modern players than is the case today. So another way to look at the fact that only four pre-1950 players were elected in the 2010s is that perhaps most of the PFRA members who voted felt that most of the best from that time period had already been elected.

Someone who is particularly interested in the 1940s and earlier may very well be frustrated that more players from that time have yet to be elected. That is not solely because members don’t know as much about players from those years, though that’s probably part of it; it’s also because they legitimately believe others from the last 70 years have been more deserving. People express disagreements along this line at the Forum all the time. That’s pretty much the nature of these things. You mention Latone and Christensen. Even if we just look at the pre-1950 period, others might very well feel Buster Ramsey or Ward Cuff or Ed Danowksi or Dick Huffman or any number of others are more deserving than Latone and Christensen.

I’ve heard from people in the years I’ve been chair that the HOVG is too this or too that: too many AFL players, not enough AFL players, too many old-timers and insufficient focus on those most recently eligible, in addition to what you’re raising. So one subcommittee could beget calls for another and then another and then another.
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Re: The HOVG and "Super Seniors" over the last decade

Postby TanksAndSpartans » Fri Apr 10, 2020 10:35 pm

Reaser wrote:
TanksAndSpartans wrote: I had a little debate on another board recently about Coffin Corner


What was that about?


In short that it wasn't worth the PFRA dues anymore, should be free - those kind of comments.

Andy Piascik wrote:I’ve heard from people in the years I’ve been chair that the HOVG is too this or too that: too many AFL players, not enough AFL players, too many old-timers and insufficient focus on those most recently eligible, in addition to what you’re raising. So one subcommittee could beget calls for another and then another and then another.


Andy, thanks for the reply - I know you're one of the frequent posters here and figured you would see this - don't want you to think its meant to be critical of you, because it isn't. It's a democratic process, I get that. But I'm also on the board and I can gauge what the interests of the members are - to talk about the early history of the game I actually go to a different board, odd as it seems. My point being I feel HOVG reflects the interests of the members and its not just my casual observation of what people post about here, but I would argue the 4/83 in 10 years supports my hypothesis that a pretty small minority are interested in the early history, so I proposed the subcommittee idea as a fix - there was one other poster with me in the other thread. From your post, it sounded like your thought was people feel that the later players are just more worthy and are fairly considering all players on their merits. So, lets get away from the 20s-40s - I'll concede for the sake of argument that all the worthy players from that era are already in the HOVG. Do you also feel an argument can be made Ted Nesser is the only deserving pre-1920 player? The intention of my proposal is to make the HOVG better and to me including at least a handful of players from the first 20-30 years of pro football, players like Homer Davidson, would make it better. The last 10 years to me is analogous to what happened with the HOF Centennial class. Slater got in, but was the only super senior. In a way, HOVG bothers me more, I got over the centennial class after a few days, but with HOVG, I get to relive it annually.
Last edited by TanksAndSpartans on Sat Apr 11, 2020 1:41 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The HOVG and "Super Seniors" over the last decade

Postby JeffreyMiller » Sat Apr 11, 2020 12:23 am

Coffin Corner free? Interesting. Who would cover the cost of paper, printing, postage .... too funny.

BTW, I voted for Latone every years he's been nominated. I am disappointed he's not in, along with Tommy Hughitt. But the line is very long ... I dont recall seeing a Latone story in the Coffin Corner. Did you submit it?
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Re: The HOVG and "Super Seniors" over the last decade

Postby TanksAndSpartans » Sat Apr 11, 2020 1:22 am

JeffreyMiller wrote:Coffin Corner free? Interesting. Who would cover the cost of paper, printing, postage .... too funny.


He thought it should be digital only.

JeffreyMiller wrote:BTW, I voted for Latone every years he's been nominated. I am disappointed he's not in, along with Tommy Hughitt. But the line is very long ... I dont recall seeing a Latone story in the Coffin Corner. Did you submit it?


Thanks for asking. I submitted it to Gridiron Greats Magazine. I went that direction because my theme was that he should be considered for the Centennial class and I believe I did make the deadline in terms of getting it done before anything was announced. I didn't go the CC route because the original idea was an opinion piece, but in reality the only place I really offered an opinion was in the final sentence, so I could have submitted it to CC as well and just changed the title and conclusion, but Latone already has a Coffin Corner bio, plus technically I don't think you're supposed to submit the same article to multiple journals although its not like I'm going up for tenure at Football Research U, so I'm not sure.

The really fun part of the article was digging into his pre-NFL career - I want to go back to it at some point because some stuff I just couldn't figure out. For a bunch of years, he was making more headlines for baseball, but his name doesn't show up in the online databases that include minor league statistics. Also, right after I submitted the article I realized that by spelling his name correctly in newspapers.com - I was missing search results. I should have been including variations like "La Tone", etc.. As a result, I noted that 1916 was a black hole for me. Learned a lesson at least. Here are a couple screenshots from the article:

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Screen Shot 2020-04-11 at 1.15.51 AM.png (114.78 KiB) Viewed 3959 times
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