NFL: Taking A Look At 2024 Hall Of Fame Candidates

Last Saturday, the Pro Football Hall of Fame had their enshrinement ceremony. Inductees included the NFL’s “Iron Man” OT Joe Thomas (10,363 consecutive snaps).Who played Between the 8 players and 1 coach inducted there were: 46 Pro Bowl Selections, 4 Super Bowl Champions and 1 Super Bowl MVP. Almost every player inducted, was a former defensive player. Former Browns OT Joe Thomas was the outlier.  A whole lot of talent, no doubt about that.

With this year’s ceremony behind us, it’s the perfect time to look ahead to next year, and who’s likeness could be enshrined in bronze forever. Below, are three players that could take home a gold jacket next August.

Julius Peppers, DE/LB (CAR/CHI/GB, 2002-2018)

One of the few players to come through the NFL, that has also played in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Peppers gave Offensive Lineman nightmares for 17 seasons. But before that, he was dominating on the basketball court for the North Carolina Tar Heels. Which included a 21 point, 10 rebound performance against Penn State in the 2001 NCAA Tournament.

Luckily enough for the game of football, Peppers left basketball behind. He was drafted #2 overall by his home state Carolina Panthers in the 2002 NFL Draft. He would go on to record 557 solo tackles, 159.5 sacks, 52 forced fumbles and 11 interceptions. Those stats would help him garner many accolades throughout his career. Such as, the 2002 Defensive Rookie of the Year award, 9 Pro Bowl selections, and 3 All-Pro selections.

He was honored by being named to the Hall of Fame’s All-2000’s and All-2010’s team(s). With that being said, there’s a very good shot that Peppers gets his gold jacket in his first year of eligibility.

Sebastian Janikowski, K (OAK/SEA, 2000-2018)

You might be surprised to see a kicker on this list, as there are only four of them in the Hall Of Fame. But “Seabass” Janikowski, rightfully deserves to be the fifth one. He might be my favorite kicker of all-time (we both kick with our left foot), but this is an unbiased pick. Because the stats back me up.

Somehow the Poland native was only selected to 1 Pro Bowl. Which just doesn’t do justice to his legendary career. In 12 out of his 18 seasons, Janikowski made over 80% of his Field Goal attempts. Which is the exact same number as HOF K Morten Andersen. He holds the record for most field goals of 50+ yards with an astounding 58 made from that distance. Soon to be broken by Justin Tucker, who currently sits at 57.

Add to that, he sits tied for third on the longest FG made list with a 63-yarder (Tom Dempsey, Jason Elam). No one in Raiders history has scored more points, or played in more games for the franchise. These stats lead me to believe that he should be the first player born in Poland to be inducted into the HOF.

Sterling Sharpe, WR (Green Bay Packers, 1988-1994)

Sharpe is a Senior Finalist for induction to the HOF next year. Which puts him one step ahead of the other two guys on this list. He had a short career compared to Peppers and Janikowski. But it wasn’t on his own accord. After suffering a severe neck injury in 1994, he was subsequently forced to retire at just 29 years old. But in his 7 year career, the former #7 pick, put together a Hall Of Fame worthy career.

The former South Carolina Gamecock played in every single game of his career (112 total). Racking up 8,134 yards, and 65 TDs on 595 receptions. He led the league in receptions three times(1989,1992,1993)  and receiving yards once(1992). In 5 out of 7 seasons, the Chicago born WR was a Pro Bowler. Along with two top-10 MVP finishes.

I might not recognize many names on the Senior Finalists list. But he should join his brother, Shannon, in the Hall Of Fame.

Those are just three of the many possible names to be enshrined for eternity in Canton, Ohio next August. If you ask me, there’s a good chance all three of the players mentioned above make it.




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