Dawkins is Worthy of Canton, But Will He Get the Call?

The NFL announced last week that former Eagles safety Brian Dawkins is one of 27 modern-era semifinalists for enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Let’s start with some facts:

1. Dawkins is probably the favorite Eagle of anyone between the ages of 20-35 years-old and lives within a 60-mile radius of Lincoln Financial Field (excluding degenerate Cowboys fans).

2. He was a great player. Dawkins was fiery and inspiring. He was also intimidating—most fans loved him because he could flat-out lay the wood. We ate up the “Weapon-X” and Wolverine stuff, but he was also an intelligent and versatile player who did things many of his contemporaries could only dream of.

3. Randy Moss and Ray Lewis are locks to get in this year. Tony Boselli and Brian Urlacher look like relatively safe bets. Ty Law, Terrell Owens, Steve Hutchinson and Alan Faneca all have a legitimate shot to be elected. It’s going to be hard for Dawkins to get in with such a crowded field, particularly because…

4. It’s pretty damn hard for safeties to get into The Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Peter King of MMQB did a piece in April 2015 after the retirement of Steelers legend Troy Polamalu (who’s eligible in 2020). Here’s the relevant part:

Over the past 26 years, covering 147 enshrinees to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, one of the 147 has been a safety. I’m talking a player who played safety his entire career, not one (such as Ronnie Lott or Rod Woodson, both of whom played significant portions of their careers at cornerback) who split time between corner and safety. The one: Minnesota’s Paul Krause, the league’s all-time interceptions leader. There are 295 Hall of Famers, so think of it: 147 is almost exactly half of that, and 26 years is almost half of the time the Hall’s been alive. One safety has been bronzed in that time.

A quick note on Krause—it took him fourteen tries to finally gain election, a seeming impossibility given he is the NFL’s all-time interception leader. That’s…discouraging. Former Seattle strong safety Kenny Easley broke the trend with his induction this past August, but the numbers clearly demonstrate it’s been an uphill battle for safeties to get some love from the selection committee. If Dawkins doesn’t get in this year, things get murky. Are voters going to pull the trigger on several safeties in a short span?

The candidacy of Steve Atwater, John Lynch, and LeRoy Butler muddles the field. Ed Reed, who becomes eligible in 2019, is the most likely of the trio to get in. He was elected to the Pro Bowl nine times, named a first-team All-Pro five times, and named the 2004 AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year. A Super Bowl champion, Reed is also the all-time leader in interception return yardage and shares the NFL postseason interception record. His career 64 interceptions and 13 touchdowns are far superior to the totals posted by Dawkins and Polamalu. There’s virtually no scenario in which the other two gain admittance over Reed.

Meanwhile, Polamalu is a two-time Super Bowl champion who was named to the Pro Bowl eight times and a first-team All-Pro four times in addition to being crowned the 2010 AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He compiled 12 sacks, 32 interceptions and 14 forced fumbles throughout his career. The resume of Dawkins, for the most part, stacks up favorably to that of the Steelers great. Dawkins, for his part, was named to nine Pro Bowls and a first-team All-Pro four times. He totaled 26 career sacks, 37 interceptions, and 28 forced fumbles.

Certainly, an argument can be made on the behalf of Dawkins’ worthiness over Polamalu. The problem for Dawkins in terms of Polamalu is about public perception. Head and Shoulders commercials aside, Polamalu is widely viewed as one of the most versatile defensive players of his generation. His propensity to make big plays in high-stakes games on his way to becoming a two-time Super Bowl champion may give him a leg up.

While Dawkins has made his share of notable big plays, he’s the only one of the three to never win a Lombardi Trophy, and while Eagles fans can recite many of the plays on his personal highlight reel, he lacks a nationally recognized signature moment.

It’s certainly feasible that Dawkins will get into Canton, but it’s hardly a sure-fire proposition. His fate will ultimately be predicated upon Pro Football Hall of Fame voters deviating from longstanding voting patterns. Here’s hoping they do. He deserves it.

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20 Comments

  • Fake cuz November 28, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    No Safeties, Offensive Guards, or Relief Pitchers in the Hall of Fame

    Reply
    • Ray didinger's heroin addiction November 28, 2017 at 1:27 pm

      Dawkins was invisible in the Eagles biggest games – 4 NFC title games and SB. Big mouth who never won anything and committed unspeakable acts at Clemson.
      Grade A phony.

      Reply
      • GOldster November 28, 2017 at 1:46 pm

        agree

        Reply
  • Jerry S November 28, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    No…to many other ‘perceived as better’ player ahead of him.
    Maybe later.
    The truth doesn’t matter to HOF voters….only their perception
    of what they think is correct.

    Reply
  • R ditty's skin tab bandaid November 28, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    I’m in the HOF for some stupid reason

    Reply
  • No Shot November 28, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    Dawkins was a good player but a great self promoter. King of the fake hustle. Great at coming out of the tunnel. Said all the right things for the Philly audience.

    I would suspect he will have a hard time getting in. Donnie Shell was better and he isn’t in.

    Reply
    • Agreed November 28, 2017 at 1:25 pm

      100% true. People in this city will lose their minds defending Dawkins’ credentials. But scoff at any notion of McNabb being a HOFer. Why? Because McNabb didn’t kiss their Eagle-pajama’d bottoms. It’s really sad how one player is treated from that era compared to what McNabb goes through. And it’s only because of McNabb not having a green Kool-Aid drenched opinion.

      Reply
      • Agreed 2x November 28, 2017 at 2:37 pm

        I 100% believe McNabb gets the shafted when it comes to respect from Philly fans. His era is deeply engraved (using that word right?) in my Eagles fandom. He spoke his mind, big flippin deal

        Reply
        • Underscored November 28, 2017 at 9:14 pm

          *Ingrained

          Reply
  • Scott Willaim November 28, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    Only the baseball hall of fame has standards that make sense. All other pro sports Halls of Fame have made themselves into a joke by too many unwise inclusion choices over the years. So whether Dawkins makes it or not… doesn’t matter all that much. We have fond memories of him, and that’s enough.

    Reply
  • Keeping it real November 28, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    Rodney Harrison should go in the HOF before BDawk. Totally outplayed him in the Super Bowl!!!!

    Reply
  • wing bowl November 28, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    heard the Clemson incident is holding him back for the hof

    Reply
  • Greg “the hammer” valentine November 28, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    B dawk, mcnabb , Akers and Andy Reid always choked in the big games .

    What did b dawk do at Clemson ?

    Reply
  • if ya gotta ask November 28, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    you don’t know jack. However it was only one time from what I hear. should take that into consideration

    Reply
  • Vastly overrated November 28, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    Good player. Not great. Still floundering in the end zone on one of Jake Delhome’s duck in that nfc title game. Jenkins is a better player.

    Reply
  • Vastly overrated November 28, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    * Delhomme’s ducks

    Reply
  • The eagles pep band November 28, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    Fly Eagles fly, on the road to victory
    Fly Eagles fly, score a touchdown 1,2,3
    Hit them low, hit them high and
    Watch those Eagles fly
    Fly Eagles fly on the road to victory
    E A G L E S
    EAGLES!!!

    E-A-G-L-E-S: EAGLES!!!

    Good luck B Dawk!!

    Reply
  • spuds the name,meat is my game November 28, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    I have a feeling that dick sucking thing at Clemson casts an unfavorable light on B Dawk in the halls eyes…shame, he was just a kid then

    Reply
    • Rollin blounts and jays November 28, 2017 at 2:33 pm

      It was by accident tho, no? Should be taken into consideration

      Reply
  • Howard Eskin November 28, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    I know for a fact that Dawk’s troubles at Clemson are killing him with the selection com

    That room is not a progressive room and we all know what team Dawk played for at Clemson…if you catch my drift….

    Reply
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