Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Five Good Questions with Tony Grossi about the Pro Football Hall of Fame Voting

This Saturday, the football writers will be selecting the latest class to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame....The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer's Tony Grossi is one of the 44 voting members....he was kind enough to take a few minutes to respond to our Five Good Questions....

Q1. On average, how long of a process is it in deciding who will be the new enshrinees? Should there be any changes in the process?
A. It's a gruelling process. The selection meeting lasts more than 4 hours and increases every year because there is so much discussion on every one of the 17 finalists. After all the discussion, there are two votes to whittle down the finalists to seven. And then there are separate votes on each of final seven. There are about a half-dozen accountants in the room collecting ballots and then counting them. It's like electing seven popes a year. Just draining. Painstakingly thorough.

Q2. In your opinion, who are three players, coaches, and/or administrators who should be in the Hall of Fame but aren't?
A. Randy Gradishar, Derrick Thomas and Blanton Collier.

Q3. In the past, you have been an opponent of Art Modell making the Hall of Fame. Do you see any chance of Modell ever making the Hall of Fame, say even 15-20 years from now?
A. Oh, there's always a chance. But in my opinion, nothing will change to rewrite his legacy. I suppose he will get some sympathetic votes when he passes. But his passing will not change what he did -- nor should it. His supporters say we in Cleveland should forgive him. I think we have forgiven him, but we should not forget.

Q4. In the recent Pro Football Weekly, it ran a story about current and past hea
d coaches and their chances of getting into the Hall of Fame. Two of the head coaches who were borderline possibilities were Don Coryell (photo) and Marty Schottenheimer. What is your take on these two former coaches? Would you vote in favor of them being in the Hall of Fame?
A. Right now, no. I would need to hear a really good argument for Coryell. As for Schottenheimer, his postseason record -- using his own words -- is what it is.

Q5. The same article mentioned that Bill Belichick is a lock for the Hall of Fame despite the Spygate scandal. What is your take on Belichick making the Hall of Fame? Your thoughts on Spygate.
A. It's incomprehensible to think a coach can win three Super Bowls -- it may be four soon and there may be even more up ahead -- and not be a slamdunk for the Hall of Fame. As for Spygate, I would love to hear all the facts, but the NFL has seen fit to destroy all the evidence. I've said this for a while now -- Belichick is the closest thing in this era to Paul Brown.

Once again I would like to thank Tony for taking the time to respond....

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