Cowboys and the HOF: We're Getting Goosed

IRVING, TX -- Dear Fan of More Cowboys Getting Into The Pro Football Hall of Fame: You're being Goosed.

The Hall of Fame voting body is make up of journalists from the different NFL cities. Our rep -- the Cowboys' rep -- is Dallas Morning News scribe Rick Gosselin. Now, different guys approach this responsibility differently, but in my experience, many voters view themselves as the "campaign manager'' for qualified home-town players. Officially, they have the obligation to make a presentation for the player from their city.

It can be a complicated process, a political process, a messy process.

It can be especially cumbersome when the "rep'' doesn't want to "rep.'' Gosselin, it seems, is so caught up in his journalistic laws of objectivity that he almost seems ANTI-Cowboy.

Announced Wednesday: Cowboys Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin and Rayfield Wright are among the 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Results of the vote will be announced Feb. 4, the day before the Super Bowl in Detroit. On that Saturday, a 39-member panel will vote on the finalists. A candidate must get 80 percent of the vote to be elected with a minimum of three and a maximum of six getting in.

And the Buffalo rep will campaign for and presumably vote for Bills. And the Washington rep will campaign for and presumably vote for Redskins. And the Miami rep will campaign for and presumably vote for Dolphins.

And the Dallas rep will. ... hmmm, well, read on. ...

A few months ago, Goose wrote a Dallas Morning News story headlined "Aikman's efficiency could hurt Hall hopes.'' And I thought, Good Lord, who's side is this guy on? Seriously, I'm starting to think so-called "sure-bet'' Cowboys candidates might be better served on that Super Bowl Saturday Decision Day if their seemingly reluctant campaign manager Goose calls in sick.

Then came Gosselin's report on the announcement of Irvin's continued eligibility. Wrote Goose: "Irvin became eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2005 and reached the final six. But he was voted down. That wasn't catastrophic. Of the 17 modern-era receivers in the Hall of Fame, only four went in on the first ballot. So Irvin still has the time and the credentials for induction. ... A receiver such as Irvin comes along once in a generation.''

Well, OK, but Gosselin -- who doubles as the guy who must do the Cowboys-related campaigning for the Pro Football Hall of Fame -- better give a better speech than that come next winter. "A receiver such as Irvin comes along once in a generation''? If you don't know my history, I'm an Irvin guy. Always have been. We're friends. No media person is closer to him than I. BUT. ... in fact, in the coming years, Irvin the pass-catcher will be pitted against Art Monk, Andre Reed, Cris Carter, Shannon Sharpe, Tim Brown and some guy named Jerry Rice. "Irvin is once-in-a-generation''? That's the bumper sticker, the T-shirt, the front-yard campaign sign slogan? No, Michael is NOT once-in-a-generation. He is, in fact, seven-in-a-generation. One of seven great WRs of his era.

Please, Goose, give a better presentation than that, else you get laughed out of the Super Bowl Saturday meeting room.

Not long ago, the HOF narrowed its list of candidates for 2006 induction to 25. In Gosselin's Morning News story on the 25, he:

  • Made a point to say that last year, voters "said no'' to Irvin, and then lumped him into a group of other "said no'ers'' like Harry Carson and Bob Kuechenberg.

    Question: Shouldn't Goose be trying to SEPARATE Irvin from the Kuechenbergs, be trying to get people to "say yes''?

  • Says the "favorites'' to get in this year -- and remember, only a maximum of six get in per year -- are Aikman, Reggie White, Warren Moon, Dermontti Dawson, Thurman Thomas and Andre Reed.

    Question: Was Dermontti Dawson a better offensive lineman than Rayfield Wright?

    Question: Two players from the Buffalo Bills team that lost TWICE to Dallas in '90's Super Bowls get in ahead of some of the Cowboys who forged those wins?

    Question: Andre Reed of the Bills was a better receiver than Michael Irvin? Really?

  • Goose points out that "Dawson, White and Thomas all made the NFL All-Decade Team of the 1990's.''

    Oh, no you don't, Rick. I've been making the argument for years that outsiders Drew Pearson and Cliff Harris MUST be in the HOF because they were on the '70's All-Decade Team. ... in fact, they are the only two members of that elite unit who AREN'T in the Hall. (Suggesting a Cowboys bias that, strangely, seems to be continuing on even by the Cowboys' own representative!)

    So don't start using All-Decade as a qualifier for Bills if it hasn't, for 25 years, been used to help Cowboys.

    Question: Should All-Decade guys from the '90's go in ahead of All-Decade guys from the '70's?

    Well, yeah, maybe. If the '70's guys are Cowboys. And if the Cowboys rep doesn't see himself as the Cowboys rep.

    Gosselin closes his "unbiased'' article by essentially, maybe unwittingly, revealing who will be on his ballot. He mentions Dawson, White, Thomas, Moon, Reed and Aikman and then says, "Those six will garner the strongest consideration for the Class of 2006.''

    I'm left to assume that what Rick means is that they will "garner the strongest consideration'' from HIM.

    Now, I don't know what the ballots of the three dozen-or-so other voters look like. I assume Aikman is a no-brainer who doesn't need a campaign manager. But if Rick Gosselin, representing Dallas, isn't voting for Michael Irvin or Rayfield Wright, if he isn't campaigning for Cowboys, why would reps from other cities vote for Cowboys?

    Sorry, Mr. Wright. Sorry, Mr. Irvin. Sorry, Cowboys fans. Don't get your hopes too high.

    You're being Goosed.

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