The Pro Football Hall Of Fame: Not Meaningful Enough To Get Upset About

Earlier this week, Jason Whitlock bemoaned the inconsistent logic of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

Someone — I honestly don’t know who — came up with the false narrative that induction into the HOF should hinge on "whether or not you can write the history of the league without mentioning this person or player."

In case you're curious, yes, the column does feature the ubiquitous three-word "It's a joke" paragraph. Whitlock is right on the money, though, because... "the history of the league"? What does that even mean?

The obvious first question to raise would be, "well, how complete do you want this history to be?" You can't write the complete history of the league without Tim Couch, who threw a few passes for the Browns. I realize how ornery it is to dwell on this; my point is that

"whether or not you can write the history of the league without mentioning this person or player."

is a hopelessly vague statement, and if this really is the primary criterium for induction, then inconsistent selections are all that we can really expect. I'll take this a step further, though, and suggest that "the" history of the league, in terms of relevance, is hopelessly limited.

Fan experiences are dramatically isolated. I'm a Chiefs fan, so Kimble Anders means a lot to me, but if you're an Eagles fan, he probably means nothing to you. We can agree that players such as Emmitt Smith are among the greatest, but suppose there were no Hall of Fame? Suppose we had no means of organized commemoration of his career? Would that be a terrible thing?

I suppose it would be kind of a bummer. But what we have is this: 44 dudes deciding who the bestest, most awesome football players are, and giving these players a bust in an unsightly building off the Ohio interstate. My suggestion is this: the Hall of Fame is not relevant by default. It is not a referendum on my sentiments, or yours, or anyone's apart from these 44 dudes. The issue of who is and isn't in this building is only relevant if you decide it is.

I hate to be Jaded Guy on the Internet, but I've checked out long ago. The Pro Football Hall of Fame isn't a joke, or a fraud, or a shame, or a whatever. To me, it's a museum that is fun to visit, and nothing else. To try and wrench it into some sort of collective consensus... well, Hell, we may as well agree on a favorite color.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.