Tony Boselli’s path into the Hall of Fame was not easy, and now the person who: introduced him into the exclusive fraternity at the NFL Honors show:, Bruce Smith, is questioning his nomination. The NFL’s all-time sack leader: took to Instagram this week: with some arguments against Boselli’s nomination and said that his nomination was largely due to their one-on-one that took place in the 1996 playoffs.
“A large part of the campaign to promote Tony Boselli into the Hall of Fame seems to hyper focus on a single successful performance he had against me in a 1996 playoff game,” Smith said. “On the one hand, I’m quite flattered to be considered the gold standard by which another player’s game can be measured to determine his qualification into the HOF. But on a more serious level, I and other HOFers believe it sets a horrible precedent to negatively zero in on a standing member of the Hall’s play in order to validate the candidacy of a nominee. “
That game marked the first playoff game in Jags history where they were viewed as underdogs. However, the Jags somehow earned a 30-27 victory, and a big key to the win was Boselli holding his own against Smith.
Smith also referred to the process of looking at a player’s performance against Hall of Famers as “underhanded tactics,” which is something he feels Boselli’s supporters have done.
“The HOF is an exclusive fraternity that follows a tacit code of conduct which fosters respect and brotherhood among its members,” Smith added. “Given the opportunity, any Hall of Famer could use his credentials to boast about his dominance over another member, but such behavior is deemed inappropriate because of the friction and discord it could create within the group. Maintaining harmony and goodwill in the HOF is paramount, and it is precisely why player campaigns have historically been presented respectfully and thoughtfully, allowing the candidate’s stats and complete body of work to speak resoundingly for itself.
“Resorting to underhanded tactics, like targeting a Hoffer and hyping a one game matchup to bolster a nominee’s merit as some of Tony’s supporters have done, undermines the integrity of the Hall’s election process. It also invites otherwise unnecessary commentary and scrutiny around that candidate’s worthiness of becoming a member of the HOF. ”
When looking at the entirety of Boselli’s career, it seems his matchup against Smith, which occurred in his second year in the NFL, was just a start to what would be a short, but dominant career. After that matchup, Boselli went to four consecutive Pro Bowls and was a First-Team All-pro three consecutive times.
Simply put, the argument could be made that Boselli’s matchup against Smith earned him national recognition before he took off to new heights, instead of the game that defined him. After all, a player does not earn three consecutive All-Pro nominations off of one performance, but more so due to consistency over time.
With Boselli protecting a left-handed quarterback in Mark Brunell, he was not tasked with protecting the blindside for the Jags. That responsibility fell on Leon Searcy at the right tackle position, which is something Smith called out about Boselli’s career.
“In Jacksonville, Leon Searcy bore the arduous task of protecting Mark Brunell’s blind side, while Tony benefited from protecting the extremely talented, mobile left handed quarterback,” Smith added. “During my nineteen years in the NFL several outstanding LTs, such as Bruce Armstrong, Richmond Webb and Will Wolford, all had stellar games against me. Perhaps they too would be wise to build HOF campaigns highlight that fact. ”
While Smith is making cases against Boselli, he’s had his share of support from notables like Hall of Famers: Jason Taylor: and: Willie Roafe, Pro Bowler Michael McCrary:and Atlanta Falcons: second-team All-Pro Chuck Smith:, to name a few. That said, there are great former players and executives in the league who would disagree with those who feel Boselli does not belong in Canton.
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