The League

Randy Cross
Guest Contributor

Randy Cross

Former 49ers offensive lineman, NFL analyst for CBS

Being Nominated is Cool


Initially when you're first nominated for the Hall of Fame, it's a very,very exciting experience. When you're in your first year of eligibility, you scan the list and look at all of the guys on it. It's pretty cool. It's my 15th year [of eligibility] now, and it's probably the first time in a few years I've been nominated. I'd say I've been nominated about half the time in those 15 years. It's nice. Someday, there will be one of us from one of those [49ers offensive] lines that won all those championships that gets in. I'm not saying it has to be me. I'd like to see one of us make it. It would be nice. We'll see. Every year, I think about two groups: offensive linemen and assistant coaches.

We were on the opposite end of the spectrum from the "Hogs." They were the media darlings, John Madden's boys on TV. People didn't like us. They didn't like the way we played, and that went along with people not liking us because we won. If it was a popularity contest, the Hogs would have been the homecming queen and we would have been the ones that got nominated occasionally as a joke. But I think about the Hogs. I think about those amazing lines the Rams teams had, in addition to [Hall of Fame tackle] Jackie Slater, that have not been recognized. Mike Kenn was a great, great player in Atlanta for a long, long time.

It's a travesty to me that assistant coaches are never considered. I still can't understand how we can recognize players and head coaches and contributors and even broadcasters and media people, and not assistant coaches. There have been so many great coordinators and other assistant coaches over the years. Think of the guys who were around Joe Gibbs during those championship years in Washington that provided so much stability. You can't convince me that the only worthy coaches in our league were head coaches.

By Randy Cross  |  October 30, 2008; 1:18 PM ET  | Category:  NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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You make a good point. It's the assistant coaches who are responsible for the team's performance on the field. The Head Coach is more like a baseball manager -- representing the team in public, dealing with the media, liaising with the owner and upper management. The amount of coaching you get to do seems to decrease year by year.

So who would be great assistant coach nominees?

Posted by: samson151 | October 30, 2008 3:30 PM

Good article, Mr. Cross. On the topic of Assistant Coaches, I'd love to see Dick LeBeau, inventor of the zone blitz, get inducted once he finally retires.

Posted by: tom veil | October 30, 2008 3:41 PM

Buddy Ryan, Joe Bugle, Norv Turner maybe.

Posted by: kguy1 | October 30, 2008 3:44 PM

One of the great assistant coaches for 'Skins when they won super bowls, was once the Nfl's Leading all-time receiver and helped change the way receivers played with 'ankle-breaking" jukes, the power to fight off the line and helped Sonny Jurgensen become one of the greatest two minute drill Qb's and along with bobby mitchell, and jerry Smith, formed one of the greatest group of receiver's- and passed this tradition on to Art monk Gary clark and rest of smurfs- Charley Taylor- I'll always pass stories to kids of a real "star"!!!!

Posted by: Jim Land | October 30, 2008 6:30 PM

There's a Saint who I think should be nominated, and that man is Rickey Jackson. He was a member of the great LB class of 1981. Let's compare Rickey Jackson to Lawrence Taylor:
Sacks: Jackson: 128 Taylor: 132.5
Intercptios: Jackson: 8 Taylor: 9
Pro Bowls: Jackson: 6 Taylor: 10

To me these compare very favorably, and the only real difference is that Taylor played in a major TV market, and for a 2-time Super Bowl team, and Rickey Jackson Played in a small market, New Orleans, although he did get a Super Bowl ring in 1995 with the 94 Niners.

It would seem to me to be fitting tribute to Rickey Jackson's career.

Posted by: bdstauffer | October 31, 2008 5:33 AM

I like the posters mention of Ricky Jackson, I had forgotten about him. He was a very good player on not so good teams. Funny that Cross mentioned the Hogs. He has always been hard on the skins as a commentator and the niners always hated the skins when both teams were in their hayday in the 80's and early 90's. They always felt the skins got favorable treatment by the media and they felt the skins got favorable treatment during the 83 NFC playoffs against them. You know it burns him up to see serveral Hogs get in before any of those 49ers linemen as well as them getting coaching jobs. Cross and those niners never forgot it and it shows in his comments.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 31, 2008 1:38 PM

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