The League

Emil Steiner
Editor and Blogger

Emil Steiner

The author of NFL Crime Watch and Founding Editor of The League.

I Want a Golden Ticket


The funny thing about the NFL's paternalism is that it both alienates fans and excites them. No other American sports league so unabashedly controls its product, and at same time no other league has such a popular product. Barring Twittergate meltdown or salary cap Armageddon, Roger Goodell can be as secretive and controlling as Willy Wonka, because you know what, the NFL is just so damn scrumdiddliumcious.

That's not to say fans don't deserve a peak inside his factory though. According to current Hall of Fame voting rules, anyone can "nominate any player, coach or contributor by simply writing to the Pro Football Hall of Fame via letter or email." But that's it. That's the extent of fan contribution to the Canton induction process.

From there, a selection of 44 learned football Oompa Loompas, if you will, gets polled several times, culling the list to 25, then 17 and finally the four to seven who get inducted. The final vote takes place the day before the Super Bowl with inductees needing 80 percent to make the cut.

It's a fair process, perhaps, but also one that cuts the fans out of the equation. So, allow me to make a simple suggestion. Give the fans one vote, making them the 45th Umpa Lumpa. Not just any fans, mind you. Fans who logged into an NFL site, complete and passed a rigorous examination of football history, statistics and knowledge, would then be allowed to make their picks (top score might even win a pair of Super Bowl tickets). Those ballots would then be totaled up, and the aggregate would comprise one vote - the peoples vote.

Would this process drastically alter things? In most cases probably not, but it would, in principle, break the great glass elevator ceiling for fans. And given the amount of money we pump into the NFL, surely Goodell wouldn't want to begrudge true fans a little taste.

By Emil Steiner  |  August 7, 2009; 6:41 PM ET  | Category:  Emil Steiner , Fans , NFL , Roger Goodell Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Canton is Fair | Next: More Transparency, Please


Please email us to report offensive comments.

While we are at it, give the fans some votes for Cooperstown. It staggers me that secretive baseball writers, who are becoming obsolete in the age of Twitter, are able to keep deserving stars out of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Allow a "fan bypass" for Joe Jackson and Pete Rose.

Posted by: ggreenbaum | August 8, 2009 6:51 AM

Allow Pete Rose to be eligible only after the same number of years that Shoeless Joe has been banned, and then I'll call it fair for Rose to be considered.

Shoeless Joe was banned after the 1920 season, so it's soon going to be 89 years. If Shoeless Joe were declared eligible tomorrow, Rose could then be considered, as a player, in 2075, or as a manager, in 2078. If Shoeless Joe remains ineligible, Rose remains ineligible.

I'd call that fair, since both were implicated in gambling.

Posted by: critter69 | August 9, 2009 1:18 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company