In early August of 2007 ESPN.com’s Thomas Neumann and Scott Symmes did the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee a major favor, by going ahead and declaring 50 active players as future Hall of Famers.
The ESPN.com Page 2 article was titled “Ticketed for Canton,” with a really cool graphic titled “Cantonized” heading the page.
But Neumann and Symmes’ spade work for the Hall of Fame selection Committee didn’t stop there. They also decided that several other high-profile names would never get to wear the gold blazer on the dais at Canton.
The list was unnerving three years ago, and Steel Curtain Rising mentioned it a year ago when Trent Dilfer rated Ben Roethlisberger below several less-accomplished NFL signal callers.
The news that the Arizona Cardinals simply cut Matt Leinart outright makes Neumann and Symmes look all the more foolish. Leinart was number 41 on their list of sure bets, and this is what they had to say:
Interesting, to say the least, given that Leinart spent the bulk of the next three years on the bench and/or in the news for all the wrong reasons.
Neumann and Symmes’ blunders are not limited to including Leinart. They also listed Carlson Palmer and Vince Young at 38 and 39, while Drew Brees is merely listed as being “on the bubble.” Both are talented players who could go on to have Hall of Fame careers, but who would put rate Brees below Palmer and Young today?
The real egregious entry on Neumann and Symmes list was the inclusion of Ben Roethlisberger on list of “10 high-profile players who definitely won’t be going to the Hall of Fame — not without buying a ticket, anyway.”
This is why Ben Roethsliberger would never get voted into Canton, according to them:
Gotta love the “game manager” wrap. Wonder if their for-certain-future Hall of Famer Leinart concurs with their conclusion that Ben is incapable of carrying a team after having watched from the beach as Roethlisberger torched his secondary during the waning moments of Super Bowl XLIII in route to his second Super Bowl victory.
Moreover, what would Thomas Neumann say? Well, Steel Curtain Rising emailed him asking if he would still put Leinart, Palmer, and Young in the Hall of Fame ahead of the likes of Eli Manning, Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger.
We’ll never know, as Neumann never responded.
Ben Roethlisberger has yet to punch his ticket for Canton, a fact that will be all too poignant as he begins his 4 game suspension.
But one thing is certain. If Ben Roethlisberger does get elected into the Hall of Fame he will arrive in Canton long before Matt Leinart.