by Jack Kerwin | firstname.lastname@example.org
Not a question of whether he deserves to be or not anymore. With the ballots cast and tabulated, it was announced Monday that former Flyers center Eric Lindros had received enough votes to find a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Case closed. Circle complete. Or something like that.
Thing is, you could make a case – a good one – as to his worthiness or unworthiness of receiving such an honor. Yes, he was the face of a franchise the better part of a decade, he was, at times, a dominating performer, a player ahead of his time with a combination of size and skill not really seen before. Yes, he had success, both individual and team, winning the NHL’s MVP in 1995 and leading Philly into the Stanley Cup Finals two years later.
But, really, be you a fan of his or not, Big E’s storyline on the ice reads the same: promise largely unfulfilled.
Considering he was viewed like a mythical Greek god on skates even before stepping on the ice for the Orange & Black, the judgment deck was hardly stacked in his favor. It’s doubtful anyone could have lived up to the expectations that were draped around his neck like prison chains.
Frankly, it would have been impossible for anyone had they endured the injuries Lindros did during his career, the scariest being a collapsed lung that almost cost the 6-foot-4, 240-pound powerhouse his life.
Again, though, he’s in … so why debate his merit?
Perhaps, instead, we could look at current or former Philly athletes who most deserve to be in their sport’s respective hall.
For me, two stand above all others. Both are former Eagles, and, amazingly, neither is named Brian Dawkins.
Yo, he’s a fave of mine, too, but …
Gotta say, the best players of any sport in town the past, oh, say 35 years, who have not been elected despite being eligible are Seth Joyner and Donovan McNabb.
Neither were faves of mine, but they were the best players. The best Eagles, for sure. With Joyner actually taking top billing. Especially as it pertains to being a Hall of Famer.
The best comparison for him fellow impact linebacker Derrick Brooks, who starred the better part of 14 seasons for Tampa Bay. Why? Because Brooks was deemed a no-doubt-about-it selections years before he even retired … and, if anything, his numbers don’t quite measure up to what Joyner did in 13 seasons, eight of ’em with the Eagles.
In 29 less games – and 49 less starts – Joyner had more sacks (52 to 13.5), fumbles forced (26 to 24) and fumbles recovered (12 to 4) and just one fewer interception (24 to Brooks’ 25) and two fewer touchdowns (5 to 7).
McNabb? He’s a tougher sell in general, just due to the statistical standards that have been outlined in shades of gray and typically altered by that ridiculous “championships won” measurement for individuals in a team sport, and most likely a no-sell in this area, where the majority sees him as some pampered weird dude who really wasn’t as good as Randall Cunningham as a quarterback here or as legit as Chase Utley as an icon in these parts.
So, not gonna bother with any pitch for him.
Joyner, though, is a different story. He deserves to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Certainly every bit as much as Lindos does in hockey’s hall.
Can’t claim to have been a fan of the man, and, really, can’t say he fell under the “can’t stand the man” category for me, either.
Buddy Ryan, contrary to that mind-numbing, ceaseless axiom affixed to him that you either loved him or hated him, never evoked that much passion in me, one way or the other.
But he did in others, and for them, the ones who got the positive vibes about him, and his family members, the feelings of sadness attempted to be expressed here are genuine with the news that the former Eagles head coach and two-time Super Bowl champ while serving as an assistant with the New York Jets and Chicago Bears passed away Tuesday morning.
Am sorry for your loss.
A coach for 35 years in the NFL, Ryan, 82, had been diagnosed with cancer and suffered a stroke in recent years, leaving him far removed from the fiery and feisty character who won the hearts of so many. Most famous for his stints with the Eagles and Chicago, where he served as the architect of the Bears’ legendary “46” defense that propelled the team to a title following the 1985 season, he was beloved by a great deal of his former players.
Anyone with a smidge of affection, or even disdain, for the man would be wise to watch ESPN Films: 30 for 30 on that Bears squad to get an idea of why.
No doubt, he will be missed.
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