View Full Version : LeBeau a long shot for Hall of Fame

01-31-2009, 12:26 PM
LeBeau a long shot for Hall of Fame
By John Clayton

Minutes after the Steelers' 23-14 victory over the Ravens in the AFC Championship Game, the "Dick LeBeau for Hall of Fame" campaign started in the Steelers' locker room.

"Coach LeBeau should be in the Hall of Fame,'' cornerback Deshea Townsend told reporters. "Make sure you all put that in big print. He should get in for the body of work he's done.''

The Hall of Fame might not have room for Dick LeBeau, even though he has impressive credentials.

Even though the campaign has a worthy subject, it will be hard for Hall of Fame voters to deliver after LeBeau retires. The backlog of worthy Hall of Fame candidates makes it extremely difficult for contributors such as coaches and even former commissioner Paul Tagliabue to make it without a long wait.

Every year, 17 finalists are considered for seven possible spots. Two are senior candidates, meaning they have been retired at least 25 years, and are nominated by the Seniors Committee, leaving only five possible spots for modern-day nominees.

Take the Class of 2009, for example. It's likely former Bills defensive end Bruce Smith and former Steelers cornerback Rod Woodson will make it as first-ballot Hall of Famers. That leaves three spots for 13 others, including wide receivers Cris Carter and Andre Reed, and top pass-rushers Richard Dent and Derrick Thomas.

Another problem is the wait for coaches to be eligible. Because of Bill Parcells' many unretirements, the Hall of Fame voted to make coaches wait five years after they retire to be eligible for selection. LeBeau, 71, is still coaching and thriving. Another problem facing LeBeau is the competition. Voters will have to determine where LeBeau fits in compared to the top head coaches of his era -- Bill Belichick, Parcells, Mike Holmgren and others.

Excluding place-kickers, there are 13 positions under constant evaluation. When you add a commissioner, owners, head coaches and assistants to the mix, it becomes difficult to squeeze all the worthy candidates into three to five openings each year.

LeBeau's case for the Hall of Fame involves decades of great defensive play calling along with the creation of the zone defensive scheme to counter West Coast offenses. As a player, he had 62 interceptions but didn't make the Hall of Fame. Undaunted, LeBeau's players will try to use the Super Bowl platform to make his case.

John Clayton, a recipient of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's McCann Award for distinguished reporting, is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

01-31-2009, 12:32 PM
i think that if a defensive player wins the MVP Award for the Super Bowl, they should hand it right over to Dick LeBeau. it'd be damn near poetic after the season that they just had defensively and HE was the creator of that. i'd say if you can't sneak him into the Hall...atleast give him an award to go with his illustrious career. =)

Dick LeBeau for President! haha!

01-31-2009, 12:46 PM
I'm still trying to figure out why LeBeau isn't in the Hall of Fame as a player. He's 7th on the all-time interceptions list with 62.

01-31-2009, 01:09 PM
Kinda like Alice Cooper not being in the Rock n Roll HOF. Its BULLSHIT!!!

01-31-2009, 01:17 PM
Its criminal that this is still even a conversation. Hell his playing time alone should've got him in there. Not to mention, he's an innovator of the game that puts together great defenses consistently. You tell me one other coordinator that is studied as much by other teams. I can't think of one.

01-31-2009, 01:22 PM
I wouldn't sweat the Hall of Farce too much.

Bob Hayes revolutionized the way teams play defense with his massive speed.

Ray Guy is the epitome of punting greatness.

There are more QBs than Lineman in the Hall of Farce, despite the fact that it takes 5 lineman to block for 1 QB on every play. Let one guy not do his job...and the QB cannot effectively and consistently do his.

You think anybody is going to recognize (now) what LeBeau has done? Not with the current crop of voters in place.

01-31-2009, 01:41 PM
LeBeau did not make it. Woodson did.

01-31-2009, 02:55 PM
Maybe if we blank the Red Pigeons he'll get some respect. :noidea:

01-31-2009, 02:59 PM
Maybe if we blank the Red Pigeons he'll get some respect. :noidea:

Don't count on it. Until he retires, he won't see squat as a coach. When he retires, (if the trend continues like it has) the voters will look back on this era and remember that Belicheat won 3 SB's in 4 years...or what Dungy accomplished as a HC...and automatically overlook Lebeau.

Lebeau's legacy as a coach will live long in Steelers lore...but will most likely (at best) be some historical reference for NFL films down the road. It's a shame too.

01-31-2009, 03:26 PM
To Steeler fans the world over Dick LeBeau is already Hall of Fame. :tt03:

And they're the people that matter.........

The NFL just haven't realised that yet!