View Full Version : Canton or bust for LeBeau, Dawson

01-31-2010, 06:57 PM
Canton or bust for LeBeau, Dawson
By: Mike Bires
Beaver County Times

Sunday January 31, 2010 12:03 AM

Dermontti Dawson and Dick LeBeau deserve to be part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2010.

Unfortunately, there’s no way of telling if they’ll get in this year.

During his 13-year career with the Steelers, Dawson was the best center of his era. “Dirt,” as he was called for his relentless work ethic, went to seven straight Pro Bowls in the 1990s and was named first-team All-Pro six times. He was big, strong and so agile that he did things few centers ever did.

He was durable, too, starting every game from 1989-98. His streak of 170 straight starts is the second-longest in Steelers history.

LeBeau, the Steelers’ 72-year-old defensive coordinator, put up Hall of Fame credentials, too. By the time his 14-year career as a Detroit Lions cornerback ended in 1972, he ranked third all-time with 62 interceptions. To this day, he’s still tied for eighth.

Like Dawson, LeBeau also put together an amazing streak of consecutive starts. His 171 straight starts is a record for cornerbacks.

But for Dawson and LeBeau to achieve the highest honor of their sport, they must get enough votes from the 44-person voting committee. And that’s anything but a slam dunk.

This Saturday in Miami, the Hall of Fame voting committee will cast their votes.

They must choose at least four but no more than seven inductees from a list of 17 finalists.

For a finalist to make it, he must receive at least 80 percent of the vote.

Because so many of the Steelers from the 1970s are in the Hall of Fame, there’s a perception that some members of the selection committee aren’t inclined to induct more Steelers after Rod Woodson was enshrined last year. Maybe it’s that rationale that has kept out Dawson to this point.

LeBeau, one of two finalists from the senior committee, might have a tough time getting in, too. One of LeBeau’s problems is that three Detroit defensive backs he played with at various points of his career are already in the Hall of Fame: cornerback Dick “Night Train” Lane, safety Yale Lary and cornerback Lem Barney.
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Do the voters believe another Detroit DB deserves induction?

By strict definition of the Hall of Fame guidelines, what LeBeau has done as a coach should have nothing to do with his chances of making the Hall of Fame. He is being considered for his qualities as a defensive back.

For example, when Aliquippa native Mike Ditka was inducted in 1988, he went in as a tight end. His Hall of Fame bio doesn’t even mention the fact he coached the Chicago Bears to Super Bowl glory in 1985.

Still, LeBeau has been in the NFL for the past 51 years and will return for his 52nd year. He’s regarded as a defensive genius. The Hall of Fame selection committee is comprised of one media representative from each of the league’s 32 franchises. There’s also one spot for a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and 11 at-large delegates such as ESPN’s John Clayton and Sports Illustrated’s Peter King.

Another reason why it may be tough for Dawson and LeBeau to get in this year because of the competition they’re up against. The list of finalists includes a handful of shoo-ins.

Among them are Emmitt Smith, the all-time leading rusher, and Jerry Rice, the all-time leading receiver. They’re automatics. It’s also going to be hard for the voters to keep out former tight end Shannon Sharpe and former wide receiver/kicker return specialist Tim Brown.

In each of the last four years, the Hall of Fame classes have consisted of six inductees. So Dawson and LeBeau obviously have a chance.

But there’s no guarantee that they’ll be chosen Saturday.

Mike Bires can be reached at mbires@timesonline.com

01-31-2010, 07:34 PM
They both have got to be in the Hall!


01-31-2010, 09:56 PM
Dawson will have a tougher chance getting in this year due to the log jam of great players and will only get tougher the longer it is.

02-01-2010, 05:17 AM
Dawson will have a tougher chance getting in this year due to the log jam of great players and will only get tougher the longer it is.

He should altready be in. If we would have won just 1 SB while he played it would be a no brainer IMHO.:tt02:

02-03-2010, 09:39 AM
I can't believe Dawson and LeBeau are still waiting to be in the H.O.F. I would not be surprised to see Dawson not make it in this year and Dick LeBeau finally makes it.

02-03-2010, 01:24 PM
If they don't both make it, it screams that people are tired of so many Steelers making it in....It's not our fault we're the best....We just are!

02-03-2010, 05:07 PM
Both should go in, but there's a lot of tough competition this year. LeBeau is deserving, but has anyone else got in for being a coordinator as opposed to a head coach? Maybe he'll be the first.

02-04-2010, 08:11 PM
Didn't they both got in?