- In early August, the Pro Football Hall of Fame inducted two classes due to the postponement of the 2020 induction ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Peyton Manning was one of seven members of the 2021 class inducted that weekend.
- The eligible 2022 candidates don’t include a ‘sure thing’ though there are several of the NFL’s all time best receivers on the list.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio inducted a massive group of football greats this year. The induction weekend on August 7 and August 8 included both the Class of 2020 and 2021 meaning a total of 28 new entrants were added to the roster of legends. The 2020 induction ceremony had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and thus the decision was made to hold two separate ceremonies with the 2020 class going in on August 7 and the 2021 class going in on August 8.
The 2020 class didn’t have a huge ‘marquee name’ going in, at least as a player. Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and longtime head coaches Jimmie Johnson and Bill Cower were likely the biggest of the bunch. In addition, the 2020 crop of inductees was larger than usual as it was the ‘Centennial Class’ in honor the NFL’s 100th anniversary. The idea was to include deserving honorees that for one reason or another had ‘slipped through the cracks’ previously. The 2021 class was the diametric opposite with superstars including Peyton Manning, Charles Woodson and Calvin ‘Megatron’ Johnson at the top of the bill.
In the past decade, the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s annual induction ceremonies have become more of a ‘made for television’ event. One well known and somewhat recent tradition is the way that new inductees are notified of their inclusion–they get a knock on the door and a personal visit from the Hall’s massive president David Baker. Going 6’9 and almost four bills, he’s a tough dude to miss. This is obviously done with a camera crew in tow to create some great content in the process. Baker has been president of the HOF since 2014 and he’s given credit around the league for revitalizing the institution and making the annual induction ceremony a ‘must see TV’ event.
The 2022 Hall of Fame class will be interesting as there’s not an obvious ‘lock’ among the nominees the way that, say, Peyton Manning was an obvious ‘lock’ this year. The crop of first year eligible candidates is very deep, however, which is both good and bad. There’s plenty of ‘talent in the field’ but there’s so much talent that it could be hard for players to attract a large consensus of votes. This potentially could lead to previously overlooked veterans to get voted in. It also makes the 2022 Pro Football Hall of Fame induction class a much more interesting betting opportunity.
The group is particularly deep at the wide receiver position with Torry Holt, Steve Tasker, Reggie Wayne, Steve Smith, Devin Hester and Andre Johnson under consideration. There’s also some support for a ‘senior nominee’–WR Cliff Branch who played from 1972 and 1985 and is credited for revolutionizing the position.
Here are the odds on the 2022 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class from BetOnline.ag:
TO BE INDUCTED IN 2022 PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS
DeMarcus Ware -200 Torry Holt -150 Tony Boselli +100 LeRoy Butler +175 Zach Thomas +175 Devin Hester +190 Richard Seymour +250 Reggie Wayne +350 Robert Mathis +350 Jared Allen +400 Andre Johnson +500 Steve Smith +700 Ronde Barber +900 Asante Samuel +1200 Anquan Boldin +1800 Vince Wilfork +1800 Hines Ward +2000 Darren Woodson +2800 Steve Tasker +2800 Chad Greenway +3300 Tony Romo +5000
One good value that jumps out immediately is Steve Smith at +700, best known for a decade plus run with the Carolina Panthers. Smith’s numbers are definitely Hall of Fame worthy–14,731 career receiving yards good for #8 all time and more than any eligible player not yet in the Hall of Fame. He’s got more than names that are higher up the list including second favorite Torry Holt (who will likely get in this year). He also scored 89 TDs. More significantly, he benefits from having played during a timeframe in which 24/7 sports media took over the world. There’s a ton of downright spectacular highlight footage from throughout his career. Don’t believe me? Head over to YouTube and search on ‘Steve Smith highlights’. Here’s one impressive compilation. Ripping off a 93 yard kick return for a touchdown on the first play of your NFL career is about as strong as it gets. I wanted to embed a better quality video of the play but the NFL blocks most highlight footage from embedding:
Another player that is a good value is former Houston Texans’ star Andre Johnson at +500. Johnson has almost as many yards as Smith (14,185) and was as seven time Pro Bowler. Physically, Johnson was an absolute monster–he went 6’3″ 230 and was insanely strong. When you consider the numbers he put up and the fact that he never had an elite level QB throwing to him. The starting QBs for Houston during his tenure there were David Carr, Matt Schaub, Tony Banks, Dave Ragone, Sage Rosenfels, Matt Leinart, TJ Yates, Case Keenum, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Ryan Mallet. This lack of QB star power could actually hurt him in some ways but to me it just underscores how good he was.