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NFL Hall Of Fame- 6 new members


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ROIT -- Troy Aikman made it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame's biggest class in years. The guy he threw to -- Michael Irvin -- will have to wait once again.

Doug Pensinger/Staff

Reggie White helped lead the Packers back to prominence and a Super Bowl title.

Reggie White, Warren Moon, Harry Carson, John Madden and Rayfield Wright also were elected Saturday. Not since 2001 had the maximum number of candidates been chosen.

"When I think of all the great players who have played the game over the history of it, to be considered one of the great players ... that helped define the game itself, it is a humbling experience," Aikman said.

Emmitt Smith, who joined with Aikman and Irvin to win three Super Bowls for the Dallas Cowboys, had campaigned vigorously for his two former teammates. But Irvin, plagued by off-the-field troubles in recent years, was left out in his second try.

The late White, the NFL career sacks leader when he retired in 2000, and star quarterbacks Aikman and Moon made it in their first year of eligibility. Moon is the first black quarterback in the Hall.

Madden and Wright were seniors committee candidates and Carson was in his seventh year as a finalist.

The class of 2006 and will be inducted in Canton, Ohio, on the weekend of Aug. 5-6.

Smith, the NFL's career rushing leader and eligible for election in four years, pounded his finger on a table Friday as he argued for Irvin.

"This is the Pro Football Hall of Fame, not the Life Hall of Fame. His stats are what they are. They are not going to change," Smith said.

But the Hall panel of 39 media members was not swayed.

The Hall's voting bylaws preclude consideration of non-football issues. Irvin's problems include pleading no contest to felony cocaine possession in exchange for four years of deferred probation, a $10,000 fine and dismissal of misdemeanor marijuana possession charges.

Aikman, the first overall pick in the 1989 draft, guided the Cowboys back to prominence after some lean seasons. He led Dallas to three Super Bowl titles in four seasons -- the Cowboys lost in the NFC championship game the other year -- and was among the most accurate passers in the league.

Aikman won 90 games in the 1990s, the most by any quarterback in any decade.

White, who died Dec. 26, 2004, was known as the "Minister of Defense" -- he was an ordained Baptist minister.

White had 198 sacks when he left the NFL after 15 seasons with Philadelphia, Green Bay and Carolina. One of the first major free-agent signings in 1993, his choice of Green Bay helped turn around that storied franchise. The Packers won the 1997 Super Bowl and lost it in 1998.

White began his career in the USFL, but by the time he was finished in the NFL, he'd gone to 13 straight Pro Bowls and been chosen for the league's 75th anniversary team.

Moon's transient career took him from the CFL, where he won five straight Grey Cups, to Houston as a free agent in 1984. He also played for Minnesota, Seattle and Kansas City and completed his career with 51,061 yards of total offense and 313 touchdowns.

There was some thought his lack of a Super Bowl ring would hurt his chances. It didn't, and he believed it was further validation of black quarterbacks.

"Doug Williams did a little bit of that when he won the Super Bowl, but this would take it to another level," Moon said before Saturday's announcement.

Carson, a nine-time Pro Bowl linebacker who retired from the New York Giants in 1988, has been a frequent critic of the process, even saying he wanted off future ballots. This was his third time in the final six.

Wright was a lynchpin of the Cowboys' staunch offensive line of the 1970s after moving from tight end to tackle. He made the final six as a regular candidate in 2004.

White made the seniors committee ballot this year in part because of his strong showing in previous votes.

Madden, best known for his television announcing and video game, has the winning percentage of any NFL coach with 100 victories (.759). He coached the Oakland Raiders for 10 years and won the 1977 Super Bowl.

Running back Thurman Thomas, the 1991 league MVP and the catalyst of Buffalo's four straight AFC championships in the early 1990s, fell short in his first try.

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Not knocking him, but Rayfield Wright? Sure, imagine he was very good. But HoF? You cannot quantify OL guys, but I'm missing that he's in and Joe Jacoby isn't even a finalist.

Problem with Monk-he was very good, but HoF great is another story. He was a compiler-as was Warrn Moon. Put it this way-if they let Curtis Martin in,(and they will) there's nor reason not to put Monk in.

Moon was a very good QB-but so was Phil Simms, a contemporary with 2 rings(one of which he got hurt on a team that won in December). Warren Moon, with an extra 15,000 yards of passing over way too many seasons, never had a big game in January while Simms had arguably as a good a game as a QB can have in a Super Bowl. Moon hung around forever and also managed to lose one of the all time chokejobs to the Bills in a big spot. I guees in the voters' eyes hanging round, compiling numbers, until they tear the uniform off you rather than greatness is what matters.



And I hate Mark Gastineau every time I think that that stupid penalty probably cost Klecko the stage of an AFC titel game and a Super Bowl that would've been a springboard to Klecko getting into the HoF. Bizarre-a NY athlete who's career was ignored because he played witha team that didn't win enough.

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