Bill Belichick has been in the NFL for so long he had the chance to coach the greatest defensive player of all time and the greatest quarterback of all time. Of course, the longtime leader of the New England Patriots has worked with many talented players besides Lawrence Taylor and Tom Brady, including a pair of out-of-the-ordinary defensive linemen who aim to win Temple busts. of the fame of professional football.
And for voters who might hesitate to place Richard Seymour and Vince Wilfork in Canton, Belichick’s powerful praise should convince them to tick “yes” on the ballot.
Richard Seymour and Vince Wilfork have officially moved closer to ultimate NFL honor
On Wednesday, 26 retired NFL stars officially moved closer to legendary status.
The Professional Football Hall of Fame has released the 2022 promotion semifinalist list, which includes many high profile players. Unsurprisingly, top receivers Torry Holt, Andre Johnson, Reggie Wayne, Anquan Boldin and Hines Ward all made the cut.
But the group also has some great talented men who made their living in the trenches.
Two familiar names stand out for Patriots fans, as Richard Seymour and Vince Wilfork moved on to the next round of the voting process. The former won five of his seven Pro Bowl spots as the leader of New England’s top seven. The latter has won Pro Bowl honors five times while establishing himself as the most dominant nose tackle in the league.
Most importantly, Seymour and Wilfork helped Bill Belichick build a dynasty. While Tom Brady certainly played a key role in establishing a winning culture at Foxborough, the two defensive linemen who arrived as first-round picks in 2001 and 2004, respectively.
Will beloved former Patriots stars receive the ultimate recognition for their accomplishments?
It remains to be seen.
But voters shouldn’t need to be more convinced based on what Belichick said on Friday.
Powerful praise from Bill Belichick shows why the two Patriots legends should be inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame
Considering he has spent his entire life around football, Belichick should have no problem identifying who is in the Hall of Fame. And it’s clear he sees worthy candidates for Seymour and Wilfork – two talented players, first as a team, who did everything right on and off the pitch.
In fact, his powerful praise for the physically overwhelming linemen shows exactly why the two are worth honoring.
“These are the two best defensive linemen I’ve coached,” Belichick told reporters. “Vince was a phenomenal player, and he was quite different from Richard. Richard was a phenomenal player and quite different from Vince. But both very dominant in their own way, and a bit in their own position.
He followed up with an overview of the impact of each player.
“Richard is almost impossible to face,” Belichick explained. “But somehow Vince is almost impossible to block in the running game. And in the passing game there are some guys who would face him, but his overall strength and athleticism for his size was pretty impressive.
His last remark made it clear that the two defenders definitely belonged to Canton.
“In my hall of fame, these two guys are there – without a doubt,” Belichick said.
With that kind of support, it looks like Seymour and Wilfork should be confident about their chances of wearing a gold jacket soon. While neither player has racked up prolific stats (Seymour recorded 57.5 sacks in 164 regular season games; Wilfork totaled 16 in 189), that shouldn’t matter.
Belichick’s two-hole system required both linemen to occupy blockers, maintain leverage, and open lanes for linebackers to play. It didn’t put Seymour and Wilfork in the best position to display showy sack totals, but it did see the team win multiple Super Bowl titles. In this case, the pure numbers do not measure up to the impact they had on the game.
Rather, the fact that they combined for nine First and Second Team All-Pro caps sums up their dominance and cements their Hall of Fame merit.
Belichick thinks another former New England star should have Canton bust
As two mainstays of the Patriots’ rugged Seven Front, Seymour and Wilfork caught the attention of the offensive lines and still managed to routinely defeat doubles teams. In an era when the passing game didn’t matter as much, they ran business with an odd combination of brute strength and deceptive athleticism. And between their individual achievements and the Super Bowl rings, they have a compelling case for permanent membership in the Professional Football Hall of Fame.
Interestingly, however, another key figure in the early days of the dynasty did not become a semi-finalist.
Rodney Harrison, who played for the Patriots from 2003 to 2008, couldn’t convince enough voters to send him to the next round. A two-time Pro Bowler who won two rings in New England, he earned the respect of everyone in the organization for his tenacity, leadership and clutch play skills.
Yet despite being one of the best securities of his generation, Harrison stays on the outside and looks inside.
Don’t tell Belichick that the Patriots Hall of Fame doesn’t have to be in the discussion to win a Canton bust, too.
“I think Rodney Harrison belongs 100% to this conversation,” he said. “And I’ve coached some of the other securities that have been made into the Hall of Fame, and I’m not taking anything away from them, but Rodney Harrison certainly belongs in that conversation.” It certainly belongs in the conversation with other players who are already there.
Sounds like a strong endorsement, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately for Harrison, he will have to wait until next year to see if voters agree.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.
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