Get It Right?
The following articles are listed in the order they were received (with the most recent entries at the top). This isn't a "guestbook" format... I read and manually insert every message, so you may not see your submission show up immediately. Thanks a million for your comments, people!
I came across your web page at work and found it extremely entertaining. Congratulations on the birth of your new child. Between work and your newborn I am sure your life is very hectic. I want to commend you on your web page it is outstanding. I am a Dallas Cowboy fan, please do not hate me. I have always had tremendous respect for the Steeler organization. First of all the reason Swann gets screwed every year is quite simple... in the last fifteen years football has become a game dominated by numbers. Swann does not have the numbers these geeks are looking for. Does that make him any less of a receiver? Hell no, but Art Monk because of his streak will get in before Swann or Stallworth will. Terry Bradshaw was quoted as saying that Stallworth was the receiver that most defenses feared because he was the more physical of the two. The biggest problem I have had with the HOF criteria is that it seems to change regarding the situation. I am sure you have been to Canton, and the rules state in order to be inducted the player in question needs to be dominant at his position for a period of time. I think the Steelers domination of the seventies qualifies as dominating. Unfortunately, as long as Fat Ass Peter King has a vote Swann and Stallworth may forever be screwed. I can see some other dominant players of their era being harmed by this as well. Men like Mark Bavaro, best tight end in football for five years no argument, Charles Haley, moody and disliked by teammates and the media, Jim Kelly & Thurman Thomas to closely associated with the Super Bowl Losses. I could continue but I am sure you get the point.
Let me know if you are going to be at the draft. Take care and keep up the good work.
When I was a boy, the number on my chest was 88. The name on the back: Swann. He was my hero. He was graceful and and magical and although he was never the focus of the offense, he was just as important to winning four superbowls as Franco, Terry, Jack, Jack or Mean Joe.
Instead of dwelling on my anger toward the Hall of Fame and its ridiculous bean-counter mentality to induction, I'd like to share a memory of Lynn Swann and how his demeanor on the field shaped the person I am.
I was born in the City of Champions, but lived there only for the first seven years of my life, and although these are formative years indeed, my true love for the Steelers didn't get cemented until I moved to rural Ohio. I lived in a very small town in Ohio, filled mostly with Bengal fans, and back in the day, that was quite the rivalry. Well, somehow my Dad scored us tickets to the Steeler/Bengal game in Cincinatti. It was freezing, one of those midwestern storms had swept through Cincy, basically shutting it down. My dad tried to talk me out of going to the game, but for a chance to see Swann in action, there was no temperature too low. But the thing is, we didn't even know if Swann would play. He had been knocked around pretty good by Tatum or Atkinson and was coming off a concussion, but still I had to go. Our seats were in the endzone, although the stadium was nowhere near capacity, so we could've probably moved to anywhere we wanted, but we were above the tunnel to the Steelers locker room, so we stayed put.
It was really cold, and although it's been more than twenty years, I still recall how tough a decision it was to stay there, but my dad was a good sport and remained with me. Right before halftime, Swann caught a pass going across the middle, and stayed on the ground. Can you imagine my horror? This was shaping up to be the worst day of my life. Freezing, losing and Swann not getting up. Finally, he got up and was assisted from the field. Being that it was close to halftime, the trainer walked Swanny towards the dressing room. As he crossed under the goal post, he reached out his hand to stop the trainer, and with his helmet in his other hand, he turned around to watch the rest of the drive. I'll never forget that. A man coming off of a concussion, heading to the training room for treatment cared so much about his team and about winning that he stood in the freezing cold to see if his guys could put a few more points on the board.
To bastardize Shakespeare: "This is a man, when comes such another?"
Swann didn't return in the second half. The Steelers lost the game. But those eventualities didn't matter. The life lessons I learned from this sports hero that I looked up to had cemented themselves into my mind forever.
So, yeah, maybe Swann would be the player with the fewest catches in the Hall of Fame; but shouldn't the WR with the fewest receptions be the one with the biggest and best? Sure, Swann would be yet another Steeler in the HOF, but without him, they wouldn't have won Super Bowl X, and I'd wager they wouldn't have wone XIII or XIV either. It's not Swann's fault that he wasn't the centerpiece of their scheme, but he was always there when it counted. It's not Swann's fault that headhunters like Tatum and Atkinson lived to knock him out of the game and send him to early retirement. What he did, no other man was capable of. He belongs in the company of Gale Sayers and Barry Sanders. But more importantly he belongs in the company of his comrades in Canton, Ohio.
Thanks for your website!
Again, Congratulations on the latest addition to your Steeler Clan!
Broadcasting to you from deep within enemy (Dallas Cowgirls) territory.
The following articles were submitted the week prior to Swann's snubbing by the Hall of Fame in January of 2000.
One additional comment. I believe the lack of Hall of Fame consideration for Swann, Stallworth, Greenwood and perhaps Shell, is due to the politics of the NFL. I had the fortune of attending all of the current Steelers' induction speeches and I believe that the NFL wants to avoid the scene created by the Steelers fans. I was disappointed in some of our fellow fans when they would chant "DEFENSE, DEFENSE", in the middle of some other player's speech. Here he is being inducted into the Hall of Fame, the climax of his career, and the fans could care less. For what it is worth, I think this is the reason the 70's players will not get in the Hall anytime soon.
Enough of my soapbox. Thanks for a great page!! Go Steelers!!
...OR IT COULD BE THAT I'M JUST FULL OF $#!T AND HAVE NO FREAKIN' IDEA OF WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!!!
Mr. T, (..."I PITY the fool!!!...")
You know, "Tim". "Mr. T"?...Get it??? Okay, sorry. Never mind.
Okay, shake those bad images of George Peppard sporting a cigar, and the aforementioned buffoon with his shaved head and sideburns-gone-wrong-with-more-jewelry-hanging-around-his- neck-than-Deion-Sanders-who,-by-the-way,-will-be-on-my- McMillen and Wife's "10 Most Hated List"-if-I-ever-get-off- my-ass-and-take-the-time-to-make-one-and-mail-it-in. Whew! That should fill my hyphen quota for the month of January.
Now -- where in the HELL was I? Ahhhh yes. The point of this whole e-mail. I think that this year the Hall of Fame numb- nuts guys will vote in Lynn Swann. You, undoubtedly, are at this point wondering why I might think this. Glad you asked. Allow me, if you will, to lay some facts on you.
This year, the Hall of Fame dudes (hereafter referred to as the HOFDs), have 71 nominees from which to choose 12 finalists. The 13th and 14th "modern-era" finalists will be Howie Long and Swann because they finished in the top six in the voting for the Hall's 1999 class, but were not elected. [By the way, as a HUGE aside, you should rent the video "Election" if you didn't already see it at the theater when it came out... Hillarious!!]
At this point, you may be saying, 'Okay, Shel, but you haven't provided me with any information that I couldn't have gotten off the internet already.' To which I would reply, "You sarcastic BASTARD YA'!!!" Just kidding. I wouldn't really do that. I'm a nice guy. REALLY!
So the question (and the point, hopefully in your mind, to this whole e-mail) is...WHO will get elected to the Hall on Jan. 29?
Let's start with the "sure things"(with apologies to John Cusack). Joe Montana and Ronnie Lott, in my opinion, are in. There's no doubt. Those are the ONLY members of the 27-member First-Time Eligibles list that will make it.
Seeing as how the HOFDs usually elect 4-6 members each year, and I've accounted for two of those with Montana and Lott, let's say we've got four left to play with, for argument's sake. I've seen the list of First-Time Eligibles and with the execption of Montana and Lott, there shouldn't be any more of those guys. We're talking Jay Schroeder and Clarence Verdin here. There are some guys in this first-timers group who were genuine hard-ass balllplayers: Steve McMichael, Mark Bavaro, Tim Krumrie, Charles Mann, Mike Kenn, Karl Mecklenburg, Steve Jordan, and Leonard Marshall. But these guys are not HOF-worthy on their first try. That's just my opinion and I'm entitled to it.
So, 71 - 27 = 44. Let's now look at the 44 remaining. They are referred to as "Additional Nominees" and their lot is made up of such names as Stabler, Casper, Kuechenberg, Youngblood, and Gradishar. Oh, and also Swann, Stallworth, Greenwood, and Shell.
I just have a very hard time seeing how the HOFDs could come up with four more enshrinees (and it could be more) without including Swann. If it's any consolation, if Swann didn't make it I don't see how they could miss Greenwood or Stallworth. There just aren't that many slots and qualified players with which to fill them.
Okay...so maybe my argument at this point breaks down into what could be considered biased-homerism, but holy shit guys!! Look at the f***ing list!! It HAS to be Swann in there somewhere!
[Well, THAT was certainly a non-emotional, non-biased couple of sentences. Honestly!...I didn't plan this out before I typed it. It just IS what it IS.]
I'm telling you. I've seen the list. There are some very worthy ballplayers there...I grew up watching these guys and thinking they f***in' ruled. But if they don't choose Swann this year out of that group then someone's getting paid. Probably a friend of Tex F***king Schramm's. Sheldon
You look at the individuals being inducted into Canton and MUST wonder how these Swann & Stallworth can be missed. The voters need to start looking at not just overall stats, but the contributions the individuals made to their team and the league. To me, a clutch 5-yard reception for a first down in a big game is must more important than a 60 yard TD reception when your team is already winning by three scores. Think about it!
Do the voters think the Steelers would have been as successful without #82 and #88 for #12 to throw the ball to? Their presence and talent on the field, in many peoples eyes, cannot be matched. THOSE HANDS... were magical! Look at some of the receptions, Mr. King, and then look at how many clutch, game-turning receptions were made by these two individuals. Those hands don't lie!
You and others that you've posted on your page have made the key points well enough: look at what Swann did during money games and the fact that everyon who knew football in the '70s recognized that he was the premier wide receiver of the decade. More to the point, even people who DIDN'T follow football knew Lynn Swann's name, who he was, and who he played for. As for Stallworth, he didn't have the name-recognition of Swann in your grandmother's quilting circle. But again, those who are supposed to truly know the game, oh, I don't know... let's say the people who VOTE on who gets inducted into the Hall of Fame... should know better. All I can add about those individuals is -- they must shave with electric razors because I'll bet when they look in a mirror, there is no reflection.
The Hall of Fame voters (Sportswriters) are supposed to be professionals. They are supposedly selected because they have extensive knowledge on football and the thousands of players that have graced the gridiron of the NFL. I can't begin to display my disgust for the hall of fame voters.
Lynn Swann and John Stallworth played in a day when running was much more emphasized than passing (unlike today) and the rules for defenders were much more lenient. Anyone with an ounce of intelligence knows it takes a hell of an athlete to play under circumstances such as those. I think is it inexcusibly unfair to not recognize, or at least apologize, for not addressing these obvious issues. Swannie and Stallworth brought an element to the Steelers that was unmatched by anyone in that decade. You can quote me on that. If the Steelers played a west-coast offense (which, by the way, wasn't even invented yet), Swann's stats would be breathtaking. But the style that the Steelers played spread the ball around to alot of different people and everyone had a specific role. Swann was the big play guy. And not to be overlooked was Stallworth. In their day, these guys were the best recieving tandem in all the NFL... maybe ever.
It's pretty sad when you also consider the fact that I'm only 15 years old and I can see this. I'm a die hard fan, and as all die hard fans know, Swann and Stallworth belong with the rest of the Steeler greats in the Hall of Fame. I hope, for Swann and Stallworth's sake, that all you Hall of Fame judges out there put the stats aside and decide the outcome based on talent and overall contribution. Swann's S.B. X performance was by far one of the best by any wideout ever... that alone should be enough to help fuel his induction into the hall.
It's really unfair to even try and compare any player's stats from now to anyone's then. Football, like anything else, evolves over time... sometimes for the good and sometimes for the bad (that brings up another issue... instant replay... but I won't even get into that now), but the point is, it's an ever-changing sport. Please don't rob the great athletes out there of their rightful place in the hall because their "stats" didn't look good enough or any other BS like that. Football is about heart, and pride, and belief in yourself, and teamwork. If those words don't describe Swannie and Stallworth, I don't know what does.
And Peter King... I've got just one thing to say to you... open your damn eyes, fat boy. Be a man... step up and give respect where it's rightfully due. That's wht the Hall of Fame was created for... it's supposed to honor football greats. If so, Swann and Stallworth's inductions into the hall are way overdue. By the way, McMillen, your site kick ass... I just now found out about it. Sites like this are what the Steelers are all about. You should be very proud... no other team has a site like this... I can guarantee that!)
IF WE ALL TAKE THE TIME TO LET 'OLE PETER KNOW HOW WE FEEL, WHO KNOWS... MAYBE THIS GUY WILL FINALLY WISE UP!
Thomas D. Bragg
Below is a list of players (by position) voted by NFL fans on NFL.com as the players they would want to play for them in the Super Bowl. It seems to me that all of these players are, or will end up, in the Hall of Fame. I left out special teams because no player will make it to the Hall of Fame based on special teams play ( with the exception of kickers).
The point is that NFL fans voted Jerry Rice to play opposite of Lynn Swann on the Super Bowl Dream Team. Read the list below and imagine any one of these great players not being inducted into the Hall. If the ninnies that did not vote Swann in to the Hall this year can't get it right, at least the thousands of fans that voted in the Dream Team poll can! For the record, John Stallworth was the third place vote for WR.
SUPER BOWL DREAM TEAM
QB Joe Montana
RB Franco Harris and Emmitt Smith
WR Jerry Rice and Lynn Swann
TE Jay Novacek
G Nate Newton and Gene Upshaw
T Anthony Munoz and Joe Jacoby
C Mike Webster
LB Jack Lambert, Lawrence Taylor, Mike Singletary and Ray Nitschke
DE Reggie White and Charles Haley
DT Mean Joe Greene
CB Mel Blount and Eric Wright
S Ronnie Lott and Donnie Shell
Coach: Chuck Noll
Michael Eaker, NC.
If you were involved in a "mythical" football game that you had to win in order to save your life, and if you could choose any players for your roster that you wanted, your starting wide-receivers would have to be (1)Jerry Rice, and (2) Lynn Swann.
BTW--I love your website. Keep up the good work!
HALL OF FAME YOU TRULY ARE THE HALL OF SHAME!!!
Thomas D. Bragg
For those of you who haven't heard, the HOF class of '99 consists of running back Eric Dickerson, guard Tom Mack, tight end Ozzie Newsome, guard Billy Shaw, and linebacker Lawrence Taylor (good thing they don't have to include L.T.'s police rap sheet on his HOF plaque... it'd never fit). All are deserving of the honor, with the possible exception of L.T. But unlike baseball, the Pro Football HOF doesn't have a citizenship clause, and with L.T.'s off-the-field indiscretions not part of the equation, he admittedly deserves his spot in Canton for his stellar play. Congratulations, gentlemen.
Lynn Swann was a finalist as usual, reaching the final six for the 2nd time in three seasons, but again narrowly failed to receive the 80% vote required for induction (those stat-driven rat-bastards).
One question seems relevant. Not to take away anything from Ozzie Newsome... I have the utmost respect for what he brought to the the game on & off the field and there's no doubt in my mind that he absolutely deserves enshrinement... but does ANYONE think that his level of greatness surpassed Lynn Swann's? Further proof that the HOF voters are driven by STATS, not careful consideration & common sense.
Of course, Ozzie's stats speak for themselves... very impressive, especially for a TE. But they're no more impressive than John Stallworth's. And Stallworth didn't get in. Why? Because even the idiot sportwriters that vote on this thing every year recognize the Swann was the better of the two, and how can Stallworth get in unless Swann gets in? It's ridiculous. If forced to pick between those three players, I'd take both Swann & Stallworth for my team ahead of Newsome, hands down. Newsome's election is further proof that the voting is almost entirely stats-driven. That's not my bias as a Steelers fan, either... just common sense.
Living in the heart of Browns country, I'm very well aquainted with Newsome and watched him week-in & week-out for all of his 13 years. I'd definitely categorize myself as a Newsome fan and a borderline expert on the guy. I remember well the many great plays by the "Wizard of Oz" and the incredible consecutive-game reception streak he had, and his astounding durability. But Ozzie was never the dominating offensive presence that Lynn Swann was... not even close. Few players were. If someone wants to dispute that, let them send me recounts of Ozzie's game-winning post-season heroics. Let them show me his clutch catches in crunchtime when everything was on the line. Let them show me how he lifted his entire team to a higher level when IT MATTERED. Ozzie played in 3 AFC Championship games and a total of 9 playoff games and scored just ONE TOUCHDOWN. Where was he? In only one of those games did he achieve what I'd consider a "great game" ('86 playoff vs. the Jets), and he was non-existant in all three of the AFC title games. Contrast that with Lynn Swann & John Stallworth. I'm not knocking Ozzie... he deserves to be in the HOF... I'm merely making my case that Swann & Stallworth deserve to be there, too.
And don't give me that, "Well, Swann & Stallworth played for a great team" crap... they are a large part of what MADE that team great. Let's face it... had Ozzie played for the ball-control Steelers of that era, he might've spent much of his time riding the bench (in spite of the impressive receiving statisitcs, he was FAR from the best blocking TE I've ever seen, and last time I checked, a HUGE part of a TE's job is BLOCKING, something the stats-driven HOF voters seem to be oblivious to). And he almost certainly wouldn't be going to Canton.
Swann & Stallworth deserve to be in the HOF (especially Swann). The clock is ticking... in a couple of years, Swann will fall into the "senior" category where only one candidate per year is considered, and his HOF chances will diminish substantially. The ignorance of the stats-driven sportwriters who failed to vote for Swann is disgraceful.
One final observation: The only measuring stick an IGNORANT person can use to deterimine a player's contributions is statistics. The sportswriters on the HOF panel who vote for induction have a RESPONSIBILITY to look beyond the stats (after all, in many respects on paper, Neil O'Donnell is better than Terry Bradshaw, so how much validity can really by assigned to stats?). Lynn Swann has been done a great injustice. Ignorance in this case is not an exceptable excuse.
Webmaster of McMillen & Wife
The following articles were submitted the week prior to Swann's snubbing by the Hall of Fame in January of 1999.
I don't mean to harp on this subject, especially being a die-hard San Diego Chargers fan, but you have to be realistic! Everybody that has watched these two players play agree with me I'm sure!
I am 26 years old, and have stuck with the Chargers for at least 20 years, but there is one year that I have to admit I did not know the Chargers existed! At the age of seven, my brother Robert, who is the biggest Steelers fan that I know (along with Tim, of course), used to sit down on the couch with me showing me JC Penney and Sears catologs of the NFL helmets displayed. Not trying to influence my choosing of a team, he asked me which team I liked. For some reason, I quickly picked out the Los Angeles Rams helmet as the team I liked (along with the Chargers). That same year, the Rams and Steelers happened to meet in the Super Bowl. I was so excited to see the team that I had chosen having a chance to be world champions! It was then that I witnessed the awesome Steeler team that would ruin my liking the first team of my NFL life forever!
It was, now that I think back on it, very neat to see my brother, who I look up to most in this world, getting excited watching his Steelers team become World Champions once again (I watched the two previous titles they won against the Cowboys)! And even though it made me cry watching the Rams get beaten by the Steelers, it was then that I admired and realized what a good team the Steelers were!
After that year, I chose a newn team (the Chargers) which I know is no better (ha ha), and I swear I will now stick with THEM until the end. But the Steelers will always be my second team, the team that I feel was the greatest team assembled of all time, and will always be campaigning for those great players to be inducted into the Hall of Fame! (EVEN THOUGH I STILL ENJOY GIVING MY BROTHER A GOOD RIBBING ABOUT MY CHARGERS BEATING THE STEELERS IN THE AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME IN 1994!)
Thanks for giving the fans a place to relay and vent our frustration. Let's hope this topic doesn't have to come up again after this year!
Dave Von Schriltz
Nat La Borde
Thomas D. Bragg
Thomas D. Bragg
I understand you can't retire everybody's number, but the 88, 82, and 20 should definitely not be worn by another Steeler again! Who are these ignorant people who determine who gets into the Hall of Fame [ed. note: the sportswriters vote on HOF induction each year] and whose number should be retired [ed. note: that one's on the Steelers... they don't retire numbers]? Apparently, they are people who did not appreciate the awesome players and team in that 70's era. Match up the Steelers Super Bowl teams with any of the recent dominating teams from the 49ers, Redskins, Cowboys, and Broncos, and you would see one hell of a game, with the results quite different from the blowouts you've seen.
All the above stems from one thing... LET SWANN, STALLWORTH, SHELL, AND GREENWOOD INTO THE HALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!