Hall of Fame defensive end Bruce Smith asked why supporters of offensive tackle Tony Boselli used Boselli’s performance against Smith in a 1996 AFC wild card game as one of the main reasons for electing Boselli in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
In a lengthy statement posted to Instagram Monday night, Smith said voting Boselli into the Hall of Fame based in part on his performance in a game “sets a horrible precedent” for future nominees to run.
“Much of the campaign to promote Tony Boselli to the Hall of Fame seems hyper-focused on a single successful performance he had against me in a playoff game in 1996,” Smith said. written in his statement. “On the one hand, I’m quite flattered to be considered the gold standard by which another player’s play can be measured to determine their qualification in the HOF. But on a more serious level, I and other HOFers believe it sets a horrible precedent to focus negatively on a permanent member of the Hall’s play in order to validate a candidate’s candidacy.
Boselli was indeed dominant against Smith in the Jaguars’ 30-27 loss to the Bills in the AFC wildcard round in December 1996. Smith had been voted NFL Defensive Player of the Year that season after totaling 13.5 sacks and 90 tackles, but only managed three tackles and two quarterback pressures in the game, in which he mainly faced Boselli.
However, Smith said he disagreed with the idea that a single game should be used as an argument for any player’s inclusion in the Hall of Fame.
“HOF is an exclusive fellowship that follows an unspoken code of conduct that promotes respect and fellowship among its members,” Smith said in the statement. “Given the chance, any Hall of Fame member could use their credentials to brag about their dominance over another member, but such behavior is deemed inappropriate due to friction and discord. he could create within the group. Maintaining harmony and goodwill in the HOF is paramount, and that is precisely why player campaigns have always been presented with respect and thought, allowing the statistics and overall work of the candidate to speak for themselves. themselves.
“Using underhand tactics, such as targeting a Hoffer and promoting a one-game match to bolster a candidate’s merit as some of Tony’s supporters have done, undermines the integrity of the electoral process of the Lobby. It also invites otherwise unnecessary comment and scrutiny of this candidate’s worthiness for membership in the HOF.
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Smith also said the length of Boselli’s career, which spanned from 1995 to 2001, doesn’t quite compare to some of the NFL’s other great left tackles. He went on to say that Boselli benefited from the protection of a left-handed quarterback because he was not positioned on the blindside of Mark Brunell.
“Tony has been a formidable opponent in his brief career, but I find it hard to compare all of his work to that of the NFL’s greatest left tackles. With the exception of the legendary Anthony Munoz; Jonathan Ogden, Willie Roaf and Walter Jones have all protected the quarterback’s blindside for 12 or more seasons.In Jacksonville, Leon Searcy had the daunting task of protecting the blindside of Mark Brunell, while Tony benefited from quarterback protection -extremely talented and mobile left-handed back.
“In my nineteen years in the NFL, several outstanding LTs, such as Bruce Armstrong, Richmond Webb and Will Wilford, have all had stellar games against me. Maybe they too would be wise to create HOF campaigns highlighting this fact.
Boselli went to five Pro Bowls, was named to the All-Pro First Team three times, was a member of the 1990s NFL All-Decade Team and allowed just 15.5 sacks in 91 games in career.
“I have the greatest respect for Bruce Smith,” Boselli said. told ESPN. “He’s one of the greatest players to ever play football and he’s one of many men I’ve played against in my career. I’ve played the games I’ve played , and they’re all taped for everyone to watch. My career was cut short due to a shoulder injury. There’s been a lot of talk about it. I don’t have much to add on it.
Boselli will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 6.
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