In a few weeks (the day — Feb. 4 — before the Super Bowl), the Hall of Fame selectors will gather in a room in Indianapolis to cull the current list of 15 finalists down to a 2012 Hall of Fame class of between four and seven men. Former Cardinals star Aeneas Williams will be one of the candidates.
What are his chances? It’s so hard to handicap the NFL Hall of Fame. It’s based on a vote, but unlike baseball, for instance, where more than 500 voters simply list a ballot, the NFL version has 50 writers in a room debating the merits of each candidate first before a series of votes whittles down the prospective group. And football, unlike other sports, makes it much harder to compare positions because of the nature of the game, a cornerback versus a quarterback versus a tackle versus a linebacker is the ultimate apples-oranges problem.
But when you look at Williams’ numbers against the other defensive backs in the Hall of Fame, they seem to work. Williams’ 12 total defensive touchdowns are more than any DB in the Hall except for Rod Woodson. His 55 interceptions are right in the mix of most inductees (two more than Deion Sanders even).
As with any Hall class, however, it’s always about who else is possible. There are no Jerry Rices or Emmitt Smiths in the group, no absolute sure-fire no-brainers. The full list has receivers with huge stats (Tim Brown, Andre Reed, Cris Carter), Sack artists (Chris Doleman, Kevin Greene, Charles Haley), steady producers (Curtis Martin, Jerome Bettis), long-term linemen (Dermontti Dawson, Cortez Kennedy, Willie Roaf, Will Shields) and some high-profile coaches and execs (Bill Parcells, Ron Wolf).
Williams is humble about reaching the final round for the first time, and being the first Cardinal since the team moved to Arizona to make it to the final group (You’d assume another former Card/Ram, Kurt Warner, will do so when he becomes eligible during the 2015 season for the 2016 class).
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