We're Black and Blue All Over:
Defensive end Richard Dent retired from the NFL after the 1997 season. At the time, he had more sacks than all but two players in the NFL's history of recording the statistic. So why did it take until 2011 for Dent to get elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune, who is one of 44 voters on the selection committee, attempts to explain why. According to Pompei, the biggest objection he heard over the years was that Dent played in only four Pro Bowls. As Pompei goes on to explain, Dent was a legitimate snub from at least two other Pro Bowls in which he had better sack numbers than the players who were elected ahead of him.
Meanwhile, Dent apparently also suffered from the "stigma" of being on a defense with stars Dan Hampton and Mike Singletary. "In truth," Pompei writes, "he was the primary playmaker on one of the most dominant defenses in history and a primary reason the Bears won so much. The Bears won 72 percent of the games in which he had a sack. When he didn't have one, they won 39 percent."
That sounds like the definition of "long overdue" to me.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Dent said Monday that former Tennessee State coach Joe Gilliam Sr., or his daughter Mary, will introduce him at this summer's ceremony. Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times has more.
Melissa Isaacson of ESPNChicago.com recalls the Bears drafting Dent as an eighth-round steal.
We should learn the fate of the Metrodome roof Thursday. Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune reports an engineering firm will recommend its complete replacement at the cost of $18 million.
The Minnesota Vikings want to use a lottery scratch-off game to help fund a new stadium, according to The Associated Press.
The Vikings aren't raising ticket prices in 2011 but the first payment on their season tickets is due Feb. 23, a week before a lockout would commence, according to Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.
Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on the Green Bay Packers: "When training camp opens up for the 2011 season, they arguably will be the most talented team in the National Football League."
This offseason forces scheduling uncertainty for normally tightly scheduled Packers coach Mike McCarthy, notes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
Kareem Copeland of the Green Bay Press-Gazette: "The Packers used an aggressive game plan [in Super Bowl XLV] and McCarthy trusted [Aaron] Rodgers to be smart with his decision making. The quarterback responded by passing for 304 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. The Packers ran the ball just 13 times."
The return of defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch in 2011 will be a boon to the Detroit Lions' defense, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh tells Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
The Lions won't use a franchise tag this offseason, notes Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com.