For the purposes of Hall of Fame discussions, Kevin Greene isn't really "ours." Greene played outside linebacker for four teams in his 15-year career, but none of them were in the NFC North or former NFC Central. But his current position as the Green Bay Packers' outside linebackers coach makes his Hall of Fame candidacy (or lack thereof) a topical offseason point.
Saturday's election of Chris Doleman sharpened the focus on Greene's largely ignored candidacy. Dolman's career total of 150.5 sacks ranks below Greene on the NFL's all-time list, but he became the sixth pass-rusher in the past five years to win election.
The chart shows the top 12 pass-rushers in NFL history, at least based on career sack totals. Eight of them are in the Hall of Fame and two, Michael Strahan and Jason Taylor, aren't eligible yet. That leaves Green and Leslie O'Neal (132.5 sacks) as the only players in this 12-man group to be sitting on the outside.
Greene's 160 career sacks stand out starkly on the chart. If the 44-member voting committee values sacks as much as it appears to, why has Greene remained on the periphery of the conversation? On Saturday, I threw out via Twitter an opportunity to provide a devil's advocate argument to explain a statistical anomaly.
Besides the standard jokes about bias against long hair, most of you suggested the committee considers Greene a specialist. Wrote @kgilly75: "Because all he could do is rush the passer...not good in coverage or run support.."
Again, we in the NFC North aren't really in position to advocate or argue against Greene's candidacy. But given the respect that pass-rushers have received in recent elections, I'm not sure if it's appropriate to place an "all he could do" in front of "rush the passer." Do you? Just curious.