NFC South: Baseball Hall of Fame

We talk all the time about how the Pro Football Hall of Fame doesn’t follow the same protocol as the Baseball Hall of Fame.

In football, a player goes into the Hall of Fame representing only himself. In baseball, a Hall of Famer has to declare what hat he wants on his plaque if he has played for more than one team.

Willie Roaf, who was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, played for the New Orleans Saints from 1993 through 2001. He then joined the Kansas City Chiefs and finished his career with them in 2005.

In this radio interview, Roaf was asked, hypothetically, which hat he would wear if the Pro Football Hall of Fame required players to make that choice. While Roaf praised his Kansas City experience, his answer was pretty clear.

“I’m wearing a Saints hat,’’ Roaf said. “You know things happen for a reason in life and I had to go through what I had to deal with and I needed a fresh start anyway, went through the knee surgery, went to Kansas City and played hard, and I think the experiences made me a better person. I think if I had to stay on that turf I wouldn’t have made it but another year or two but the fact that I went and played on that grass and played well in Kansas City with that real good group of players for those three of four years, I think that’s what solidified and helped me get in this early.”

Let's play trivia on Greg Schiano

January, 26, 2012
1/26/12
4:02
PM ET
Now that Greg Schiano is the new head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it’s time to play a little trivia on the former Rutgers coach.

Name the two high-profile NFC South players (one current and one former) that Schiano coached when he was defensive coordinator at the University of Miami?

The answer is current New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma and former Carolina linebacker Dan Morgan. Although this guy is not in the NFC South, Schiano coached another very prominent NFL player with the Hurricanes. That was Baltimore safety Ed Reed.

Schiano played linebacker in college at Bucknell. Unless he wins about 12 Super Bowls, he’s got no chance of becoming the most famous former Bucknell athlete. Who has that honor?

Christy Mathewson has had that one locked down for more than a century. Mathewson was a pitcher for the New York Giants in the early 1900s and a member of the inaugural class of the Baseball Hall of Fame. He also played football and basketball at Bucknell. I’m kind of a Mathewson buff. He grew up in Factoryville, Pa., the town next to where I grew up. I played in the Christy Mathewson Little League and every day while I was in high school I rode the school bus past the house where Mathewson grew up.
Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

Thanks to all those who responded to our Your Call post on whether Morten Andersen should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and if he'll go in on his first time on the ballot in 2013.

 
  Scott Boehm/Getty Images
  Morten Andersen scored 2,544 points over his 25-year NFL career.

The answers that came to my mailbag were unanimous that Andersen will be a Hall of Famer, but there was some discrepancy over whether he'll make it on the first ballot.

Also, to clarify something that some of you seem a bit confused about: If Andersen goes into the Hall of Fame, it won't be as a Falcon or a Saint. This isn't the Baseball Hall of Fame, where inductees are immortalized wearing a hat with the team of their choosing. In football, you just go in as a player and there's no real team designation.

I picked some responses to share that I thought were representative of what showed up in the mailbag. Here they are:

Nathan in Cary, N.C., writes: Morten Andersen should get into the hall of fame just for putting on a jersey at his age. Plus, to be effective for so long is amazing, and how can you keep the all-time points leader out of the hall?

Keith in Ewing, N.J., writes: As for Morten Andersen, he is absolutely a first-ballot guy. As a youngster growing up in a house where no one was a sports fan, I once remembered my dad saying something about Archie Manning, so I became a Saints fan. When Andersen wasn't re-signed by the Saints, I was so mad (basically because he was their most consistent player for years) that I vowed to become a fan of whichever team signed him. To this day I am a die-hard Falcons fan - see the 6-foot-5 Matt Ryan Fathead I have hanging in my house. Andersen is an icon in two cities. He's an absolute first ballot guy. Thanks again and keep up the great work!

Joseph in New Orleans writes: Morten Andersen is DEFINITELY a HOFer. Is he first-ballot? Sadly, probably not. (Check who else should go in as first-ballot guys.) If he can't, no other specialist will.

Andrew in Atlanta writes: NFL All-Time Leader in total points and has kicked the most field goals with 565. Arguably the best NFL kicker of all time, if not one of the best. He may be a kicker, but look at his entire body of work. He's the all-time leading scorer for both the Saints and the Falcons and leads many NFL records when it comes to kicking and points scored. George Blanda was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, and Morten broke his records for most games played and career points scored. At the end of his career, Andersen was leading in several statistical categories and in many of those, he still is today. Other kickers that have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame have even had their records surpassed by Andersen. No question, Morten deserves to be inducted during his first year of eligibility.

JT in Nashville writes: Pat- I think Morten Anderson gets in, but probably not on the 1st ballot because of the competition that year. The bigger question is when he does go in, will it be as a Saint or Falcon. Saints fans seem to think he's a lock to go in as a Saint, but his greatest visibility and most famous kick (98 NFC title game)came as a Falcon.

Jim in Ocean Springs writes: Morten is the best NFL kicker, ever. It would be nice to see him and Ray Guy go into the Hall together. Guy is the best punter to ever walk on a football field.

Sazerac in Baton Rouge writes: Thanks for all of your work, Pat! I was in Canton, OH at the HOF last week, and saw that Tom Dempsey's right shoe had made it into the Hall. (I also saw that Deuce's #26 was in a Katrina exhibit). I think Anderson's a shoe-in (forgive me) of sorts, but seeing Dempsey's shoe makes me wonder: does the HOF conscientiously try to feature players that are on the cusp of induction at best when designing exhibits? There seemed to be a compensatory air in the Hall, when weighing all of the players featured in the exhibits against the actual inductees--much to the Hall's benefit IMO--and this made me wonder about the politics regarding the always-a-bridesmaid-never-a-bride type players who are often fan-favorites. I appreciate the role of an actual induction of course, but there seems to be a more complex mission there for the HOF. When is the shoe enough? By the way, Anderson's already in the Danish American Football Federation Hall of Fame--isn't this a potential conflict of interest?

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