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Monday, February 6, 2012
Around the NFC West: Hall of Fame fallout

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Super Bowl provided a compelling diversion for NFC West fans. Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming, which focuses on the Pro Football Hall of Fame class for 2012.

Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News kicks off the coverage by expressing shock over some of the candidates not enshrined this year. Tim Brown, Charles Haley and Eddie DeBartolo Jr. were three such candidates with strong Bay Area ties. Purdy: "Congratulations to the six new Pro Football Hall of Famers. But please pardon those of us who are out here in the tailgate area with the guys who didn't make it, sipping bewilderment beer and still scratching our scalps." Noted: I shared similar feelings before becoming a Hall selector a few years ago. Specifically, I wondered how in the world Cris Carter fell short. It seemed laughable at the time. Having been part of the process, it's much easier to see how these things happen. But there is still shock even among the selectors themselves over certain candidates not making it. We all have our own points of view. The key is to remember that worthy candidates get in eventually, but not all at once. And sometimes, having multiple players at the same position splits votes on the reduction from 10 to five players. That has happened at wide receiver recently, but in looking at the five modern-era finalists enshrined this year, I've got no problem with the group. The others can wait, just as this group did. Their time will come. Having five spots for 15 finalists inevitably means that some fans' favorite candidates will miss the cut in a given year.

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune explains why he found Cortez Kennedy worthy of Hall enshrinement. Boling: "The Hall selection committee got this one right on Saturday afternoon by recognizing Kennedy as not only an elite defender, but a player who helped change the game as a force of destruction from the interior line."

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com checks in with former Seattle linebacker Dave Wyman for thoughts on Kennedy making the Hall as an interior lineman. Farnsworth: "Usually the only people that notice players like that are other players or coaches, or anybody in the NFL that is looking at film. Those defensive tackles are in there doing all the dirty work that’s not really getting their names in the paper.  But Tez, he did all that, plus he had all the numbers. He has great statistics for an inside player. It’s just too crowded and there are just too many bodies in there, so it’s just not physically possible most of the time to make plays in there. But Tez did it. Some guys are just able to make that jump to become better pros than they were in college, and those are usually guys who are Hall of Famers."

Brady Henderson of 710ESPN Seattle links to audio for Wyman.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic offers thoughts on Hall finalist Aeneas Williams while offering insights into the process for enshrinement. Somers: "It often takes players several years to make it to the final 10. Williams did it in his first year as a finalist and his third year of eligibility."

Anwar S. Richardson of mlive.com checks in with Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald for thoughts on Calvin Johnson's next contract with Detroit. Fitzgerald: "He should (have a higher contract than Fiztgerald). He's at the top of the game right now. He's an extremely, extremely impressive talent. He has no weaknesses. I think that's what makes Calvin so impressive is to be around him. He's a really down-to-Earth guy." Noted: The contract Fitzgerald signed raised the bar for elite wide receivers. Johnson is one of the few with a legitimate case that he has earned at least as much as Fitzgerald commanded, even though Fitzgerald commanded his deal at a time when Arizona could not use the franchise tag on him for leverage.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch expects the Rams' games in London to continue as scheduled despite initial objections from the St. Louis stadium authority. Thomas: "The Rams are scheduled to play New England on Oct. 28 at Wembley Stadium. In an agreement announced late last month, the Rams are to play a regular-season home game in London in each of the next three seasons. But the CVC pointed out a week later that the lease terms prohibited the Rams from playing home games anywhere but the Edward Jones Dome. The contention over the London games came at a time when the Rams and the CVC were exchanging proposals over possible upgrades to the Dome as part of the lease agreement. If the Dome is not considered a 'first tier' facility, the Rams could break their lease after the 2014 season. As a result of that impasse, ticket sales for next year's game were temporarily postponed. But as a result of Sunday's developments it will be a short-lived postponement."