NFL Nation: Eddie Murray
The running back – who was the face of the Denver Broncos from 1968-75 – was elected into the Hall of Fame on Saturday in what was likely his final chance to get elected.
Little is still in Miami, as he and the other newly-elected members are going through a Hall of Fame orientation. Tuesday, Little was measured for his Hall of Fame jackets and had photos taken for his bust for this summer’s enshrinement ceremony. Little took time out of his hectic schedule to play five questions:
How did you celebrate your election Saturday night? “We had a group of 11 friends and family who went to a steakhouse. My old friend, baseball Hall of Famer Eddie Murray, was in Miami and he joined us. We had champagne and cake and we partied big time.”
How many calls of congratulations have you gotten since your election? My voice mail holds 60 messages and it is full. I have 150 emails. Many college teammates from Syracuse are calling and my Denver teammates are calling me. Two of the most special calls were from Vice President Joe Biden and Hall of Famer Joe Greene. He said I was the best player he ever played against. Joe Biden and I went to Syracuse together. He wants to come to the Hall of Fame ceremony.
Who is going to be your Hall of Fame presenter? “My son, Marc. He was the first guy to write a letter to the Hall of Fame asking why I wasn’t in. I told him if I ever made it, he’d be standing up there with me.”
Who will be the next Denver player elected? “It should either be Randy Gradishar or Shannon Sharpe.”
What should the Broncos do with receiver Brandon Marshall? “The tail can’t wag the dog. He didn’t play in the team’s last game but he played in the Pro Bowl. But I think they have to find a way to keep him. He’s the best receiver in the league, in my opinion. They have to find a way make it work.”
My AFC East colleague, Tim Graham, has a post detailing the recent formation of the American Football Kicking Hall of Fame -- which exists primarily because only one kicker has been inducted into the more widely-known Pro Football Hall of Fame.
(It's Jan Stenerud, for those who didn't immediately guess.)
We're in early February and there are than two weeks before the next event on the NFL calendar (combine, baby!). So Tim's post got us to thinking: How many kickers and punters from the NFC North would be deserving of induction into the Kicking Hall of Fame?
The best way to identify possibilities is to answer this question: Who is the best punter and kicker in the history of each NFC North team?
I've gone through each team's histories and culled 12 nominations, two for each position on each team. But as many of you have pointed out, I'm still working to perfect my expertise in some corners of the NFC North. So I'd like your help.
|Paul Spinelli/Getty Images|
|Ryan Longwell, now with the Vikings, holds most Packers records for field goals.|
Did I miss anyone? Are any of these names out of place? And who would you pick?
Let me know what you think in the comments section below or in the mailbag. I'll come back later this week with the all-time NFC North kickers and punters team.
Kind of has a nice ring to it, huh?
Kickers: Kevin Butler or Robbie Gould
Comment: Butler had 243 career field goals, over a 100 more than the next kicker on the list. Gould's career conversion percentage of 85.9 is by far the best in Bears history.
Punters: Bob Parsons or Brad Maynard
Comment: Maynard ranks second all-time with a 42.3 gross average and first with 194 punts downed inside the 20. Parsons ranked second with 158 inside the 20.
Kickers: Jason Hanson or Eddie Murray
Comment: Hanson is the Lions' all-time leading scorer, and his 385 career field goals is 141 more than Murray. Hanson's career percentage of 82.2 also bests Murray (75.1).
Punters: Yale Lary or John Jett
Comment: Lary's career gross average of 44.3 yards on 503 punts is amazing. Jett dropped 154 punts inside the 20.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
Kickers: Ryan Longwell or Chris Jacke
Comment: Longwell holds most franchise records for field goals. Jacke is a close second.
Punters: Craig Hentrich or Max McGee
Comment: Hentrich had a team-best 42.8 career gross average. McGee averaged 41.6 yards over 11 seasons while also playing receiver.
Kickers: Fred Cox or Gary Anderson
Comment: Cox's 455 career field goals is almost 300 more than the next player. Anderson had a perfect 35-for-35 season in 1998.
Punters: Greg Coleman or Chris Kluwe
Comment: Coleman dropped 154 punts inside the 20-yard line over 10 seasons. Kluwe has the best career gross average (44.8) in team history.