With Terrell Davis’ induction, Georgia has three in Canton… Ward, Walker, Bailey, and Seymour also should be in Hall of Fame.
It was the ultimate honor for any player who ever dreamed of putting on a helmet in the National Football League. Terrell Davis joined one of the most exclusive fraternities in sports this summer when he was inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
Sadly his career was cut short due to injury, but Davis was another Gale Sayers, and over a four year period had one of the great peak performances in league annals. Davis had one of the great trifectas of accomplishments possible. As the league’s premier running back in 1997, he teamed with “The Magnificent Seven” John Elway to lead Denver to the franchise’s first Super Bowl. Davis scored the winning touchdown and was named Super Bowl XXXII Most Valuable Player. The following year, Davis had one of the most spectacular seasons in NFL history, joining an even more exclusive fraternity by becoming just the fourth (of now seven) player, along with O.J. Simpson, Eric Dickerson, and Barry Sanders, to run for over 2,000 yards in a season – the achievement earning the brilliant runner NFL MVP honors.
Davis is the third Bulldog player to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, joining “The Scintillating Sicilian” Charley Trippi and “The Peerless Pilot” Fran Tarkenton. Trippi was Rookie of the year and led the Cardinals to the 1947 NFL Championship, the most recent in franchise history. Tarkenton, who started in three Super Bowls, retired as the leading passer in NFL history. It should also be noted that the incomparable Edwin Pope, late legendary sportswriter of the Miami Herald, covered every Super Bowl from I through XLVII. The Georgia graduate and Athens native grew up on the same street as “The Greatest Bulldog Ever” Dan Magill, and was considered by many to be “the best sportswriter in America.”
With one of the rich histories of all collegiate football programs, Georgia has naturally won a lot of games with a slew of incredible players, many of whom, including the three Pro Football Hall of Famers mentioned above, have gone on to storied NFL careers. Davis’s induction is likely the beginning of a new wave of Bulldog busts in Canton.
First of all, it’s the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Herschel Walker, the greatest college football player ever, has Hall of Fame credentials based solely on his NFL career. But throw in his amazing statistics from the United States Football League, and “The Goal Line Stalker” is a no-brainer. Hopefully, the Veterans Committee will see fit properly induct Herschel into the Hall.
Then there are three of the NFL’s best players of the 2000s, two of whom also stood out in the very late 1990s.
Along with the legendary duo of John Stallworth and Lynn Swann, Hines Ward is one of the three greatest Pittsburgh Steelers wide receivers of all time. A third-round pick, this all-time Steelers draft steal is one of only 13 players in NFL history with more than 1,000 receptions. His most noteworthy accomplishment was earning Super Bowl XL MVP honors, as Pittsburgh beat Seattle to deliver the Steelers their first crown since 1979. Ward joined Super Bowl VII MVP Jake Scott for the 17-0 Miami Dolphins and Davis as Bulldogs to receive the coveted award. Georgia will forever be the first school with three different alumni named Super Bowl MVP.
Like Ward, the sensational Champ Bailey could do it all at Georgia. After beginning his career in Washington, who took him with the seventh pick in the draft, Bailey was traded to Denver and spent over a decade as one of the elite cornerbacks in the league. He was a member of the league’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s and one of the best to ever play his position. He was All-Pro six times and played in 12 pro bowls.
The modern-day dynasty of the NFL is the New England Patriots. From 2001-2004, the Patriots won three Super Bowls, in large part to a young one-time backup quarterback by the name of Tom Brady – who burst onto the scene when Georgia alum Mo Lewis injured Drew Bledsoe – and a stout defense featuring sterling tackle Richard Seymour. An All-Decade Team member, he was three times All-Pro and played in seven Pro Bowls. Seymour is one of the great defensive forces of the 21st century.
There are of course some active Bulldogs who could find their way to Canton someday. A.J. Green seems well on his way, and Matthew Stafford could as well. Geno Atkins and Justin Houston are two of the league’s top defenders, and now in his third season, Todd Gurley remains one of the NFL’s most electric players. But these players, just to name a few, still have a lot of work to do.
As for now, though, the quartet of Herschel Walker, Hines Ward, Champ Bailey and Richard Seymour have the pedigree and career accomplishment that makes them all hall of talents who are richly deserving of a bust next to their Bulldog forbearing gridiron greats in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
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