A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Body of work proves Dent belongs
Popularity and past performance factor in way too much.What I’ve stressed to other selectors is just because Pro Bowl voters or All-Pro voters got it wrong doesn’t mean we should. The Hall selectors have the advantage of being able to dissect a career completely, season by season. We have time. We have research. We have contemplation. We have discourse. Most award voting is done hurriedly, without enough thought. Hall of Fame voting is different. Dent, the MVP of Super Bowl XX, believes his resume was light on honors because he never was promoted to the same extent as other players.
Certainly, he was never the fair-haired poster boy on the Bears. He came in as an eighth-round pick and had a running feud with Mike Ditka that was difficult to understand.Dent’s body of work certainly suggests he was worthy of more honors. He had eight double-digit sack seasons. The only defensive ends with more are Smith and White. Dent ranks second all-time among defensive ends in sacks per start and fifth in sacks per game. Another argument against Dent was that the ’80s-era Bears defense already had two defenders in the Hall and didn’t deserve any more. Dent somehow ended up in the shadows of Dan Hampton and Mike Singletary. In truth, he was the primary playmaker on one of the most dominant defenses in history and a primary reason the Bears won so much. The Bears won 72 percent of the games in which he had a sack. When he didn’t have one, they won 39 percent. Hampton and Dent were perfect complements to one another. Hampton may have been the heart of the defense, but he needed Dent. In games Hampton played without Dent, the Bears’ winning percentage was .459. With Hampton and Dent, it was .781. As for Singletary, Dent had more forced fumbles (33-14), interceptions (8-7) and passes defended (58-51). But those of us who had the privilege to see Dent play every week don’t need statistics or honors to justify his place in the Hall.