Updated: August 4, 2016



A BASN BLACK PAPER – THE BACKLOG (first in a series)

By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor – in – Chief




PHILADELPHIA (BASN) With the upcoming induction of the new class to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton Ohio, the Assassins of BASN feel it’s time to chop up some of the nonsense which comes with the problems of selection…


Every ‘Hall of Fame’ is rife with politics which defeats the purpose of recognizing the very best who played the game; to the grizzled, oft times racist old fart ‘gatekeepers’ who wish to use everything (hypocritically in most cases) from ethnic background to moral turpitude as excuses to deny those worthy of election.  The cheapening of such a process, especially with fantasy football and a whole generation of assholes who don’t know shit from Shinola coming into the mix has severely compromised this effort.


So the present problem which will carry into the immediate and long-term future with institutions like these are the backlogs of talent that deserve their place in their Sports or other culture – related Halls Of Fame.


We hear of the backlogs – but do you ever get to see what kind of backlog they talk about? Well, we here at Black Athlete Sports Network are about to take our stab at such a premise; by presenting those we feel would generate discussion as to whether their accomplishments belong in the cloud of debate emanating from the smoke-filled room which predicates the politics…of decision.


In an ideal situation, a committee of Hall of Fame players should also be included in the voting process, but we know these selfish SOBs would never relinquish such control…


Three crucial variables interfere with a fair assessment of a player’s worth when it comes to professional football: the bias by National Football League beat reporters, which affects the selection of all American Football League players whose records were included post – merger (and don’t hand me any Pittsburgh Steelers bullshit because they moved over to the AFC after the merger); the USFL’s winning and losing to NFL after the 1980s lawsuit and three pretty good years of football; and the bias on smaller markets coupled with the inability to curry enough favor to gain support for those stars they covered in their respective markets (along with some of these old buzzards dying off).


So on that note, let’s begin with the National Football League, which will present their Class of 2016 this coming weekend.


They always talk about ‘the backlog’ when someone gets the Shaft – so let’s peek at what our backlog would look like, starting with arguably the oldest division in terms of overall seniority, the NFC East:






DALLAS COWBOYS: WR Drew Pearson, DL Ed “Too Tall” Jones, S Everson Walls, T Erik Williams, G Nate Newton, S Charlie Waters, DT Jethro Pugh, LB Thomas Henderson




Ed “Too Tall” Jones is apparently too talented for the HOF it seems. Dominated versus his peers, made others around him better…but still waiting. Charlie Waters was a nasty hitter who maintained a quality level as an all – around talent in stopping the run as well as play well in coverage; while Everson Walls was a clever ball hawk whose impact was felt on championships with two teams (Cowboys, Giants). ‘Hollywood’ Henderson is, by his skill set one of the most unique players to make an argument for. Playing in the only successful read/react defense ever (The ‘Flex”) Henderson was responsible for cleaning up defensive line mistakes, covering tight ends and wide receivers, as well as performing at a high level on special teams as a return man; all this in addition to being the fastest linebacker of his era that the NFL has ever seen.









Jethro Pugh’s overall career has been unfairly assessed ever since the wedge block thrown on him in the Ice Bowl; did a lot of dirty work in the pit which helped Bob Lilly to become a Hall of Famer; Drew Pearson should have long been in for he is from a breed of receiver that has been devalued by the current assholes in media and fantasy football. Receptions don’t mean as much as perceptions when you consider the lack of contact this current crop of receivers has been subjected to…Erik Williams dominated at his position – and is still the only player to go one-on-one with the great Reggie White and play even up. Nate Newton was All-USFL and continued his standard of excellence as a Cowboy – I saw first hand the damage he and Williams did against the Buffalo Bills in a particular Super Bowl when Emmitt Smith ran at will against them – the same play over and over and over again; but they’ll keep him out because of things not related to playing football – and that destroys the spirit in which those assholes are supposed to vote!





NEW YORK GIANTS: DB Carl ‘Spider’ Lockhart DT John Mendenhall, LB Carl Banks, DE Jack Gregory




Even in a major media market like Gotham City, great talent can be ignored. For years one of the best players on some very bad Giant teams, Lockhart’s value rarely showed up in a final score; but he took on the opposition’s ace receiver and more than held his own…Jack Gregory was one of many whose play seemed nondescript until you saw his effect on game tape – and there are too many who are not willing to do the due diligence and emphasize the nuances as to why Hall of Fame efforts get ruined in a backwash of apathy by a bunch of fucking gatekeepers.


John Mendenhall to many was the real ‘Wolverine.’ Mendenhall, at 265 pounds, was one of the smallest and most tenacious nose tackles ever. He had outstanding technique and ruled The Pit during his stay in New York; and his play in the eye of storm harkens to HOFer Dwight Stephenson’s talent on the offensive line at the center position. Just as with Jethro Pugh and the Ice Bowl, Carl Banks’ career will be unfairly judged by his head – up situation with Philadelphia Eagles QB Randall Cunningham on the nationally televised Monday Night affair. There is not one person anywhere who didn’t believe that Cunningham was dead meat when Banks had him in his grasp; and as with Pugh, Banks also did a lot of heavy lifting on defense to facilitate Lawrence Taylor’s special kind of mayhem…
















PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: QB Randall Cunningham, QB Donovan McNabb, T Tra Thomas, WR Harold Jackson, WR Harold Carmichael, TE Keith Jackson, S Wes Hopkins, LB Seth Joyner, S Brian Dawkins, RB Wilbert Montgomery, LB Bill Bergey, DB Eric Allen





How ironic that the two quarterbacks with the best winning records in the entire history of the Eagles’ franchise are treated like red-headed stepchildren? Cunningham played with no fucking o-line and still managed to elevate Philadelphia as a genuine threat until his departure. Once he did get a line in Minnesota, he went 15-1 and should have gone to the Super Bowl that year, but that wasn’t his fault (right, Gary Anderson?) Has a winning or equal record against every QB head-to-head in his era except Joe Montana and generated more total yards than several QBs already inducted in Canton!


McNabb was star-crossed from Jump Street. I was working the 1999 Draft when the idiot fans booed the shit outta him in NYC because the local media (including then-mayor Ed Rendell) wanted Philly to take Texas tailback Ricky Williams with their first round pick. With no comparable skill position talent, I have not seen it mentioned anywhere with any degree of consistency that Donovan – made other players better; a prime factor in deciding on a Hall of Fame player. Until WR and Future Hall of Famer Terrell Owens showed up, McNabb had only RB Bryan Westbrook as a consistent performer on offense. Instead of being revered as the greatest (yeah I said it) quarterback in the history of their franchise, McNabb is reviled and the butt of lame jokes by the print and electronic talking heads who complain he’s not a Hall of Famer because he didn’t win a Super Bowl – yet none say shit about an overrated talent like Dan Fouts and his no-Super Bowl winnin’ ass! If McNabb had Winslow, Chandler, Jefferson, Muncie, et al – I am sure Philly would have had at least one ring!




Wilbert Montgomery was the teams’ all-time rushing leader until passed by LeSean McCoy two seasons ago, and was one of the most versatile backs in all of football – Ron Jaworski would have never gotten to Super Bowl XV without him. Southern University’s Harold Carmichael and Jackson State’s Harold Jackson, among others, are victims of the HBCU bias prevalent in the process. After sitting in press boxes over the past 30 years some of the shit said about certain Black players made me wanna puke – and I had to put someone in check about that crap while covering the CFL in Vancouver!


Eagles T Tra Thomas protected McNabb; and is arguably their best offensive lineman ever since Chuck Bednarik. Defensively, the story is different as the Buddy Ryan years produced some gems. Although Jerome Brown didn’t play long enough due to his tragic accident, he dominated and was a true Pit Boss aside the great Reggie White. Strong side safety Brian Dawkins should make the Hall with little difficulty because in addition to being worthy of selection, he is liked by local media and they would make that effort in the ‘smoke-filled room’ to have others stump for him as well. Eric Allen, like Lockhart, took on the opposition’s ace receiver, but his teams won far more than they lost.











Seth Joyner was a rangy, fast and always attacking LB on defense and belongs in The hallowed Hall. While the discussion may not last long, S Wes Hopkins was Dawkins long before Dawkins showed up; and was one of the league’s most feared hitters. The tandem of Hopkins and the late Andre Waters at their respective positions meant pain, blues and agony during their time as teammates.

















WASHINGTON: WR Gary Clark, RB Kelvin Bryant, WR Ricky Sanders, T Mark May, RB/KR Brian Mitchell






Gary Clark was crafty, smooth and a great route runner. Coming into the League after performing at a star level in the United States Football League, Clark was a vital cog in the playoff drive which led to Gen. Doug Williams’ effort during their playoff drive and Super Bowl XXI victory. Clark snagged 699 receptions, over 10,000 yards receiving, and averaged over 15 yards a catch throughout his career. Of all the famed ‘Hogs’, T Mark May was probably the most unsung. In spite of his high profile today as a college football analyst, May played as well back then as he analyzes now. Sanders and Bryant, like Clark flourished in the USFL, and stretched the field for Jim Kelly (Gamblers) and Chuck Fusina (Stars) as well as Williams in Washington; Bryant’s hands catching out the backfield set the table for Washington’s offense coming off winning a USFL championship with the Philadelphia Stars in 1984.



mark may

But by far the most unique of those wearing Washington colors has to be Brian Mitchell. In 14 years, Mitchell epitomized what was ‘special’ about special teams. Ran back punts, kickoffs, operated as a very effective option as a third down back, caught the ball exceptionally well and could even play QB in a pinch. Amassing over 14,000 yards and 29 touchdowns (13 on returns) Mitchell’s numbers and style of play make the strongest argument that this specialist – belongs with those very special players – in Canton, Ohio.






Next Time: The NFC North.


always outnumbered – never outgunned.




Copyright (C) 2016 Michael – Louis Ingram all rights reserved. 







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