Last month, The Athletic’s Sean McIndoe looked at Hall of Fame cases for and against 25 NHL players in consideration for that honor. Let’s do something similar for current or recently retired NFL figures, but in this case we’ll focus on the positives. If you’re to argue in favor of any of these guys in 15 seconds or less, here are your cases.
Tom Brady: Uh, he has won more Super Bowl rings than any player in the history of professional football.
Bill Belichick: He owns a record eight Super Bowl rings.
Robert Kraft: He saved that franchise and hired Belichick at the turn of the century.
Peyton Manning: He’s a five-time MVP, while nobody else has won that award four times.
Aaron Rodgers: The two-time MVP is the highest-rated passer in NFL history.
Drew Brees: With a career completion percentage of 67.6, he’s by far the most accurate passer in NFL history.
Ben Roethlisberger: He, Manning, and Brady are the only non-Hall of Fame quarterbacks from the modern era who have been Pro Bowlers more than five times and have won multiple Super Bowls.
Mike Tomlin: He’s a Super Bowl champion and a two-time AFC champ with one of the 10 highest qualified winning percentages in modern NFL history.
Russell Wilson: He’s a six-time Pro Bowler and a Super Bowl champion at the age of 31.
Eli Manning: He and Brady are the only players with multiple Super Bowl MVP awards who aren’t in the Hall of Fame.
Tom Coughlin: He led the New York Giants to two unbelievably improbable Super Bowl wins.
Philip Rivers: The 10th-highest-rated passer in NFL history ranks sixth in yards and touchdowns, and ninth in yards per attempt.
Adrian Peterson: The league’s fifth-leading all-time rusher also holds the single-game NFL record with 296.
Frank Gore: Only two players in NFL history have rushed for more yards.
Jason Witten: The only non-Hall of Famers who have been named to more Pro Bowlers are Brady, Brees, and Peyton Manning.
Joe Thomas: The only non-Hall of Famer with more first-team All-Pro nods is Manning.
Julius Peppers: The only three players with more career sacks than Peppers are already in the Hall of Fame.
Robert Mathis: He and Peppers are the only players in NFL history with more than 50 forced fumbles.
Terrell Suggs: Peppers is the only non-Hall of Famer with more sacks than Suggs, who has been a seven-time Pro Bowler, a two-time Super Bowl champion, and a Defensive Player of the Year.
Charles Woodson: All four players in NFL history with more interceptions than Woodson are in the Hall of Fame.
Patrick Mahomes: He was an MVP and a Super Bowl MVP in his first two seasons as an NFL starter.
Lamar Jackson: He’s the youngest MVP in NFL history.
Patrick Willis: He, Luke Kuechly, and Zach Thomas are the only non-Hall of Fame defensive players in NFL history with seven Pro Bowl nods and five first-team All-Pro honors, but he and Kuechly did that in just eight seasons.
Luke Kuechly: He, Patrick Willis, and Zach Thomas are the only non-Hall of Fame defensive players in NFL history with seven Pro Bowl nods and five first-team All-Pro honors, but he and Willis did that in just eight seasons.
Alan Faneca: He’s the only non-Hall of Famer in modern NFL history with nine Pro Bowl nods and six first-team All-Pro honors.