Saturday night, the 2018 NFL Hall of Fame class will officially be inducted into the football history. Robert Brazile, Bobby Beathard, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Ray Lewis, Randy Moss, Terrell Owens and Brian Urlacher will be enshrined with those big, beautiful busts. It’s a pretty entertaining class of characters, so the ceremony—televised by NFL Network and ESPN at 7 p.m. ET—should be a good watch.
The Detroit Lions haven’t made their mark on the Hall of Fame very often. Barry Sanders was the most recent player to have made it to Canton, but outside of him, no Lions player from the 80s, 90s or 00s have been given those honors. You’d have to go back to Charlie Sanders to find a Lions player who have entered those hallowed halls, and it took him three decades to finally get in.
And while recent history suggests the current slate of Lions has little chance to make it to Canton, there is a feeling that the franchise is slowly turning itself around and that a new era is upon us.
So today’s Question of the Day is:
Do the Detroit Lions have a Hall of Famer currently on their roster?
My answer: No.
Earlier in the week, Mike Payton offered an argument that Matthew Stafford will be a Hall of Fame quarterback, but I’m just not buying it. Stafford is only now being considered a top 10 quarterback in the league by most, and you’d be hard pressed to convince a lot of people outside of Detroit that he’s currently a top five quarterback. Someone who isn’t a consensus top five quarterback in the league during his era has no business being in the Hall of Fame.
That being said, he could certainly reach that level of football immortality, but he would have to play for another 10 years and would have to take his game to a level we haven’t seen yet. And yes, sorry, that includes some sort of postseason success. It isn’t necessarily fair to him, but that’s absolutely necessary to impress the voters.
Other than Stafford, the most likely candidate is Darius Slay. Unlike Stafford, many believe Slay is a top five player at his position. Granted, it has taken him awhile to get there, but now that he’s been named a Pro Bowler and All Pro, he has the national recognition that could push him to be considered one of the greats.
The tricky part for Slay is that he has to maintain that level of play for several more years. The shelf life on a cornerback tends to be shorter than quarterback, so Slay will have to make a case for himself here and now. If he can string together five or six more seasons at the level of play he had in 2017, he certainly has a shot, but we’ll see.