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Notes: The Alex Karras 2020 Hall of Fame campaign kicks off

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If Paul Hornung can be in the Hall, why not Alex Karras?

Green Bay Packers v Detroit Lions Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

President and CEO of the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame David Baker revealed in an interview on XM Sirius this past Monday that Canton is considering a larger class for 2020. From the CantonRep.com article on the potential expanded class:

The class would include five modern-era candidates, 10 senior candidates, three contributors and two coaches.

“All would be enshrinees and all would get a bust, a gold jacket and a ring, but the ceremony would be spread out,” said Baker, who plans to propose the idea at the Hall’s Board of Trustees meeting on Aug. 2. “The centennial is kind of that once-in-every-other-lifetime shot of addressing that (backlog) and doing it in a comprehensive fashion.”

Many teams’ fanbases began to consider who their best senior backlog candidates were, and it was no different with the Detroit Lions.

For those who do not remember the dominance of Karras in the 1960s or the reason why he is not already in the Hall, let us now review his resume. Karras played in 161 games over 12 seasons for the Lions spanning the years 1958 to 1970, making first-team All-Pro three times and four Pro Bowls. NFL Films named Karras their eighth-best player not already in the Hall of Fame in 2017. Although sack totals have only officially been counted toward team records since 1982 (Robert Porcher has the most there, at 95.5), Rick Gosselin pointed out that Karras’ 97.5 career sacks would make him the actual historical leader for Detroit despite playing in an era where much fewer pass plays were called.

So what happened to Alex Karras? Unfortunately, the dominant defensive lineman was also a notorious trash-talking bad boy on the field during his career, and was suspended by commissioner Pete Rozelle for betting on NFL games in 1963 (which is why he only has 12 seasons of games in 13 years). Last year, the team finally named Alex Karras posthumously to their Pride of the Lions during Homecoming Week in October 2018.

The widest imaginable range of Lions fans and writers believe that Karras belongs in the Hall. When even the worst haters can agree with this point, it is a clear consensus wrong that needs to be righted. Hopefully the Hall of Fame Seniors Committee can do the right thing, and ensure this defensive terror and godfather to Webster is no longer treated like a pawn in the game of life.

On to the rest of Notes for today:

Slay’s teammates jumped in with some light-hearted commentary:

  • In case anyone was wondering why I personally have such a high opinion of Damon Harrison Sr.’s play, here’s an infographic and related article from Pro Football Focus: