Tony Boselli is one of the 15 finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for 2019. A former member of the Jacksonville Jaguars, he is considered one of the best tackles in NFL history. Boselli is a finalist for the third consecutive year. If selected, Boselli would be the first Jaguar to be enshrined in Canton. There is no doubt that Boselli was elite at his position. But the one thing holding him back is the length of his career. Here’s the case for why the selection committee would be wrong to exclude Boselli for a third consecutive year.
Tony Boselli is a Hall of Famer
You read that right. Boselli is going to be in the Hall of Fame one day. He is simply one of the best tackles in NFL history. The only question is when. His third consecutive year as a finalist would be a good time.
Boselli was the second overall pick in the 1995 NFL draft. He was the first player drafted in Jaguars history. From 1996 to 2000, Boselli was selected to five consecutive Pro Bowls. In that same time frame, Boselli was also a three-time First-Team All-Pro selection from 1997 to 1999. Despite only playing for half of the 1990s, Boselli is a member of the 1990s All-Decade Team.
It’s easy to conclude that Boselli has many accolades and was elite at the tackle position. The one thing going against him is his career length. Boselli’s NFL career lasted for seven years from 1995 to 2002. He fought through nagging shoulder injuries but had to retire in 2002. Regardless of a shortened career, Boselli should be in the hall. After all, it’s been said that its the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Longevity.
The Odds Aren’t Great for 2019
It’s hard to guess what the selection committee will decide when it comes to the five finalists. A few players could be considered very likely to get in. Those would be Tony Gonzalez and Ed Reed. If Gonzalez and Reed make it in, that only leaves three spots left. Being an offensive lineman definitely makes it harder. Boselli is one of four other offensive line finalists in 2019. The others are Steve Hutchinson, Alan Faneca, and Kevin Mawae. With high profile players at skill positions, it’s harder for a lineman to be selected. Linemen don’t have the flashy stats that you see from quarterbacks, receivers, or cornerbacks.
In 2018, one offensive lineman was selected and it was Jerry Kramer. Kramer played from 1958 to 1968 so he was not one of the 15 modern era finalists. While the odds aren’t great, momentum built for Boselli last year so he has a chance if his presenter lays out a good case.
Tony Boselli‘s Domination of Bruce Smith
Have you heard of Bruce Smith? If you follow the NFL the answer should be an obvious yes. Smith is a former defensive end and first ballot Hall of Famer. He primarily played for the Buffalo Bills and was in the league from 1985 to 2003. He also holds the NFL record for quarterback sacks at 200.
Smith was a dominant defensive end. But that was not the case when the Bills and Jaguars faced off in the 1996 playoffs. The Jaguars won the game 30 to 27. Boselli was tasked with blocking Smith from getting to Mark Brunell. Boselli had his way with Smith that day. He didn’t allow Smith to get one sack and he only had three tackles in that game. Let’s not forget to mention that Smith was the Defensive Player of the Year in 1996 with 68 tackles, 13.5 sacks, and five forced fumbles. Boselli had a great game against Smith that day.
The Last Word
We don’t have long until the 2019 Hall of Fame is announced. The ceremony is on February 2nd, the day before Super Bowl LIII. Boselli is certainly the kind of player who deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. Just look at his record in a short career. Despite a somewhat short career, Boselli was elite at the tackle position. The next few weeks are important for Boselli’s chances and he will need a good pitch from the presenter. But no matter what, Boselli’s place in Canton is a matter of when, not if.
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