If Warren Sapp is ushered into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year, he will be part of an extraordinarily strong Class of 2013. If Sapp is not a part of that group, it will likely be because of how strong it is.
That’s essentially the point NFL.com’s Elliot Harrison made on Tuesday. Harrison actually makes one contention and one prediction when it comes to the former Buccaneer great, and they are at odds. Harrison contends that Sapp should be one of the five modern-era figures inducted into the Hall this year, but he predicts that former Giants’ defensive end Michael Strahan will get the votes to take Sapp’s spot.
The decision is in the hands of the 46 members of the media who are currently on the Hall of Fame Selection Committee. The group includes one reporter each from the 32 NFL towns, such as the Tampa Tribune’s Ira Kaufman, a Pro Football Writers of America rep and 13 other at-large members such as SI’s Peter King and ESPN’s John Clayton. They will go behind closed doors on Saturday, February 2 in New Orleans and debate until they’ve reached a consensus. They will pick at least two and no more than five inductees from the 15 modern-era finalists, and almost everyone believes they’ll max out the class this year.
By Harrison’s estimation, first-year-eligible offensive linemen Larry Allen and Jonathan Ogden are stone-cold locks. He also believes the Hall will finally call for five-time Super Bowl champion Charles Haley and that legendary coach Bill Parcells will make it in after waiting one extra year.
If all of that comes to pass, then there would be just one spot remaining for the other two first-year-eligible finalists, Sapp and Strahan, as well as some intriguing holdover candidates (Jerome Bettis, Cris Carter, Will Shields, etc.). Harrison would vote for Sapp over Strahan, but he thinks the actual voters may lean towards Strahan because he “still effervesces in the public eye.”
Still, Harrison makes a strong case for Sapp; check it out. We’ll be doing the same thing in the Captain’s Blog next week as the vote draws near.