Undeserving Hall of Famers Part One

Greg McKnightCorrespondent IDecember 18, 2009

HONOLULU, HI - FEBRUARY 4:  Class of 1990 Hall of Fame inductee, Bob Griese, attends the 1990 NFL Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium on February 4, 1990 in Honolulu, Hawaii.  The NFC won 27-21.  Quarterback Bob Griese played for the Miami Dolphins from 1967-1980.  (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
George Rose/Getty Images

Bob Griese of the Miami Dolphins

Clearly a case of being part of good teams but not contributing all that much to their success.  Griese played in three Super Bowls and won two as the starting quarterback.  One argument for induction into the Hall is that the best players play thier best in the big games. 

This wasn't the case for Griese.  If you need any proof that he was the proverbial caretaker QB before that term was ever coined, check out his statlines from those three big games: 

Super Bowl VI = 12 of 23 for 134 yards, 0TDs 1 int
Super Bowl VII= 8 of 11 for 88 yards, 1TD 1int
Super Bowl VIII= 6 of 7 for 73 yards, 0TD 0int

And it wasn't just the big games he was average (or worse) in during his 14-year pro career.  Rarely was Griese among the league leaders in any passing category.  He led the league in passing TDs in 1977 (22 with 13 interceptions), and passing accuracy in 1978 (63 percent, starting only nine of 16 games). 

On most of the other infrequent times he was among the leaders, he was barely cracking the top ten. This goes against the argument that players need to be among the best at their position during their era.  Griese usually wasn't.

The last argument people can make for Griese to be in the HOF is that he was the quarterback of the NFL's only undefeated team in 1972.  But Griese only played in five of those 14 regular season games, giving way to veteran Earl Morrall for the other victories. 

In fact, Morrall stepped in seamlessly to lead Miami into the playoffs and into the Super Bowl.  Griese took a few snaps in the AFC championship game and started Super Bowl.

I guess one question all of this might bring to mind is "why isn't Earl Morral in the HOF too?"  He played twenty years and went one for one in Super Bowls with Baltimore but didn't even get to hand the ball off in the game that ended the Dolphins' perfect season. 

The Dolphins of the seventies were a great team.  Their coach was among the best ever, their defense was excellent in all phases, and their smash-mouth running game defined the sort of offenses that won championships back then.  In fact, even in Super Bowls this team was running the ball in excess of fifty times per game.  How can the quarterback of such a team be thought to be responsible for their success?

I think Griese's induction is due largely to his association with one of the best teams ever.  His affability is another plus.  Likable and good looking, I suppose voters found it hard to say no.  But I don't think he deserves to be there.  What about you?