Lynn Swann Does Not Deserve To Be In the Hall of Fame

Does Lynn Swann, Republican candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania and retired wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, deserve to be in the pro football Hall of Fame? When hearing this question for the first time, I imagine that most fans of professional football will probably say yes. The first thing that will probably come to their minds are the endlessly repeated replays of two or three spectacular catches he made during a Super Bowl game. However, a player's worthiness for inclusion in the Hall of Fame should not be based upon two or three spectacular catches. If that was the case, then journeyman wide receiver Joe Jurevicius would be a lock for the Hall considering his remarkable Monday Night Football reception against the Eagles three years ago. Few doubt that catch was one of the ten most spectacular of all-time, but I also seriously doubt that anyone will argue that Joe Jurevicius deserves to be included in the Hall of Fame upon his eventual retirement from the NFL. Also, in his nine years in the NFL, Jurevicius has been on three Super Bowl teams, including the championship Tampa Bay team. That total is only one short of Lynn Swann's four Super Bowls in nine years, yet once again I don't imagine that there will be a major outcry for Jurevicius to be in the Hall upon his retirement.

But this post isn't about Jurevicius. I don't think he should be in the Hall of Fame. No one thinks he should be in the Hall of Fame. This post is instead about the remarkably low career statistics of Lynn Swann, who is in the Hall of Fame. In fact, he is one of only 17 modern-era wide receivers in the pro football Hall of Fame. that places him in some pretty elite company, despite the fact that he is not in the top fifty, or even close, in any major receiving statistic in NFL history.

How low are Swann's rankings? Take a look at the wide receiver page on Pro Football Reference and you might be surprised:
  • His 5,462 receiving yards place him 149th on the all-time list, behind even six tight-ends and five running backs.

  • His 51 career receiving touchdowns put him in a three-way tie for 75th all time with Tony Hill and Del Shofner.

  • His 336 career receptions place him in a three-way tie for 225th on the all-time list. In fact, thirty-four running backs have more career receptions than Lynn Swann, and Dave Megget has just as many. Further, 30 tight ends have more career receptions than Lynn Swann, and Charlie Sanders has just as many.
225th, 149th, and 75th? That is good enough to place someone in the top seventeen receivers of all-time? Not even close. These statistics are not even good enough to put someone in consideration for the Hall of Fame.

Some might counter that Swann did only play for a short period of time (nine years), and the NFL has become a lot more pass-oriented since he retired. However, a look at how Swann ranked among his contemporaries shows that his statistics were not even very good for his time period:
  • Swann never finished in the top five among receptions in any of his nine seasons in the NFL, and only finished in the top ten twice. He finished seventh in 1977 and 1978.

  • Swann only finished in the top five among receiving yards in the NFL once in his nine seasons, when he finished fourth in 1977. He only finished in the top ten three of his nine seasons, coming in 8th in 1975, and 7th in 1978.

  • Swann only finished in the top ten among receiving touchdowns in the NFL three times in his nine seasons. He finished in a tie for sixth in 1977, came in second in 1978, and tied for first in 1975.
Even for the era in which he played and for the short length of his career, Lynn Swann's statistics are very thin. Heck, he only made the Pro Bowl three times in his nine-year career. Those were the same three seasons when some or all of his statistics nosed into the top ten in the league. This means that in reality, he only had three good seasons, but even then he was never the best receiver in the league in any of those three seasons. Three good seasons without ever being the best shouldn't get someone within a country mile of the Hall of Fame.

Yet further, for his entire career he was on the same team as Hall of Fame wide receiver John Stallworth. In fact, the two came into the league in the same year, 1974, but Stallworth has better career statistics than Swann in every single category. Also, Swann played his entire career with Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris, who is among the top twenty all-time in every major statistical category for running backs. In other words, Swann couldn't even get free to rack up big yardage when opposing defenses had at least two other main threats to focus on.

What is the point of all this, you may ask? Why, for the love of God, is Chris Bowers writing about sports statistics on a politics blog? The point is simple. Lynn Swann is basing his campaign for Governor in Pennsylvania largely on the fact that he is in the Hall of Fame. However, the statistical record shows quite clearly that he does not deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. He was eventually inducted in 2001, thirteen years after he was first eligible, largely because the Hall of Fame voters, like the rest of America, had been endlessly subjected to watching replays of two or three of his most spectacular catches. Eventually, after the clarity of memory on his at slightly above average (at best) NFL career faded, the image of Swann as a spectacular receiver was built up in the collective football mind of the country by the sports media and NFL films. Even though Swann already boosts a shockingly thin resume to become Governor of the sixth largest state in the country, even that resume is thinner than it appears. He really wasn't all that great of a football player. He wasn't Jerry Rice--he wasn't even one-quarter of Jerry Rice. He wasn't Art Monk, not even close. Hell, he wasn'tChris Buford, and let me know the next time Chris Buford is up for a Hall of Fame vote. In fact, he wasn't even close to as good as Wes Chandler, who played at almost exactly the same time stretch as Swann, and who will never make it into the Hall.

Lynn Swann should not be in the Hall of Fame. The only reason he made it into the Hall in the first place is because of the false national consciousness about his career generated by the endless repetition of two or three catches he made. . It isn't surprising how much this is reminiscent of Republican candidates in general. Not only do they not have much in the way of policy to back up the image generated for them in the media, even their images don't have any substance to them. In much the same way that Bush never used his ranch for anything besides image, Lynn Swann's career statistics are, in the end, catastrophically average.

Tags: Media, Misc, PA-Gov (all tags)

Comments

79 Comments

Re: Lynn Swann Does Not Deserve...

You really ought to post this (or an edited version, anyway) as a diary at Behind the Steel Curtain. Heads will explode.

by Scott Shields 2006-04-03 10:36AM | 0 recs
by paulyell 2006-08-19 03:57AM | 0 recs
right on the HoF, not so much on the politics

I wrote a comment on DKos (a couple years back it seems, so not archived any more) comparing Swann's career achievements to Art Monk and Stanley Morgan and Swann comes up severely lacking. By any objective measure he's simply not Hall of Fame material.

I know what you're doing, and it's admirable, but it's not going to work. Going right at his "positives"--however reality based--won't matter to the voters for whom his football career matters. He's an etched in stone legend to them regardless of whether he was really an over-dressed ballerina or not. He is a credible challenger because Rendell is such a machine pol and because Swann is personable ways the press will eat up like candy.

We should still beat him, especially in a Democratic year, but it won't be by showing Steelers' fans that the guy was a paper tiger as a player.

by KevStar 2006-04-03 10:43AM | 0 recs
ha

Good points. I've been hoping someone would point out that Swann was an average receiver. I think what we really should be pounding home, however, is the fact that Swann does not deserve to be an elected official. He's not qualified to be dog-catcher, much less governor of Pennsylvania. The guy has no position on any issue, and he flip flops like it's his job. Honestly, his interview with Stephanopolous a few weeks ago was a joke.

by bluenc 2006-04-03 10:45AM | 0 recs
Re: watched Swann's entire career

Having had Steeler season tickets during Swann's entire career with the Steelers, I believe he did deserve his election to the HOF. Swann did play when there was a lot less passing until the NFL changed the rules, largely in response to the Steelers defensive preeminance, to open up the passing game.

I believe football players who change the game by the way they play belong in the HOF. Before Swann the NFL didn't have acrobatic WRs like he was, maybe except for Lance Alworth. Swann was the first of his breed and that's why he's in the HOF, not for his stats which reflect the fact that his career was cut short by a series of concussions.

That said, Swann is absolutely unqualified to be governor. He won't be getting this Steelers fan's vote. There's plenty to attack on that front alone. Look at the recent Pew poll, which I don't
put a lot of stock in, and the one word descriptors for Swann. Notice how many times the
word "unqualified" was used. That's the place to start, not attacking his football career.

by phillydem 2006-04-03 11:06AM | 0 recs
Re: watched Swann's entire career

Agree.  Swann is a jerk now, but then he redefined the position for a decade.  You mention Franco, but you should further mention that Franco ended up behind only Jim Brown when his Steeler's time was over.  That means he ran for more yards in those years than anyone - which means less opps for Swann.  Then throw in Rocky, John, a couple great tight-ends like Grossman, and you have an offense that spread the ball around.  Not to mention the tackle-eligible that we used to throw all the time. : )

by Robert P 2006-04-03 11:18AM | 0 recs
Re: watched Swann's entire career
I don't agree that Swann "redefined the position." I've enver heard a single receiver compared to him.

That said, I know when talking to Steelers fans, and you are clearly one of them, I'm not going to get anywhere on this one.
by Chris Bowers 2006-04-03 11:30AM | 0 recs
Re: wrong

Nope, Swann made great catches in plenty of games you never saw. I did see them. When Swann and Stallworth played, the Steelers ran a lot of                                                        routes over the middle, where the WR was likely to get a forearm shiver from the safety. Bradshaw would wing that ball up way high and expect Swann and Stallworth to go up and get it, which they did most of the time. That's why Swann had a short career because of the hits he took catching the ball over the middle.

Further, Swann wasn't hand-picked by the GOP because he's in the HOF, but because he's a Steeler who was part of a team that won 4 SBs in 6 years, he's handsome and he's articulate. Being a Steeler is the most important aspect, not the HOF.

by phillydem 2006-04-03 11:59AM | 0 recs
Re: wrong

This is the difference between a career as a body of work that stands on its own, and some selective snippets taken out of context; it's the difference (say) between a visionary public servant who saw future challenges well before they were widely recognized and dealt with them, and a post-adolescent dry drunk who proclaims "I have a good heart."

I won't be arrogant enough to claim that the evidence-based, objective analysis practiced by outfits like, say Baseball Prospectus embody "liberal" values, and that the rote adulation of received wisdom such as "sacrifice bunts are productive outs" embody "conservative" values. (Yes, these are baseball analogies--but it's Opening Day, and it is a more comfortable idiom for me. They're equally applicable to football--for a good place to start, compare how Democrat Bill Belichick runs his team to how Republican Dan Snyder runs his, then we'll talk.) No, they're not necessarily liberal or conservative, but they're certainly reality based vs faith based.

All that to say, the case for Swann being an HoF-er rests solely on subjective impressions, and the last time I checked, an "acrobatic" catch in the end zone is still only worth six points. The career numbers--the things we use to compare players to each other so we have a common basis of analysis--just aren't there.

Again, not much use politically, but I take sports seriously. Lynn Swann is a pretty weak Hall of Famer, the football equivalent of Red Schoendienst or Rabbit Maranville.

by KevStar 2006-04-03 01:23PM | 0 recs
Re: wrong

A better use of words is marginal HOFer, not a weak one. Thats why it took him 13 years to get in and many Steeler fans will not get bent out of shape by the fact that he did not get in. If he were a weak candidate, 13 years of waiting would only build the argument against his candidacy. A lot of the western PA boosting was creating some resentment among some non PA voters. At some point, the majority of voters felt he deserved to go in after patiently considering his case over many years. It is actually harder to persuade an entire body to consider someone for candidacy after so many years when you dont have the stats to prove it. I am sure plays he made other than the SB games were talked about in meeetings. The SB talk gets old .. oh by the 4 year mark.. of the 13 years of waiting.

by Pravin 2006-04-03 01:42PM | 0 recs
Re: watched Swann's entire career

That said, I know when talking to Steelers fans, and you are clearly one of them, I'm not going to get anywhere on this one.

And that is why you are not going to get anywhere in Western PA with this post.   The area bleeds black and gold.  Just look at the Neilson ratings during football games, or wander dahntahn after a loss on a Monday.  The 70s Steelers are legends and beyond reproach in Steeler Country.

by juls 2006-04-03 02:03PM | 0 recs
Re: watched Swann's entire career

Your comment demonstrates the first of two reasons this post is a waste of front page space.

First, those people who love Lynn Swann will never be convinced otherwise on his worthiness for the Hall.  I agree with Chris, but that's neither here nor there.  Whether Chris is right or wrong, Steelers fans like you could never be convinced by him.  I could talk about Don Larsen's palm-down, one-handed catch at his knees to demonstrate the presence of ridiculous catches before Swann.  I could say that his predecessor and contemporary, Otis Taylor, was every bit his equal as an athlete and superior statistically.  None of that would change your mind.

Nor should it.  You'll never convince me that Derrick Thomas shouldn't have been inducted on his first try in 2005 or that Kevin Greene (with far more career sacks) has any business in the Hall at all.  It's a matter of fan perception, of remembering the guy who made your eyes pop because you had never seen anyone do the things he could do before.

Trying to make a political point with this issue is a waste of effort because we're sports fans.  Sports fans are irrational.

Second, voters in the balance will not be convinced by this.  The difference between this and the swift boat ads is that there was an issue where a man's honor was at stake.  If they succeeded in impugning his wartime honor, they make can paint him as a bad commander in chief.  In this case, if Lynn Swann wasn't the great player everyone thinks, that has zero effect on his ability to be governor.  He didn't get into the Hall through personal dishonesty.

by jhupp 2006-04-03 11:31AM | 0 recs
Re: watched Swann's entire career

Lynn Swann doesn't belong in the governor's mansion, but getting into a whole discussion of whether he should or shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame is silly.

by Politicalhack06 2006-04-03 12:43PM | 0 recs
Re: watched Swann's entire career

No it's what makes online discussion boards worthwhile. It's a shame there's not a more obvious Hitler angle--that's the real shame.

by KevStar 2006-04-03 01:34PM | 0 recs
Re: watched Swann's entire career

Good post from someone who wont vote for Swann, but defends his football rep. You know, I have no problem with football fans attacking Swann's credentials for the HOF. I am ready to stand up for him. Also as a politician, I dont see him as anything but a puppet for a group of republicans who are using his name as a front to get into an administration which controls PA.

If I were in still in PIttsburgh, I would still not vote for Swann despite my lack of interest in Rendell.

But I find this thread being placed on the front page amusing in its timing.

Oh in case, someone tries to come up with a republican conspiracy for the bad calls in the SB, Rooney is a democrat. And the Steelers did win by 11 points even if you account for the two marginal offensive calls. And I believe Steelers would have still scored on a 4th down even if the refs ruled Roethlisburger's scramble  down on the one inch line.

by Pravin 2006-04-03 01:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Lynn Swann/Hall of Fame

I'm having a hard time swallowing this.  I don't like your expressing an opinion of his football career when you have something to gain politically from it.  The two (football and politics) might have something to do with each other, but the better part of discretion would be to take a pass on this, IMO, FWIW, etc.

by permit 2006-04-03 11:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Lynn Swann Does Not Deserve To Be In the Hall

As a Canton, OH native (home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame), I can say that Lynn Swann's status as an enshrinee is justified.

It is justified by his induction by the the Hall of Fame's board of selectors (currently a 39 member board). Their job is to select from those involved in the sport of football a class of enshrinees. In 2001, the board decided that Lynn Swann should recieve that honor.

The decision is subjective, and not solely based on a chart of career stats. The people who make up the board of selectors are people who have centered their careers around this sport, and, quite frankly, I would trust their opinion on who gets into the Hall of Fame far more than a partisan hack who brings it up only to smear a gubernatorial candidate's great achievement.

Call Lynn Swann's gubernatorial bid what it is: just another celebrity candidate.

Don't resort to being a 'swift boat'esque hack who only brings up sports as part of a smear campaign.

by T Dubya Ault 2006-04-03 11:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Lynn Swann Does Not Deserve To Be In the Hall

Swann was a good but not great receiver that benefited from playing on a great Steelers team.

Hines Ward deserves a great deal more football respect then Swann.

by Andrew C White 2006-04-03 12:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Lynn Swann Does Not Deserve To Be In the Hall

oh, pardon me, but i guess you're an expert because you were born in canton?

btw, i visited cooperstown and so now i am an expert in baseball hof credentials.  rolls eyes

by jgarcia 2006-04-03 05:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Lynn Swann Does Not Deserve To Be In the Hall

I watched Swann for virtually all of his pro career.  He was a really tremendous athlete, even if his stats don't add up to HoF membership.  Particularly illustrative was his eventual replacement, Jim Smith, who caught darn few passes at Michigan (Bo only passed the ball sideways)but was likewise a great athlete, probably the best on the Michigan team.  The bottom line is that as prejudiced as I was in favor of Smith (go Blue!), I never felt that he was quite as good as Swann -- for whatever that's worth (it is true that Michigan fans tend to be harder on their own than on others).

As for Swann's politics -- of course he's not qualified -- without the HoF label he wouldn't even be able to get a nominating petition circulated.

by Salvelinus 2006-04-03 11:27AM | 0 recs
Hall of Fame

Permit,

Lynn Swann is a candidate for high office because of his football career, period.   Without the notoriety associated with that career, he would be just another guy--   therefore, the nature of his career is fair game for comment.

Chris,

It would be interesting to know the NFL's criteria for entry into the Hall of Fame-   have you got access to that info?

by global yokel 2006-04-03 11:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Hall of Fame
Basically, it is just whoever the 39 board says they want in. However, I want to focus on the reasons why he wasn't inducted for a long time after he retired. Thirteen times he failed to make it in.

Like I said int eh post, the reason is probably because a few spectactular catches he made convinced people he was better than he was.
by Chris Bowers 2006-04-03 11:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Hall of Fame

I'm no football fan, but I do remember the spectacular over-the-shoulder catches like he was receiving a gift from the heavens.   I'll take your word for it if you think he belongs in the HOF or not.  But how this is relevant to his politics, please, enlighten me further.

You might say that Bush's career as oil man at Harken is relevant, because in his official capacity, it's possible he broke the law by selling shares after being privy to insider information.  And I would agree.

Nobody that I know of has ever accused Swann of anything like this, but if Swann tested positive for performance enhancing drugs, I'd say that would be political gold to Dems.

But to publicly lobby against a candidate's first career in the context of a partisan blog just seems wrong.  It feels so . . . freepish.

by permit 2006-04-03 11:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Hall of Fame
Simple. This post is relevant to politics because the onyl reason Lynn Swann is running for Governor is because hw as a football player. So let's look at his football career.
by Chris Bowers 2006-04-03 11:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Hall of Fame

The Allentown Morning Call broke a story a couple of days ago that Swann's business has not been collectiong sales tax on the merchandize it sells either in Pennsylvania or California. Why not a post about that? There's something that's relevent. Swann is running on a platform, as undefined as it is, on creating jobs for Pennsylvania. Why not ask whey he chose to establish his business in California and not Pennsylvania, where he lives? Why not question Swann's business competence in not knowing that items such as footballs are charged sales tax? If you live in Pennsylvania, you should have a pretty good idea of what's taxed and what's not.

by phillydem 2006-04-03 12:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Hall of Fame

That's what I'm talking about!

by permit 2006-04-03 12:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Hall of Fame

Again, I know nothing about football, but I've never heard anyone say Swann didn't play his hardest every game.  I never heard anyone say he did drugs.  As far as I know, he was a gifted team player.  I guess I had you all wrong, Chris.  If you're going to hang your hat on this, then I've been naive.  

by permit 2006-04-03 12:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Hall of Fame
Chris, when a guy doesnt make it for 13 years, no amount of lobbying is going to convince the majority to switch votes unless a darn good case is made. Usually you would think the lucky inductees make it in early if there is a shortage of top notch candidates that year and the arguments and counterarguments havent built up in enough detail.  
There was a lot of sentiment to closing the door on more Steelers players of that era because many in the country probably felt enough is enough and I dont blame them. That's why LC Greenwood will not have a chance in hell of making it despite being a darn good player. If Swann was just a darn good player, he would be sitting on the sidelines. LIke I said, stats are for baseball. And yes, I admit, I am biased.
by Pravin 2006-04-03 01:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Lynn Swann Does Not Deserve To Be In the Hall
Maybe it needs to be sold like "Hines Ward is a better reciver than Swann" or something like that.

Ward is better than Swann.
by Chris Bowers 2006-04-03 11:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Lynn Swann Does Not Deserve To Be In the Hall

I applaud that you have the balls to call this one as you see it.  Of course, you are right.  Swann's a Republican so he's in the Hall.  Irvin ain't and he's not.  There's no more old-boy Republican organization like the NFL.  No celebrating in the endzone?  I think that is racist, I'm sorry.

But I digress.  How on EARTH can Swann run as a Republican when just a year ago the Republican party treated it's own African-American citizens like expendable trash during and after Katrina?

Lynn Swann is a fucking disgrace and I can't stand him.

by jgarcia 2006-04-03 11:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Lynn Swann Does Not Deserve To Be In the Hall

oh please. spare me the outrage. I am disappointed Swann is a republican. But how can you call him a fuking disgrace for running for a party that doesnt support blacks when Democrats have idiots like Joe Lieberman, and others who supported or condoned Bush's atrocious actions until now. When all the black politicians protested the way the 2000 recount was done, did they get any support from the white democrats? F911 had such a damning clip.

As far as Swann being in the HOF, well, stats DO NOT MEAN SHIT in football. This is not freaking baseball. Let me repeat. This is not baseball. Football is abot being there when you are needed. I will take a Tom Brady over a Peyton Manning any day. Yes, I am biased as I am a huge Steelers fan. But Swann made the catches when it counted in the biggest games. And for the jgarcia who compares Swann to Irvin - get a clue. Swann didnt get in for years. Irvin just got rejected once. He will eventually get in if he doesnt fuck up his stature in the subsequent years. Is it too much to expect logic when you make a comparison.
Why do I get the feeling that Bowers is interested in Hall of Fame justice only because Swann happens to be Republican?

Yes, I am not a big fan of Ed Rendell who clearly is proposing an arena for the Penguins in the last minute because he needs the Western PA votes and not because he believes in the cause. As much as I would like to see the state fund an arena which could be used for other entertainment in the offseason, I dont like the reason for which Rendell is doing it.

Thank god, Dan Rooney is a democrat even if his nephew is being recruited to run as a republican in Florida.

by Pravin 2006-04-03 01:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Lynn Swann Does Not Deserve To Be In the Hall

I can dig it--I used to love Butch Hobson when I was a kid too. We all have personal heroes, it's what separates fandom from raw analysis. But going by your definition of Hall of Fame credentials, Desmond Howard, or just about any other Super Bowl MVP/star (Tim Smith, maybe?) belongs there as much as Swann.

As for the rest, you're right on: no need for us to get holier than thou, especially on race. I think the Dems need to take a pretty long look in the mirror. I just enjoy the sports angle, I've said for years Swann was an over-rated guy.

by KevStar 2006-04-03 01:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Lynn Swann Does Not Deserve To Be In the Hall

Swann was a top WR in the regular season too. Pittsburgh was a run oriented team. You look at Hines Wards stats and you would think he was a middle of the road WR instead of one of the top all around players in the game. He makes the clutch catches while the Darrel Jacksons run out of bounds while compiling a lot of stats.

What has Desmond Howard done in the regular season?

by Pravin 2006-04-03 01:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Lynn Swann Does Not Deserve To Be In the Hall

Caught more than 50 balls once, never compiled more than 880 yards receiving, made only three Pro Bowls. That's a pretty paltry HoF resume. His HoF membership is based almost solely on his post-season performance.

My problem with the "he made the clutch catches" argument is that it's entirely faith-based--you simply can't compare some clutch rating from one player to the next. On the things you can compare, Swann falls short to his contemporaries.

Clutch gets you a bonus point or two. I'm a New England guy--if Adam Vinatieri compiles eight years worth of high accuracy stats in Indianapolis, that should be enough in conjunction with his three big playoff kicks to get him to Canton. Otherwise, his pretty average regular season work--the entirety of his career--does him in. I could go on and on about the driving snow in the  playoff game vs Oakland or the time as a rookie he hauled down Herschel Walker from behind on a kickoff. Great fan moments; not enough to get you in the Hall.

by KevStar 2006-04-03 01:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Lynn Swann Does Not Deserve To Be In the Hall

Kev. I wont dispute you on teh subjectivity of it. Personally, I am glad Swann made it and I freely admitted my bias. Also, I am glad it took him 13 years to get in because I dont think he was worthy of a first ballot HOFer.

And I can see how others can oppose his candidacy to the HOF. But the fact is he is a Hall of Famer and he did it the honest way. If you can say the hall of famers were stupid to vote for him, fine. I have a problem more with Chris Bowers diary than your comment which I can disagree as sports fans do. Chris would have had a point if Swann got his HOF by influencing the vote in an underhanded way. Whether justified or not, the fact is Swann is a Hall of Famer and you can't say he is building up his charisma  the undeserved way. There is no logic to earning fame and Swann is using that earned fame to run this election. ALl that counts is Swann didnt do anything crooked to earn it. If he has a beef, he can write a diary on how dumb the HOF voters are and how unqualified they would be to run for office because he thinks they dont know how to judge a great football player.

by Pravin 2006-04-03 02:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Lynn Swann Does Not Deserve To Be In the Hall

Well it's discussions like this that make sports so fun. For my part as a fan I'd love to see more New England guys from the 70s-80s in the Hall--they should get points for playing pretty well while the franchise was run like a travelling clown show.

As for the rest--I don't have a problem with Bowers' diary, but your response just reinforces  that there's not much political hay to be made here. Indeed, if anything it might indicate a potential backlash. I half expect Hannity to pick up on this and go on the offensive--of course liberals don't think he's a Hall of Famer, because they're racists and what do those Frenchified pansies know about football anyway!

If nothing else we might be treated to what a good Swift Boat defense might have looked like back in August 2004, if we'd had a liberal media.

by KevStar 2006-04-03 02:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Lynn Swann Does Not Deserve To Be In the Hall

Exactly right.

by Andrew C White 2006-04-03 12:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Lynn Swann Does Not Deserve To Be In the Hall

Similar to the argument that Bill Buckner should be in the MLB HoF if it weren't for that one mistake in 1986.  A few highlight catches do not make a HoF career.  He's running on the lore of Steelers seasons from way back and the wave of Steelers pride following Super Bowl XL and unforunately, that could actually be enough to get him into office as scary as that sounds.

Rendell has his own problems, but he's added quite a few jobs in PA during his tenure among other things.  But finds himself way too close for comfort in the polls at this juncture.

by Albert 2006-04-03 11:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Lynn Swann Does Not Deserve To Be In the Hall

I think it's ridiculous to even be talking about his football career when we should be talking about why he shouldn't be governor. I hope Democrats  in Pennsylvania don't get distracted.

by Richie 2006-04-03 11:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Lynn Swann Does Not Deserve To Be In the Hall

Richie,

We ARE talking about why he shouldn't be Governor.  Undermining the notion that he was a legitimate Hall of Fame player is Step #1.  If he didn't have that status, he wouldn't be a candidate for political office.

by global yokel 2006-04-03 11:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Lynn Swann Does Not Deserve To Be In the Hall

...this from the same people who decried the 'swift-boating' attacks from the 2004 election?!?!

Yet, this is the same bag of tricks you now claim to righteously use...

You disgust me.

by T Dubya Ault 2006-04-03 12:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Lynn Swann Does Not Deserve To Be In the Hall
Yeah, because arguing over whether or not someone should be int he Hall isn't the sort of thing millions of people do overa beer at a bar. And it is the same thing at claiming somone is lying about their military service.

The only thing in Lynn Swann's resume is that he is a football player. The only thing at all. What should we debate about? He long voting history? Whether or not he vetoed the latest tax cut? What else is there to Lynn Swann besides his football career? Anything?

If someone can run for Governor based on simply being a well-known football player, then their football career at elast deserves to be looked at in that same realm. That can't simply be your ticket in and then be a topic not worthy of discussion later on.
by Chris Bowers 2006-04-03 12:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Lynn Swann Does Not Deserve To Be In the Hall

Versus what? Being a lawyer? Lynn Swann had plenty of stature in Western PA before he became a HOFer. All the HOF did was validate his name a bit more for the rest of the country that wont be voting in this election.

You want to argue he could be a puppet for some nefarious interests. Fine. That could be something possible and worth knowing about. Hillary, for all of her education, what has she really contributed to before she became a senator? Did she run a successful business? As first lady, she was far preferable to me than Stepford Bush. But what has she really accompished other than being Bill CLinton's wife>?

by Pravin 2006-04-03 01:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Lynn Swann Does Not Deserve To Be In the Hall

Read Hillary's autobiography and you'll read some of what she did.  Hint:  it was a lot of more than Bill ever did.

by jgarcia 2006-04-03 05:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Lynn Swann Does Not Deserve To Be In the Hall

If someone can run for Governor based on simply being a well-known football player, then their football career at elast deserves to be looked at in that same realm.

You dont get it. Even if you have a legit argument against his HOF worthiness, the fact is he is already well known. You cant change that. Your premise is faulty. As I said before, you have a better argument to use against a HOF voter in case he runs for office because that is what is at stake. You can't undo Swann's fame as a WR. He already has it, whether you like it or not and he did it through hard work and honesty. Right there, your argument is over. Swann is going to have many problems wth his worthiness for political office, focus on that.

Swann is not running based on the fact that he is a surefire HOFer. He is running with the help of the fact that he is was on the SB team 4 times and gave many local residents good memories and he eventually made the HOF. Thats the thing about awards. I didnt think Crash was the best movie but I am not going to find it silly if the director ran as a democrat and republicans analyzed how he did not deserve the oscar.  How does the fact that Swann is running as a HOFer for governor in your mind relevant to what some foolish(in your mind) voters decided in giving him the HOF. It should reflect on the voters, not Swann.

by Pravin 2006-04-03 02:55PM | 0 recs
Forgot to quoteblock

Sorry, I forgot to quote the first paragraph.

by Pravin 2006-04-03 02:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Lynn Swann Does Not Deserve To Be In the Hall

T Dubya Alt below makes a good point. It's like swiftboating him. I'm a big football fan and I think it's retarded to attack him for his football playing. I mean what's next? Are we going to accuse him of making less catches than he did? Are we going to accuse him of gaining less yards than he did? Are Terry Bradshaw and the Steel Curtain defense going to get dragged in? It's irrelevant and it's ridiculous politics.

by Richie 2006-04-03 01:52PM | 0 recs
Lynn Swann

by global yokel 2006-04-03 11:43AM | 0 recs
Excellent point!

by lonemorriscodem 2006-04-03 06:22PM | 0 recs
At the very least
People need to know that I'm not alone on this. Swann making the Hall was a real point of contention. Not to mention just how much I hate the arguments that some people make in sports to defend the indefensible:
His numbers are almost half of the career marks of John Stallworth, James Lofton and Art Monk. Even Henry Ellard has more yards, but Ellard's 13,777 yards will need a road map to find Canton, Ohio. "Look. Nothing against Tommy McDonald, but he's in the Hall of Fame, and he couldn't carry Lynn's jock." said former Steelers Head Coach Chuck Noll, with whom Swann won four Super Bowls. Swann's story goes beyond the career numbers. "The people who say he does not belong, I think that's hogwash," said Stallworth, who will present Swann for enshrinement. "If you look back on the quality of his career and big-game performances, and then take guys like (Paul) Warfield, from the standpoint of catches, the numbers are similar, and then look at Gale Sayers' longevity. ... It is the quality of one's career that counts, and his quality cannot be doubted." Maybe more than anything else, Swann changed the game of football and the expectations of his position. For six of his 10 years on the Hall's board of selectors, Steeler broadcaster Myron Cope championed Swann's selection. Each time, though, Cope was shot down. "When Swann was playing, coaches at all levels started to tell receivers if they can touch the ball, they can catch it,'' Cope said. ``When a kid in a high school game would make a leaping, amazing catch, it was a `Lynn Swann catch.' If a guy changes the game of football, why in the hell isn't he in the Hall of Fame? What's a hall of fame for if not to enshrine guys like that?"
Oh lodry. That's the argument to be in the Hall of Fame? Taht Terry McDonald couldn't carry Lynn Swann's jock? No wonder I gave up on sports blogs and message boards four years ago and started focusing on political writing online.
by Chris Bowers 2006-04-03 11:44AM | 0 recs
Re: At the very least

So what?  This is swiftboating.

by justinh 2006-04-03 11:46AM | 0 recs
Re: At the very least
There is a difference. This is all true.
by Chris Bowers 2006-04-03 11:52AM | 0 recs
Re: At the very least

It's contestable.  There is no definitive criteria for the hall of fame, just like the Oscars.  (Why would John Madden just get inducted now, for example?)  It's swiftboating because you're taking down someone based on their personal accomplishment rather than their policies.    

by justinh 2006-04-03 11:55AM | 0 recs
Re: At the very least
He doesn't have any policies. He is only a football player. That is the only reason he is going to be the Republican nominee in this race. That's it. What policies are there to discuss? As far as I can tell, there is only ootball.
by Chris Bowers 2006-04-03 12:35PM | 0 recs
Re: At the very least

Fact 1: This is not baseball. I guess you didnt get the memo. Harping on stats forever means you dont have a clue what football is about. Now if you want to say he did not deserve the HOF, I wont think you are crazy. There were people on the HOF committee who shared your opinion. But enough of them thought otherwise after 13 years. It was not a vote on a whim. So if he is contesting as you assert ,based on his HOF credentials, guess what, he earned it honestly whether it is the right choice or not. If the rest of the country thinks it was undeservred, guess what, that HOF moniker will only serve to hinder him because people will think he got something undeserved. If he bribed someone to get the votes, then you have a case implying he is running on a reputation unearned.

Fact 2: Swann's stature did not go up significantly in his base of Western PA by being voted to the HOF. He already had that stature. I believe he would have run for Governor just based on the Steelers resurgent seasons alone and the goodwill it brings. He is not running for a national office where that HOF credentials would make some difference. So are you going to argue he is not worthy of the status he is accorded in Western PA? If anything, the constant rejection he received only served to keep him on the front page in Western PA for so many years. Do you think Stallworth (who is more liked among his teammates by some accounts) has an equal chance at winning the governorship based on his HOF status even if he registered as a republican? Mike Webster(may he RIP) wouldnt have had a chance in hell of winning if he just decided to run if he were still alive).

by Pravin 2006-04-03 01:53PM | 0 recs
Well that sure was silly.

For a major contributor, this is about the silliest post I have seen in a while.  Swann's football stats are the best thing that you can come up with to attack him on?  Say it aint so Joe.

by lynx 2006-04-03 11:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Well that sure was silly.

Exactly.  If you want the netroots to be taken seriously, this is clearly counterproductive.  The mainstream media, political operatives, etc. are going to spin this in their favor so easily.

by justinh 2006-04-03 11:52AM | 0 recs
Not cool.

Swift boating someone's achievements is beneath us.  Whatever the reason he was put in the hall of fame, he was.  There is a process to choose hall of famers and he made it through.  That is enough. This is not my favorite post.

Kerry was defended by us for these same tactics. This is unacceptable.

by jacamoe 2006-04-03 12:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Lynn Swann Does Not Deserve To Be In the Hall

And did voters judge Arnold on the number of Academy Awards he recieved? Or box office gross?  

What we really should be talking about is why it is ok for GOP candidates to be celebrity airheads but when celebrity is a liberal, the media hounds after them.

Is ti because conservative actors/jocks break stereotypes?

by DaveB 2006-04-03 12:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Lynn Swann Does Not Deserve To Be In the Hall

Ha ha. Good point. Whenever a republican friend makes that argument against airhead celebs, i quiz them on the republican celebs like Reagan, Britney Spears, certain country stars.

by Pravin 2006-04-03 02:07PM | 0 recs
B.S. Hall of Fame

I grew up in the Pittsburgh area, currently live near Harrisburg.

I had to look twice at the header date for this article, thought for sure it was intended as an April Fools gag.

This is just awful swift-boating b.s. Good that you got this out of your system now.

Are you suggesting some Republican black-ops subverted the HoF selection process. (I'm picturing maybe Elsie Hillman dropping down on wires through a Canton skylight under cover of darkness ala Tom Cruise in MI-1.

If anything, you (strictly east of the Susquehanna River) might apply this garbage to a whisper campaign against Swann, and only then if you can find some under-appreciated Eagles WR with career stats comparable to Swann's to serve as your frontman/patsy.

But please don't.

by cargocult 2006-04-03 12:29PM | 0 recs
Not productive

It may be that Swann was not consistently good enough to deserve a spot in the Hall of Fame, but Chris, you can do better than this. He's in the Hall of Fame whether you like it or not, and it would be far more productive to focus on the  experience he plans to apply for the Gov job with. Specifically the lack of it.

Swann is in the Hall of Fame, so get over it already. And stop picking on Joe Jurevicius! Since his son died tragically it seems wrong to see anything negative about the guy.

by mihan 2006-04-03 12:33PM | 0 recs
Not going to work

This isn't going to convince people to support Rendell. This diary is an embarassment. Please stop.

by jiacinto 2006-04-03 12:36PM | 0 recs
Of Counterfactuals and Al Toon

For arguments sake let's suppose that the argument for letting Sawn in the HOF goes past the numbers.  Let's say that his career was cut short due to a series of concussions.  Let's ignore the fact that his numbers per year were low and say that he would have had better numbers had his career been longer.  Fine, of course he would have.  There are a ton of players who would have had better numbers had their career been longer; this statement goes virtually without saying.  However, the problematic part of this argument is that it is a counterfactual, as in counter from the facts or did not happen.  For the sake of arguing the counterfactual, Al Toon had his career cut short due to concussions, but is there any chance that he would ever be elected into the Hall of Fame?  Without a doubt, no.  In comparison, Al Toon played 8 seasons with the New Jersey Jets between 1985 and 1992 totaling 517 receptions and 6605 yards.  He finished in the top ten in the league for receptions 4 times including 1986, 1987, and 1998 when he ranked third, second, and first.  Neither one of these players posted Hall of Fame type numbers despite their shortened career.  The shortened career argument must be reserved for those players whose career was cut dramatically short, but still produced dominance during their time, such as Terrell Davis.  Davis played for seven years, but to get a real picture of his brilliance one must look at the first four seasons before he suffered a life changing knee injury.  During this time Davis rushed for 6422 yards and 56 touchdowns.  Three of those years he finished in the top 2 for yards rushed and yards from scrimmage.  Three times he finished in the top three for rushing TD's and twice he was first.  Had Swann exhibited this kind of dominance over any stretch of time during his career then maybe things would be different.

Another argument revolves around the idea that there were too many players on that team and thus the ball was spread around.  On the flip side, maybe instead it was Swann who was able to ride the coattails of his more talented teammates.  Had Stallworth not been on the other side of the field then he certainly would have commanded more attention by defenses and it is difficult to believe that his production would have actually gone up.  Furthermore, with defenses keyed in to stop Franco Harris Swann should have been freed up to make more receptions then he eventually would.  Even furthermore, even though he is an idiot Terry Bradshaw was his quarterback.  What if say, Joe Gilliam was the full time starter for the Steelers.  Would Swann have been as productive?  Even furthermore, what if the Steelers did not have that great defense?  Would they have been able to rely more heavily on Swann in order to make it to the playoffs?  It is highly dubious.  I suppose the biggest issue is that there are many more question marks in regards to Swanns questionable HOF career then there are surefire hits.  Everything seems to come back to two great games he had both of which happened to be in the Super Bowl.  Oddly enough, never do I hear Deion Branch being mentioned as a possible HOF candidate in the future.

by Mark J. Bowers 2006-04-03 12:47PM | 0 recs
Not the only one

Swann was helped a lot by his broadcasting career.  Another Republican politician has far weaker Hall of Fame credentials:  Jim Bunning.

Bunning barely got 200 career wins.  He had the nice statistical touch of 100 wins in each league but that is meaningless.  Why is Bunning in and Bert Blyleven and Tommy John out?  He had a big publicity nmachine for some reason.

And maybe take how Bunning's plaque and he is not a Senator.  BTW, Milt Pappas came within one NL win of the double 100 thing.  And he's no Hall of Famer.

by David Kowalski 2006-04-03 12:59PM | 0 recs
now you're talking

Bunning was a joke too. His career comps are Mickey Lolich, Luis Tiant, and Rick Reuschel. The only HoF-er on his comps list is Catfish Hunter and he's a joke as an HoF-er too.

by KevStar 2006-04-03 01:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Not the only one

Bunning is famous because he threw a perfect game.

(I hope that doesn't mean anybody would think David Wells should be in the Hall of Fame.)

Lynn Swann was the lead receiver for a great Steelers team that won 4 Super Bowls.  There's a good argument to be made that the team was the most dominant ever (though I would disagree).  His fame was made by spectacular catches on national TV and covers of Sports Illustrated just as football was coming into its prime.  

It is the Hall of "Fame" after all, not the Hall of "Best Players".  I think it's clear that the fame is what got Swann over the top.  And yes, there are receivers who were much better for a long period of time who didn't make the Hall.  

by RickD 2006-04-03 11:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Lynn Swann Does Not Deserve To Be In the Hall

No he's a $2,000 Bush donor, sadly. But Franco Harris is a major Dem.

by KevStar 2006-04-03 01:02PM | 0 recs
Editing Note

Calling Bush's Dacha outside Crawford Texas a Ranch is like putting lipstick on a Pig and calling her beauutiful.

by ROGNM 2006-04-03 02:49PM | 0 recs
Average is Spectacular For The GOP

Don't forget, AWOL was a cheerleader. As was Trent Lott.  At least Swann actually handled the ball.  What more do you expect from the party of privilege and power?

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-04-03 05:02PM | 0 recs
Re: right on the HoF, not so much on the politics

Swiftboating cannot be done accurately.  If it's accurate, it's called going after a guy's positives.

by ZamboniGuy 2006-04-03 06:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Lynn Swann Does Not Deserve To Be In the Hall

Democrat here. Huge Rendell fan. Steelers fan since birth. This is the one thing I've read, anywhere, that makes me even entertain the idea of supporting Swann.

by TomGilpin 2006-04-03 07:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Lynn Swann Does Not Deserve To Be In the Hall

For a minute, this made me actually entertain the notion that I should support Swann, to spend four years trying to explain to Pittsburgh fan-boys that Swann is the worst HoFer in the NFL.

Then I remembered that "logic" and "numbers" is one of those reality-based community things.

by Chesco Dem 2006-04-04 01:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Lynn Swann

Lynn Swann is a bad candidate for governor -- no doubt.

But with regards to the HOF, don't just give me stats.

Swann played in the run-oriented 1970's.
A lot of the receivers that have better statistics are from the pass-oriented 1990's and beyond.

Plus, Swann did it when it counted.
He performed well and made critical plays in 3 of the 4 Steeler Super Bowl wins.  In particular, his MVP performance in Super Bowl X was legendary.

This is the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Great Statistics.  Swann got it done on the game's greatest stage, and did it multiple times.  

That is Hall of Fame-worthy

by v2aggie2 2006-04-04 10:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Swann Does Not Deserve To Be Made a Mart yr

Chris, hon, love ya, but you've gone barking mad with this one. As Jake Coughlin once said to to Naz Reyes on Usenet, Have you tried dipping your head in ice water? It makes the swelling go down.

Going after this idea would be a stunt guaranteed to backfire, creating unwarranted sympathy for the GOP candidate, perhaps galvanizing pro-Swann voters who, for some reason opaque to me, think being a celebrity athlete is sufficient qualification for high political office.

Let's not make a martyr out of a weak candidate, or create a GOTV fervor among Steeler fans.

Recipe for disaster.  

by Christopher Walker 2006-04-05 06:35AM | 0 recs
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