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The Shadow League’s 2021 NFL Pro Football Hall Of Fame Picks

After Peyton Manning and Charles Woodson, a gold mine of all-time greats still remain.

Like everything else ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020,  the NFL’s 2020 Pro Football Hall Of Fame Class didn’t have the opportunity to be officially inducted into Canton in August.

The class consists of some all-time legends: former Broncos safety Steve Atwater, Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, Rams wide receiver Isaac Bruce, Colts running back Edgerrin James and Seahawks/Vikings guard Steve Hutchinson, even former Eagles great wideout Harold Carmichael.

READ MORE: Five Minutes of Football With CBS analyst Bill Cowher

Super Bowl-winning coaches, Jimmy Johnson (Cowboys) and Bill Cowher (Steelers) were enshrined in 2020 as well.

As always, there are more worthy candidates than slots for induction, but here are my picks, and some reasons as to why I think they’ll be selected.

Peyton Manning (QB -Colts, Broncos)

Choosing a Hall Of Fame Class can be an all-day affair and I’d imagine grueling at times. But when it comes to a candidate like Manning you get a bit of a reprieve because his body of work is as close to UNANIMOUS as you’ll ever see. He’s arguably the greatest regular-season QB in the history of the NFL.

He did win an unprecedented and unmatched five MVP awards. That in itself is really astounding considering he played in an era that featured other QB greats like, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. I think what really makes this UNANIMOUS is his two Super Bowl wins with two different franchises. Although a shell of himself in the latter penultimate game win, he was still the leader of the offense. His qualifications are evident.

Charles Woodson – (CB – Raiders, Packers)

This choice isn’t as automatic as Manning, but outside of maybe Tom Brady when he’s up for nomination who’s would be. But Woodson will still get in with little to almost no resistance. He was a very key member of the Packers SB XLV championship team. Voted a four-time first-team All Pro and four-time second-team All Pro he was just damn good.

Today’s millennials wouldn’t have the slightest clue about the Tom Brady “Tuck Rule” game and play. But that was Woodson who knocked the football loose on the still to this day very questionable call. Only one can wonder if that play had been called a fumble and the Raiders win that game and go onto win the Super Bowl how much bigger his legacy could’ve been. The 1997 Heisman Trophy winner gets in pretty safely.

Torry Holt – (WR – Rams, Jaguars)

To some surprise he didn’t get in for 2020, not mine as his teammate Isaac Bruce got the call to the hall first as he should’ve. Many would suggest Holt was the more dynamic player of the two wideouts. His time is now and having to wait an extra year will be all forgotten (Unless You’re Terrell Owens With Good Reason) when he gets that call.

Holt was a first-team All Pro in 2003 and second-team All Pro in 2006 and a seven-time Pro Bowl selectee in an era with (Randy Moss and Terrell Owens). Won SB with Rams in 1999.

Alan Faneca – (Guard – Steelers, Jets, Cardinals)

I truly thought he’d punch his ticket with the 2020 class. Faneca has been a finalist in each of his five years of eligibility. I believe he’ll get the vote needed this time around as he’s more than worthy. Made first-team All Pro six times. A member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000’s as well. Absolute blocking menace for the Steelers Super Bowl XL- winning team in 2005. Sort of like with Holt, it’s strange he didn’t get in with his teammate Polamalu last go round but he’s primed for induction this go.

Reggie Wayne – (WR – Colts)

Wayne was a great receiver and definitely deserves to get in. He was first-team All-Pro in 2010 and second-team in (‘07 and ‘09). It’s a bit shocking that he didn’t make first-team in ‘07 considering he led the league in receiving yards that season and was a member of the Colts Super Bowl XLI winning team.

Wayne’s accomplishments are often overshadowed because he played alongside Marvin Harrison (inducted in 2016), Manning and Edgerrin James, who will be a Hall of Famer by the time Wayne is inducted. That has to put a smile on former head coach Tony Dungy’s face.

Two others I think will get long hard looks and their nomination will stress the voters room are Patrick Willis and Calvin “Megatron” Johnson.

READ MORE: Charles Woodson, Calvin Johnson Entering College Football Hall Of Fame

Willis should’ve gotten in with the 2020 class IMO. I just knew he’d be an automatic selection. But for some reasons unknown and not understood Hall of Fame voters tend to favor longevity over guys who were absolutely dominant over a shorter period of time. The same reasoning was supposedly used as it pertained to Terrell Davis and why he had to wait several years before rightfully getting in.

Willis was a five-time first-Team All-Pro and made second-team once. That’s 6 of 8 years (75%) he was an All-Pro player, with not many peers. I just feel like these voters will make him wait one more year before he becomes inducted.

“Megatron,” still catches media flack for retiring on his own terms, in his prime. Very few receivers were as good as Johnson. His size, strength, speed and catch radius are something us football fans had never seen in one player at that position. A three-time first-team All-Pro, Johnson came up just 36 yards short of 2,000 yards receiving in 2012, finishing with 1,964 yards on 122 receptions. But I think they’ll spitefully make him wait for leaving the game with so much left to give.

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