Mike Alstott is my favorite Purdue football player of all time. He was on the team when I really first started watching college football and I immediately loved the way he played. The way he plowed over defenders, the gigantic neck and shoulder pads, the stories of him pulling his jeep up Ross-Ade stadium enthralled me. What’s not to love?
He’s also the reason that I’m a Tampa Bay Bucs fan. I wasn’t really a fan of the NFL until he was drafted and at that point I decided why not follow my favorite college player to his NFL team and BAM I was a Bucs fan. I still remain one to this day and it’s all because of Mr. Alstott.
It was announced on Wednesday that Alstott and numerous of his Tampa Bay teammates are among those eligible for the next class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It’s an incredible honor just to be this far in the process as very few players even reach this stage. Most notably among his teammates are names like John Lynch, the always smiling Warrick Dunn, Ronde Barber, and Simeon Rice. These were all members of the 2002 Super Bowl champs.
Also notable on the list is Lorenzo Neal. You might recognize this name as the father of Purdue’s own Lorenzo Neal. Pretty cool accolade for your dad I’d say.
The Hall of Fame process is multiple steps with this initial group of 130 nominees being whittled down to 25 semi-finalists and then down to 15 finalists and then finally the 5 chosen players.
I’m personally not a fan of this process as it leaves out deserving players each and every year and often leads to flashier more high profile names getting into the Hall rather than those at less flashy positions. This I’m afraid to say is what I fear is going to happen to Alstott. Though he rushed for over 5,000 yards and had over 2,000 receiving yards he will likely be looked at as merely a fullback and therefore not worthy of induction. Very few fullbacks have ever made it into the Hall. The last true fullback, which I would argue Alstott is, to be inducted seems to be Larry Csonka in 1987. I understand that positions ebb and flow in importance but Alstott certainly played at a HOF level in my opinion. Simply because he played at a position that doesn’t always put up flashy stats doesn’t mean he’s any less deserving. Let’s hope he gets the honor he truly deserves.