San Diego Chargers vs Oakland Raiders – October 16, 2005
Chargers runningback LaDainian Tomlinson runs in for an easy first half touchdown as the San Diego Chargers defeated the Oakland Raiders by a score of 27 to 14 at McAfee Coliseum, Oakland, California, October 16, 2005. (Photo by Robert B. Stanton/NFLPhotoLibrary)
Home » Blog » LaDainian Tomlinson, Jason Taylor Lead 2017 Hall of Fame Candidates

LaDainian Tomlinson, Jason Taylor Lead 2017 Hall of Fame Candidates

It seems that much of the hoopla surrounding who got let in to the Hall of Fame in 2016 – or rather, who didn’t get in – is set to be rectified in 2017. Of the players eligible to be voted in next year, only two have a half-decent chance of being a first-ballot entry.

LaDainian Tomlinson might just be the best bet of that group. He leads a class of prospective entrants that includes, in order of likelihood, Jason Taylor, Hines Ward and Brian Dawkins.

Tomlinson plied his trade as a running back in the NFL for 11 years, mostly with the San Diego Chargers. His 31 total touchdowns in 2006 remains a league record, and helped him win the MVP award that season. He could just as easily run past, around or through defenders, making him one of the most volatile offensive weapons in league history and an absolute nightmare to contain in the Maddens of the mid-2000s.

The 2006 Chargers remain one of the great “what-if” teams in NFL lore. Tomlinson may have never won a Super Bowl championship in his career, but LT has more than enough on his resume to ignore that elusive ring.

Jason Taylor will also enter the Hall at some point, and maybe even as a first-time nominee. A pass rusher primarily with the Miami Dolphins, Taylor played fifteen years in the league. Only three times did he fail to start all sixteen games in a season. Of those three misses, the fewest amount of games he played in was thirteen. Taylor’s incredible longevity produced 139.5 sacks and 47 forced fumbles, placing him sixth and second on those respective all-time lists.

Hines Ward is a peculiar case. During his long career, he was never the consensus number one receiver in football. But he did finish with exactly 1000 receptions, a couple of Super Bowl titles, a Super Bowl MVP, and a reputation as perhaps the greatest blocking wideout of all-time.

Brian Dawkins was the gold standard at safety as the position enjoyed a renaissance during the previous decade. Even with Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed – two future Hall of Famers – playing in their prime, Dawkins always remained an inch ahead of the pack with his highlight reels of closing tackles, jarring hits and turnovers galore.

The 2017 Hall of Fame class will be announced on the eve of Super Bowl LI.


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