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3 Biggest Snubs Of 2022 NFL Hall Of Fame Class

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(Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

 

As announced during the latest NFL Honors, eight players and contributors made it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2022.

Tackle Tony Boselli will become the first Hall of Famer for the Jacksonville Jaguars, while the late Cliff Branch made it in Canton after spending his entire career with the then-Oakland (now Las Vegas) Raiders.

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Defense dominated this class thanks to four inductees, including the late New Orleans Saints linebacker Sam Mills.

Defensive tackles Richard Seymour and Bryant Young will also have their bronze busts in Ohio.

Long time Green Bay Packers safety and Lambeau Leap founder LeRoy Butler also made the cut.

Completing the list of inductees are head coach Dick Vermeil and game official Art McNally.

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Unfortunately, the league missed out on several potential inductees because there were 26 semifinalists, and only eight will get through, as per the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s guidelines.

That said, here are the biggest snubs for the Class of 2022.

 

3. Devin Hester

There’s a great debate regarding Hester’s credentials as a Hall of Famer.

He didn’t do much as a wide receiver for the Chicago Bears, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, and Seattle Seahawks.

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But no one can match his excellence as a kick and punt returner.

Therefore, his impact on the team’s field position and scoring are impeccable.

He’s the only player to return an opening Super Bowl kickoff for a touchdown.

Hester has the most non-offensive touchdowns in the NFL with 20.

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His 14 punt return touchdowns are also the most among all NFL players.

He also holds the record for most return touchdowns in a season by a rookie, and of all time.

If the Pro Football Hall of Fame has the players who made a difference in the game, Hester qualifies to get in.

Having the ability to score any time and change the game’s complexion makes him worthy of a gold jacket.

 

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2. Zach Thomas

If Mills made it, then Zach Thomas must be in the Hall of Fame.

Jason Taylor will be the first player that comes into mind when the Dolphins’ defense of the 2000s is brought up.

However, Thomas is as deserving of a Hall of Fame nod as his teammate.

The middle linebacker for the Miami Dolphins and the Dallas Cowboys made First-Team All-Pro five times.

That achievement alone put him on the same pedestal as Hall of Famers Ray Lewis, Derrick Brooks, and the late Junior Seau.

He also made the second team twice and the Pro Bowl seven times.

Thomas is also a member of the 2000s All-Decade Team and led the league in tackles two times.

The Texas Tech alum finished his career with 1,734 tackles, 20.5 sacks, 17 interceptions, and 16 forced fumbles.

 

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1. DeMarcus Ware

Shockingly, DeMarcus Ware didn’t get enshrined in his first year of eligibility because he was one of the game’s most dominant pass rushers.

Getting two sacks and winning Super Bowl 50 alone should be enough to get him to Canton.

However, his credentials throughout his 12-season career only get stronger.

He is in the top ten in career sacks with 138.5, including 20 in 2008 with the Dallas Cowboys.

Ware also holds franchise records in forced fumbles, tackles for losses, quarterback hits, and sacks.

The outside linebacker from Alabama made it to the First-Team All-Pro four times, the second team thrice, and the Pro Bowl nine times.

He also led the league in sacks during the 2008 and 2010 seasons.

The post 3 Biggest Snubs Of 2022 NFL Hall Of Fame Class appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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León lifts trophy and celebrates 2023 CONCACAF Champions League victory

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Club León celebrated their victory against LAFC and being crowned winner of the 2023 CONCACAF Champions League.



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NBA Finals Takeaways: Undrafted players shine as Heat tie series vs. Nuggets

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Which trend would hold? The Denver Nuggets remaining undefeated at home in the playoffs or the underdog Miami Heat being the team that won’t die?

That was the question as the NBA Finals teed up Game 2 on Sunday in Denver, after the Nuggets won comfortably in Game 1.

There were plenty of other subplots: would the Heat figure out how to at least make something difficult for Nuggets star Nikola Jokic? Would Jimmy Butler return to ‘playoff Jimmy’ form? Would the Heat role players show up? Would Jamal Murray keep doing his convincing Steph Curry impression?

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Well, Miami won 111-108 as Jokic finished with 41 points on 16-of-28 shooting but was limited to just four assists as the Heat were more judicious in their double teams and took away easy passing lanes.

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Butler didn’t exactly tear it up for most of the game, but he was a willing playmaker, helping find looks for his teammates. In the fourth quarter, he looked for his own offence more as he scored eight of his 21 points down the stretch while adding nine assists.

Meanwhile, Murray looked relatively ordinary as the Canadian’s streak of 25 points or more in the post-season ended at six games as he finished with 18 points and 10 assists. He did hit big three as part of the Nuggets’ 11-2 run late in the fourth that helped Denver turn a 12-point Miami lead to a one-possession game, but Murray missed a long three on the final possession that would have sent the game into overtime.

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The Nuggets take the series to Miami for Game 3 on Wednesday after losing at home for the first time in 10 playoff starts, the series evened at 1-1.

Some takeaways.

Would Playoff Jimmy please stand up? 

Butler has alternately looked like the best player in the world during these playoffs — he averaged 37.6 points a game in Miami’s five-game upset of the No. 1 seed Milwaukee Bucks in the first round — and just a guy.

A pretty good guy, but a long way from the second coming of Kobe Bryant.

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Heading into Game 2, Butler – who scored just 13 points on 14 shots in the opener – was averaging just 20.7 points on 39-per-cent shooting over his previous six starts this post-season.

Not surprisingly, the Heat were just 2-4 over that stretch.

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There were no signs Butler was going to change course in the early going. On possession after possession, the Nuggets would funnel Butler to the baseline, content to take their chances with him dribbling through the paint without even looking at the rim.

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Normally it’s a compliment to say a player of Butler’s calibre wasn’t forcing anything, but not in this case as the Heat likely would have been happy to their star try to put his imprint on the game. Instead, when Butler hit traffic he’d make a harmless pass to the corner, the Nuggets would rotate and not much would happen.

It wasn’t like Butler was a non-factor: he finished the first half with 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting to go along with four assists, but in my view the Heat need Butler to be creating offense for himself if they’re going to keep up with the Nuggets juggernaut.

In the third quarter with the game separated by a three-point field goal, Butler got out on a break but fumbled the ball away when chased down by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. It’s just one play but not one that Butler would have made a month ago.

But Butler began to heat up in the fourth as a three and a three-point play gave the Heat a six-point lead that they stretched to 12. The Heat hung on from there.

The great undrafted

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The collection of undrafted role players the Heat have come to rely on to round out their lineup in support of Butler and Bam Adebayo came to play.

Miami jumped out to a 10-2 lead as Max Strus – 0-of-10  from three in Game 1 – hit a pair of quick triples early, taking advantage of some lax Nuggets defence.

Meanwhile, Gabe Vincent hit a pair of jumpers and showed why he’s been the right choice by Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra to supplant Kyle Lowry as a starter.

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As the Nuggets chipped into Miami’s lead and then threatened to run away with things in the second quarter, it was Vincent who kept the Heat in touch after Denver cut the lead to three by the end of the first quarter and pushed in front by double figures in the second.  Vincent hit a big three that kept the Nuggets’ lead at 10 and then a steal and three-point play helped the Heat come back from down 15.

Vincent wasn’t the only Heat role player to find a way to contribute early. Lowry hit a three as did Kevin Love, who started for an ill Caleb Martin.

Strus finished the first half with 14 points and Vincent 12. But the Heat still trailed at half, 57-51.

They didn’t stop there. It was Vincent’s fourth three that gave Miami its first lead in the fourth quarter and by that time Duncan Robinson – another member of the Heat’s undrafted brigade – was making plays too, nailing threes and driving to the rim as well for 10 points in a quick burst. 

A Martin triple – his first field goal of the game – with just under four minutes left gave Miami a 12-point lead. In all, 50 of Miami’s points came from undrafted players.

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Rocky Mountain Monsters

Jokic and Murray are at their best when playing together and working in concert to create scoring opportunities seemingly at will. Their cat-and-mouse, two-man game is likely the best in the NBA, with Murray doing a reasonable impression of Steph Curry and Jokic playing the role of Draymond Green if the Golden State Warriors centre could shoot better than 40 per cent from three and score 30 points a game at will.

Heading into the series, ESPN.com reported that Murray and Jokic had created 24.5 points per game directly from handoffs and on-ball screens when working in tandem, more than any other duo in the past five years. But each player can lift the team alone, too.

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In the first quarter, it was Jokic turning up the offence as the rest of his teammates were slow to get into the game and it seemed like Miami might put the Nuggets in a deep hole early. He was 5-of-9 in the first quarter – Jokic took just one shot in the first quarter of Game 1 – while the rest of the Nuggets were 5-of-12 and Murray was 0-of-3.

But with Jokic on the bench in the second quarter, Murray began to heat up. In a two-minute stretch early in the second quarter, Murray hit a triple in transition, made a steal and scored a three-point play when he was fouled at the rim on his dunk and then hit an impossible fadeaway jumper over Adebayo at the end of the shot clock to put Denver up 12.

Not a lot of teams even have one player that can reliably raise their game in the post-season. Denver – in a sense – has three: Jokic and Murray together and then each of them on their own.

Murray’s playoff scoring average is 8.5 points more per game than his regular season average, the most of any player with at least 20 post-season games played, per ESPN.com. Second on that list is Jokic, who averages 7.1 points more per game in the playoffs than the regular season.

But give credit to Heat for adjusting. They stayed home on Denver’s shooters, taking away much of Jokic’s playmaking options and turning him into a scorer. By playing so much zone, a lot of Murray and Jokic’s two-man game was minimized — reflected by Murray’s reduced scoring and Jokic’s limited playmaking opportunities.

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Random Jokic appreciation

There are almost no words to fully capture how good Jokic is at basketball. Whether he’s the best in the game now (I think so) or will end up one of the best of all time (he’s already on his way) is almost pointless to debate.

But what’s not an argument is how fun he is to watch figure out plays on the fly. In various sequences in the third quarter, he backed down Heat centre Adebayo – a perennial all-defence candidate – eventually winning a protracted, twisty, physical game of one-on-one with a delicate floater at the rim.

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A moment later, he surveyed the floor and calmly drained a triple and why not?  He’s shooting 47 per cent from three in the playoffs.

Adebayo then said ‘not again’ and fouled Jokic on an overly aggressive close-out, sending him to the line for three points.

Then Jokic picked up a loose ball just over half, winning a race for it against Vincent, and won another twisty, turny game of one-on-one against a point guard in space, finishing with another floater.

His most prominent skill is passing, but Jokic’s real genius is he can beat you (on offence, at any rate) any way he decides he needs to. He scored in the post with fundamental jump hooks, he scored ambling up the floor going end-to-end as the world’s biggest, slowest, best point guard.

He scored 18 points in the third quarter as Denver started the fourth leading 83-75 and it was a joy to watch.

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And some love for Lowry

The former Toronto Raptors star isn’t worth the $28 million the Heat are paying him this season or the $29 million his contract calls for next season, a big reason why it’s widely expected that the Heat will try to use his contract in a blockbuster trade – possibly including Tyler Herro – to add another star this off-season.

But it’s not like Lowry can’t play. He still can make plays that only someone with his combination of hustle and IQ would even think about: plowing into a crowd of Nuggets on a missed free throw to get his hands on the ball, allowing the Heat to score a much-needed three, or an expert pocket pass to Adebayo for a lay-up, or some clutch threes.

Lowry finished with nine points, added three assists and was on the floor and +11 in the fourth quarter.

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Kyle Busch retained the lead on five consecutive restarts to hold off Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano and others to win at Gateway.



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