After I had heard that one of my all time heroes was retiring yesterday, I was chatting with a few of my friends who told me that even though he was a fantastic player, he probably wasn't worthy of the Hall of Fame. I disagreed vehemently.
As a lot of Eagles and non Eagles fans know, Brian Dawkins was more than a fantastic player. He was a terrific man off the field and an ferocious animal on it. He was an outspoken leader and motivator. He played with passion and energy unlike any other player I've ever seen in this sport. He gave 100% EVERY play, no matter how he felt, no matter what was the score, no matter how much time was left on the clock. In his prime, he was one of the best defenders and players I've ever seen at his position, a position that is so tough to evaluate. But obviously, these facts alone will not get him into Canton, it will help, but it isn't going to make him a lock.
I decided to look for myself at his numbers compared to other NFL safeties (I looked primarily at the new generation of safeties, since this new generation has made the safety position more of a glamour position, although I did have to include some of the older guys. Back in the day safety was not nearly as important, and they didn't even have that many responsibilities on the field). The other safties I chose to compare Dawkins with are Ed Reed, Troy Polamalu, John Lynch, Bob Sanders, Rodney Harrison, Darren Woodson, Darren Sharper, Jack Tatum, and Ronnie Lott.
Check out the breakdown after the jump
|Pro Bowls||Lott ||Dawkins/Lynch ||Reed |
|All-Pros||Lott/Reed ||Dawkins/Sharper ||Polamalu |
|Tackles||Dawkins/Lott ||Woodson ||Sharper |
|Int||Lott/Sharper ||Reed ||Tatum/Dawkins |
|Sacks||Harrison [30.5]||Dawkins ||Lynch |
|FF||Dawkins ||Reed/Harrison ||Lynch |
|FR||Dawkins ||Tatum ||Harrison/Lott |
|PD||Dawkins ||Reed ||Polamalu |
|Years||Dawkins ||Lynch/Harrison/Lott ||Sharper |
|X||1st place votes||2nd place votes||3rd place votes|
Couple of nuggets:
* Dawkins has 42 FF. Stop and think about that for a sec... Holy shit, that's what you call a playmaker Not only that, but look at the dropoff.
* In the 2nd table, I wrote Dawkins's name the most...and it shows in table 3.
* I wish I could have added Bob Sanders and Sean Taylor, but Bob Sanders career was cut short because of injury, and we all know the unfortunate events surrounding Sean Taylor. Those 2 didn't even peak.
* Ronnie Lott is the only player that I chose from that happens to be in the HOF.
* Polamalu and Reed are the only active players that are listed. At ages 31 and and 33 respectively and a injury history, we'll see what they can do before they retire as well...having said that, their numbers are still counting.
* "N/A" means I couldn't find that particular stat
* Dawkins and Lott have the same amount of career tackles (according to my research). Kinda weird.
* Looking up Lynch's stats sucked. 2002 still haunts me.