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Dawkins's Case for the Hall of Fame: Comparison of Awards Won by Safeties since 1950

I compiled a list of several notable safeties in order to help assess Dawkins's chance at the Hall of Fame. Since most defensive numbers are unofficial, I decided to focus on individual and team awards compiled by the various players. I tried to include most of the notable Safeties since 1950, with an emphasis on Dawkins's contemporaries.

Stats, Pro Bowl, All-Pro, and Hall of Fame info are from Pro Football Reference, awards are from the NFL Award pages on Wikipedia.

Non-Hall of Famers

Name

Years Games All-Dec 1st AP Pro Bowls Champs. Div Champs. Alt. Pos. HOF Finalist
Brian Dawkins 96-11 224 1 4 9 0 6 None N/A
Bob Sanders 04-P 50 0 2 2 1 6 None N/A
Ed Reed 02-P 144 1 5 8 0 3 None N/A
Troy Polamalu 03-P 123 1 4 7 2 4 None N/A
Adrian Wilson 01-P 166 0 1 5 0 2 None N/A
Darren Sharper 97-10 205 1 2 5 1 6 None N/A
Lawyer Milloy 96-10 234 0 1 4 1 4 None N/A
Rodney Harrison 94-08 186 0 2 2 2 6 None N/A
John Lynch 93-07 224 0 2 9 1 3 None 0
Darren Woodson 92-03 178 0 3 5 3 6 None 0
LeRoy Butler 90-01 181 1 2 2 1 3 CB 0
Carnell Lake 89-01 185 1 1 5 0 8 CB 0
Eugene Robinson 85-00 250 0 0 3 1 4 None 0
Steve Atwater 89-99 167 1 2 8 2 6 None Semi: 1
Dennis Smith 81-94 184 0 0 6 0 5 None 0
Joey Browner 83-92 145 1 2 6 0 1 None 0
Deron Cherry 81-91 148 1 3 6 0 0 None 0
Ken Easley 81-87 89 1 3 5 0 0 PR 0
Nolan Cromwell 77-87 161 1 3 4 0 4 None 0
Donnie Shell 74-87 201 0 3 5 4 8 None 1
Jack Tatum 71-80 136 0 0 3 1 6 None 0
Jake Scott 70-78 126 0 2 5 2 4 PR 0
Cliff Harris 70-79 141 1 3 6 2 8 PR/KR 1
Dick Anderson 68-77 121 1 2 3 2 4 PR/KR 0
Ed Meador 59-70 163 1 2 6 0 2 CB 0
Johnny Robinson 60-72 164 1 6 7 2 3 RB 6
George Saimes 63-72 121 1 3 5 2 3 None 0
Kenny Graham 64-70 90 1 1 4 0 2 None 0
Goose Gonsoulin 60-67 108 1 2 5 0 0 None 0
Jimmy Patton 55-66 153 0 5 5 1 6 None 0
Bobby Dillon 52-59 94 0 4 4 0 0 None 0

Hall of Famers

Name Years Games All-Dec 1st AP Pro Bowls Champs. Div. Champs Alt. Pos. Finalist
Rod Woodson 87-03 238 1 6 11 1 5 CB/KR/PR 1
Ronnie Lott 81-94 192 2 6 10 4 10 CB 1
Ken Houston 67-80 196 1 2 12 0 1 PR 1
Paul Krause 64-79 226 0 3 8 0 10 None 3
Mel Renfro 64-77 174 0 1 10 2 10 CB 4
Larry Wilson 60-72 169 2 5 8 0 0 None 1
Willie Wood 60-71 166 1 5 8 2 6 PR 10
Yale Lary 52-64 133 1 3 9 3 4 P/PR/KR 6
Emlen Tunnell 48-60 167 1 4 9 2 4 KR/PR 1
Jack Christiansen 51-58 89 1 6 5 3 4 PR 1

"All-Dec" refers to the number of All-Decade Teams (as voted on by the Pro Football Hall of Fame) that a player made, "1st AP" is the number of 1st Team All Pro teams a player has made, "HOF Finalists" is the number of times a player was a Hall of Fame Finalist, and "Alt. Pos." is a space that notes any alternate positions a player spent significant time at. "HOF Finalist" refers to the number of times a player was a finalist on the Hall of Fame ballot. As the NFL did not have divisions between 1950-1966, I counted conference championships as division championships during that period.

Sanders, Easley, Anderson, Polamalu, Reed, and Woodson (as a CB) were named NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Of the players listed, none were ever named MVP, Walter Payton Man of the Year, Defensive Rookie of the Year, or Comeback Player of the Year, and only Jake Scott was named Super Bowl MVP. Houston, Lott, Wilson, and Rod Woodson (as a CB) were named to the NFL All-Time Team in 1994.

Based on the info I collected, Dawkins would appear to have as strong a case as anyone to get into the Hall of Fame, as he has a great combination of longevity and peak performance. The only major weakness in his resume might be his lack of a Super Bowl and, at least compared to the safeties currently in the Hall of Fame, his lack of time spent at other positions.

This post has more useful stats related to safeties:

http://www.bleedinggreennation.com/2012/4/24/2971528/why-brian-dawkins-should-be-in-the-hof-by-the-numbers

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