MGoHall Of Fame: Structure

Submitted by Brian on May 10th, 2012 at 11:23 AM


Obligatory Bo shot.

So. That hall of fame that we talked about. I went back and checked everyone's suggestions and have come up with this tentative structure:

Sports. This blog focuses primarily on football, basketball, and hockey, and since the end product here is going to be a career-encompassing column on the site the author of that column has to have experienced the career in question to write on it. Since that's me that unfortunately disqualifies the sports I don't get punched in the heart by.

In the event I or someone else who writes for the site does experience a sporting career outside the Big Three worthy of entry, we will play it by ear.

Eligibility. Anyone whose career finished up in 2005 or later in those three sports. There is no waiting period, but it will be tougher to get in in year one. How tough I can't exactly say. Looking over the list of candidates so far it seems like 2-4 a year across all three sports is about right.

There may be an old-timer's committee at some point to retroactively enroll folks like Charles Woodson. We'll see. Paging Craig Ross.

Entry process. Popular vote on the site. Registered users only to prevent bot spamming, but no point restrictions. Since I'm not entirely sure what the voting patterns are going to be like it's hard to set a definite threshold, but it will be a large supermajority—say 75%. People generally liked the idea of starting off higher and coming down as the player's career gets more distant.

Limits. No one has to get in any year, except this year when I'll declare the top vote-getter in each of the three sports to be an auto-entry.

Entry criteria. At this point in my internet career I know better than to tell the internet what to do, because the internet does not listen. But the end result here should provide some guidance. I can write a really swell career encomium for Zack Novak or Shawn Hunwick or Brandon Graham, but probably not Troy Woolfolk, star-crossed though he is, or Brandon Minor.

Overall greatness is part of the equation, but only part. There's also a heavy component of how misty it gets when player X is announced on senior day, assuming he makes it that far. Time served is necessarily a consideration—Max Pacioretty was pretty great during his one year but his quick exit makes it hard me to think of anything to say about him other than "was pretty great that one year." On the other hand, if Mike Comrie was eligible, hell yes. Woodson ditto. It's about a personal impact on you.

I don't know, man. Just close your eyes and use the Force.

Inaugural class. As previously stated, at least three. To keep the gate high and the candidate pool viable, the inaugural class will be a max of six.

End results. We'll have a page on the site that will serve as a home base; each entry will get a column that will be archived there. Under no circumstances is this to be told to anyone who gets in, and if you do for the love of God please don't tell me about it.

Candidates. To make things simple I am the candidate selection committee, albeit with much input from the crowd. I'll pick ten football, five basketball, and five hockey players from the time period to put up for nomination, put their pros and cons in a few posts, and then let registered folks have at the voting. I'm assuming there will be a bright line between yes and no, but I'll make more definitive calls when I have some data to go on. For now, here's an excellent list of candidates put together by Tom From AA. I'll have hockey up later today.

Photoshoppin'. I have no skills in this department, and this is the kind of thing that seems like it needs both a logo and maybe some special career-summing image leading these posts. Interested? Let me know.

Let's get to it. If there are strenuous objections to any of this, nothing's set in stone. Let me know.



May 10th, 2012 at 12:04 PM ^

I absolutely agree that we need to have Woodson, Desmond, and others (Rod Payne and Steve Hutchinson come to mind, but that's for another day...).  I think we should stick with players who at least some of us remember, though.  In other words, I don't think we can have Tom Harmon, because none of us saw him play (or so I imagine). 

Also, I join in the general protest of the idea that remembering the '90s makes one old.  It's just the year 2000, and I'm 23, right? 


May 10th, 2012 at 12:52 PM ^

One of the benefits of limiting it to 2005 onward is that we can actually use the site as a means of conducting rational argument about candidates. While hardly objective, the UFR's and other statistical renderings contained in the blog's archive allow a type of grounding* of debate not available pre-2005. While "he was +35 over his career" shouldn't be a be-all, end-all argument, it does move us, somewhat, away from the hory sportswriting cliches of intangibles, heart, and clutchness that this blog has frequently eyed skeptically. 

When we go pre-2005, however, the ability to have that type of grounded argument, absent someone putting in the work of watching game film, isn't possible.


*I use "grounding" here rather than "objective" to give the sense that while the UFRs are obviously the product of Brian's attention and understanding of what happened, they are also closer to the action in a way that our memories of players are not.


May 10th, 2012 at 12:57 PM ^

I absolutely agree with the idea that we're using this as a forum for discussion.  The problem when you get back to guys like Brady, is that many people are going to vote yes because of his NFL success.  If you actually break it down, sure he was a good college QB, but is he deserving of a place?  Not on the first go-round.  This has to be restricted to success in college irrespective of success in the NFL (or other arenas) and that's really hard to do when you're talking about guys who played that long ago.


May 10th, 2012 at 1:08 PM ^

Tom Brady's NFL success has been a big bonus, but Tom Brady the Michigan Quarterback had as much backbone as anyone who ever wore the winged helmet. He was a participant in five losses as a starter, and in four of those he turned seemingly lost-cause games into interesting comeback affairs where the victors never quite felt safe until it was over.

And he led two of the great Michigan comebacks of all time, at Penn State and in the Orange Bowl. His Orange Bowl performance was so brilliant that we forget how big of a deal that PSU win was--Penn State had recently been upset by Minnesota, but they were still a top team loaded with talent, and Michigan looked like it was disintegrating. Brady carried the team back, scoring the first of two comeback touchdowns with his legs. (Gary Danielson was doing color: "Tom Brady has deceptive speed--He's even slower than he looks!") 

Tom Brady is a HOF lock for me regardless of his pro career.


May 10th, 2012 at 1:30 PM ^

Herein lies the problem, however, with going before 2005. I remember those games. Those were great games both by the team and by Brady. How do they compare though to Todd Collins' comeback drive agaisnt ND? Or Harbaugh's backbone in guaranteeing victory against OSU? I don't know how you have that argument rationally.

In short, how can we debate, rationally, about the merits of players without something to ground it in other than our memories, which will always be as much about us and where we were as the players themselves, and the intangibles - 'grit,' 'backbone,' etc - that lead so much sportswriting to be so bad?

The real HoF's get around this by having limited pools of voters and by giving some voter the responsibility to present the relative merits of each final candidate in relation to others in his time and position. The best way to do it in this forum is if the blog itself is used to ground a player's relative merit, and the only way to do that is to limit eligibility to the time frame of the blog's existence. 


May 10th, 2012 at 2:03 PM ^

This is what makes the MGoHofF very interesting and fun.  In my book, Brady simply cannot make it as a candidate.  He didn't play long enough and arguably wasn't the most valuable player on that team (or even on the offense).  There was David Terrell, A-Train, Jeff Backus, Steve Hutchinson, and others that arguably deserve to make it in before Brady.  Although it pains me to say it given his success after college, I don't think he gets my vote for this particular HofF.



May 10th, 2012 at 3:52 PM ^

Brian's criteria are, at least in part, explicitly subjective. There is some limited site data from 2005 on, but it's not all-encompassing, leaves out basketball and hockey, and fails to account for the emotional impression that Brian is examining in this concept. In that sense, our memories are exactly what matters--someone mentioned Steve Everitt's broken jaw. That is not quantifiable, but it sure made an impression on those of us who were watching Michigan football back then.

At least that's where I see it. Especially if we talk pre-2005. It's all about what players made an IMPRESSION on us as Michigan fans. For whatever reason, Jim Harbaugh made a bigger IMPRESSION on me as a kid than Demetrius Brown, yet Brown won a Rose Bowl and Harbaugh did not. There are good, quantifiable reasons for this, but there's also an intangible "it" factor that comes with this sort of thing.

People aren't mentioning John Kolesar for his stat lines. They are nominating him because for four years he produced a ridiculously disproportionate collection of big, clutch plays. Similarly, if we look pre-2005, hockey fans like Brian and me are going to put Jed Ortmeyer on the nomination list right below all-timers like Brendan Morrison, because of the IMPRESSION he made on us (and on the bodies of St. Cloud players).


May 10th, 2012 at 12:57 PM ^

I absolutely agree with the idea that we're using this as a forum for discussion.  The problem when you get back to guys like Brady, is that many people are going to vote yes because of his NFL success.  If you actually break it down, sure he was a good college QB, but is he deserving of a place?  Not on the first go-round.  This has to be restricted to success in college irrespective of success in the NFL (or other arenas) and that's really hard to do when you're talking about guys who played that long ago.


May 10th, 2012 at 4:51 PM ^

I would submit one Ronald A. Johnson, or is sitting atop the single-game rushing record list an intangible?

Edit: this is not because I disagree with the stated criteria. I do think that enough criteria exists that we don't need to invent reasons that don't fit the situation. Because Mom said so works for me.


May 10th, 2012 at 11:49 AM ^

In the event I or someone else who writes for the site does experience a sporting career outside the Big Three worthy of entry, we will play it by ear.

The sports outside the Big Three are not for heart punching. They are to be enjoyed without thinking about things like "7 innings is not baseball" or "quite possibly the greatest setter ever," or "wow when he does that one hold it kind of looks like...."

Please don't make me think about the things I use for not thinking.


May 10th, 2012 at 11:55 AM ^

Picking only three football players will be a tough chore for the inagural class.  My guess?  Graham, Long, Woodley.  Strong consideration for Henne, Hart and Molk. Crazy that at least three of those guys won't make it in, at least initially. 


May 10th, 2012 at 12:41 PM ^

I feel like Hart has to be in the inaugural class, just because of how much soul (actively working to avoid puns here) he put into the team as well as his incredible accomplishments on the field. Just don't ask me who gets bumped from your list to make room for him.


May 10th, 2012 at 12:59 PM ^

I thought about listing Martin, but I think both of those guys fall into the category of guys we like more because they're so recent.  Should Martin be in over Branch or Watson?  Maybe, but maybe not.  Should RVB be in over Graham or Woodley?  Or even Tim Jamison?  I doubt it. 

RVB is going to be in the same category as a guy like Roy Roundtree - very good multi-year starter, plenty of production and a very likeable person, but probably not HOF-worthy.  Guys like Hemingway, Koger and Vincent Smith might be in that same category as well. 

Kovacs, OTOH - what about Kovacs?  He's a wild card if there ever was one. 


May 10th, 2012 at 1:29 PM ^

I have absolutely NO issue with your list or your reasons.  I just have a special place in my heart for the leaders of Team 132 and wish their talent and accomplishments would measure up to their heart and their character.

Maybe we need to MGo Hall of Character to go along with the MGo Hall of Fame?


May 10th, 2012 at 11:55 AM ^

This site is not a group of baseball writers who believe it is their personal responsibility to keep players out of the hall to preserve the hall's mystique; these are fans. You will put the names of 20 players up and ask if they're MGoHallWorthy; people are going to have a hard time voting players down.

If anything the maximum class size should be smaller. If there is real tension in voting for worthy players, that will help clarify who is really "deserving," insomuch as someone can be deserving of a website honor of this sort.

Question: Will each player be given an up-or-down vote by a user ("choose yes or no for each player,") or will we be limited in how many to vote for? If you limit people to six yes votes that will help focus on the best.

Hardware Sushi

May 10th, 2012 at 12:22 PM ^

I don't think that's what he means. Finishing in 2005 or later allows for the player in question to have been covered by MGoBlog in one iteration or another. Pre-2005 just makes this a Michigan Hall of Fame, rather than an MGoHall of Fame (with exceptions for pre-2005 such as Woodson 'cause we all love him).


May 10th, 2012 at 12:01 PM ^

I know that I'm in a minority of one here, but I'd never get misty over guys like Mike Comrie who bail after two seasons playing for UM. Three years should be the threshold for consideration.


May 10th, 2012 at 1:22 PM ^

I won't deny that your scenario would be a tough decision. I could envision carving out exceptions for it, but I'd make the exception very hard to qualify for, hard enough that it would rarely be applied. To me, a Michigan HOF should be premised on a greater-than-average devotion to the institution and the team, in addition to superior accomplishments.


May 10th, 2012 at 3:58 PM ^

I think that playing for only two years is enough of a natural handicap that we don't need to make it any more difficult. A player who spends only two years in a Michigan uniform, regardless of how loyal they actually are, is less likely to achieve the level of memorability Brian is looking for here, either in stats, wins, or "moments."

Tate Forcier spent two years as a Michigan player, and though his departure was unfortunate there's no question that he provided some great memories. Yet nobody will consider him HOF material simply because there weren't enough accomplishments to merit it. 

I would think this sort of thing selects for itself. If a player is transcendant enough that they leave an indelible impression after two years, it will be pretty obvious. The national title scenario ("Burke drives... pulls up... fires... MICHIGAN WINS!" There's no way that's not way up on the Michigan pantheon if it were to happen) is one of those. A Paul Kariya-like hockey player would be another. More of a borderline would be a Jared Sullinger-like player who was excellent for two years but never pushed the team over the top; I think that will resolve itself.


May 10th, 2012 at 12:06 PM ^

I think it would be entirely appropriate if "the theory of the Rich Rodriguez spread offense in full operation" is a first-time nominee. After all, it gut-punched all of us when we realized it would never happen (right around the 2010 Penn State game), and its career ended in Ann Arbor in early 2011.

And who says this HOF cannot encompass ideas and philsophies in addition to people?


May 10th, 2012 at 12:11 PM ^

My first season in the student section I watched Anthony Carter.  I can't do this.  But I can do this without a whole lot of thought:

Anthony Carter

Jim Harbaugh

Glen Rice

Chris Webber

Tyrone Wheatley

Desmond Howard

Brian Griese

Tom Brady

Charles Woodson

Steve Hutchinson

Aaron Shea


Call me on my Car phone to tell me I'm lame.



May 10th, 2012 at 12:19 PM ^

This is the fun part of the HofF discussion of old people.  I would object to including Aaron Shea definitely and possibly Brady.  Although I love Brady, I don't think he's a first balloter.  He became one of the greatest Michigan alumni but there were several others that contributed much more to the team while he was there (splitting time with Hensen),  That said, I love Brady and would not be upset if he wasn't on the list.


matty blue

May 10th, 2012 at 1:25 PM ^

...had, in my opinion, the 2nd greatest catch in michigan history (woodson's pick vs. msu is first) against penn state in 1998.  but i wouldn't vote for him, either.

probably not brady, either - i'm proud that he's a michigan alum today, but i think most of the fanbase couldn't wait to get henson in there for most of his career.  it was unfair (well, obviously), but at the time he wasn't any sort of iconic figure.


May 10th, 2012 at 12:53 PM ^

If so, I haven't forgiven you for finishing my neighbor and I's Madden 97 game in South Quad during my freshman year. You probably don't remember, but he let you play for him and you proceeded to come back from a 17-point deficit in just under two minutes.

So, sorry, you're not getting my vote.


May 10th, 2012 at 4:01 PM ^

My first year watching M games in person I remember watching Rick Leach two-handed stretch the ball to the goal line against OSU ... 1977, I think.  (Disclaimer: I was 10, but my dad had somehow wrangled 2 pairs of season tickets when we moved to Ann Arbor and lo, I was hooked.)

Carter would be on top of my list by a long shot, with Wheatley, Woolfolk, Everitt, Hutchinson, Howard and Woodson behind.  

I got to watch every home game of Carter's career and was continually amazed.  From his first touch as a freshman - taking a punt back for a TD - it was obvious that this guy was something special.  Not to mention being tiny but outplaying all the big kids and my not being the tallest guy in the world :<)

I was at Wheatley's Rose Bowl game against Washington.  Enough said.

I didn't appreciate line play for a long time, but it was hard not to watch the games and realize that seemingly on every play, the DL in the center of the field ended up 10 yards upfield flat on his back, or that when M ran a sweep, there was an LB poised to destroy the play, only to get plowed into the sideline by #76 while the back ran by to glory.


Blue Durham

May 11th, 2012 at 3:34 PM ^

Regarding the pre-2005 guys, I think that there are a lot of people here that are unfamiliar with many of them and there are a lot of great stories/examples, and from sports other than the 3 being considered.  Jim Abbott and Barry Larkin definitely come to mind, as does Tripp Wellborne.


May 10th, 2012 at 12:11 PM ^

as far as the photoshopping, which i assume is for some sort of plaque, it would be amazing to actually give an athelte a MGoBlog HOF plaque and see the look on their face.

so actually producing a physical plaque will have implications for the design.


May 10th, 2012 at 12:17 PM ^

Would love to see the guys out there with mad photoshopping skills turn the winners heads into bronze busts.  I'm sure it can be done, by me not so much, but by somebody....