Jared Allen’s Exclusion from the HOF Is Lunacy

Jared Allen's Exclusion from the HOF Is Lunacy
Jared Allen

The NFL announced its annual Hall of Fame class on Thursday, tapping Tony Boselli, Cliff Branch, Leroy Butler, Art McNally, Sam Mills, Richard Seymour, Dick Vermeil, and Bryant Young for the esteemed honor.

While it’s understandable those men finally get the nod, Jared Allen’s exclusion – albeit likely temporary – is lunacy.

Based on the numbers, Allen’s pass-rushing production should automate his entry into the Hall of Fame sooner than later. He shouldn’t be a “fringe” candidate, waiting on multiple lists for years to don a gold jacket. Bryant Young from the San Francisco 49ers, who got the call on Thursday, retired in 2007. If Allen must follow in his footsteps – a godforsaken wait, indeed – he’d earn HOF credentialing in 2030 or so. That’s too far away.

Jared Allen
Nov 19, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings former player Jared Allen. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Richard Seymour was inducted into this class, riding his career total of 57.5 sacks and three 1st-Team All-Pro selections to football’s eternal club. That’s swell. Allen, who was denied entry during this cycle, tabulated 136 sacks and four 1st-Team All-Pro awards.

What’s the deal?

Allen ought to be granted the HOF greenlight next year – and don’t get it twisted, it should’ve happened last night – for two elementary reasons. While the attributes for an EDGE rusher are more complicated than “just sacks,” the NFL didn’t measure the fancy stuff like pressures at the dawn of the league. Sacks are the best metric to use when adjudicating the “old-time” pass rushers, mainly because those are “it” for defensive end numbers. And as always, the Pro Bowls help, too. Allen has five Pro Bowl seasons to Seymour’s seven. Fair enough.

On sacks, Allen ranks 16th in NFL history with 136 – more than Carl Eller, Rickey Jackson, Charley Haley, Andre Tippett, etc. All of those men are in the Hall of Fame. Allen has more sacks than them. What gives?

Too, during Allen’s playing career, 2004 to 2015, he led the NFL in sacks during that 12-season span. Plain and simple. In those twelve seasons, no man sacked the quarterback more. This stat alone – yes, there is more nuance to defense than sacks alone – should be the rubberstamp.

Allen still has plenty of time to get in the elite group – and he ultimately will when voters do some soul-searching – so it’s not the end of the road for the 39-year-old.

But boil this thing down to raw numbers. He ranks 16th ever in sacks. The men with more sacks than Allen who are not in the Hall of Fame are Julius Peppers, Terrell Suggs, and Demarcus Ware. Those players retired after Allen and will also reach the Hall of Fame. They’ll make it. Why not Allen?

Ultimately, during his reign, no player anywhere out-sacked Allen.

His Hall of Fame case should be open and shut. It’s hard to believe there’s controversy.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).