With all the checks cleared and ESPN screaming “I told you so,” the announcement of Tom Brady’s retirement was made official this week by TB12 himself this week. And with it comes the starting of the clock for the seven-time Super Bowl winner to be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. There are some, however, who believe that five years is too long to make Tom Brady wait for his bronze bust and gold jacket, and that he should be inducted into the Hall of Fame this summer after a wavier of the five-year waiting period is granted to him. What do you think: Was Tom Brady that great that he belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame sooner rather than later, or should he, in this case, be made to wait just like everyone else?
There are notable times when other sports, baseball and basketball, waived their five-year Hall of Fame waiting period before inducting all-time great players. For Major League Baseball, that time came when Pittsburgh Pirates legend Roberto Clemente died on New Year’s Eve, 1972. The outfielder was delivering relief items to an earthquake-stricken part of Nicaragua when his overloaded plane crashed, killing the star. The Pirates still honor Clemente by having the right field wall of their home ballpark stand 21-feet high to match his uniform number while Major League Baseball honors him with an award given in his name to the player who best represents the game, their team, the community and the spirit of sportsmanship ever year.
More recently the National Basketball Association waived their waiting period for Kobe Bryant, who tragically died in a helicopter accident. The Lakers’ legend was already into his retirement and awaiting his certain induction into the Hall of Fame.
Tom Brady is an all-time great, and his accomplishments have him mentioned with other all-time great athletes from all over the world. However, with the NFL often worried that players will unretire, I think there is nothing wrong with making Brady wait the required five-years before going into Canton where he belongs.
There was nothing wrong with letting Clemente into Cooperstown or Bryant into Springfield; but that’s only because both athletes were gone forever. Once any league starts waiving the waiting period for their Hall of Fame, it almost becomes another level of being a Hall of Famer, just as nowadays being a “first-ballot” inductee means so much more. Soon there would be a committee just to vote on if anyone retiring that season should go straight to the Hall without waiting.
Yes, Tom Brady will be a Hall of Famer one day, but that day can’t be in 2022; because has great as he was, this is one rule that even his greatness can’t overcome. Otherwise the debate over who should be enshrined every year will begin during every season for every sport, something we don’t really need or want. And with so much money on the line for those who do make a Hall of Fame, waiting five years will be worth it for them and everyone else involved.
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Should The NFL Hall Of Fame Enshrine Tom Brady Immediately? | TooAthletic.com