Wednesday May 16, 2012 Shame on Hall of Fame; Danny Wuerffel defines induction criteria
Updated: 10:25pm, May 16
Updated: 10:25pm, May 16
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- So Mark Simoneau is a College Football Hall-of-Famer ... and Danny Wuerffel is not.
Disclaimer: The following rant is not to disparage Simoneau. He was an outstanding linebacker at Kansas State and part of the foundation of one of college football’s all-time reclamation projects. He’s worthy of the honor.
But let’s get real, shall we?
Wuerffel, a University of Florida icon on and off the field, was one of the most dominant players in the history of the game -- and we can now say he’s one of the most overlooked and underappreciated, too.
We’re talking about Hall-of-Fame voting here, so there’s going to be some elements of subjectivity and regional bias. There’s no perfect way to go about the selection process.
But any process that deems the accomplishments of Simoneau -- or Southern Cal end Hal Bedsole, Colorado State defensive back Greg Myers, Air Force safety Scott Thomas or Colorado guard John Wooton -- as trump cards to Wuerffel’s is a flawed process.
And a farce.
Wuerffel was not among the 17 members of the Class of 2012 inductees announced Tuesday. The fact that Wuerffel became eligible for Hall consideration in 2006 and just this year made the ballot is even more confounding -- and an altogether different argument. But it’s unfathomable when considering Simoneau finished his collegiate career three years after Wuerffel won the 1996 Heisman Trophy as a senior and led Florida to the first national championship in school history.
That last sentence, obviously, bears repeating for the unenlightened officials running the College Football Hall of Fame.
For a good chuckle, check out the Hall’s criteria here. Wuerffel defines the qualification standards, which also take post-career citizenship and community service into consideration.
Memo to voters: You might want to Google “Desire Street Ministries.”
For now, let’s just get back to what Wuerffel did, you know, on an actual football field.
Again, Wuerffel won the Heisman AND led the Gators to the national title his final season. He threw for 306 yards, three touchdowns against Florida State, the nation’s third-ranked defense, in the Sugar Bowl national-championship game and was voted MVP.
That was how Wuerffel exited his college career, so let’s work backward from there.
He remains the only player in history to win both the Heisman Trophy (college football’s best player) and Draddy Award, considered the academic Heisman, given annually to the game’s best scholar-athlete.
A week before the Heisman ceremony, Wuerffel passed for -- get this -- 401 yards and six touchdowns against the nation’s No. 1-ranked defense in a 45-30 bombing of Alabama in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game. Wuerffel remains the only quarterback in league history to win three SEC title games. It might have been four were in not for a season-ending knee injury suffered against FSU as a freshman in 1993, when Wuerffel started nine games for the first of Steve Spurrier’s four straight conference championship squads.
He left UF having amassed 10,875 passing yards and 114 career touchdown passes, both SEC records. At the time, his TDs were the second-most in college history, behind only Ty Detmer’s (116). Note: Detmer, who won a Heisman at BYU but never sniffed a national title, is in the Hall.
So to the folks making these decisions of immortality, I ask, name another player who during his career won four league titles in a major conference, shattered records, won a national championship, a Heisman and distinguished himself as the consummate student-athlete.
Hopefully, Danny Wuerffel won’t have to wait much longer for the Hall to call.