A quick look at the odds of current Colts making the Hall of Fame:
(odds determined by likelihood of induction, not merit)
1. Peyton Manning-Odds 100%
Peyton is in, so let me use this opportunity to say that I’m exhausted by having to defend hm every January. The media spends so much time blaming Manning that they never get to the real issues the Colts have. It’s stupid and a waste of time. Someone actually said that Manning shouldn’t get a “free pass” for his playoff losses. A free pass? He’s been killed for this for a decade now, and almost none of it was actually his fault. I don’t know of anyone who has given him any kind of free pass. When the media rips him for one incomplete pass (that was catchable), on a drive the gave his team the lead with less than a minute left, I’d say it’s fair to say he’s not now and has never gotten a ‘free pass’. It’s time someone out there started to look at the actual data when it comes to Manning instead of glancing at a bogus W/L record and making false assumptions.
2. Adam Vinatieri-Odds 75%
There’s nothing AV can do to improve his Hall case, other than add some more clutch kicks. Only one pure place kicker has ever made the Hall of Fame (Jan Stenerud), so for Vinatieri, it’s only a question of bias. He’s got all the clutch moments, but because of the way the Hall voting process works, he could face opposition from those who would rather see Morten Andersen in first. With AV, the question is purely political. However, his incredible 2010 season has ensured that he’s still a valued commodity and should have another 4-5 years of successful play left in him.
Work left to do: More counting stats. 403 more points would put him in the top 3 all time. That means he needs roughly 4-5 more good seasons. If he finishes in the top 3-5 in career points, with his resume, it’ll be impossible to keep him out of Canton, even as a kicker.
3. Dwight Freeney-Odds 60%
Freeney is 33rd all time in sacks. He needs 36 to get to 130 for his career and break into the top ten. In some ways his case is easy: if he doesn’t do that he has none. Freeney is strictly a pass rusher (by design, not by skill), so he needs to pile up the sack totals and forced fumble totals. His is fourth all time in forced fumbles, only 5 behind Jason Taylor in 80 fewer games. Freeney is a six time Pro Bowler and three time All Pro, but probably needs to get those numbers to 10 and 5 to sniff Canton
Work left to do: Another title would help Freeney, but he doesn’t have to have it. What he needs is another 4-5 years of Pro Bowl level play. If he can get to 130 sacks, it will be hard to keep him out of Canton, but if he can get to 140, he’s a mortal lock. It’s a matter of health and production now for 93. He’s about to turn 31, which is still a prime age for a top level pass rusher. I think he’s a little better than a coin-flip for Canton right now based on his trajectory, rather than what he’s already done. Where he’s at now, he’s a zero percent chance.
4. Jeff Saturday-Odds 15%
It’s notoriously hard to quantify linemen. Saturday has all the requisite qualifications: a recognizable face and name, a position of honor on a championship team, a nice story (his speech before the 2006 AFC Championship game is legendary), and Pro Bowls. Unfortunately, with only one ring and what seems to be a fading career, it is extremely unlikely Saturday gets in as a only a four time Pro Bowler.
Work left to do: No player was hurt more by the Colts not winning the Super Bowl last year. Even if he doesn’t play well, another ring would boost Saturday’s induction odds, and two more would make him a lock. Another few Pro Bowls would help. Right now I don’t like his chances.
5. Reggie Wayne-10%
Wayne is going to be a victim of wideout bias. With Peter King questioning Marvin Harrison’s worth, Reggie Wayne has precious little chance. Wayne needs everything. He needs stats and rings and Pro Bowls. Right now, he’ll go down as a very good receiver, but isn’t that close to Canton.
Work left to do: Wayne needs: 300 catches, 4000 yards, and about 40 touchdowns to be in the top five of all the key categories (assuming that bar doesn’t move, which it will). Throw in another Super Bowl ring, and he’d have a shot. In other words, Wayne needs 3-4 more elite level years. He just turned 32. At 32, Harrison had three more top years left in him. Given the backlog of great receivers in front of him, his age, and how much he has left to achieve, I consider it highly unlikely Wayne gets in.
6. Dallas Clark-1%
I only even bring Clark up because Gregg Easterbrook always calls him a Hall of Famer. He’s not. He has almost no chance. Despite being a sone way threat as a tight end, his receiving numbers aren’t great. If Shannon Sharpe is waiting induction with twice the catches, then Clark has next to no shot. He’s a one time Pro Bowler.
Work left to do: Clark would need an unprecedented end to his career. He’s already at the age where tight end play falls off. He would need 4-5 top flight seasons, and multiple Super Bowl rings, and a massive signature moment. Even so it might not be enough. Discussing Clark and the Hall of Fame in the same sentence is completely irresponsible. He’s barely been a Pro Bowl tight end in his career, let alone a Hall of Fame one.
No other Colt has any case at all at this stage.