Hall of Fame Voters Must Put Their Sights on Simeon Rice

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It’s Super Bowl week! With all the festivities and media swirling around, fans forget that this is also the week we find out who enters the Hall of Fame. On February second we will know who will be enshrined, have a bust in Canton Ohio and earn the coveted jacket. There is one Tampa Bay Buccaneer this year with a shot to get in and there is one missing.

This year John Lynch is a six-time finalist for the Hall of Fame. Could this be the year he gets in? I sure hope so. But this article is not about Lynch. It’s also not about Ronde Barber being snubbed, though he should be a top candidate as well. The article is about Simeon Rice of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the travesty that he will watch the finalists chosen while on his couch knowing he is being overlooked …Again.

You can call me a homer if you want but the numbers don’t lie. There are three key stats I look for out of my defensive ends and tackles. Sacks, tackles for loss, and forced fumbles.

Here is how Rice stacks up to other Hall of Famers.

Sacks

Simeon Rice is currently sitting at 22nd on the career sacks list with 122. Rice has current Hall of Famers such as Charles Haley, Howie Long, Junior Seau, Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher, and fellow Buccaneer Warren Sapp beat. Just to name a few.

Tackle for Loss

Rice sits tied at 43rd on the all-time list for tackles for loss with 93. Subsequently, that puts him ahead of fellow Buccaneers and teammates, Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks. Additionally, he again beats out Junior Seau and others in this category as well.

Forced Fumbles

Rice is 28th overall in forced fumbles with, funny enough, 28. Notably, he is ahead of Hall of Famers such as the following; Charles Haley, Derrick Brooks, Michael Strahan, Kevin Greene, Rod Woodson, Raw Lewis, Warren Sapp, Ronnie Lott, Cortez Kennedy, Junior Seau, and Brian Urlacher.

I will not take away from any player already in the Hall of Fame or those who are in the running this year, but I will make a comparison. The only defensive end or defensive tackle finalist this year, Richard Seymour, has been a semifinalist twice now with this being his first year as a finalist.

So How Does Seymour Compare to Rice?

Sacks

Seymour: 57.5

Rice: 122

Note: Rice has eight seasons with double-digit sacks compared to Seymour’s zero.

Tackles for Loss

Seymore: 91

Rice: 93*

Note: The asterisk is to outline that tackle for loss was not a statistic until 1999. This leaves three seasons of Rice’s play where the stat is unavailable (Seymour played after 1999). Rice averaged 11 a year over his career, so his numbers should be somewhere around 126 tackles for loss.

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Keep in mind that Rice has seven seasons of double-digit tackles for loss compared to Seymore three.

Forced Fumbles:

Seymour: Four

Rice: 28

Now, these numbers are not inflated as Rice played only 10 more games than Seymour.

Other Stats

Rice also beats Seymour in solo tackles, pass deflections, and interceptions. The only thing Seymour has on the stat line as an individual player that is better stacked to Rice’s numbers is total tackles (solo plus assist).

So What Matters to Voters Then?

The statistics and the snub tell me one thing. The Hall of Fame voters seem to prefer Pro Bowl votes over actual stats. Seymour is seven-time Pro Bowler vs. Rice’s three times. Further and to add insult to injury more, Rice was a first team All-Pro four times vs. Seymour’s three.

For Rice to not even have consideration year after year is a tragedy. It’s disgusting!

Final Thought

I hope Lynch gets in this year as he deserves to have his bust in the same hall as the other Tampa Bay Buccaneer greats. I also hope that Barber gets closer and eventually gets to put the Jacket on as well. Unfortunately with each passing year that Rice’s name is missing from consideration there is deliberate injustice by the voters. His bust should be in the Hall of Fame. It’s that simple.

In His Own Words

In an interview this is what Rice, 1996 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, had to say. “I know I was a Hall-of-Fame player. If I could do it all over again and have a career like (I had), I would. I ushered in a whole ‘nother level of defense, with the Jason Taylors and Jevon Kearses and Dwight Freeneys … all those hybrid, fast-speed guys. I was the first one. And then that was the mold. And they looked for those guys after that.”

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