Jaguars: A final push for Tony Boselli’s Hall of Fame bid
Can former Jacksonville Jaguars great Tony Boselli finally break through the door of the Football Hall of Fame in Canton this weekend?
This upcoming weekend, former Jacksonville Jaguars great Tony Boselli will know his fate. After four trips to the final list of Hall of Fame candidates, will this be the final time he has to wait for his enshrinement in Canton, Ohio.
Boselli, the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft in 1995 and the Jaguars first-ever selection, has been the face of this franchise the past 25 years and was one of the greatest to ever play left tackle in the game despite an injury-plagued career that was cut short.
"“This is the fourth consecutive year Boselli has been a Hall finalist. It was his fifth consecutive year as a Hall semifinalist,” John Oehser of Jaguars.com wrote.“The other 14 Hall finalists for the ’20 class: Steve Atwater, Isaac Bruce, LeRoy Butler, Alan Faneca, Torry Holt, Steve Hutchinson, Edgerrin James, John Lynch, Sam Mills, Troy Polamalu, Richard Seymour, Zach Thomas, Reggie Wayne and Bryant Young.”"
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This class is hard to predict. If you are comparing Boselli with other linemen who are finalists, there is no comparison between the kind of impact Boselli had and Faneca. There may be more attention paid to the differences in the play of the former USC All-American and Hutchinson.
Boselli’s impact on the game was felt most by those who played with him and against him. And if you read what players had to say about him, you understand how much respect No. 71 has in this fraternity.
Former Ravens DE Michael McCrary had plenty say about his battles in the trenches with his former opponent.
"“There were only 3 tackles: Ogden, Roaf and Boselli. That was it,” he explained. “The rest were just tackles… Boselli was 1 of those 3, and the other 2 guys are already in the Hall of Fame, deservedly, and Boselli should be there with them.”"
The numbers for offensive linemen are different than any other position because you cannot measure Boselli or anyone’s excellent other than how they played against the best in the game on the other side of the ball. That’s why his showdown with Bruce Smith in the 1996 Playoffs will go down as one of the greatest highlight reels of all time.
"As NFL analyst Gil Brandt said, “He’s in that same category with Willie Roaf and Anthony Munoz and Jonathan Ogden and Walter Jones — He’s equal to all those guys. If you put all of those guys up, you’d have a hard time deciding who you were going to take number one.”"
Boselli made the Pro Bowl each season from 1996-2000 and was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s. He is the only offensive line from the All-Decade Team not inducted into the Hall of Fame.