Rams Great Isaac Bruce Snubbed Again on Pro Football Hall of Fame Despite Credentials
If the knock came on their Atlanta hotel room doors, then they would know: They had been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The class of 2019 will have eight inductees: Tight end Tony Gonzalez, cornerback Champ Bailey and safety Ed Reed, all in their first year of eligibility, join Mawae, cornerback Ty Law, safety Johnny Robinson, Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen and former scout and executive Gil Brandt.
One name notably absent was former Rams receiver Isaac Bruce, who was one of 15 finalists for the third year in a row, and once again, did not make the cut.
The decision did not sit well with Super Bowl-winning Rams coach Dick Vermeil, who told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “numbers define that Isaac ought to be in the Hall of Fame.”
“When you catch 1,024 balls, and it ranks you in the top five? And average 14.9 yards a reception? You scored 91 touchdowns? My God, I don’t know what else you have to do,” Vermeil said.
Bruce was drafted by the L.A. Rams in 1994, and continued with the team in St. Louis, before playing his last two seasons with the San Francisco 49ers.
In June 2010, Bruce was traded back to the Rams so he could retire as a Ram. After 16 seasons, when all was said and done, Bruce was a Super Bowl Champion, a four-time Pro Bowler, and had tallied 15,208 receiving yards, at the time second only to Jerry Rice.
To date, he is still one of only six players to ever pass the 15,000 receiving yards mark, up there with Class of 2018 Hall of Famers Randy Moss and Terrell Owens.
Somehow, once again, Bruce was overlooked.
“The thing about Isaac is, Terrell Owens and Randy Moss were amazing players, obviously Hall of Famers,” former Rams teammate Ricky Proehl told the Post-Dispatch. “But I think sometimes they created their own media, their own brand, just by making a lot of noise. And Isaac was quiet, you know? He made his noise by playing football and catching a lot of balls.”
The inductees were announced during the taping of NFL Honors, a two-hour prime-time awards special held at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta.
There were 18 finalists for this year’s class: 15 from the modern era; one senior finalist in Robinson; and two contributor finalists in Bowlen and Brandt.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s current bylaws stipulate that between four and eight new members are to be chosen each year. No more than five modern-era finalists can be elected in a given year.
To be eligible for enshrinement, modern-era players and coaches must have last played or coached more than five seasons ago. Contributors do not need to be retired to be eligible. Senior finalists are determined by the Seniors Committee, which reviews the qualifications of those players whose careers ended more than 25 years ago.
To be elected, a finalist must receive a minimum positive vote of 80% during the annual selection meeting, which was held Saturday in Atlanta.