One of the greatest Texas Tech football players ever, Zach Thomas, saw his Pro Football Hall of Fame chances take a significant hit Thursday when he was not named a finalist for enshrinement in 2019. This makes it increasingly unlikely that the former Miami Dolphins’ great will ever earn a place in Canton despite one of the greatest statistical careers of any linebacker in history.https://wreckemred.com/2019/01/04/texas ... -fame-cut/
Thomas was a five-time All-Pro honoree and was elected to the Pro Bowl seven times. But what is hard to understand is why he has yet to make it to the final round of voting despite putting up nearly identical stats as 2017 first ballot inductee Brian Urlacher.
In 13 years, Thomas registered 1,100 tackles compared to Urlacher’s 1,040 in the same number of seasons. Thomas played in eight playoff games recording 60 tackles while Urlacher had 55 tackles in seven career postseason games. The difference may be the fact that Urlacher appeared in a Super Bowl, something that Thomas never did, however team success is a metric normally only reserved for evaluating quarterbacks.
What works against Thomas are two factors beyond his control. First, he simply did not play for a marquee franchise. Unlike Urlacher, who played for a franchise in the the Chicago Bears which is synonymous with defense and specifically middle linebackers, Thomas played for a team more associated with offense as his career began in the final years of the Dan Marino era in Miami.
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Second, he was not a physically imposing presence as we have come to expect legendary middle linebackers to be. Unlike Urlacher (6-foot-4, 258-pounds) or another hall of fame linebacker Ray Lewis (6-foot-1, 240-pounds), Thomas (five-foot-11, 230-pounds) built his game on speed and on his ability to dissect offenses which does not capture the public’s imagination or garner highlights on national shows.