JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Tony Boselli was the first Jaguars to get the knock on the door and the invitation to the Hall of Fame. It meant so much to Jaguars fans, who haven’t had much to celebrate since Boselli retired.
It took 26 years for the Jaguars to get a player in the Hall. But who will be next?
It’s a question Boselli answered during his induction speech.
“It all starts with Tom Coughlin, who, by the way, belongs on this stage really soon because there’s not too many better coaches than him,” Boselli said. “And I had amazing teammates. I was so fortunate to play with so many great Jaguars, like Fred Taylor, who made me look good all the time. And Jimmy Smith, who not too many people could cover. I hope one day both of them have a chance to be in Canton.”
Let’s make the case for the three men Boselli mentioned today. First, Coughlin.
After taking the Jaguars to the AFC championship game in 1996 and 1999. He would win a pair of Super Bowls with the New York Giants. There are 13 men who have won at least two Super Bowls as head coaches.
Ten are in the Hall of Fame.
Only Coughlin, Mike Shanahan and George Seifert are not. Remember, Coughlin also won a ring as an assistant with the Giants. He is 13th all-time in career wins, tied with Shanahan. Remember, he began his tenure with the Jaguars as an expansion team and then with the Giants coming off a 4-12 season. In both instances, Coughlin took his team to the playoffs in his second year as head coach.
Fred Taylor has been a semifinalist three straight years, but has not yet been a finalist.
Every retired running back ahead of Taylor on the all-time rushing list is in the Hall of Fame, as are many who are ranked behind him. No. 28 is the all-time rushing leader in Jaguars history and his 4.6 yards per carry ranks 18th all-time among players with at least 1,000 career carries.
His detractors will point to his one Pro Bowl appearance, but anyone who saw Taylor play knows the kind of game breaker Taylor could be.
As for Jimmy Smith, he should be getting more love from Hall of Fame selectors. He’s the all-time leading receiver in Jaguars history and he ranks 25th all-time in receiving yards. Smith and Boselli both made five Pro Bowls. Smith would likely get more attention if he had played two or three more years and padded the stats, but his career numbers should stand on their own.
In my opinion, all three of these Jaguars greats deserve to join Boselli in the Hall of Fame. I think Coughlin will probably be the next, but how much push Taylor and Smith get now that the Jaguars have broken the seal on the Hall will be very interesting to watch. The nominees will be announced sometime in September.