When Steve Tasker was about to retire from the Buffalo Bills in 1997, many pundits talked about is candidacy for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Aside from former Chiefs kicker Jan Stenerud, no player who played primarily on special teams has made it into the halls of Canton. Everyone thought Steve should be the first along with Pat Tillman and possibly Hank Bauer. However if you ask our CEO who should be the first person to make the Hall of Fame when it comes to special teams players, Bill Brown of the 1960s-1970s Minnesota Vikings would be the first.
Our The Soul of The Game series is about hitting and defense. Its still the essence of the sport. Although Bill Brown was a Full Back, he played special teams through his entire career. Most notably when the Vikings decided to get younger and drafted Full Back Chuck Foreman out of the University of Miami (The [[_]]) in 1973. In most instances an aging player goes to another team or sits the bench quietly. Out of the offensive limelight Brown still crashed on special teams as the Vikings became a Super Bowl team again in 1973 & 1974.
After the Vikings played in Super Bowl IX, a 16-6 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Brown retired after a 14 year career. He had been a Pro Bowl Full Back 4 times back in the 1960s and finished his career with 5,838 yards rushing and 52 touchdowns. So his career did have real merit.
The only issue is the tackles weren’t being recorded on special teams to further showcase his contributions. However Brown’s career concluded well over a decade before the first Pro Bowl slot for a special teams player was introduced. He did go down and hit as the video will attest. What is sprinkled in the video as well are the many tackles he made after a fumble or an interception against the Vikings offense. Notice how many times he hits a linebacker wearing a 50s series number. Bill Brown was a complete football player and should be the first special teams player to go into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a special teams ace.
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Bill Brown (June 29, 1938- Nov. 4, 2018)