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Comparing Mike Kenn To 2015 NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame Semi-Finalists

Mike Kenn's career was a tribute to sustained excellence in the NFL. But so were the other Hall of Fame semifinalists. How does Kenn's career stack up among the rest?

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Let's put the great Mike Kenn up against the other nominees:

Mike Kenn - 251 starts, 90+ in a row. 5x Pro Bowl, 5x All-Pro, 17 seasons as a high quality starter? Sheesh.

Morten Anderson - All-time great kicker. Probably > Kenn, but he's a rare breed.

Steve Atwater - 8x Pro Bowl, 4x All-Pro (2x 1st, 2x 2nd). 24 INT, 1,180 tackles (PFR says he has 1,074) (Tuggle has the most, with over 1,600) - Great career, but not as good as Kenn here.

Jerome Bettis - No need to pull up the career stats. Is Bettis in the top 5-6 RBs of all time? Is he better than Payton, Sanders, Sayers, Brown? I don't know, maybe he is, but I wouldn't bet on it. Great career, don't get me wrong, but Kenn's was greater.

Tim Brown - He should be in the HoF. One of the greatest receivers on some awful teams. He and Kenn are a push, but the edge goes to Brown simply because it's been a real shame that he hasn't gotten in yet.

Isaac Bruce - Another amazing receiver, part of some awesome Rams teams. He's 4th all-time in receiving yards. Didn't play quite as long as Kenn. Only 4 Pro Bowl selections, No All-Pro selections. They're close, but I'd give Kenn the edge.

Don Coryell - No idea who this is. After a quick Google search, the term Air Coryell comes up. He had Dan Fouts slinging the ball down the field with the Chargers. Never lead the team to a SB. As a college coach, he tutored John Madden. His NFL record is probably comparable to Smitty's percentage-wise. I say Kenn has the edge here

Roger Craig - Looking at his career numbers, I'm a bit confused as to why he's up for HoF consideration. He was All-Pro once, Pro Bowl 4 times in only 8 seasons. My God, he had a year where he rushed for 1,000 yards and had 1,000 yards receiving. That's pretty awesome. I wonder if that has ever happened before. If I had to guess, he was on some of those 49er SB teams. Only 8,100 yards rushing. I dunno if he's greater than Kenn. Craig could've easily been the product of a good team around him, especially when his last four seasons weren't all that impressive. Not hating, just don't know the guy that well.

Terrell Davis
- I love the fact he made it past the first cuts, but deep down I know he won't ever get into the HoF. 7,600 yards rushing in just 7 seasons. His first four years in the league were truly something to behold, as he racked up nearly 6,500 of his career 7,600 in those four years. One of only a handful of running backs to break the 2,000 yard barrier, he was also a Super Bowl MVP. Mark Schlereth has said many times on ESPN that TD could have and should have gotten the rushing record the year he rushed for 2,008 yards, but didn't because the Broncos were beating so many teams so badly, he wouldn't play the entire game. You could certainly make the argument that a guy who is in two very distinct clubs (2k yd rusher, SB MVP), is certainly worthy of being in the Hall of Fame (after all, it's not the Hall of Long Careers or the Hall of Big Stats), but his short career will probably be his downfall. Comparing him to Kenn, Kenn is greater based on a much longer career and sustained success.

Tony Dungy - Dungy is a very well known and respected coach, though he hasn't shied away from controversial comments over the years. As a coach, he was excellent. He was the first person to coordinate the Tampa 2 defense. He was the youngest assistant coach in NFL history at just 25 years old, and subsequently the youngest coordinator in NFL history at 28 years old. He was also the first coach to defeat all 32 teams. I have no idea if anyone else has done that. John Fox and Tom Coughlin might have done this by now. He did have the benefit of having Peyton Manning as his QB in Indy. His overall winning percentage is a hair over 2/3rds of games played. He has a 7-6 record in the playoffs with one SB victory. Kenn played longer than he was a head coach, so I'll give the edge to Kenn here. Dungy may have been great, but he was no Shula or Lombardi.

Kevin Greene - Had no idea who this guy was until I looked him up. He's 3rd all-time in sacks with 160. Played for a really long time, was a late round pick. 5x Pro Bowl, 3x All-Pro. Hard to quantify Kenn's lack of stats against his, but Greene may have a slight edge here. Hard to believe he's never been inducted into the HoF.

Charles Haley - This guy was good. He's been a finalist two other times, but evidently his controversial behavior on the field (he has since been diagnosed as bipolar) has put a damper on his HoF hopes. Only 100 sacks with 5x Pro Bowl and 2x All-Pro selections. His merit comes in the form of Super Bowl rings. He has five. Granted, Kenn played longer and was a staple on some bad teams. To me, that has more merit than being a good player on some great teams. I say Kenn has the edge here.

Marvin Harrison - Great WR, but he won't get in this year. If WRs are lucky this year, Tim Brown will get in. I also have no idea if his off-the-field problem was ever resolved or not.

Torry Holt - The other great WR on all those Rams teams (and the pride of Greensboro, NC). Holt had over 13,000 yards receiving. 7x Pro Bowl, 2x All-Pro. He might actually get in before Isaac Bruce does. It seemed like every week, Holt would have a highlight on ESPN. This is Holt's first year of eligibility, and again, Tim Brown is at the top of the WR list. Neither he nor Bruce will have a chance this year, most likely.

Joe Jacoby
- Ah yes, our first OL challenger to Kenn! Let's keep this simple. Kenn has more games played, more starts, more Pro Bowls, more All-NFL (aka All-Pro). Jacoby is on the list of the 70 greatest Redskins ever, he won 3 SBs. To put it mildly, it would be a crime if Jacoby got in and Kenn didn't. Nothing against the guy, Kenn just played longer, was on worse teams, and yet still had more recognition.

Edgerrin James - At first glance, I almost couldn't believe this guy was up for HoF consideration. He quietly put together a really nice sustained career between the Colts and Cards. He also has several NFL records involving being the fastest to a number of yards from scrimmage and the youngest player to reach particular numbers of yards from scrimmage. All that said...those don't really seem like HoF stats to me. He is 11th on the all-time rushing list, has several Colts records as well. Still a 4x Pro Bowler with a trio of All-Pro selections (1x 1st Team). I'd take Kenn over him, however.

Jimmy Johnson - "How 'bout them Cowboys?!" Jimmy Johnson is perhaps best known for creating that quote (I think), and piloting the Cowboys and Miami Hurricanes to championships. He didn't coach for a particularly long time in the pros, though he did get two Super Bowls. He and Jerry Jones didn't get along before he ended up with the Dolphins. He amassed 80 wins in 9 seasons of coaching. Not bad, but Kenn is an all-time great. So is Johnson, but in my opinion not to the level that Kenn was to the Falcons.

Ty Law - This guy was a great defensive back for the Patriots. Named to the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team, Law was a guy who had sustained success over a very long period. While his 53 interceptions doesn't crack the top 10, that is still a lot (He even had 10 in one season, along with 9 in another season). Very good player for a very long time. 5x Pro Bowls, 2x All-Pro, 3 rings with the Pats. I'd say he and Kenn are close, but Kenn takes the cake.

John Lynch - This guy was truly a hammer at safety. (I also think he's not a bad color commentator). Lynch anchored a Tampa Bay secondary for 10 years. You've seen all the Pro Bowls and All-Pros from the other players on here, but thus far, Lynch has the most. 9 Pro Bowl selections and 4 All-Pro selections are definitely HoF worthy. He played for a long time as well. I think Lynch has a real shot of getting in this year. I'd call he and Kenn close, but again. Kenn's colossal number of starts have to count for something. You wouldn't go wrong picking either or for the Hall if you only could pick one.

Kevin Mawae - Mawae was a fantastic player who played for three different teams. He was largely a center and a vicious one, at one point considered one of the dirtiest players in the league. However, the awards speak for themselves. 8 Pro Bowls, 8x All-Pro, NYJ All-Time Four Decade Team. NFL 2000s All-Decade Team. It hurts me a bit to say Mawae was a better offensive lineman than Kenn, but perhaps he was. Based on all those accolades, he has to be one of the greatest centers of all time. Center and Tackle are two very different positions, so we'll call it a push. Mawae definitely deserves to get in, and dare I say he will. Excellent player.

Karl Mecklenburg - This guy has been on the cusp of the Hall for quite some time. He is a three-time semifinalist, all three of those coming in the past three years. He's listed as a LB/DE on PFR, though it says his position was LILB in the stats. If you consider him purely as an inside linebacker, then his stats are somewhat phenomenal. He had 79 sacks (from an inside linebacker position? Damn.) To compare, Patrick Willis, a surefire HoF whenever he's done playing, has 20.5 sacks. Sticking purely with his era, Mecklenburg has 6 Pro Bowls and 3x First Team All-Pro awards. He only played 12 seasons to Kenn's 17 and his last season wasn't very good. This is another very close race, but I have to give Kenn the edge here.

Orlando Pace - I expect this guy to provide stiff competition to our guy. Orlando Pace was the gold standard left tackle for most of the entirety of his NFL career. HOWEVER, Pace played for only 13 seasons, and this is his first year of eligibility. 7 Pro Bowls, 5x All-Pro, also on the NFL's 2000s All-Decade team. Truly an excellent lineman, but one thing stands out to me that separates Mike Kenn from so many players. Pace did not start every game he played. Not only that, but Kenn started 86 more games than Pace. 86! This is another toss-up, as Pace was really, really, really good, but I think the extreme longevity of Kenn plays to his advantage. Of the four OL with more games played than Kenn, three are in the Hall of Fame. You could make the argument Kenn is more deserving but certainly Orlando Pace is as well.

Junior Seau - Seau was a great linebacker for the Patriots, Dolphins, and Chargers for many, many years. You may remember Seau for his tragic death which was later linked to CTE, or the degenerative disease of the brain that has been found in many other deceased NFL players. In terms of sheer awards alone, Seau stands above the rest. He was a 12-time Pro Bowler, with 10...count 'em, 10 All-Pro awards, 8 of which were first team. He also was voted Defensive Player of the Year in 1992 by the UPI and NEA. Seau was truly a gold standard for linebacking much in the same way that Ray Lewis was. As good as Kenn was at his position, you'd be hard pressed to find many better linebackers in history than Seau. Color me shocked if he doesn't get in this year. Have to give Seau the edge here.

Will Shields - This guy was a truly great lineman for a long time. 12 straight Pro Bowls has him tied with Champ Bailey and Randall McDaniel for the most number of Pro Bowls played. 7 All-Pro awards, Walter Payton's man of the year award in 2003, the Outland Trophy in college, Shields was a staple among great offensive linemen throughout the 90s. He never missed a game in his career and only failed to start one game - his very first game as a rookie. Kenn has the edge in longevity, but given the accolades, it would take a true historian of the game to convince HoF voters that Kenn is more deserving than Shields.

Kurt Warner - I'm afraid this guy won't get into the Hall even though I think he deserves it. He was part of the Greatest Show on Turf, the 1999-2000 Rams offense. A career 65.5% passer (that's very good), Warner was only able to wrangle one Super Bowl title, though the argument could be made he should have had a second one (2008). Warner had over 32,000 yards passing for his career, and while that isn't a colossal amount, Warner does hold some pretty special records.

His three Super Bowl performances are the three highest passing yardage totals in Super Bowl history. He is also the only player to throw for more than 400 yards in a Super Bowl. Warner's 32,000 yards include being the fastest to 10,000 and 30,000 yards in terms of games played. This includes seasons where he had 39, 1400, 365, 2054, 2713, and 1377 yards passing. He also is 2nd in records such as career completion percentage, career yards passing per game, and playoff completion percentage. The records alone speak for themselves. He had a good career, but his records (or near records) are exceptional. I think Warner will eventually get into the Hall, but not this year. Compared to Kenn, I don't know that you can take Warner over Kenn.

Darren Woodson - This guy played safety for the Cowboys from 1992 to 2004, where a herniated disc forced him to retire. He doesn't have the career accolades that some people do (Just 5 Pro Bowls, 3 All-Pro). He's considered one of, if not the, best safeties ever to play for the Cowboys. He's the franchise's leading tackler with over 1,300 total tackles. I feel like he and Kenn are in the same kind of situation. Player that played for a long time with one team, well respected by fans of that team...but Kenn played longer...and I'd say that's the tiebreaker here.

The Verdict

Based on the above evidence, I will now try to give a win, loss, or draw to Kenn to see how he stacks up.

Morten Andersen - L (Though this depends on how the voters view kickers)
Steve Atwater - W
Jerome Bettis - W
Tim Brown - L
Isaac Bruce - W
Don Coryell - W
Roger Craig - W
Terrell Davis - W
Tony Dungy - W
Kevin Greene - D, erring to L
Charles Haley - W
Marvin Harrison - W
Torry Holt - W
Joe Jacoby - W
Edgerrin James - W
Jimmy Johnson - W
Ty Law - W
John Lynch - L
Kevin Mawae - L
Karl Mecklenburg - W
Orlando Pace - D, erring to L
Junior Seau - L
Will Shields - L
Kurt Warner - W
Darren Woodson - W

Total: 17-6-2

Needless to say, my (completely, totally, 100% unbiased...) opinion suggests Kenn is at least worthy of being in the top 15, which will be announced in January. It hurts Kenn that two really strong OL (Mawae, Pace) are in their first year of eligibility. Perhaps it will help him this year, since sometimes committees want players to "sit a year" before being inducted. That at least opens the door further for Kenn, who is probably outclassed by both Pace and Mawae. Kenn then has to contend with Will Shields in the OL spot, and Shields is probably a stronger choice.

All in all, I'd say Kenn's chances look good to make the top 15, but past that, I'm afraid his chances are spotty at best. Could he get in? Absolutely. Is he deserving? Without a doubt. But the committee will have to open the annals of NFL history to truly see the value that Kenn brought to a franchise that had little to cheer about.