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HOF voter: Thomas merits consideration

The question that will come up now as a fun exercize and in five years as serious business is whether Zach Thomas merits Hall of Fame consideration and ultimately will get into the Hall of Fame.

Thomas, 36, will officially retire from football today at a 4 p.m. press conference at Dolphins camp. As I reported this morning, he will sign a ceremonial contract with the Dolphins to retire as a Dolphin. In five years he will become eligible for HOF consideration.

So does his 12 seasons with the Dolphins merit consideration?

"Oh boy ... It's a hard question because there are so many good middle linebackers," The Miami Herald's Edwin Pope told me a while ago. Pope is the South Florida representative in the Hall of Fame voting so he not only gets a vote, but would present the case for Thomas in five years.

"Yeah, I think he's worthy of consideration," Pope continued. "And I think someday he'll be getting it. His body of work is certainly deserving. Smart, aggressive, great team player, great locker room presence. He measures up in every respect except height and that didn't seem to hold him back."

There are currently 19 linebackers in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. The Dolphins already have one HOF linebacker in Nick Buoniconti.

The greatest inside or middle linebackers? Dick Butkus. Jack Lambert. Mike Singletary. (Sorry, I never saw Ray Nitschke play but he was voted the NFL's greatest linebacker of all time in 1969. There's been 41 years of great linebackers since.)

Butkus had 22 career interceptions with none returned for touchdowns. Thomas, by comparison, had 17 career interceptions with the Dolphins with four returned for touchdowns. The four TDs tied him for fourth with other linebackers behind Jack Pardee (5) and Bobby Bell and Derrick Brooks (6).

Thomas recorded 1,202 career solo tackles during his dozen seasons in Miami. Singletary had 885 solo tackles during his 11 seasons in Chicago. 

The full list of HOF players is here. You can compare Thomas with the other 19 LBs and decide if he's worthy yourself. 

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The best news this off season... Zack ur the man enjoy ur time in the limelight u gave us years of football enjoyment we can at least give you a respectiable send off to retirement thanks for everything

He should get in the HOF. Look at his numbers, they are on par, and he was a recognized leader of a well talked about defense for years.

No doubt shouldn't be a question... Automatic in!

I don't see how you can't put him in. Name a better LB during his career? You will name Ray Lewis. After that - nobody. And Zach's best years measure up to Ray's best years statistically - Ray just did it for a longer time.

Oh by the way 1st 3rd and 4th first for me

I would certainly vote him in... but am not sure he gets enough votes.. but as noted, not only does he measure up in stats, he was an awesome team player, smart, hard working and a tremendous leader in the room.

Plain fact - his work ethic and understanding of the game helped him make players around him better.

I have a hard time not seeing him get in. The HOF is all about numbers. Compare his numbers to all HOF ILB's out there and he is a shoe in.

As much as I love my fins, unfortunately, without a championship its hard to make a case for Zach beyond consideration. as good as Zach was he was no Ray lewis, which in my opinion is the HOF standard.

as Jim Rome would say, "its the HOF, its not the Hall of the very very good".

More tackles than Singletary. Way more. Impressive.

Mark,

Numbers can be misleading. Look up London Fletcher's career stats, they are nearly identical to Zach. Noone will make case for Fletcher. Thomas probably does suffer as a result of playing in the same conference as Ray Lewis. To me, the Hall of Fame is for the best of the best. Many guys are in on the merit of postseason success, Zach is lacking there as well. Whether that is his fault or not doesn't matter. I personally believe Zach is the next level down from the Hall of Fame. A couple names who played during his time who I believe to be HOF: Ray Lewis, Derrick Brooks. And playing back into postseason success, both those guys got rings, and were major reasons for it. I am sure many will disagree with my assessment, but I tried to give you the most comparable player I could to Zach, along with reasons why not, and players who I feel should who played in the same time.

DolfanSF Ray Lewis is the best LB in the last 20 years. Tough to fault Zach just because Ray Lewis is so great.

Zach's in my HOF.

I don't care what Jim Rome or anyone else thinks.

The guys numbers measure up.

His character and leadership puts him over the top.

There are only three linebackers in the past 15 years who should go in... Ray Lewis, Derrick Brooks and Zach!

Bootang. Derrick Brooks did not have a better career than Zach. May have had one better year - but not a career.

And your London Fletcher comparison doesn't hold in my opinion. Did anyone ever game plan for London Fletcher? People game planned for Zach. he was impact. He had respect of his peers who made him a perrenial pro bowler. Multiple time All Pro. London racked up some numbers on crappy teams like Wash and Buff where he was on the field a lot. Zach's teams were winning teams for the most part and a team that was lead by the defense and he was a leader on that defense.

Zach gets in before Brooks in my opinion.

And whoever brought up Jim Rome, f**k Jim Rome. Don't make me call Jim Everett on him!!

OK, So explain to me how Andre Tippett gets in @LB but Zach thomas does not.

Tough call. Not at the level of a Ray Lewis, a Jack Lambert, a Nick Buoniconti or a Mike Singletary in terms of being so dominant as to be a major force in driving his team forward to a SB. But the best player on the team for many years, a class individual, a mainstay who kept the team above water and one of the best of his generation who was successful even under a lackluster series of coaches. He gets my vote.

I do not think tippett has a SB ring... Right?

While we can all agree that ZT is the second best linebacker of his generation (because, well, he effing IS), I don't think we have a national consensus. Sadly, the media never gave Zach the type of praise they gave to the overrated Urlacher and Merriman (the cheater).

I want him to get in. I think he deserves to get in... but I'm just not so sure how fondly the rest of the country will remember him in five years. :(

Mark,

You sort of make the argument for Lindon Fletcher. He played on some terrible defenses, which would lead you to believe he'd be the first guy you would gameplan against. London Fletcher doesn't get the recognition that he deserves, and mostly from fans. Also, if I'm playing the Dolphins in the early 2000's, I'm gameplanning against JT first and foremost. A great MLB can be stopped merely with interior linemen getting to the next level. I can't change your opinion of Zach Thomas or Derrock Brooks, and I respect that. I am of the opinion it is Ray Lewis, then Derrick Brooks, and then Zach Thomas. And rightfully so or not, those championship rings probably have a lot do with it.

I agree with mmmtravis.

Funny when Parcells was with the Jets, I don't remember them giving JT special attention but I do vividly remember Parcells directing Kevin Mawae to pay Zach special attention.

My point with London Fletcher was that he got a lot of his tackles because he could never get off the dam field.

London was a decent player but he wasn't special. I think Zach was. Zach tackled and covered with the best of them. He wasn't a great pass rusher but how many MLB in a 4-3 are?

The numbers are more than enough to get him in, but in case they're not... here's a thought that should.

ALL TIME TRUE PROFESSIONAL!!!

No trouble with his teams and no trouble with the law. A true role model and a real definition of PROFESSIONAL...

I'm thinking of naming my baby boy after him...
Zach Thomas Navarro, lol.

So you gotta have a ring to be considered?

I thought all you need to be a real man is an Iphone, Ipad, and a home in South Florida. LOL

Mark,

Here is a link to all 3 guys I mentioned in my argument.

London Fletcher

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/F/FletLo20.htm

You will notice with him, his sack numbers are the highest of the three, and his body of work encompasses 11 years.

Derrick Brooks

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/B/BrooDe00.htm

With Brooks, his INT numbers and forced fumbles are the highest, also 6 INT TD returns. He had basically 14 years of numbers.

Zach Thomas

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/T/ThomZa01.htm

Zach really only has an edge on the two of them as it pertains to number of tackles. Zach really had 12 years of stats.

Also you will notice the other 2 rarely missed any time at all, in fact once they earned starting roles in the league, they didn't start a combined 4 games, 3 of which came during Brooks rookie year. Not counting Zach's last year with us, which is being gracious, he missed 13 games. Don't say well Zach played hard and fearless, he did, but is that to say the other guys didn't.

So in reality, all 3 guys are very similar. The numbers back it up. The difference, is Brooks won a championship, Zach played almost his entire career for one team, and Fletcher bounced around a few different teams. Brooks cemented his legacy with a TD in the Super Bowl, Thomas cemented his with a singular fanbase, and Fletcher subsequently gets overlooked because he did neither.

That is as thorough an argument as I can present to you on why I feel Brooks is a Hall of Famer, and Thomas is not. Again, you may not agree, but at least you know I have some logic behind my opinion.

in my opinion Zach is not a hall of famer. very good player. i dont care how many more takles he had than Singletary, he not in his league period!

im a realistic Dolphin fan and will call it how it is. i just cant get over how Dolphin fans make a big deal about signing him for a day and retiring him as Dolphin and dont get me wrong that all cool and nice... but for months Dolphin fan after Dolphin fan made it seem like this was soooooo important. im interested in the 2010 Miami Dolphins and how well they will do or not do. not in retiring a former football player because its good publicity

I would like to hear what Jimmy Johnson and Dave Wannstadt have to say. I am a Dolphin homer, but watching Zach dominate the middle of the field for so many years, it was natural to compare him with other MLB's and never did I see anyone as good as Zach except Lewis...but Lewis may be the best ever. Don't tell me every HOF player one a SB ring either...that helps but is not a rule. Dan Marino can attest to that.

would be useful to know who else is hof possible in 5 years

So is your thesis based on if Fletcher isn't a HOF then Thomas isn't either? Sorry man, but I know what I saw with my own 2 eyes. During my lifetime he along with JT and Marino personify the Dolphins. Going to the Pro Bowl 7 years out of 11 should get you in no matter how you cut it. That means at his position - he was either the best or second best player in his conference that many times. That alone makes him one of the best.

I have zach slightly higher than Ray lewis, Lewis loses some points because he is a murderer

Again, I ask, Does Andre Tippett have a SB ring? It is not about rings, Derrick Thomas is in also. I agree that he has not been a loud player so many non-dolphin fans may not agree or not have an opinion. So that may hurt him, but #'s wise he should get in, then add the leadership and sacrifice and to me it is a no brainer. Just to clarify, I brought up Derrick thomas because he does not have a ring and is in, HE WELL DESERVES TO BE THERE. But the Tippett reference is hard to argue.

Wheteher or not Zach gets in is great for debate.
A case can be made either way.

I think more importantly, or should I say more urgently, I would like to express my complete disgust with the Trifecta, for not making this happen back in March or April.

NOT!!!!

All the talking heads, especially Armando, should be ashamed by the charges leveled at the Trifects leading up to the draft.
Quite a few of the poster here are guilty of this as well.

Kinder and gentler Dolphin nation or not, thank God the Trifecta still has their priorities straight.

Patience is indeed a virtue! Ha Ha!

agreed Odinseye, the way some of these fans (Mando included) behaved towards teh administration for they handled Zach and JT should apologize or at least admit they were wrong. Man, if everyone doesn't get what they want the day they ask for it, they cry like babies.

BTW, in my opinion Derrick Thomas was not a hall of fame player. he was a one dimensional player. Just so happens his one dimension highlights a stat everyone drools over.

I have an issue comparing total stats over total years with older players. Some of these guys had 14 game seasons or less and injuries could keep a player out some games. I agree looking at the body of work but the way to compare is per games played if you want to compare with other HOFers. With that said, I do believe ZT should get into the HOF.

Yes! Zach Thomas is a Hall of Famer. He's that good!

Mark,

My point is you can't go just by stats. I know that is not your entire reasoning behind him being a HOFer. I don't ask you to change your opinion. Too often an emphasis gets placed on rings, especially when debating players of equal stature. We as Miami fans should know this as well as any, as any true Miami fan has had to defend Marino not having a ring. While my no against Zach being a HOFer isn't based solely on no championships, it does have some merit.

I have to go for the evening, it was good debating, and I look forward to watching highlights of his press conference. It is a great day for anything Miami Dolphins with Zach getting a chance to retire theright way.

I raise my hand OD and Mark, however I will apologize for nothing. I belive this should have been done far earlier than this, and I let my opinion known. It happened now, and that is GREAT, however it should have happened sooner in my opinion. I am past the JT thing, so stop tredging it up. THE DOLPHINS ARE A BETTER TEAM WITH HIM THAN WITHOUT HIM. That is my opinion and I believe it.

OD and MARK, please stop trying to validate your "best fan in the world" title because your so far up Parcells and co's butt's that you can never stray from what they do. They have made some mistakes, and in a "opinion blog" I lill leave my opinion and not apologize for it.

Home Says Definitely YES for Zach Thomas in the HOF

Here Is Some Of The Reasons Why
Awards and Honors:

Fred Zach Thomas Flinstone

In addition to being a seven-time All-Pro selection by the Associated Press and a seven-time Pro Bowl selection, Thomas earned the following awards and honors in his NFL career:

* NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month (October 1996)
* All-Rookie selection by College & Pro Football Newsweekly, The Football News, Pro Football Weekly and Pro Football Writers of America (1996)
* AFC Defensive Rookie of the Year (1996)
* Dolphins' 1996 Unsung Hero Award as selected by NFLPA
* Dolphins MVP and Newcomer of the Year by South Florida media (1996)
* Pro Bowl alternate (1996)
* AFC Defensive Player of the Month (September 1998)
* 2× NFL Alumni Association's Linebacker of the Year (1998, 2006)
* First-team All-Pro selection by the USA Today, College & Pro Football Newsweekly and Football Digest (1998)
* 1998 All-Madden Team (1998)
* 3× Dolphins' Leadership Award (1998, 1999, 2005)
* Weeks 1 & 16 2001 AFC Defensive Player of the Week (2001)
* Dolphins MVP by South Florida media and fans (2001)
* All-Iron Team as selected by CBS analyst Phil Simms (2001)
* PFWA Dolphins Chapter "Good Guy" Award (2001)
* First-team Pro Football Weekly All-AFC (2002)
* First-team Sports Illustrated All-Pro (2003)
* Second-team Football Digest All-Pro (2003)
* Week 14 AFC Defensive Player of the Week (2005)
* All-AFC selection by Pro Football Weekly and the Pro Football Writers of America (2006)
* More Tackles Than Any Linebacker Currently In The Hall of Fame

All So His Sister Is Hot &
Can Do Consecutive Back Flips!

Home Says
HELL YA

Enuff said

Not Only Did Zach Give His Heart To Miami

Zach Also Donated His Brain To Science

Since were strolling down memmory lane, Please somebody please post some memmories of some memorable Super Bowl performances that Zack was involved in, I'll even settle for a brisk walk of a few playoff runs where Zack was instrumental in a win.

Respect Zack for what he was...a Very good Linebacker on a talent starved team. He did not make other players around him better. He coudn't get to the quarterback and somebody had to make those tackles...why not him. Thats how the defense is designed for the MLB to lead the team in tackles.

I like Zach and he had more heart than most but lets stop writing his euology and put his carrer in perspective.

Poizen, the less I deal with people of your impatience, the better. Goodnight!

While some of the tackle numbers r conflicting
This what Home has during ZTs tenure with the Miami Dolphins

Its A Beautiful Day

Decision to Retire Zach Thomas
As A Beloved Miami Dolphin
Believe Zach Thomas Is HOF Worthy
May Be Regarded As The Greatest MLB
In Miami Dolphin History
Zach would Have Fit In Perfectly With The No-Names
To The 7 Pro Bowls
5 Time First-Team All Pro
1075 Tackles & 598 Assisted Tackles
19.5 Sacks
17 INTs for 170 YDs
4 TDs
35 PDs
16 FF
7 FR
Zach Thomas Had An Eye For The Football Second to None
No One Prepared or Played Harder Than Zach Thomas From Endless Hours of Tape Study
To Ferocious Training & Practice
Utilizing His Own Chef For Optimum Nutrition
Sleeping In A Hyperbolic Chamber For Maximum Recovery
Team Captain Zach Thomas Who Led By Example
Always Playing At High Motor Like A Heat Seeking NFL Missile With A Head On The Football
With a Fierce Grin & Trade Mark Blood Dripping Elbows
Zach Thomas`s Greatest Tribute To His Success
Was Not Signing A Contract
The New England Patriots Offered Him In February 2008 & Becoming A Trader

Thus Preserving ....

***** The Dynasty Be Fins! *****

Re: Dansby
Mando says,"Regardless of whether he's calling plays or not, Dansby must somehow earn a spot as one of this new defense's leaders in 2010. It is on him because the young unit doesn't really have many veterans more accomplished than him."

Really Mando? We don't have many veterans more accomplished than Dansby?
I wasn't aware that we had any.
Who are they please?

Kris, you can say the same about Derrick Thomas and Andre Tippett, although tippett was in one SB they were part of the most lop sided loss in history of the SB, and he was part of the D that gave those points up.

Mark, so sorry I made a valid point...

*hyperbaric* chamber

spell check did me wrong

I know i'm in the minority on this one...for now.

Think about it men/women

If Henne, Marshall, and Dansby bring us a ring or Two in the the next 4-5 years you will all be saying Zaxh who?

Kris, No, because none of us will be saying Marino who? clayton who, duper who? either... Zach will be a legend for anyone that watched no matter where this team goes.

Here is why Zach Thomas is a HOFer. During his era, was he a top 5 MLB? Yes. How many were better? 1 (Ray Lewis). Are his numbers comparable to other HOFers? Yes (better than Singletary). Was he recognized as one of the greats during his era? Yes.

He may not be, a probably shouldn't be, a 1st ballot HOFer, but he absolutely should be one.

Poizen, good job on putting Ody in his place. Leave mark alone, he is guilty by association. Ody thinks he is the best fan in the world. He is trying to take over NJ's seat. He never will because he is nice sometimes, and silly.

For the record
Am Not Mad with Jason Taylor
Loved JT during his tenure with this organization
Believe JT Was one of the Best Dolphin Defensive Players of All Time
Wish They Kept JT for one more year
Believe JT Will Have A Very Good Year This Season
Still Plays At A Very High Level
JT @ 260 Was Unstoppable in Dolphin Camp 2009
Not Sure Exactly When JT Got Injured

Remember 1st seeing JT @ Dolphin Camp Years Ago
When JT Was In The Start of His Dolphin Career
WOW!
What An Incredible Athlete with Some of the Best Reflexes Home As Ever Seen

Welcome home, Zach Thomas! Thank you Bill Parcells for allowing Zach to retire as a Dolphin.

HOME what the f are you babbling about. Your love of JT sickens me. Go back to your mommy's basement. Your paranoid self is making everybody sick. You imbecile! Buffoon. Thanks for stopping by. :(

Home who does this sound like?

a)NJ
b)BobbyD12
C) both a & c

Correct answer wins a prize!

I believe Zach has more tackles than anyone currently in the Hall of Fame. Zach deserves to be in, but I don't think he will be. The "fame" aspect of the HOF is relevant. If Zach had been on trial for murder or if his team was good enough to win a couple of SBs, it would have helped him.

If I'm not mistaken, it's idiot writers that for HOF candidates. I just read an article by John Clayton on ESPN.com yesterday talking about the Brandon Marshall surgery. He was saying that Dolphins usually look into injuries pretty closely because they did so with Drew Brees. Are you kidding, Clayton? With Brees, there was a different owner, different president, different GM, different coach. Literally every person in the decision making process is different from when Brees was a FA and this guy's drawing a comparison because the logo's the same. These are the kind of morons that get meaningful votes. Zach should be in, but the voters haven't watch enough Dolphins' games and don't know enough football to vote him in.

Zach Thomas & His Wife & 4 1/2 YR old son
Recently bought a beautiful Home
Just East of Me a few miles
Deep Water Intracoastal Waterway at his front yard & Beautiful Private Hillsboro Beach in his backyard
For those who do not know the area
It Is truly amazing South Florida Living
Only single row of ocean front private mansions in one of the most luxurious & picturesque tropical landscaped beach homes U could imagine

Congrats Zach
and do U have any other sisters? LOL

THE MARKET IS DOWN ........360 POINTS. THE DONKEYS ON CNBC SAYS BUY ON THE DIP .MY AZZZZZ

Hey ALoco, watch the language...

SORRY MODERATOR .....BY THE WAY FAZ IS UP 13 PERCENT .VERY GOOD DAY .

ThanX for the love NJ
How Many times do I have to tell U

No Basements in South Florida
and I Own my Modest Home outright

Sorry to hear
U still Have All the Anger Issues

And JT Provided Me with some of the Best Defensive Plays In football
I have ever Seen

Ask Tom Brady
Home Loves JTs Tomahawk Chop on the football
and thoe INTs for TD returns

Also love the air drawn circle with a punch threw It
after A Sack

Home Does Not Have All That Hate In His Heart
Which U unfortunately carry

Good Luck To JT and Home Wishes His Family Well

One thing I'd like to point out is Peyton Manning once said in an interview that the hardest guy for him to game plan against was Zach Thomas because of how Zach would ALWAYS be in the right place at the right time and was a great play maker. If Peyton (a hands down HOFer) is saying Thomas was his hardest task...shouldn't Thomas be in the HOF too?? I think so. The stats show it. The professionalism shows it, the wins may not but lets face it..if not for that defense led by Zach the franchise would have never even made the playoffs and we'd all be as angry as Lions/Browns/Raiders fans who get to watch losing teams year in and year out.

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