New York Jets legend Joe Klecko recently explained why he’s not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Here are all the details.
There are over 300 NFL players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame that have been recognized for their athletic achievements on the gridiron.
There’s one clear omission that needs to be corrected sooner rather than later: New York Jets legend Joe Klecko.
Five years after your playing career you’re eligible for enshrinement in Canton, Ohio. Despite being a Pro Bowler at three different positions, a key cog in the New York Sack Exchange, putting up great numbers, Klecko has still been overlooked.
There’s been a lot of speculation over the years why Joe has been overlooked, but this week Klecko joined The Flight Deck Podcast with ESPN’s Rich Cimini and revealed the reason he’s not in the Hall of Fame:
“Super Bowl rings and championship success is a big deal in our league. We had a lot of teams that were right there, but for whatever reason, it didn’t work out.
Back in my days of playing, the media now is nothing like it was back then.
For example, I was playing against a team, I won’t mention teams or names, that had Pro Bowlers on it and they told me, Joe, you’re better than those guys.
But the problem is we were 3-13. Back in those days, you get zero news coverage if your team is bad. When we finally made the playoffs, that’s when I made the Pro Bowl. When you play on a good team or in the playoffs you get recognition.
Those things matter. If you’re on a bad team in the league today it doesn’t matter because if your good enough people will still recognize you. Back when I started that wasn’t the case.”
That’s a very interesting point from Klecko that most haven’t considered. Usually championship success or failure you’d associate with a quarterback, not a defensive lineman.
With all the social media, local, national TV coverage, radio, and podcasts it’s impossible to fly under the radar. That lack of recognition and respect has obviously hurt Klecko’s chances of the Hall of Fame over the last 20 something years.
Another reason Joe Klecko doesn’t get the respect he deserves is just bad timing.
The official ‘sack’ statistic didn’t become official until 1982. Which means if you look up Joe Klecko’s stats on Google, you’ll probably only see 24.5 sacks on his resume. Now that’s not bad for his era and is still probably good enough to get you into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
But even before that Klecko dominated the NFL landscape. From 1977-1981, Joe Klecko racked up 51.5 sacks which on top of his previous stats gives him a whopping 75.5 sacks for his career.
Although there is good news as Rich Cimini explains in his podcast, with the NFL celebrating its 100th season in 2019, they will be opening up the Hall of Fame like never before. Instead of the usual two senior candidates being inducted, the NFL will be expanding its senior selection to 10 candidates.
Which obviously dramatically increases the chances of Joe Klecko finally breaking through in 2020. If New York Jets fans can finally end the drought to get Klecko into Canton, how far away are we from ending the green and white’s Super Bowl drought? Hey, we can always dream.