Before the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers kick off Sunday, we will know what the NFL’s 2011 Hall of Fame class will look like on Saturday. That’s when the selection committee will make their decision about the 17 finalists, including former Chiefs tackle Willie Roaf. If it were up to his former coach, the 11-time Pro Bowler would get the call this year, the first he is eligible.
“Willie Roaf was the most explosive dominating offensive lineman I ever coached,” former Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil said. “I’ve never been around a lineman that could physically dominate another good NFL defensive lineman or linebacker in the league.
“He could dominate an All-Pro, reducing him to the level of an average player. His explosive moves out of his stance have never been equaled by anyone. His ability to get out into the perimeter with speed and grace, and then block a moving target in space was spectacular. One of the most impressive attributes about Willie was his ability to compete against the best. The better the player he faced, the more dominating he became. To me, he’s the finest offensive lineman to ever play the game. He was truly a “shut-down” tackle”
Over the course of his career with the Chiefs and Saints, Roaf was named AP All-Pro eight times and earned Pro Football Weekly/PFWA All-Pro honors seven times. He was also named to the Pro Football Weekly All-Rookie Team in 1993 and is part of two NFL All-Decade teams from the 1990’s and 2000’s.
As you would expect, there are some very impressive names among the 17 finalists. When you start talking about only 4-7 of those players making the cut, I can see Roaf’s name being pushed into the “next year” file and it would be a huge mistake.
Vermeil talks about Roaf’s handling of All-Pros but what’s more, he was dominant on nearly every snap. He wasn’t just a guy that would get up when there was a star lining up across from him, but rather he pushed everyone around. Everyone.
One of the most fun things to do during Roaf’s time in Kansas City was to watch the highlights on Monday morning and count the defensive linemen and linebackers that just had no chance. You can still do that today, just jump over to YouTube and type in “Chiefs (any year between 2002-05)” and you’ll see just how good he was on every single play.