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Simms, Bavaro Hall of Fame worthy?

Sports Illustrated's Dr. Z, Paul Zimmerman, is out with a look through the Preliminary List of Hall of Fame candidates. With the help of retired Packers GM Ron Wolf, it's an interesting read.

There are two Giants who are on the list -- Phil Simms and Mark Bavaro. Wolf's take? No shot for Simms. Wolf thinks, though, that Bavaro has the best shot of any of the tight ends on a list that includes Ben Coates and Todd Christenson.

I love both of these guys, of course. Quite honestly, though, I don't believe either one of them belongs in the Hall of Fame.

Let's look at the Hall of Fame candidacies of both players.

Phil Simms

I'm too young to remember YA Tittle and Charlie Conerly, so when I think of an all-time great Giants quarterback, Simms is the man. Simms, of course, had the legendary 22-of-25 performance in Super Bowl XXI. He was a quality quarterback, a tough guy, a great leader and a very good quarterback. But great? Not quite.

I agree with Wolf, who categorized Simms, Boomer Esiason, Jim Plunkett, Ken Stabler and Ken Anderson -- all on the preliminary list -- this way.

"Good players, all of them good enough to win, but Hall of Famers? I don't think so."

In an era with Joe Montana and Dan Marino, Simms was an effective, quality quarterback. But never the best.

One stat jumped out at me when I looked at Simms' numbers, and it's one Eli bashers should take note of. Only once in his career, his final season at the age of 39, did Simms complete at least 60 percent of his passes.

Again, good, but not great. A historic Giant -- but not a historic, Hall of Fame worthy NFL quarterback.

Mark Bavaro

I can still picture No. 89 barreling down the middle of the field, catching a pass from Simms and dragging defenders with him for extra yardage.

Bavaro was a raging bull -- Jeremy Shockey before Shockey, except without the histrionics. In fact, usually without ever uttering a word to the media.

At his best, I would say Bavaro -- who was also a brutal blocker -- might well have been the best tight end I have ever watched.

His best, unfortunately, came and went in the blink of an eye.

In 1986, his second season in the league, Bavaro caught 66 passes for 1001 yards -- incredible numbers for a tight end at the time. He was named All Pro for the first time.

That was his only truly great season, though. He caught 55 balls in 1987 and 53 in 1988, but knee injuries took their toll and he was never truly a force again after that.

Bavaro played six seasons with the Giants, then finished up with Cleveland and Philadelphia.

He ended his 9-year career with 351 catches, 20 less than Shockey has in his 6-year career right now.

I would love to say Bavaro belongs in the Hall, but I can't.

Again, a historic Giant who isn't quite a historic NFL player.