The National Football League has 267 legendary players that have been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. This club of incredible athletes grows every year when new enshrines are chosen to join the group.
For whatever reason, I found myself wondering…who was the first person drafted in the league’s first ever draft? I found my answer rather quickly.
The Philadelphia Eagles were granted the first ever NFL draft pick. They decided to begin the tradition of Eagle mediocrity by selecting halfback Jay Berwanger. The year was 1936. That means that if you are 76 years or older, congratulations! You were alive for the first NFL draft.
The reason this pick was so mediocre? Berwanger never played professional ball. Eagles drafted him, traded him to the Bears, and the Bears never worked out a contract with the greedy running back. This is also the first documented contract dispute in NFL history.
This brings me back to the beginning where I was discussing the Hall. I got to thinking…are there any NFL drafts that did not yield a single Hall of Famer?
The answer…is yes. However, there aren’t many.
Be it known, this does not include the years that I have been alive. This also only applies to drafts where all players are eligible to enter the Hall. For those that don’t know the rules of induction, a player must be retired for at least 5 years before he can be inducted. Once he has been retired for 5 years, he then has 15 years of eligibility. If 15 years pass, the player is no longer eligible for induction. Basically, if you aren’t inducted within 20 years of your retirement, you are forgotten. That’s just the way it is.
The years of the lost players are 1943, 1984 and 1986. I know, not a lot at all but considering the amount of players in the Hall, it’s somewhat interesting. almost 300 players in the Hall and none from these three years.
However, like most things in the NFL, there’s still another variable. That lies with the 1984 supplemental draft.
While it’s true that not a single player in the ’84 draft has been inducted in the Hall, there are also supplemental drafts each year, which in ’84, yielded 3 of the most impressive athletes in NFL history. Steve Young, Gary Zimmerman and Reggie White were taken in the ’84 supplemental draft.
So…I guess if you wanna be a jerk about it, we need to count 1984 out of this discussion.
The other two drafts have no one in either the standard draft or supplemental draft that entered the Hall, making them the single WORST collections of talent in college and professional football history.
It sucks to suck, ’43 and ’86!
These guys seem pretty happy. Must not have been drafted in 1943 or 1986.