Former New York Giants general manager George Young was not selected as a Contributor Finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017, as was announced Tuesday afternoon.
The Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones and former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue were selected as the two finalists.
The contributor category was created in 2015 to give deserving candidates who never played the game a chance to have their contributions to the game and the league recognized by the Hall of Fame.
General Managers Bill Polian and Ron Wolf were the first two contributor nominees in 2015, while former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. was the only nominee in 2016. All three were elected to the Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame selection committee has been getting this wrong for years, but now that the new rules make it easier to induct "contributors," it's getting worse. It's almost impossible to believe they've nominated anyone for induction in Canton as a contributor while the late George Young is still kept out.
And the Contributors Committee - formed several years ago to stop oversights like this - just did it again.
The committee announced that former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones are the latest finalists for induction in the "contributors" category - which basically gives them an easy pass straight into the Hall of Fame. They'll join former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo, who was inducted as a contributor two weeks ago, and former GMs Ron Wolf and Bill Polian who had the honor last year.
But with all due respect to Tagliabue and Jones, how can anyone justify continually keeping Young out anymore? The late former GM of the Giants was the savior of the Giants franchise when he arrived as the GM in 1979 and stepped in the middle of the Mara family feud to fix an organization that had become a joke - and not at all a funny one to its fans. With a steady hand, some brilliant drafting, and one outstanding coaching hire, he built two Super Bowl champions. He also hired the two men (Ernie Accorsi and Jerry Reese) who would succeed him and build two more.
Without Young, who knows if the Giants - one of the NFL's flagship franchises, stationed in the media capital of the world -- would've ever stopped being dysfunctional? Without his touch (drafting the likes of Phil Simms, Carl Banks, Leonard Marshall, Joe Morris, and of course, Lawrence Taylor) it's doubtful they would've become the powerhouse of the 1980s like they were.
Young was named the NFL Executive of the Year five times in his career. He's even been a finalist for the Hall three times, but never made it in, mostly due to a flawed voting process that previously lumped contributors in with players, making it difficult for executives to get their due.
The new rules were supposed to change that, but for some reason Young keeps getting passed over. He probably should've been in the Hall before any of the three contributors elected the past two years, and before Tagliabue and Jones, too.
It's an omission that's hard to explain. And the halls of Canton just won't feel complete until the committee makes this right and finally lets Young in.
The New York Giants are one of the NFL's flagship franchises. They have a rich and colorful history stacked with legendary moments created by legendary players. In the 1950's they helped put the fledgling NFL on a par with baseball, producing some of the game's most celebrated personalities.
Then, in 1964, things changed. Age and poor planning sank the Giants to the bottom of the standings. Between 1964-1978 the once-proud franchise won only 74 games. To top things off, the co-owners - Wellington Mara and his nephew Tim - were engrossed in a bitter feud that furthered the team's demise.
In stepped in NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle. His suggestion to hire Baltimore Colts executive George Young was agreed upon by both parties. It was the best decision, perhaps, in New York sports history.
Young would run the Giants from 1979 through 1997. His tenure would produce two Super Bowl championship teams and return the Giants back to prominence.
George Young was a fair, but tough manager. He made mistakes like most humans are prone to do, but he set the Giants on a course to succeed far into the future. His personnel decisions may be the best any GM has ever made.
It was Young who brought in Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick. Other great football minds would follow. It is a who's who of NFL coaches: Charlie Weis, Mike Nolan, John Fox, Jim Fassel, Dan Reeves, Romeo Crennel, Al Groh, Sean Payton and Tom Coughlin. He is also responsible for hiring future GMs Ernie Accorsi and Jerry Reese.
The list of players Young drafted and signed is even more impressive. Phil Simms is one of the franchise's all-time leading passers. Amani Toomer surpassed all the club's career receiving records and Tiki Barber became the greatest offensive player in Giants' history.
Defensive end Michael Strahan is a recent inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Mark Bavaro was a legendary tight end and a fan favorite.
The list of others is astounding: Leonard Marshall, Mark Haynes, David Meggett, Gary Reasons, Rodney Hampton, Rob Carpenter, Jim Burt, Bart Oates, Joe Morris, Carl Banks, Jumbo Elliott, Jeff Hostetler, Sean Landeta, Keith Hamilton, Brian Williams, Terry Kinard, Karl Nelson, Mark Collins, Pepper Johnson and Jesse Armstead.
Young's coup d'etat came in the 1981 NFL Draft when he chose LB Lawrence Taylor with the second overall selection. I need not tell you how that worked out....
As the Pro Football Hall of Fame passes over inducting Young as a "Contributor" in favor Jerry Jones and Paul Tagliabue, the Giants and their fans should take a moment to thank Mr. Young for his contributions to the franchise and the league. Young passed away in 2001, but his legacy clearly lives on. Just walk through the lobby of the Giants' headquarters and you'll see why.
It is only a matter of time before the voters realize Young's contributions and vote him in. Jones and Tagliabue are credited for taking the NFL to financial heights but it was Young who was one of the men who helped get them there with his deft, class, intelligence and perserverence.
Some of my favorite Young-isms....
"I never draft anyone too smart....If he's smart, he can find something to do other than to play this dumb game."
Young, weighed over 300 lbs in his prime: "I never draft a fat guy because I'm a fat guy and I know what it's like to get into shape."