Chuck Ealey should be in the College Football Hall of Fame, and here's why

Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE

He went 35-0 as Toledo's starting quarterback, but the draconian rules of eligibility are keeping him out.

Another year goes by with the announcement of some more wonderful college football players being enshrined. Among the group is Vinny Testaverde and Tommy Frazier, some highly accomplished quarterbacks. I am not entirely sure why it took over 25 years for Testaverde to get in. Frazier was a long-time coming, too.

I thought I wrote this post already, but it doesn't appear to be the case, so we'll just get it out of the way.

Chuck Ealey quarterbacked Toledo from 1969-71, starting 35 games and leading the Rockets to victory every single time. This was a football team that won games by an average margin of 23 points and also romped in their three Tangerine Bowl games in similar fashion.

I would think anybody would question these results; sure, they may not have played anybody "big," but back then it was a rarity to get a payout game like it is today. The bowl game was your big game, and for the MAC, it signified you won the conference. Everything checks out here.

Here is the issue:

Hall of Fame Criteria:

FIRST AND FOREMOST, A PLAYER MUST HAVE RECEIVED FIRST TEAM ALL-AMERICA RECOGNITION BY A SELECTOR RECOGNIZED BY THE NCAA AND UTILIZED TO COMPRISE THEIR CONSENSUS ALL-AMERICA TEAMS.

And that's, first and foremost, what has kept Ealey out of the discussion. This is a recent change as well, specifically the part about being an All-American used to make consensus All-Americans. Ealey was a first team All-American by the Football News in 1971 (now CFN), but they are not used for All-American purposes today or back then. But CFN was eventually recognized by the NCAA as an All-American selector. If they grandfathered in all those players and got rid of the consensus All-American caveat, this would solve the issue. And that's a lot to ask.

The CFB Hall of Fame is relying on the opinions from that era to draw a definitive line separating the worthy from the rest. We also know more than we did 50 years ago, and back then there was a stigma surrounding black quarterbacks, that most weren't intelligent enough to run a football offense. (The NFL did have black quarterbacks around that time, but very few.) This may be why Ealey was passed over in the NFL Draft — and back then those suckers went 17 rounds. A total of 23 quarterbacks were taken in that draft, including a quarterback from Richmond — a team that Ealey's Rockets beat 28-3 in the '71 Tangerine Bowl. (No big deal — Ealey went to the CFL his rookie year, led his team to the Grey Cup, and had a nice career up there.)

And unfortunately the dividing line continues to be pulled away from Ealey and others. Unless this rule changes, he will remain left out of the Hall. His last chance may come in a veterans committee, which looks at players whose last year of competition was at least 50 years ago. So we're still looking at another 10 years before a committee can even begin to consider this egregious omission, and that should tell you all you need to know about the usefulness of committees.

For now all we have is InductChuck.com, the documentary "Undefeated" which can be seen here, and this blog post, which was finally written a few years later than I meant to, which is all too ironic.

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