If you’ve been keeping up with the Hustle Hall of Fame over the last few weeks, you are aware of what’s happening. Fan voting has decided the first of two entrants for each MAC member to craft an inaugural Class of 2017 for the Hustle Hall of Fame. Next up from the Toledo Rockets, quarterback Chuck Ealey!
I like writing about sports. I don’t much care to write about politics or social issues. It’s not that I don’t care about those, quite the opposite, but sports is my refuge from such real world problems.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, I can’t tell the story of Chuck Ealey without going there. The man was a black quarterback. In the modern world, that might not seem like a big deal. There are plenty of black quarterbacks, including several that have won Super Bowls and are argued to be the best.
However, there is no Cam Newton or Russel Wilson without Chuck Ealey. Sure, there were others that helped break that barrier. Warren Moon, Doug Williams, and Condredge Holloway come to mind. But to deny Chuck Ealey his place would be fallacy.
What he did on the field is unmatched. Ealey-led teams won 35 out of 35 games while at Toledo. He was awarded some fame, but not a shot at the NFL, and ultimately not a shot at the college football hall of fame. He was a little undersized, and maybe he wasn’t the prototypical NFL QB, so I wont stress too much about that. He found a home in Canada, both on the playing field and for his family. Maybe he could have been the next Joe Namath, we’ll never know.
What I do know is that archaic guidelines to the NCAA Hall of Fame unduly punishes Chuck. Under the current rules, he will never be a member. He won 35 games in a row as a starting quarterback in college at a D1 school. Why? Because he was only a second team All-American on an accredited list. The rules say you need to be a “real” first team All-American. Was his blackness a factor, or the fact that he played at a small school? Maybe it was just because he played in an era of great QBs.
In any case, Chuck Ealey being inducted into the Hustle Hall of Fame validates it. We are getting it right.
Welcome Chuck Ealey to the Hustle Hall of Fame