Coy Bacon deserves to be in Hall of Fame

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The ceremonies are complete. The newest class has received its membership card into the elite club known as the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

But there are so many more who deserve membership to this club only to be omitted for one reason or the other.

One player who deserves to be enshrined but evidently doesn’t have the right support or press agent is gifted defensive lineman Coy Bacon, a product of Ironton High School who played 16 seasons overall in the NFL.

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There were six inductees on Saturday including Cleveland guard Gene Hickerson and Detroit tight end Charlie Sanders who were named by the veterans committee.

Bacon would have to be selected by the veterans committee, but for some reason they only like to induct one or two players a year. Maybe those players become even better the longer they don’t play.

If a player belongs in the Hall of Fame, put them in. Why wait? Why not put them in the Hall while they are healthy — or alive for that matter — and can enjoy the award?

Forget pitting opinions for or against Bacon’s worthiness. Bacon has the career numbers to merit Hall of Fame status that can’t be denied.

After two years on the Dallas Cowboys taxi squad, he was traded to the Los Angeles Rams and became a member of the famous “Fearsome Foursome” defensive line along with Hall of Famers David “Deacon” Jones and Merlin Olsen.

Bacon was traded three more times, and on each occasion it was to a team in need of a pass rusher.

First he went to San Diego and led the Chargers in quarterback sacks. But the Chargers found themselves in need of a wide receiver and swapped Bacon for the Cincinnati Bengals Charlie Joiner.

Joiner not only had a great career with the Chargers, he became a Hall of Fame inductee himself.

So how did Bacon fare in Cincinnati? He was the team’s Most Valuable Player in 1976 and set an NFL record with 26 sacks. The NFL later adjusted the total to 22, thus allowing New York Jets end Mark Gastineau to get the new record in later years.

Bacon was an All-Pro in 1972 and both seasons with the Bengals (1976-77).

Washington made a deal for Bacon and, despite being 37-years old, he set what was then a Redskins’ team record with 15 sacks in 1979.

Bill “Tiger” Johnson, who spent 50 years in the NFL as a player, coach and scout, said called Bacon “the best pass rusher I ever saw behind Gino Marchetti and Deacon Jones.”

Don’t play the character card. The enshrinement of Michael Irvin on Saturday trumps that argument.

And, anyone who knows the kind of work Bacon has done with the youth in Ironton would argue that erases how a young player from a small town was influenced by established stars who supposedly took him under their wing.

At 6-foot-4, 270 pounds, Bacon was an imposing figure. He had speed, quickness, and a raw strength that made him a nightmare to block.

Some people have argued that Bacon was merely a pass rusher, but he didn’t just play in passing situations. He played against the run, and you don’t play 14 years in the NFL as a one-dimensional player.

If I had a vote, Lander McCoy Bacon would sitting in a chair right now and posing for his bronze bust.