Tue. Dec 31st, 2019

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Best Hall of Fame Busts: AFC

Unless you’ve got memory loss from taking one of his famous hard hits, you already know by now that Ed Reed stole the show at the 2019 NFL Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. While there’s no question that his legendary bronze bust already has cemented its own legacy as a future first ballot Hall of Famer in its own right, I couldn’t help but think that somehow, somewhere in the halls of that 1950’s era high school gym (complete with a Pope’s hat roof ornament), at least one, if not many of the 326 Inductees have been overlooked.

Football is literally a religion for the folks in Canton, Ohio

Starting with the AFC, we’ll take a look at the best bust from each team, and find out whether or not Ed Reed really deserves to take home the gold. Its important to note that two NFL teams, the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars, have failed to contribute to the Hall of Fame, and won’t be included in this list. So to all six of their fans, I don’t apologize.

Baltimore Ravens – Ed Reed

I promise this article is about more than this man’s Bad Ass sculpture
Source – Twitter

I had one job in this article – to shine a spotlight on the Busts of any player that isn’t Ed Reed. So not only was I disappointed when none of the other Ravens busts could hold a candle to Reed’s, but the Laws of Physics (and Alphabetical Order) make it so that he gets the first slot of our list.

Buffalo Bills – Ralph Wilson Jr.

Source – Hall of Fame

Between the bitter cold upstate New York winters and his bitterness about his team losing four straight Super Bowls in the 90’s, you’d think that the founder and original owner of the franchise would have had more wrinkles.

Cincinnati Bengals – Anthony Muñoz

Source – Hall of Fame

The Bengals might only have one Hall of Famer to truly call their own, but Muñoz’s bust holds its own as well as he did against defensive lines in his 13-year career, which included 11 straight All-Pro and Pro Bowl bids, four touchdown receptions, and countless mustache rides as an offensive tackle.

Cleveland Browns – Dante Lavelli

My money is on #2
Source – Hall of Fame

At first I was surprised to see that its been nearly 30 years since a Brown’s player has played a down of football, but then remembered that they’ve had more HoF inductees in the history of their franchise than total wins in their past six seasons.

Lavelli’s chompers are what stood out to me, and I’ve decided that its because the guy who does the teeth on these busts called in sick, was a huge fan of Jaws from the James Bond series… or is just a mouthguard.

Denver Broncos – Shannon Sharpe

An impressive 65% chance of catching a ball thrown his way, paired with a 35% chance of making an All-Pro team during his career leaves little room for him to give a damn about Skip Bayless’ opinions on Undisputed.
Source – Washington Post

Let’s face it, you can’t just look at this man’s bust without looking over your shoulder with anxiety. The former tight end who racked up over 10,000 yards and 60 TDs may have a million dollar smile, but his bust clearly has a mind of its own.

Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts – Art Donovan

You could land a plane on this guy’s hair-do.
Source – Hall of Fame

If I were Art, my single biggest regret in life would easily be the fact that I didn’t get to keep my bust and use it as a pedestal for one of my other trophies with a haircut like that. Achievements include multiple NFL Championships, six All-Pro seasons, and one hosting of the World Wrestling Federation’s King of the Ring event.

Kansas City – Lamar Hunt

What a nerd.
Source – Hall of Fame

If you don’t believe me when I say that there aren’t many busts of Hall of Famers wearing glasses, I’d be happy to show you my search history that’s full of links of these guys’ faces to prove it…

…On second thought, just take my word for it so we can both save ourselves from feeling disgusted and awkward about the rest of my search history.

San Diego Chargers – Dan Fouts

A Bust of Flowsideon – God of Whiskers (250 B.C.)
Source – Hall of Fame

As much as I’d love to add “L.A.” to the header, Dan told me that I’m not allowed to, so I’ll go ahead and oblige to avoid angering him or his badass beard. Fouts may not have won a ring during his 15-year career, but his numerous All-Pro and Pro Bowl nods, Offensive Player of the Year award, and numerous League leading stats over the years make his legacy one that won’t be shaved off the minds of fans any time soon.

Miami Dolphins – Paul Warfield

Paul Warfield: The Uncanny Valley of Hall of Fame Busts
Source – Hall of Fame

It must’ve been “Bring-your-kid-to-work Day” when the sculptor of Paul Warfield’s bust was working on it because no one in their right mind will tell you that it looks anything like the great wide receiver. With two Super Bowls, an NFL Championship, and two receiving touchdown leading seasons under his belt, Warfield’s bust may look no better than Cristiano Ronaldo’s, his impressive career makes up for it and more.

New England Patriots – Andre Tippett

Don’t let his subtle grin fool you, his karate skills might just result in your downfall.
Source – Hall of Fame

I’ll be honest with all you Pats fans out there; I truly couldn’t find an especially interesting bust of one of your players, and went with the most interesting player (in my opinion) that you’re responsible for sending to Canton. That said, you’re known for being a no-frills, all business team, so maybe it was simply fate. With 100 sacks to his name, Tippett can lay claim to being a Defensive Player of The Year for both the AFC and entire league in 1985, and is a 6th degree black belt in Karate.

New York Jets – Weeb Ewbank

Source – Hall of Fame

Known as the only coach to win a championship in both the NFL and AFL, good ol’ Charles “Weeb” Ewbank’s bust resembles a large hunk of bronze with features resembling eyes, a nose and a mouth peppered in. He might not have the looks of “Broadway” Joe Namath, but you can take just one look at this absolute unit and know that he was a leader of men on the gridiron.

Oakland Raiders – Ken Stabler

Source – AL.com

Ken Stabler might not look the part, but this quarterback took the league by storm throughout the 1970’s despite looking like a player in a much “tougher” position than his own. Despite having a 194:222 TD:INT ratio, this 1974 MVP recipient and Super Bowl XI Ring owner is considered by this expert as having the most remarkable bust of all Oakland Raiders greats – so far at least.

Pittsburgh Steelers – Terry Bradshaw

Source – Hall of Fame

Terry’s bust deserves to win one of two awards – the first being, “most likely to be used as a mirror”, and the second, “Should have been modeled after himself 40 years ago.” Bradshaw may look well past his prime in his bust, but he’s a household name among Yinzers and football fans alike, so we’ll give him a pass on both accounts.

Tennessee Titans/Houston Oilers – Curley Culp

If you’re given the name, “Curley” at birth, you’re probably going to have to have a sense of humor. As funny sounding as it may be, Culp was all business during his 11-year career, with a Super Bowl and an AFL Championship on his resume, in addition to an NFL Defensive Player of the Year nod in 1975. He clearly chose to go back to his roots when enshrinement time came around, though, as his cheery expression on his Hall of Fame bust is one that you don’t see on many inductees.

We’ll be looking at the NFC side of this coin later this week, so stay tuned for more quality content from Straightforward Sports to find out the best Hall of Fame Busts from the rest of the league.

Featured Image – Hall of Fame. Photo Credit Wikipedia.

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