Hall of Fame defensive end Bruce Smith was a rightful, first-ballot Hall of Famer. Yet he missed the mark badly when talking about new inductee, Tony Boselli.
Bruce Smith didn’t often miss duding his NFL career. Hell, his league-record 200 sacks can attest to that.
On Tuesday, Smith missed the mark when discussing fellow Hall of Famer in former Jacksonville Jaguars left tackle Tony Boselli. After a long wait, Boselli is scheduled to be inducted as part of the Class of 2022 come August.
On Instagram, Smith blasted the induction of Boselli being, in his opinion, based off the left tackle’s dominate over Smith in a 1996 AFC Wild Card Game in which Jacksonville upset Buffalo at Rich Stadium. In part, Smith had this to offer:
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“The HOF is an exclusive fraternity that follows a tacit code of conduct which fosters respect and brotherhood between its members. Given the opportunity, any Hall of Famer could use his credentials to boast about his dominance over another member, but such behavior is deemed inappropriate because of the friction and discord it could create within the group. Maintaining harmony and goodwill in the HOF is paramount, and it is precisely why player campaigns have historically been presented respectfully and thoughtfully, allowing the candidate’s stats and complete body of work to speak resoundingly for itself.”
Smith may feel singled out, but Boselli was fantastic in his short career. The Jaguars’ star played only seven seasons due to a career-ending injury in 2001. However, Boselli was a five-time Pro Bowler and a three-time First-Team All-Pro. As well as that, he was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame 1990s Team.
While Boselli can be argued as a Hall of Famer — and that’s evident considering how long it took him to earn enshrinement — the conversation would center around his longevity instead of his talent. Nobody who saw Boselli play would say his talent doesn’t merit induction, something Smith certainly knows as well.
Smith has a right to his commentary, but it makes him seem small instead of happy for a fellow member. While he was shut down against Boselli, he was far from the only one, and although some may point to that performance in ’96 as a reason for enshrinement, no serious voter would ever vote a player in based on one afternoon.
The bottom line? Smith didn’t miss much in his incredible career, but he missed badly this week.