The case for Olin Kreutz for the hall of fame

Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

A look at Olin Kreutz and if he has any chance to make the hall of fame one day.

The newest class to the hall of fame will be announced later this week, and with the hall of fame on everyone’s mind, we take a look at some Chicago Bears and make their case for Canton.

Olin Kreutz was an anchor for the Chicago Bears’ offensive line for several years. Kreutz was a key member of the Bears’ Super Bowl squad in 2006 and was also one of the team’s captains.

Kreutz will one day be honored by the Chicago Bears for his contributions to the team, but will he ever get the grandest honor an NFL player can receive and get the call to Canton one day? That’s going to be an uphill battle but can the case be made?

When the Pro Football Hall of Fame voters get together the Saturday before the Super Bowl, they have lengthy discussions about the worthiness of each finalist. For many players, there are plenty of statistics that can be cited by the presenter for said finalist, but for offensive linemen, that is far more difficult, and often, awards and distinctions is what separates offensive linemen from the pack.

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When looking at Kreutz, the first thing that stands out is that Kreutz made six Pro Bowls. That’s a significant number and one that can’t be overlooked. But of honors one can receive, it’s probably the lowest on the totem pole for what voters examine.

The number that pops more for voters is All-Pro, specifically first team All-Pro. That will be the biggest hurdle for Kreutz to clear. Kreutz was only named first team All-Pro once, and second team All-Pro once.  While earning All-Pro honors twice is a great accomplishment, traditionally that’s a total that isn’t enough for voters to be impressed.

What will impress voters is that Kreutz did earn a spot on the NFL all-decade team for the 2000s. That means Kreutz was seen as one of the top two centers in the league for that decade. When you look closer at the all decade team, you’ll see that the other center is Kevin Mawae. Mawae has been a three-time finalist for the Hall of Fame and was All-Pro eight times, seven of those with the first team.

If Kreutz is ever a finalist, Mawae will absolutely be used as a reason for Kreutz to be considered. The All-Pro team only goes two deep. Mawae was a dominant center at the same time of Kreutz, and just because Kreutz wasn’t as good as Mawae, it doesn’t mean he wasn’t a great player.

With Mawae earning an All-Pro nod almost every season, that left only one other spot for the rest of the centers in the league. Is Kreutz getting that nod twice enough to show that he dominated the position and should be headed to Canton? That will be up to the voters.

The hall of fame is a process and a slow one at that. Before Kreutz is even considered, Mawae will have to be enshrined in Canton first. Kreutz is yet to be a semifinalist for the hall of fame. That’s something you would expect Kreutz to earn at some point, but getting the jump from semifinalist, to finalist, to enshrinee are all significant jumps.

Will Kreutz ever make the jump to Canton? Honestly, it’s a long shot, but it’s hard to ignore who those same voters considered the second best center of his era and the only man he trailed is a slam dunk hall of famer.