Does two All-Decade nods give Devin Hester a Hall of Fame boost?
Nothing about Devin Hester’s eight-year run in Chicago was forgettable, but excuse us if Hester’s All-Decade nod caught some of us off guard.
It wasn’t that Hester wasn’t great in the 2010s. Heck, he missed half the decade and still finished third in kickoff return yards and second in punt return yards. It’s more in knowing that this wasn’t even his best decade.
There were enough nights to count on two hands in which the three-time All-Pro selection created more chances to score than Chicago’s offense did itself. When all was said and done, his 19 return touchdowns paced the rest of the NFL’s history for the No. 1 spot.
So, why bring all of this up? Well, guess who created these All-Decade teams? The NFL and the Pro Football Hall of Fame committee.
In case you were wondering, Hester was also a member of the NFL’s All-Decade team for the 2000s. So surely, a level of dominance spanning two different decades — including one of the most memorable plays in NFL history — means that Hester’s chances of getting into Canton are boosted by this stamp. Per Larry Meyer of the Bears’ website, only two other Bears have ever made two teams (Dick Butkus and Walter Payton), and both of them are in Canton.
There’s no checklist for the Hall of Fame, but one of the defining characteristics of those who are on their way, are that they either change the game, or they force the opposition to change the way they play. Putting trepidation into the hearts of opponents is something Hester did with regularity. An example of that comes from Super Bowl XLI when then-Colts head coach Tony Dungy found himself with an angel on one shoulder, devil on the other at a church service, thinking of if he should kick the ball to Hester or not.
"“While we were in Miami the week of the game, we had a chapel speaker who talked about how David got after Goliath and he wasn’t afraid. Everybody else ran away from Goliath. And David ran right to him. So I started thinking about that and I said to myself, “Gosh, we can’t play scared. We’re kind of playing scared here with Devin Hester and that’s not setting the right tone.” I started to change my mind.”"
Here’s a statistic for the road: in every season of Hester’s run from 2006 to 2013, the Chicago Bears were among the top-10 in starting field position, including three first-place finishes in 2009, 2010, and 2012.
When you think about some of the offenses the Bears have put on the field at that time, you understand how important that is. The respectable seasons as a wide receiver are icing on the cake. It’d certainly be a little sweeter if the Pro Football Hall of Fame gives him the ultimate prize here shortly.