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Derrick Thomas, Alabama, the South Snubbed by College Football Hall of Fame - AGAIN

How can you have a College Football Hall of Fame without Derrick Thomas? That is a question that has plagued mankind since the dawn of 1998 (his first year of consideration).

DT on the prowl.
DT on the prowl.
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I cannot wait for the completion of construction of the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta because I can make plans to not visit it.

Once again, the late great Derrick Thomas has been shut out of the Hall.

After missing out in 2012, Ivan Maisel of had reported "the Hall has a rule against taking players from the same school in consecutive years." It's funny how the Hall has been open for 61 years and there are 43 Notre Dame inductees (Michigan is second with 30; Bama has 18* - see bottom of this article). A bunch of grey-haired old men up in South Bend, Indiana can hem and haw about "fairness" and ridiculous "rules" but truth be told, there seems to be a strong bias against southern schools.

The following institutions have had the most players inducted:

Institution Total
Last inductee
Notre Dame 43 2010
Michigan 30 2011
Southern California 28 2007
Ohio State 28 2013
Army 24 2004
Pittsburgh 24 2005
Oklahoma 23 2013
Penn State 22 2009
Minnesota 22 2011
Princeton 21 2002
Yale 21 2007
Tennessee 20 2006
Navy 19 2002
Pennsylvania 18 2001
Texas 18 2013
Alabama 18* 2009
Harvard 17 2010
Stanford 16 2006
California 15 2004
Nebraska 14 2013
UCLA 14 2012

What is wrong with this picture? It is amazing to think of all the Alabama players who have not been elected. Just a few of the names NOT in this HALL: Joe Namath, Kenny Stabler, Shaun Alexander, Tommy Lewis, Bart Starr, Ray Perkins, Wilbur Jackson, E. J. Junior, Bob Baumhower, Tommy Wilcox, Paul Crane, Don McNeal, Dwight Stephenson, Mike Pitts, Keith McCants, John Copeland, Eric Curry, Antonio Langham and so on.

So who is in? Three in this 2013 class are interesting: Percy Snow of Michigan State, Tedy Bruschi of Arizona, and Oklahoma linebacker Rod Shoate. Snow played around the same time as Thomas. He was a good player but I would not say better. Bruschi is tied for the career sack record. Can you guess who he is tied with? Yep, DT. I am not familiar with Shoate but also a linebacker.

K-State linebacker Mark Simoneau was elected last year. Linebackers Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern (1993-96) and Wilber Marshall, Florida (1980-83) are in too. Add West Virginia's LB Darryl Talley (1978-1982) among the elite as well. None of these guys were as good as Derrick Thomas and none of them could dominate a game like he did.


But I digress. I am not going to let these uptight bozos up north rain on this parade. Today is a day to celebrate the life of a true Alabama Crimson Tide and College Football legend.


For the uneducated, Derrick Thomas was a linebacker ahead of this time. He was big as a defensive end (6-3/255) but fast like a safety. He rarely missed a tackle and saw the field as well as any LB of his day or today.

In 1988, he set an NCAA record of 27 sacks - a record that still stands today. By comparison, Jarvis Jones of Georgia led D-I this past season with 14.5 sacks. For his college career, Thomas had 52 sacks another record. He had a nose for the ball and an intensity that made quarterbacks quake.


  • 1988 SEC Defensive Player of the Year
  • 1988 Consensus All-America
  • 1988 Dick Butkus Award
  • 1988 one of two permanent team captains commemorated with handprints and footprints in front of Denny Chimes (QB David Smith was the other)
  • 10th in the 1988 Heisman voting (He had some pretty big names ahead of him)
  • 74 career tackles for loss, 39 in 1988
  • Seven career blocked kicks
  • 1989 1st round pick (4th overall) of the Kansas City Chiefs

Those who knew him on campus remember him as a humble regular guy who took his education seriously. Thomas' father was an Air Force Captain and B-52 pilot who died during a mission in Vietnam in service for this country. He was raised by his mother in Miami, Florida.

What else does it take?


It is no criteria for the CFBHOF but as good as he was at Alabama, he kept up his dominance at the next level. DT is still one of the most revered Kansas City Chiefs of all time. You can still see fans wearing their #58 jerseys at Chiefs games.

  • 1989 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year
  • Honored by then President George H.W. Bush in 1992 for his charity work
  • 1993 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award - honoring a player's volunteer and charity work
  • NFL Record 7 sacks in 1 game
  • 41 career forced fumbles
  • 8 forced fumbles in one season
  • 19 recovered fumbles
  • 126.5 career sacks
  • 20 sacks in one season
  • 3 career safeties
  • Nine Consecutive Pro Bowls from 1989 to 1997
  • Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009
  • NFL 1990s All-Decade Team
  • Number 58 retired by the Chiefs in 2009

Not only was he a great player, but he had a great smile and a generous heart. In 1990, Thomas founded the Third and Long Foundation to fight illiteracy in the inner city of Kansas City. Part of his legacy is the Derrick Thomas Academy which is still associated with the Chiefs organization.

Sadly in 2000, Thomas was cut down in his prime at age 33 when he lost control of his vehicle on an icy highway. He had been paralyzed from the accident but died just two weeks later of an apparent heart attack related to the crash. I can't believe it has been 13 years since he left us. I can still see his smiling face. Roll Tide, Derrick.

Derrick Thomas Chiefs portrait photo.jpg

Alabama Players in the CFBHOF

Cornelius Bennett 2005
Johnny Mack Brown 1957
Johnny Cain 1973
Harry Gilmer 1993
John Hannah 1999
Dixie Howell 1970
Pooley Hubert 1964
Don Hutson 1951
Lee Roy Jordan 1983
Woodrow Lowe 2009
Marty Lyons* 2011
Vaughn Mancha 1990
Johnny Musso 2000
Billy Neighbors 1973
Ozzie Newsome 1994
Fred Sington 1955
Riley Smith 1985
Don Whitmire 1956

* Correction: I forgot to add Marty Lyons in my original post who was elected in 2011.