Of the five modern era players inducted into NFL Hall of Fame in 2019, several names jump off the list. Champ Bailey: the Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins shutdown corner. The immortal Tony Gonzalez, a 14-time Pro Bowler. Safeties Ed Reed and Ty Law–who both played for AFC foes–are certain to strike fear in the hearts of Jags fans.
This list of inductees was narrowed down from a larger collection of 15 finalists, which included safety John Lynch and longtime division rival running back Edgerrin James. Those players will again be on the ballot for 2020. As will one Jags player, who–outside of the 904–is not likely to be a household name (maybe in Buffalo, but we’ll get to that later).
Tony Boselli, the anchor to the Jags offensive line during the team’s most successful era to date, will likely be a finalist for the hall for the 4th time. The dominant left tackle represents the Jags best hope for getting a bust in Canton.
After being taken with the second pick by the Jags in the 1995 draft, Boselli started 90 of 91 games in his professional career. At 6’7 and north of 320 pounds, he was one of the most dominant players at his position (or any position) during that time period. He was selected to five Pro Bowls. He was a three-time first team All-Pro. And he was named Offensive Lineman of the Year in 1998.
“He was a complete animal,” two-time Pro-Bowl Defensive End Willie McGinest told Jaguars.com last year. “Just his ability–his footwork, his length, the length of his arms, his aggressiveness … The guy is huge and [it’s an asset] to have a great athlete’s skill set for a left tackle.”
“He was the new prototype of tackles,” says Jaguars Senior Vice President of Communications Dan Edwards. “He had size and quick feet, smarts. What he was kind of set the standard for Left Tackles going forward.”
Fans old enough to remember the Jags improbable playoff run in 1997 likely have the closeup replays of Boselli absolutely owning Buffalo Bills Defensive End Bruce Smith seared into their memories.
“Bruce Smith was the top Defensive Lineman in the league at that time,” Edwards recalls. “The way Tony played that game, and the coverage that that game got, being a national broadcast, really shined a light on Tony that hadn’t been there before.”
Hell, Boselli was so popular during his days in teal that area McDonald’s Franchises rolled out a Boselli Burger! (Featuring three beef patties and 2 slices of cheese, it was served on the same six-inch sesame seed roll as the McRib. The sandwich was originally created for a national promotion for the 1995 film Batman Forever.)
Yet, despite sharing a signature sandwich with Batman, Boselli’s still considered somewhat of a longshot for the Hall. Injuries truncated the big man’s career, and despite his dominance–and sturdiness–during his stretch with the Jags, seven seasons is a relatively short tenure for HOF inductees.
“If he would have played longer, no question he’d be in already,” says Edwards.
HOF voting is taken up by a secret cabal of sports writers and (allegedly) the Illuminati. Just kidding. The committee is actually comprised of media representatives from each of the 32 NFL cities, and an assortment of sports writers from at-large markets. So, no: Fans don’t actually have a say. But with a little nudging, we may have the power to sway public opinion enough to shake the anti-Boselli bias out of this clandestine body.
In accordance with this mission, we at Void will be taking on a social media campaign in the coming weeks. Using hashtags such as #71in20, #BOSSelli, and #RememberTheBoselliBurger we invite you to join us; share your fave Boselli moments across all social platforms, create your own clever Boselli-related hashtags.
Let’s get 71 in there in ’20!
Super Bowl winning coach Brian Billick called Boselli a “luxury” for game planning purposes. “We don’t have to worry about tackle. We don’t have to chip over there. We don’t have to have to put the right end over there. That’s a hell of an advantage to start with.”
At 6’7” and 320 pounds, Boselli established a prototype for the Left Tackle position that remains to this day.
Boss Hands & Boss Feet
While Boselli’s size made him impossible to bull-rush, his quick hands and feet wouldn’t allow even the slipperiest of Defensive Ends to lay a hand on his main man Mark Brunell.
Pro Bowls: 5. First team All-Pro selections: 3. Offensive Lineman of the Year in 1998.
Boselli was so popular during his days in teal that area McDonald’s franchises rolled out a Boselli Burger. How many players can you think of that have earned a signature sandwich?