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Peyton Manning talks Hall of Fame case for Edgerrin James, Tom Moore

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St. Louis Rams vs Indianapolis Colts - October 17, 2005 Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

This Saturday, former Colts head coach Tony Dungy and wide receiver Marvin Harrison will both be formally inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as members of the Class of 2016.

The two will join general manager Bill Polian, who was inducted last year, as members from the Colts’ record-breaking era of the 2000s, and they won’t be the last ones in either. Quarterback Peyton Manning is guaranteed to go in the Hall of Fame in five years, and it’s possible that others might join them as well - such as Adam Vinatieri, Edgerrin James, Reggie Wayne, Jeff Saturday, Dwight Freeney, or Robert Mathis.

Manning, the only lock from the group, appeared on 1070 the Fan with JMV this afternoon and was asked whether he thinks Edge is a Hall of Famer. Manning obviously thinks the running back is, but explained why:

“I certainly do [think Edge should get in], Manning said. “There’s no doubt about it. And I think there’s a large list of guys that I played with, that were a part of the Colts era that I believe [should be Hall of Famers], and no doubt Edgerrin James. I’m telling you [he] was just tough, was durable, unselfish, [could] block, catch, pick up the blitz, [was] one of the best teammates I ever had. I really mean this, one of the best teammates I ever had. Absolutely unselfish and just flat out productive, and guys just flat out got tired of tackling him in the fourth quarter, right? You remember those games in the fourth quarter, he would just wear guys down. Great work ethic as well, just like Marvin. So I certainly hope he is the next one, because he’s due and he deserves it, just like Marvin and Tony do as well. So I’m looking forward to being with all those guys and having lots of laughs on Saturday night and talking about some great memories.”

JMV also asked Manning about his former offensive coordinator, Tom Moore, and whether he should be a Hall of Famer.

“Well it’s funny, I mean obviously there is no open window, at least right now it seems like, for assistant coaches,” Manning began. “But if that category ever gets opened, then Tom Moore needs to be on that first ballot, along with Howard Mudd, another Colt, Dick LeBeau, who’s in as a player but has been just an outstanding assistant coach. And Tom Moore always told me, and I think it’s true, it seems like there’s a trend toward certain coaches not wanting to be the best assistant coach they can be because they’re too busy trying to climb the ladder so fast to be a coordinator to be a head coach. And look, I can’t speak for Tom, I know for sure – I should say, I feel pretty good – that I’m sure he aspired to be a head coach at some point. But I’m telling you, he was the flat out best assistant that you could ever have. And he took that much pride in his job. I mean, he was going to do the best job he could for the head coaches that he worked for, and he’s still going. As he told me in his Tom Moore voice, [begins Tom Moore impersonation] ‘retirement is overrated.’ And that’s just how he talks, I have that voice ingrained into my mind because he called all those plays into my headpiece for all those years.

“He’s still going,” Manning continued. “I threw a great retirement party for Tom Moore and Howard Mudd both. We had a great party in Indianapolis, I think we were down at St. Elmo’s or Harry and Izzy’s, one of them, had a video, I called his wife, I got some old pictures of him, I found out his favorite music, I did these video tributes from all these coaches and players, great retirement video tribute party. Lots of great toasts. And then the next year, what do you do? He comes back and coaches. I said, ‘Tom, I want the video back. I want the video back, I want the pictures back.’ I said, ‘you don’t get to go to your own eulogy and hear how great you are and then keep doing it!’ And he said, ‘no, no, no, I love it, I watch it all the time.’ And Howard did the same thing. I got Howard this great triple collage jersey of the 49ers and Bears, where he played, and the Colts jersey of all the years he coached, and said, ‘Howard, I want the jersey. I want it back.’ I go, ‘it’s not right.’ He goes, ‘well, I have…’ you know. And so bringing up those guys, assistant coaches are an under appreciated part of the NFL, and Tom obviously means a great deal to me.”

JMV said that he thinks Tom Moore belongs in, and Peyton Manning echoed the sentiments - and I’ll add that I agree as well. If assistant coaches could ever get in the Hall of Fame, Tom Moore would be at or near the very top of the list of the most deserving coaches. Moore was the architect behind the scenes of the Colts offense and was an integral part of the team’s success. Moore is one of the most brilliant offensive minds the game has known, and he deserves recognition. I’m not sure if assistants will ever be included, but I do think it’s something to consider - especially with the new contributor category. At the very least, though, I think the Colts need to put Moore in their Ring of Honor - but since they already honored him, I doubt that will happen.

As for James, I’ve written before about how I think his case stacks up nicely, but it’s anything but certain that he’ll get in. Manning’s right about his impact, but there’s the question of whether the Hall of Fame voters realize it or not.