Eric Allen Awaits Pro Football Hall of Fame Decision

Eric Allen Awaits Pro Football Hall of Fame Decision

Finally it happened. After years of waiting, former Eagles cornerback Eric Allen has been named one of 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He is now just one step away from having his bust officially recognized in the Hall of Fame in Canton, OH.

This should have happened years ago. Drafted in the second round by Buddy Ryan in 1988, Allen immediately established himself as a late 1980s/90s prospect. like the best corners of the early 2000s under Ryan’s formidable 46 Defense.

His 54 career interceptions are tied for 21st in NFL history, tied with contemporary and Hall of Famers Darrell Green, one more than Hall of Famers Ty Law and Deion Sanders, and two more than Hall of Famers Champ Bailey. Allen started his rookie season in the opening week when he hauled in five INTs.

He was a first-team All-Pro in his second season, where he had a career-high eight interceptions and his first Pro Bowl nod. In all, Allen was a two-time second-team All-Pro (1991, ’93) and made six Pros in his first eight years, including five with the Eagles.

 

In 1993, he finished with a league-high FOUR defensive tackles, including a legendary comeback in Week 4 against the Jets. Allen’s legacy goes far beyond just interceptions and touchdowns. His role in the Buddy Ryan-Bud Carson scheme was crucial when the two legendary coaches often used opposing offenses. Ryan and Carson relied on Allen being selected as the opposing team’s primary receiver, often in double spreads without safety help.

His ability to make the 46 Defense play effectively on the island helped the defense of the Eagles at that time to remain one of the most effective and wild defenses during his time wearing the green and silver. After the 1994 season, Allen left Philadelphia, along with several other players from the Ryan/Carson defense, to sign with the New Orleans Saints, recording five interceptions and starting 16 games each season.

He was later traded to the Oakland Raiders, where he played the final four seasons of his career in his age-36 season and led the league in 2000 with three INTs. After turning 33, he had 15 interceptions. Overall, Allen never finished a season without a pick in his illustrious 14-year career and had a knack for finding the end zone. He is currently the only cornerback outside of Canton with 50 or more interceptions and eight fumble recoveries, and remember, he set many of those marks when teams passed the ball less often than they do today.

Of course, one can argue against his inclusion. According to Pro Football Reference’s Hall of Fame Monitor, his HOFm of 60.95 ranks 53rd among DBs. The average HOF DB is 98.02, so it looks like some opponents will be able to convince. Allen has one more hurdle to clear before he can speak in Canton this summer.

The committee will meet next month to narrow the field to a maximum of five, all of whom must receive at least 80 percent funding. So there’s still a good chance he’ll make it, but we’ll know for sure on February 8th during the “NFL Honors” ceremony.

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