NFL General

Will he be a Pro Football Hall of Famer?

We have all heard of Marcus Allen and Warren Moon – both Pro Football Hall of Famers.  But there is a third player with connections to both Marcus and Moon who is a major force in professional football who hasn’t got the recognition those two have but undoubtedly deserves it – Damon Allen.  

Damon Allen was born in San Diego, California and is the younger brother of Marcus.  But more importantly, he is only the second quarterback in all of professional football to reach over 70,000 yards in passing during his professional career.  The first, of course, is Warren Moon with a total of 70,613 yards.
Damon Allen has trooped his way around the Canadian Football League for the past 22 years.  He has played with six CFL teams and racked up some incredible numbers as one of the most exciting quarterbacks in professional football.  Damon began his career with the Edmonton Eskimos shortly after Warren left the Eskimos dynasty that he helped build.

At the age of 43, Allen has now amassed 70,112 passing yards and over 11,750 yards rushing.  Amazing numbers!  He has led his team-mates to four Grey Cups, the CFL equivalent to the Super Bowl.  

Allen is well within reach of Moon’s passing yards record and will likely eclipse it this season if he stays healthy.

But, the question remains, will he be inducted into the professional football Hall of Fame?  Two issues emerge: recognition is hard to come by north of the Canada-USA border; and, he has not played in the NFL.

Canadian, eh?

Playing north of the 49th parallel has its disadvantages.  The Canadian game is different with fewer downs; cold howling wind playing havoc with passes; the late fall snow making visibility difficult and footing uncertain; the frozen turf turning a sack into a potential backbreaking crunch; and, the numb fingers making handling the oversize CFL ball like playing with a frozen turkey at Thanksgiving. All of those trials and hardships make the Canadian game challenging, but certainly a lack of recognition from south of the border may be the major challenge.

Perhaps some notice will be taken of Allen’s recent accomplishment if it is a slow sports news day in the USA.  But that is unlikely with the PGA Championship being played, the pre-season NFL exhibition games beginning and the MLB pennant races heating up.

While Damon Allen has obvious pro football bloodlines that may help, it remains to be seen whether that makes any difference at all.  You just don’t get the recognition if you are in the shadow of your older or bigger brother.  That goes for the CFL being in the shadow of the NFL; Canada, in general, being in the shadow of the USA; and, Damon being in the shadow of Marcus (or even Warren).

Since he hasn’t played in the NFL, does anyone south of the border even know that Damon Allen exists?

No NFL experience

The Hall of Fame induction rules state, “Any fan may nominate any qualified person who has been connected with pro football in any capacity simply by writing to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The only restriction is that a player must have been retired at least five years before he can be considered.”

So, based on that, there is no eligibility restriction limiting inductees coming from the CFL.  While no rule states you have to be born in the USA or that you have to play in the NFL, the likelihood of Damon Allen eventually being inducted into the Canton, Ohio shrine is pretty low.

No other player has been named to the Hall of Fame after a CFL-only career.  Warren Moon, however, spent 6 of his 23-year career quarterbacking in the CFL.  Moon won five consecutive Grey Cups with the Edmonton Eskimos.  That accomplishment alone is significant, but Moon did much more in his 17 NFL seasons including racking up 50,000 of those passing yards we keep referring to.

None of that should diminish the recognition Damon Allen deserves for throwing and running accomplishments throughout his career.  He has by all measures had a career to be honoured.  He may just have to settle for recognition from the shadows of the north – Canada, the CFL and the CFL Hall of Fame.

As a passing (no pun intended) note, two Canadians are enshrined in the Hall of Fame, but they both played in the NFL.  Bronko Nagurski of Rainy River, Ontario played Fullback for the Chicago Bears in the thirties and forties and was inducted in 1963.  Arnie Weinmeister of Rhein, Saskatchewan played Defensive Tackle for the New York Giants in the late forties and early fifties and was inducted in 1984.

3 replies on “Will he be a Pro Football Hall of Famer?”

canada’s game I don’t like how you made it seem almost like the CFL is more difficult to play in, giving the league and its players excuses. the people playing in that league are in that league for one good reason: they simply can’t cut it in the NFL. tell me different. either they are white wide receivers or running backs playing in the only league that accepts them, or they simply aren’t that good. there are always a few exceptions, of course. (i.e dough flutie) but really, it’s at the same level as arena football.

if it’s canada, it just doesn’t matter. simple as that.

also, the guy’s stats are obviously ballooned because he has been playing so damn long. warren moon wasn’t starting up until he was 43. he was a back-up for the last few years of his career.

No excuses For most players in the CFL, you are probably right, they couldn’t make the NFL.  Part of the point in the article is that there may be some late bloomers or players that choose to play in Canada who are quite capable of playing in the NFL and some who should be recognized south of the border BUT they aren’t.

I wasn’t making the point about the toughness of the CFL to give the players excuses – it is tougher in many ways.

I give Moon his props in the article – no issue there.

And you got my point about if it is Canada it doesn’t seem to matter – good for you.

Good Angle I really liked this article and I liked the angle you took.  Good creativity in the topic as well.

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