Bruce Smith questions process for Tony Boselli making NFL Hall of Fame: 'It sets a horrible precedent'

·3-min read

Buffalo Bills legend Bruce Smith, the NFL's all-time leader in sacks, isn't a big fan of the process by which Jacksonville Jaguars offensive lineman Tony Boselli was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Smith discussed the issue on Instagram, saying the reasoning behind Boselli's induction "sets a horrible precedent." Boselli was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in February and will enter as part of the class of 2022.

Smith specifically took issue with Boselli's supporters using his performance against Smith in the 1996 NFL playoffs as a reason Boselli deserved to be in the Hall of Fame.

Smith's post, which spans five images on Instagram, covered a number of topics. Smith began by discussing the 1996 season playoff game, in which Boselli limited Smith to three tackles and no sacks to help the Jaguars win 30-27.

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Smith argued it sets a bad precedent to use one game against another Hall of Famer as a reason for induction. Smith said Hall of Fame players don't boast about their performances against other Hall of Famers because it would create "friction and discord" about the group. He added that "player campaigns have historically been presented respectfully and thoughtfully."

Bruce Smith questions Tony Boselli's Hall of Fame credentials

For three of those images, Smith addresses Boselli's supporters, but not Boselli. It isn't until the fourth image that Smith takes a shot at Boselli's NFL career.

"Tony was a formidable opponent during his brief career, but I find it difficult to compare the totality of his work with those of the NFL's greatest Left Tackles. With the exception of the legendary Anthony Munoz; Jonathan Ogden, Willie Roaf and Walter Jones all protected the blind side of the quarterback for 12 seasons or more. In Jacksonville, Leon Searcy bore the arduous task of protecting Mark Brunell's blindside, while Tony benefited from protecting the extremely talented, mobile left handed quarterback."

Boselli spent only seven seasons in the NFL, but he was a decorated player on the field. Boselli made five Pro Bowl appearances and was named to three All-Pro teams during his stint with the Jaguars. He was Jacksonville's first-ever draft pick, going No. 2 overall in the 1995 NFL draft. He played a big role in the team making the playoffs during the second year of the franchise's existence.

That's a short peak for a Hall of Famer, though it's not like Boselli was a pushover.

Smith, however, believes Boselli benefited from not being a traditional left tackle. As Smith pointed out, Boselli played for a left-handed quarterback and thus didn't technically protect Mark Brunell's blind side. That feels like a bit of a cheap shot. Boselli was a great left tackle who had no control over the fact that his quarterback was a lefty.

Smith's post creates a potentially nasty situation between two Hall of Fame players. Smith highlighted how respectful and cordial Hall of Famers usually treat each other before turning around and ripping apart a future Hall of Famer.

If anything, Smith's message makes Boselli's Hall of Fame speech must-see television. Calling out the NFL's all-time leading sack leader in your Hall of Fame speech would be one heck of a way to enter the Hall.

The NFL's all-time sacks leader Bruce Smith (78) called out Tony Boselli's Hall of Fame induction process on social media. (Getty)
The NFL's all-time sacks leader Bruce Smith (78) called out Tony Boselli's Hall of Fame induction process on social media. (Getty)
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