Ray Ratto

Will Hall of Fame call 49ers, Raiders legends?


Will Hall of Fame call 49ers, Raiders legends?

The Pro Football Hall of Fame could take on a decidedly Bay Area tinge come Saturday afternoon if the stars, and votes, align properly.

They wont, but they could.

A field of 17 finalists that includes Tim Brown, Charles Haley, Eddie DeBartolo The Younger, Chris Doleman and Dick Stanfel goes into the selectors room in Indianapolis Saturday morning for several hours of warm coffee, relatively fresh pastries and arguments about whose favorite guys get picked over the other guys favorite guys.

And therein lies the real secret of the Hall of Fame process. Its all about the room.

There is such a backlog of candidates that just getting to be a finalist is a gauntlet few men can handle, so the notion that someone is a sure Hall of Famer is typically a ludicrous statement. Bob Brown was by common agreement the most dominant offensive lineman in the game for a decade, and he had to wait 26 years for induction.

That is the thing to keep in mind when you hear the words, Brown, Haley, DeBartolo and Stanfel are probably not going to get in this time.

Not because they arent worthy candidates lots of players are capable of being a worthy candidate. No, theyll probably miss because the room is a hell for resumes like theirs. Judgments and regional biases are in play, and the strength of a candidacy is often based in great part on the strength of a presenters argument in the room.

Brown has a ton and a half of catches in his time with the Raiders, but the argument against him has always been the same he didnt have any true signature moments for all those catches. Yes, he is being punished in the room for being on a series of mediocre to poor Raider teams, but thats the way it plays in the room.

DeBartolo is upheld as a great owner who lavished money and care on his team, but is also dismissed as a creature of the time. Yes, he found Bill Walsh (or more precisely, Walsh was found for him), but he never had to cope with a salary cap, and his dalliances in Louisiana politics got him in trouble with the law. There are corners of the room that do not hold kindly to that.

Haley was an exemplary player in San Francisco and Dallas, but his mercurial nature (and we cleaned that up) will be used against him in any argument. Also, Cowboys tend to get more spirited arguments for and against because theyre, well, Cowboys, making him a borderline candidate in the room.

Doleman has been a finalist before, but he is known mostly as a Minnesota Viking; he played only his last three years in San Francisco, so he is a 49er in the same way that Eric Dickerson is a Raider. His overall resume is better than Haleys, except for the Super Bowl rings

And Stanfel, the USF grad who played seven years in Detroit and Washington and then compiled a long career as an assistant coach, is a senior nominee with Jack Butler the old 50s Pittsburgh cornerback. Both are mild stretches because most of the people in the room didnt see them as players, and their candidacies depend almost entirely on the presentation.

The most likely enshrinees are believed by amateur sleuths to be Willie Roaf, Dermontti Dawson, Jerome Bettis and Andre Reed, though nobody is a slam-dunk. The room is a cruel place, though, and for the Bay Areas contingent, for at least another year.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com.

Celtics are the rivals Warriors fans need

Celtics are the rivals Warriors fans need

You don’t think you needed this game to go this way, but you did, and you do.

The Golden State Warriors spat out a 17-point lead and lost, 92-88, in Boston Thursday night, in a game that was taut if not particularly elegant, and in a game that elevated the Celtics to a place that makes them the new heir apparent to the heir apparent.

The Celtics have been a difficult out for the Warriors during the Brad Stevens Era, losing six of nine but only being blown out twice, and Thursday was not one of those nights. The box score will tell you the shooting and rebounding problems, but the Warriors had that lead and didn’t hold it. Or, to be accurate, the Celtics had that deficit and refused to let it destroy them.

Which is exactly the kind of team you, the fully licensed Warrior fan, want to watch play your team in the NBA Finals. You want to see them genuinely challenged, forced to win outside their comfort zone, induced to show their greatness in the highest of high leverage situations.

At least we think that’s what you want. Maybe you prefer blowouts so you can drink and go to the bathroom without care or fear. After all, the Warriors have taught the area the true meaning of front-running by being in front so often.

But the Celtics play a level of defense typically reserved for the San Antonio Spurs, and yes, the Warriors. They have a spiky exoskeleton that the acquisition of Kyrie Irving has actually enhanced, and Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum give them a gifted precocity that fits well with veterans like Al Horford and Marcus Morris, and Boston’s overall youth (they are fifth youngest, while Golden State is third-oldest) ought to make them a more difficult conundrum than Cleveland or any other team in either conference.

They are not yet the superior team; that remains to be proven, and betting against the Warriors requires a level of irrational bravery left only for the truly self-destructive.

But they are, as we sit this evening, the team the Warriors will have to work hardest to finish, because on a night when they had the chance to do so, they didn’t. In other words, the fight for a third ring still goes through Oakland, but it looks more and more like a one-stop through Boston.

And as much as you may hate thinking about it, you’ll almost certainly remember, and savor, a Celtics-Warriors final more than another round of Cavs-on-the-half-shell.

Three reasons Draymond Green is the perfect college professor


Three reasons Draymond Green is the perfect college professor

Programming note: Warriors-Celtics coverage starts today at 4 p.m. on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming live right here 

Draymond Green spoke to a group of students at Harvard Thursday on the subject of leadership, and if you find that incongruous, shame on you.
I mean, who else would you want as a college professor?
Green has led, and been led. He has learned, and he has taught. He has certainly lectured, as any teammate, official and media member will testify. He’d be a hell of a teacher, and the subject almost doesn’t matter.
For one, homework would be different, as in I’d bet there would be no written work. I don’t see Prof. Day-Day poring over essays about the Industrial Revolution, M-theory or pre-Raphaelite art. Not even the history of Basketball-Reference.com.

For two, having tenured faculty audit his classes may find his choice of rhetoric a little strident, as in “What the ---- were you thinking, dude?” is not typically approved instructional methodology.
And three, nobody would get a grade. Green would mark every exam with a “35,” as in his draft position, and besides, the exams would be students arguing with each other over whether that was a foul or a no-call, and who pulled the better face when the call was made. He’d give either an approving nod or give the loser a second technical foul and kick him or her out of class.
But it would be a hell of a class. Not at Harvard, of course, because Green probably would want to teach a school that could better use his brand of wisdom, and Harvard kids already have a healthy lead off third base. He’d want his students to make Harvard students cry, you can just tell.
But wouldn’t he look perfectly Draymond in a cap and gown on graduation day, pulling a bottle out of his sleeve to make the valedictory speeches less painful. “Damn, dude,” you could hear him yell. “Peaking?”