As Aeneas Williams strode across the stage at the NFL Honors show as the newest St. Louis Ram to be elected to the Hall of Fame, he did much more than become the first St. Louis Rams defensive back to be named to the Hall.
His election also may represent the latest domino in what could be a cavalcade of Rams making their way to Canton in future seasons. Williams, who was the most recently active St. Louis Ram on this year’s ballot, could be joined by a quartet of teammates as soon as next year.
Williams joined Marshall Faulk, who was inducted in 2011, as the second member of the 2001 NFC championship team. The 2015 ballot, which includes centerpieces of the team’s record-setting offense from 1999-2001, is even more Rams-friendly. Included on next year’s ballot will be quarterback Kurt Warner, receivers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt, and tackle Orlando Pace. Each figure to garner significant consideration on their first ballot.
Pace could be aided in part by the induction of former Seattle Seahawks tackle Walter Jones this summer. The careers of Pace and Jones mirrored each other for much of the two tackles’ careers, and the election of Jones could signal a pathway for the Rams’ longtime stalwart at left tackle as a first-ballot member. Pace was a seven-time Pro Bowler, and was named first-team All-Pro three times. His best years came at the height of the three-year ‘Greatest Show’ run. Pace served as the Rams’ starting left tackle for each of the Rams’ last five postseason appearances.
Warner made three Super Bowl appearances, including guiding the Rams to their only Lombardi trophy following the 1999 season. Along the way, he was also named league Most Valuable Player in 1999 and 2001. Return trips to the Super Bowl have often garnered favorability among Hall of Fame voters, and Warner holds the distinction of being one of just three NFL quarterbacks to guide two different teams to the Super Bowl, joining Peyton Manning and Craig Morton.
Induction into Canton has proven challenging at the wide receiver position. Bruce and Holt will be both be in contention along with Tim Brown, who has been a finalist for the past five years and whose 16-year career closely resembles that of Bruce. However, the logjam at wide receiver was alleviated a bit in the past two seasons, with the induction of Cris Carter and Andre Reed, respectively.
Williams gave a nod to his teammates—one of which is already inducted, and some who may be joining him in Canton—following his election last week.
“(Just) getting the opportunity to play with some great players, playing with my fellow New Orleanian Marshall Faulk, being a part of a great team that was already assembled, being coached by Coach (Mike) Martz and Coach Lovie Smith, it was a great time,” Williams said.
If the voters find favor with the Rams’ first-year candidates in 2015, the ‘Greatest Show’ may have one more act in store for Canton.