Will Jim Marshall ever get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) Jim Marshall
(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) Jim Marshall /

Minnesota Vikings fans have to be curious if Jim Marshall will ever be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

In 70 days, the Minnesota Vikings will open their 2020 season inside U.S. Bank Stadium against their biggest rivals, the Green Bay Packers.

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, there’s still a possibility that the regular season might not begin in 70 days. But as of right now, the Vikings‘ first game is slated to kick off on September 13.

Speaking of 70, that is one of six numbers retired by the franchise. It was worn by defensive end Jim Marshall, who played for Minnesota from 1961-79.

Marshall is not a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Many say he deserves to be. Does he? The answer is yes. Will it ever happen though? Only time will tell. It could happen though.

Marshall spent 20 seasons in the NFL (19 with the Vikings). He played collegiately at Ohio State Univesity and then left before his senior season to play in the Canadian Football League. He spent his first NFL season with the Cleveland Browns before being traded to the Minnesota Vikings.

A couple of arguments against Marhsall not being in the Hall of Fame is that he was only named to two Pro Bowls and was never a first-team All-Pro selection, but that should not prevent him from getting into Canton, along with the infamous wrong-way run, which has likely played a critical role in him not getting in.

Marshall along with Gary Larsen and Hall of Famers Alan Page and Carl Eller helped form one of the greatest defensive lines of all-time, “The Purple People Eaters.” The Vikings defense from that era is also one of the greatest defenses of all-time to this day. He played a critical role in helping the Vikings reach four Super Bowls and their defense being ranked no.1 from 1969-71. 

He was one of 11 Vikings to appear in all four of the team’s Super Bowls.

"“Jim was the absolute heartbeat of our entire team for 19 seasons,” Page said in an interview with the Star Tribune. “Nineteen years, Jim was the leader of our team.”"

He also played in 282 consecutive games (NFL record at the time for position players until Brett Favre broke it in 2009, but still a record for defensive players) and appeared in an additional 19 playoff games. His 270 consecutive starts is still a record for defensive players.

Even for punters and kickers, it is very impressive to appear in that many games in a row and playing for 20 seasons (punter Jeff Feagles played in 22 seasons and appeared in an NFL record 352 consecutive games), but for a defensive lineman, it is that much more impressive, as it is one of the most grueling positions in all of football.

"“Jim not only had the excellence deserving of the Hall of Fame, he also had longevity that’s never been seen by anyone else in 100 years,” Page said. “No offense to kickers and quarterbacks, but Jim hit someone or was hit by someone on every play for 20 years."

His 30 fumble recoveries were an NFL record until Rod Woodson broke it.

Although sacks did not become a statistic until 1982, Marshall unofficially had 127, which is second-best behind Carl Eller in team history, who had 130 unofficially.

On the official sack list, Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas had 126.5, which is 17th on the all-time list.

Marshall after not being named a Hall of Fame finalist last December:

"“If I had the credentials to get in the hall of fame, then I should be in there,” he said to the Pioneer Press. “If somehow they deem that I don’t have the criteria, that I don’t meet the criteria that the hall of fame has set, then I don’t belong in there.”"

His former head coach Bud Grant, a Hall of Famer has been pushing hard for Marshall to get in.

"“It’s one of the big injustices in football,” Grant said. “It’s a problem that needs fixing.”"

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Simply put, Marshall was a very good player on a very good team and has been waiting for far too long. He deserves to get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Had the Minnesota Vikings won a Super Bowl or two or if he had not run the wrong way, would he have a gold jacket right now? Maybe, but regardless he deserves to get in.