The fact that Will Shields didn’t make the Hall of Fame in either of his first two years of eligibility is a discredit to the Hall of Fame. Offensive guard may not be the most exciting position, but there was little more Shields could have done during his career to earn the honor.
In his 14 years in the NFL, he was selected to the Pro Bowl in 12 straight seasons from 1995-2006, which was all but his first two years in the league. He also received All-Pro honors in eight of those seasons. He spent his entire career with the Kansas City Chiefs, who had a record of 131-93 during Shields’ tenure and made the playoffs six times.
Just as impressive as Shields’ performance was his durability. He never missed a game in his entire career and started all of them except his first game as a rookie. His 223 consecutive regular-season starts is good for fifth all time in the NFL among all positions.
During his time with the Chiefs, Shields blocked for greats Marcus Allen and Priest Holmes, and he was even a part of making Larry Johnson look like a top running back for a couple of years — that could not have been an easy task. He also won the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2003 for his work with the Will to Succeed Foundation.
I’m not sure what more the voters wanted from Shields, but I suspect they just aren’t excited about the position he played. Of the 280 Hall of Fame inductees, the only pure offensive guards to get in on their first year of eligibility were John Hannah and Gene Upshaw. Shields should have been the third to do it. The voters have dropped the ball on this one for two straight years; hopefully they get it together and correct it in 2014.