George Kunz a finalist for the Hall of Very Good

00908 Flowery Branch; Former Atlanta Falcons center Jeff Van Note, left, and current Falcons center Todd McClure, right, are shown after Falcons practice at Falcons training camp Wednesday afternoon in Flowery Branch, Ga., Sept. 8, 2010. McClure is the current Falcons center who will break the team record for consecutive starts Sunday when Atlanta opens at Pittsburgh. Jeff Van Note is the Falcons Ring of Honor center who started 225 games. Jason Getz jgetz@ajc.com

00908 Flowery Branch; Former Atlanta Falcons center Jeff Van Note, left, and current Falcons center Todd McClure, right, are shown after Falcons practice at Falcons training camp Wednesday afternoon in Flowery Branch, Ga., Sept. 8, 2010. McClure is the current Falcons center who will break the team record for consecutive starts Sunday when Atlanta opens at Pittsburgh. Jeff Van Note is the Falcons Ring of Honor center who started 225 games. Jason Getz jgetz@ajc.com

In part because of the team’s losing history, some of the longtime Falcons have had trouble getting their proper respect.

Just when it looked like defensive end Claude Humphrey was going to make it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame through the Seniors’ committee, he was voted down.

If you talk to some of the oldtimers, they’ll tell you that several old Falcons deserve better spots in the history of the game. Tommy Nobis, Jeff Van Note, Mike Kenn, George Kunz, Steve Bartkowski and Jessie Tuggle are just a few.

Earlier this week, the Professional Football Researchers Association (PFRA) announced Kunz as one of their finalists for the Hall of Very Good Class of 2011. Humphrey and Nobis are already members.

Kunz, a first round pick (second overall) from Notre Dame in 1969, played tackle for the Falcons from 1969 to 1974. He finished his career with the Baltimore Colts. (1975-78 and 1980).

Kunz, who was listed at 6-foot-5 and 257 pounds, was an eight-time Pro Bowler.

“Begun in 2003, the Hall of Very Good seeks to honor outstanding players and coaches who are not in the Hall of Fame and are not likely to ever make it,” the PFRA stated in its release. “The PFRA does not promote any of the electees for the Hall of Fame nor does it view the Hall of Very Good as a springboard for the Hall of Fame. We simply recognize that there are many players and coaches who had great careers who deserve to be recognized.”

The Professional Football Researchers Association was founded in 1979 as a 501(c)(3) educational organization dedicated to research into and the preservation of the history of pro football. The membership includes many of the foremost football historians and authors. The PFRA publishes a magazine, The Coffin Corner, six times each year. More information is available at www.profootballresearchers.org.

Here’s the PFRA’s list of their 2011 finalists:

Ken Anderson

Position: Quarterback

Teams: Cincinnati Bengals 1971-86

Bill Bergey

Position: Linebacker

Teams: Cincinnati Bengals 1969-1973, Philadelphia Eagles 1974-1980

Cliff Branch

Position: Wide Receiver

Teams: Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders 1972-1985

Ray Bray

Position: Guard

Teams: Chicago Bears 1939-42 and 1946-51, Green Bay Packers 1952

Charley Brock

Position: Center-Halfback-Fullback

Teams: Green Bay Packers 1939-47

Bobby Dillon

Position: Defensive Back

Teams: Green Bay Packers 1952-1959

Ken Gray

Position: Guard

Teams: 1958-1969 St. Louis/Chicago Cardinals, 1970 Houston Oilers

Cliff Harris

Positions: Free Safety

Teams: Dallas Cowboys 1970-1979

Harold Jackson

Position: Wide Receiver

Teams: Los Angeles Rams 1968, Philadelphia Eagles 1969-1972, Los Angeles Rams 1973-1977, New England Patriots 1978-1981, Minnesota Vikings 1982, Seattle Seahawks 1983

George Kunz

Position: Tackle

Teams: 1969-1974 Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Colts 1975-1978, 1980

Paul Lowe

Position: Halfback

Teams: Los Angeles Chargers 1960, San Diego Chargers 1961-1968, Kansas City Chiefs 1968-1969

Harvey Martin

Positions: Defensive End

Teams: Dallas Cowboys 1973-83

Eddie Meador

Position: Defensive Back

Teams: Los Angeles Rams 1959-70

Lydell Mitchell

Position: Running Back

Teams: Baltimore Colts 1972-77, San Diego Chargers 1978-79, Los Angeles Rams 1980

Ted Nesser

Position: Tackle-Center-Head Coach

Teams: Columbus Panhandles 1920-21

Andy Russell

Positions: Linebacker

Teams: Pittsburgh Steelers 1963-76

Lou Saban

Position: Head Coach

Teams: Boston Patriots 1960-1961, Buffalo Bills 1962-1965, Denver Broncos 1967-1971, Buffalo Bills 1972-1976

Tom Sestak

Position: Defensive Tackle

Teams: Buffalo Bills 1962-1968

Jerry Smith

Position: Tight End

Teams: Washington Redskins 1965-1977

Buddy Young

Position: Halfback-Fullback-Defensive Back

Teams: New York Yankees 1947-49, New York Yanks 1950-51, Dallas Texans 1952, Baltimore Colts 1953-55

Previous Hall of Very Good enshrines are:

Class of 2010
Robert Brazile, 1975-84 – LB
Ed Budde, 1963-76 – G
Don Coryell, 1972-86 – Head Coach
Ox Emerson, 1931-38 – G, C, LB
Chuck Foreman, 1973-80 – RB
Bob Gain, 1952, 1954-64 – T, MG, E
Riley Matheson, 1939-48 – G, LB
Jimmy Patton, 1955-66 – DB
Drew Pearson, 1973-83 – WR
Ken Riley, 1969-83 – CB

Class of 2009
Bruno Banducci, 1944-54 – G
Harold Carmichael, 1971-84 – WR
Blanton Collier, Browns assistant coach 1946-53 and 1962 and head coach 1963-70
Boyd Dowler, 1959-69, 71 – WR
Claude Humphrey, 1968-74, 1976-81 – DE
Ken Kavanaugh, 1940-41, 1945-50 – E
Verne Lewellen, 1924-32 – HB
Walt Sweeney, 1963-75 – G

Class of 2008
Dick Barwegen, 1947-54 – G
Randy Gradishar, 1974-83 – LB
Bob Hoernschmeyer, 1946-55 – HB
Cecil Isbell, 1938-42 – TB
Buddy Parker, 1951-64 – Coach
Spec Sanders, 1946-50 – TB
Jim Ray Smith, 1956-64 – G
Billy Wilson, 1951-60 – WR

Class of 2007:
Frankie Albert, 1946-1952 – QB
Roger Brown, 1960-1969 – DT
Timmy Brown, 1959-1968 – RB
Marshall Goldberg, 1939-1948 – B
Jim Lee Howell, 1937-1947, 1954-1960 – E
Glenn Presnell, 1931-1936 – B
Dick Schafrath, 1959-1971 – T
Jake Scott, 1970-1978 – DB
Ed Sprinkle, 1944-1955 – DE
Tank Younger, 1949-1958 – HB-FB

Class of 2006:
Charley Conerly, 1948-1961 – QB
John Hadl, 1962-1977 – QB
Chuck Howley, 1958-1973 – LB
Alex Karras, 1958-1970 – DT
Eugene Lipscomb, 1953-1962 – DT
Kyle Rote, 1951-1961 – E-HB
Dick Stanfel, 1952-1958 – G
Otis Taylor, 1965-1975 – WR
Fuzzy Thurston, 1958-1967 – G
Deacon Dan Towler, 1950-1955 – FB

Class of 2005:
Maxie Baughan, 1960-1974 – LB
Jim Benton, 1938-1947 – E
Lavie Dilweg, 1926-1934 – E
Pat Harder, 1946-1953 – FB
Floyd Little*, 1967-1975 – RB
Tommy Nobis, 1966-1976 – LB
Pete Retzlaff, 1956-1966 – HB-E
Tobin Rote, 1950-1966 – QB
Lou Rymkus, 1943, 1946-1951 – T
Del Shofner, 1957-1967 – E

Class of 2004:
Gene Brito, 1951-1960 – DE
John Brodie, 1957-1973 – QB
Jack Butler, 1951-1959 – DB
Chris Hanburger*, 1965-1978 – LB
Bob Hayes*, 1965-1975 – SE-WR
Billy Howton, 1952-1963 – E
Jim Marshall, 1960-1979 – DE
Al Nesser, 1920-1928, 1931 – G
Dave Robinson, 1963-1974 – LB
Duke Slater, 1922-1931 – T

Class of 2003:
Gino Cappelletti, 1960-1970 – E-K
Carl Eller*, 1964-1979 – DE
Pat Fischer, 1961-1977 – DB
Benny Friedman*, 1927-1934 – TB
Gene Hickerson*, 1958-1973 – G
Jerry Kramer, 1958-1968 – G
Johnny Robinson, 1960-1971 – DB
Mac Speedie, 1946-1952 – E
Mick Tingelhoff, 1962-1978 – C
Al Wistert, 1943-1951 – T

*Voted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame after induction into the Hall of Very Good.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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9 comments Add your comment

Delbert D.

June 17th, 2011
10:51 am

Great stuff, hadn’t heard about this organization. Ken Anderson was a very, very good QB in his day.

Marcus

June 17th, 2011
11:05 am

Ken Riley (DB, CIN Bengals) didn’t make this list?

Billy

June 17th, 2011
12:06 pm

It is a disgrace that Tommy Nobis is not in the hall of fame, I saw on the NFL network a show and a couple of guys that played in that era said they rather try to block Dick Butkus than Tommy Nobis he was all that the Falcons had some of those years.

Ken

June 17th, 2011
1:50 pm

Marcus: Ken Riley was inducted into the Hall of Very Good last year.

Larry

June 17th, 2011
2:58 pm

Maybe if Jeff clips that silly looking pony tail off on the back of his 65 year old head someone may take him a bit more seriously. He’s a old Dutchman, not an American Indian or aging rock star!

Then again, maybe someone told him it makes him look hot and sexy.

Chattanooga Chuck

June 17th, 2011
3:37 pm

The Hall of Fame is a joke. If Humphrey and Nobis had played for Dallas they would have been inducted 25 years ago.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

June 17th, 2011
5:08 pm

Chattanooga Chuck — I think you are correct. Humphrey was better than Alvin Bethea!

Steve

June 20th, 2011
6:47 am

The fact that Jessie Tuggle, Mike Kenn and Steve Bartkowski are not in makes me sick. DOL, don’t their numbers hold up against lots of others already there? It’s just another BS low class move by the NFL, kind of like the lock out.

SCFalcon

June 20th, 2011
9:11 pm

Does anybody remember the connection between Kunz and Bartkowski?