Arguably the best cornerback to ever don a Philadelphia Eagles jersey, it’s been more than 20 years since Eric Allen strapped on the pads to play an NFL game. You’ve probably heard of the game we’re discussing.
January of 2002… The Oakland Raiders showed up in Foxborough, Massachusetts to battle the New England Patriots. It was snowing, and there was a lot of discussion about a ‘tuck rule’ or something.
Allen had two tackles and two pass breakups in that one, a respectable finish to a career that lasted for 14 seasons. Eric appeared in 62 games with 60 starts for the Silver and Black, if you include that playoff game and three others. He also spent three seasons with the New Orleans Saints, appearing in 48 games and starting every single one of them.
Make no mistake about it though. Regardless of where life and his career took him, Eric Allen was and always will be an Eagle.
Can someone tell us why this Eagles legend, Eric Allen, isn’t in the Hall of Fame today? There are no respectable explanations remaining.
The 30th-overall selection in 1988 (back in those days, that made him a second-rounder), the former Arizona State Sun Devil was one of the cornerstones of Buddy Ryan’s defense in the late 80s. Buddy had this theory. He was going to build the meanest and nastiest defense that the City of Brotherly Love had ever seen. Randall Cunningham was going to ‘make three big plays’ on gamedays. and Coach Ryan was going to ride that to a Super Bowl.
It never worked out that way, but, in theory, we can see what he was trying to do, and make no mistake about it. There wasn’t any NFL team that looked forward to seeing the Eagles on the schedule.
Jerome Brown dominated along the interior of the defensive line. No one has to be told how good Reggie White was. Seth Joyner was a carnivore at linebacker, and on the outside, Eric Allen patrolled the secondary.
His selection worked out well for the Birds. He tallied more than 400 tackles, two sacks, four forced fumbles, 37 interceptions, and six defensive touchdowns in an Eagles jersey while appearing in 116 games with 114 starts. That includes five playoff games of which he made four starts.
Allen first became eligible for Pro Football Hall of Fame induction in 2007. On November 24th of 2020, he was named as one of 25 semifinalists but left off of the voters’ list of the 15 finalists a little over one month later in January. He was again named a semifinalist in 2022. As was the case one year prior, when the finalists were announced, Allen had been ignored again.
Ronde Barber had made the cut as had Leroy Butler. The latter would later be named as one of the worthy members of the 2022 Hall of Fame class. Now, don’t read what hasn’t been written or stated. Barber and Butler are both worthy of having their busts carved, but that alone gives us much to unpack. Some may make the argument that Butler was a safety, and that’s fair, so let’s discuss the Ronde Barber argument.
Allen, for his career, intercepted ten more passes than Barber. He also made one more Pro Bowl and had twice as many postseason interceptions and one more pick-six despite appearing in 29 fewer games. That includes both the regular and postseason.
In addition to that, Allen was named to the Pro Football Writers of America’s All-Rookie Team in 1988. He was added to the Pro Bowl roster six times (1989, 1991–1995). His 789 career tackles exceed Hall-of-Famer Deion Sanders’ career total by 277 stops (and, Deion is already on record having said Allen’s Hall-of-Fame induction is overdue.
Allen trails another Hall-of-Fame inductee, Ty Law, in career tackles by only 49 stops, and Law played one more season. Eric’s 54 interceptions mean that he has one more than Prime and Ty Law. He also has two more interceptions than Champ Bailey.
We’ll ask you again because we haven’t been able to come up with a reasonable answer. Maybe you can help us. How is it possible that Eric Allen isn’t a Hall of Famer already? We aren’t discussing possible snubs anymore. At this point, there’s only one word that describes this appropriately… disrespectful.