The knock came late on a Saturday afternoon for two former LSU Tigers: Kevin Mawae and Johnny Robinson are two of the most recent inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The two Tiger greats took very different routes to induction. Kevin Mawae earned enough votes in his fifth year of eligibility and third year as a Finalist. That may seem like a long wait for the best center of his generation, but it’s a mere blink compared to the wait Johnny Robinson endured.
Robinson only had to wait thirty-nine years. But now, in his thirty-ninth year of eligibility, Robinson made the Final Ballot as the only Senior Committee nominee, virtually ensuring his enshrinement.
Johnny Robinson was a member of the All-Time AFL Team, being just one of twenty players to play in all ten years of the AFL’s existence. Robinson was a first team All-AFL player in seven of those season, and he really slacked off in the other three seasons, when he made the Second Team. Not only did Robinson play every year of the AFL, he was on their All-Star Team every single season.
Johnny Robinson made an interception in every AFL championship game he played in, all three times, and then in Super Bowl IV, which he played with broken ribs. He also recovered a fumble in that Super Bowl.
We hope Johnny mentions zrau in his acceptance speech for this article in 2014, which assuredly swung momentum on Robinson’s Hall of Fame chances. In that article, Zach points out that Robinson’s career numbers compare favorably to Ed Reed, who will be one of his Hall of Fame classmates.
Kevin Mawae never played in a championship game, but he was instead the rock of a New York Jets line in the 90s and 00s. He became a central, visible figure in the team’s efforts to help New York emotionally rebuild after 9/11.
Mawae and Michael Strahan, as the player reps for the Jets and Giants, reached out to their teammates and then told the NFL in no uncertain terms that if games went forward that weekend, the New York teams would not play. The pressure forced Pete Rozelle to cancel the games.
Mawae was a sixteen year pro who made seven All-Pro teams. He played in 177 consecutive games, starting 124 consecutive times. He was a rock in the middle of the line, which is amazing because at LSU, he was a left tackle until he moved to center for his senior year, probably costing him first team all-American honors (he was second team instead, at his new position).
It’s a great day for two Tigers, even if they had to wait.