No one in the history of the National Football League has had more tackles than former Atlanta Falcons linebacker Jesse Tuggle.
Jesse “The Hammer” Tuggle spent 14 seasons roaming the field for the Atlanta Falcons. That is 14 years of proving people wrong. 14 years of stopping the opposing offenses from scoring touchdowns and picking up first downs. 14 seasons of being the light on a team that at times failed to even flicker within the league itself.
We all know there are two objectives in football – score points and tackle the man with the ball. Sure, there are a lot of other smaller objectives within the game, but those are the main two. Everything else in football is in supports of one of those two main objectives.
A moment of personal honesty – I had no idea until this afternoon that Jesse Tuggle was the NFL all-time leader in tackles. I posted this stat on twitter and most of those that responded had no idea either.
Falcons fans don’t agree on much, the feedback from declaring Deion Sanders isn’t the best player in franchise history was met with the reactions we expected and don’t even mention the best quarterback in franchise history. However, the one aspect that every single Falcons fan agrees on is that Jesse Tuggle should be in the Hall of Fame.
Going back to the previously mentioned objectives, how is the guy that was better than any other player in league history at that one objective not in the hall of fame? That would be like the baseball hall of fame not having the all-time hits leader among their halls (Yes, this is something else that really pisses me off) or the NBA not enshrining Michael Jordan or Wilt Chamberlain.
Looking among the players listed in all time in tackles, only one active player is ranked among the top 50. One. That would be Derrick Johnson, who just finished his 14th season and is still more than 700 tackles behind Tuggle. I say that to put a little perspective to this accomplishment and Johnson, comes in at 50th all time.
There are a lot of players in every sport that should be in the hall of fame and are not, Jesse is not being singled out. However, the question again should be asked, how does the all time tackler in a league built around tackling, not have a bust in Canton?
No idea how to right this wrong, but hopefully someone can do this while Jesse is still among us and can enjoy the moment with this family and Falcons nation. This is an honor he gave blood sweat and tears for and it’s a shame that those already in the hall of fame are not being more vocal about.