Tommie Frazier has never been stopped on the football field.
There were those mysterious blood clots that interrupted his career at Nebraska and robbed him of his chance to play in the NFL.
Then last week there was the ballot box.
In what only can be interpreted as a miscarriage of justice, the National College Football Hall of Fame announced its 2011 class last week and somehow omitted Frazier.
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Frazier was one of 79 names on the ballot and was not among the 14 players chosen for the hall of fame. It was his first time on the ballot, which raises a whole new set of questions.
Katherine Harris, where are you when we really need you?
No excuses on this blunder.
There were no smartphones in 1994 and ’95 when Frazier was leading Nebraska to consecutive national championships, but there were humans considered to be above average intelligence.
Have they vanished in the technological revolution that has swept our country?
Maybe they weren’t paying attention in the mid-1990s, when Frazier was turning the cornfields of Nebraska into plots of gold and showing the nation the triple option was not ready for the archives.
Others considered experts in the field of college football have given the Manatee High grad his due.
He was named to Sports Illustrated’s All-Century team as a backup quarterback to Sammy Baugh, and CollegeFootballNews.com named Frazier as the 33rd best player on its list of the 100 Greatest Football Players of All-Time.
When contacted at his home in Omaha, Frazier was the same high-character person we knew back in the day when he played for Joe Kinnan and never thought of himself to be above the crowd.
“It didn’t happen and I wasn’t upset and I wasn’t hurt. I don’t get upset about things that I don’t control,” Frazier said. “I didn’t pay much attention to it. It was an honor to be on the ballot. It is an opinion, and different people vote differently on different things. What people judge I can’t control. What I did in college some people love and some people didn’t.”
While Frazier says he is not upset, the decision has left Cornhusker nation outraged. You don’t treat a favorite son this way.
To be eligible, candidates must have been a first team All-American, played at least 10 years ago and cannot be currently playing in the NFL. A player must prove himself as a worthy citizen after football.
Frazier says he didn’t play football with the idea of being in the hall of fame and doesn’t buy into the conspiracy theory that he played during an era when some Nebraska football players were in the news for all the wrong reasons. Remember Lawrence Phillips?
Frazier’s credentials are impeccable, and he was a model citizen.
His on-the-field heroics are unparalleled. Just ask Florida fans.
Frazier compiled a 33-3 record as a starter for Nebraska and lost only one regular season game as a starter. He quarterbacked the Huskers to three straight national title games and was named the MVP in each, though Nebraska lost to Florida State in the first one (1994) when he outplayed Heisman winner Charlie Ward.
Frazier missed the second half of the ’94 season because of blood clots, but in the Orange Bowl came off the bench to spark the Huskers to a come-from-behind victory over Miami. Healthy the next year, he led Nebraska to an undefeated season with a 62-24 dismantling of Florida in the title game.
None of us can forget his 75-yard touchdown run against Florida in the ’95 championship game, which Sports Illustrated named one of the greatest plays in college football history. That ’95 Frazier-led squad was voted the best college team of all time in an 2006 ESPN.com poll.
The youngest player voted into the Hall of Fame this year is Ohio State running back Eddie George, who won the Heisman over Frazier in ’95.
The only quarterback voted in this year is Sandy Stephens from Minnesota (1959-1961), the first African-American quarterback to earn All-American honors at a I-A school.
If age is a factor in determining entrance into the Hall of Fame, then it should be so noted by Archie Manning, chairman of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, who praised the Foundation’s Honor Court, which determines the inductees.
There are some unusual voting patterns in the selection of quarterbacks, which on the average have waited more than 20 years for induction.
Navy’s Roger Staubach and Boston College’s Doug Flutie, who were voted as the backups to Baugh along with Frazier, waited 17 and 23 years, respectively, after they finished their college careers to be voted in.
Florida’s Spurrier waited 20 years, but in an unusual case, FSU’s Ward only had to wait 13 years after finishing his career in 1993.
There is no reason to make Frazier wait.
Alan Dell, Herald sports writer, can be reached at 745-2112.