Each NFL team’s biggest Hall of Fame omission

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is closing in on 400 members but there are still plenty of deserving players who haven't yet made it. Here is the biggest omission for every team.
Jan 28, 1990; New Orleans, LA, USA; FILE PHOTO; San Francisco 49ers running back Roger Craig (33)
Jan 28, 1990; New Orleans, LA, USA; FILE PHOTO; San Francisco 49ers running back Roger Craig (33) / USA TODAY Sports
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Chicago Bears: C Jay Hilgenberg

There haven’t been a lot of great moments as of late for one of the league’s flagship organizations. Only the Green Bay Packers (13) have more NFL titles than the Chicago Bears (9). However, only one of those championships has come during the Super Bowl Era.

Of course, the 1985 team’s accomplishments are long in the rearview mirror fix. Yes, the team did get to the big game back in 2006 under head coach Lovie Smith. But lately, the “Monsters of the Midway” have looked anything but scary. The club finished an NFL-worst 3-14 in 2022.

Back to 1981, when undrafted free agent Jay Hilgenberg wound up with the Bears in 1981. The 6-foot-3, 259-pound product from the University of Iowa would go on to quite the career as the pivot for the club. He would spend his first 11 NFL seasons in the Windy City. He was named to seven consecutive Pro Bowls from 1985-91 and also earned All-Pro honors in 1988 and ’89.

Hilgenberg was a model of consistency on a quality offensive line that paved the way for the likes of Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton and his successor Neal Anderson. He would go onto one-year stints with the Cleveland Browns and New Orleans Saints, but his years in Chicago could certainly merit some Hall of Fame consideration.

So, where’s kick returner extraordinaire Devin Hester? As far as a team choice, Hilgenberg gets a slight nod over the special teams’ superstar due to his 11 seasons with the franchise, as opposed to Hester’s eight years in the Windy City. However, Hester is certainly overdue when it comes to enshrinement in Canton.