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O-Zone: Many fer Bo

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – He's in. At last. Good for him.

Let's get to it …

Gary from St. Augustine, FL

Boselli got in the Hall. About time, Zone. Congratulations to Big Bo.

Former Jaguars left tackle Tony Boselli indeed on Thursday was named one of five modern-era electees to the Pro Football Hall of Fame for 2022, becoming the first player in franchise history so honored. It is a long-overdue honor – and absolutely well-deserved. I have discussed Boselli in this space and on various forums often over the years. I covered most of his NFL career and have talked with countless former players, coaches and others close to the game about him. Few – if any – ever argued that Boselli shouldn't be enshrined. He was one of the best to ever play left tackle. The lone argument against him being in the Hall was lack of career longevity, and the reality was he played long enough to impact on the game – as five Pro Bowl appearances and three All-Pro selections attest. I thought this year was Boselli's best chance to get in the Hall because the three offensive linemen who with Boselli had formed a Hall backlog at the position in recent years had been elected over the last three years – Steve Hutchinson, Kevin Mawae and Alan Faneca. I also thought Boselli's "momentum" from making the Top 10 in Hall balloting for five consecutive years indicated he had enough support among voters to make it this season. As it turned out, those things were true. Good for Boselli. Well-deserved. And a huge day for the franchise.

Matt from Leander, TX

With Tony making the Hall, I wanted to see if you had a cool Tony story to share. I was only eight when the Jaguars selected him. While I was stoked to finally have a team of my own, I was disappointed our first pick wasn't a "sexy" position. My big brother told me he was a good pick and would be important to the team for years to come. Boy, was he right.

I don't know if I have a cool story. I will share a story I probably have told before about the night the Jaguars selected Boselli No. 2 overall in the 1995 NFL Draft. I was covering the draft for the Florida Times-Union, having just moved to the Jaguars beat from covering the University of Florida. What was notable about that '95 year was everything about the franchise was historic. It was their inaugural season, so everything was a first – and therefore everything came with a feeling of the Most Important Thing to Ever Happen. That was particularly true of the selection of Boselli. He was the first draft selection in franchise history, selected to be a cornerstone player. The Jaguars selected Boselli around noon on a Saturday. As was the norm in that era, the team flew Boselli to Jacksonville the evening of the selection. He walked into his introductory press conference with his fiancé (now wife) Angi. I remember thinking about the lofty expectations for someone so young. I also remember thinking about it being the first day of the rest of their lives and wondering about their paths. I'm sure the phrase "Hall of Fame talent" was used by someone about Boselli that night. He indeed was that kind of talent – and such words get used on those occasions. But to have him actually fulfill that talent? And to have the first draft selection in franchise history actually become the cornerstone and become the first Pride of the Jaguars member – and now, the first Hall of Famer? That's what you want. It rarely works out that way. Good for Boselli and the Jaguars that it finally did.

William from Savannah, GA

TB71. Congrats!


Jensen from Lake Jackson, TX

I love that Bruce Smith announced Tony! Much Respect!

Hall of Fame defensive end Bruce Smith indeed announced Boselli's election. That was sooo fitting because Boselli's career-breakout game came against Smith in a Jaguars victory over the Buffalo Bills in an AFC Wild Card game following the 1996 season. Smith being involved Thursday clearly meant a lot to Boselli – and Smith seemed to enjoy the moment. There was a time during Smith's career Smith didn't love talking about the game or Boselli; I once asked Smith about it during an interview, and it created what is known as "not a good vibe." That has changed and that was cool to see.

Peter from Duplek, Slovenia

So, John, from now on, he's going to make you call him Hall of Famer Tony Boselli, right?

I'm not sure I can stomach that.

Sean from Jacksonville

Finally! The long, long wait is over and Tony Boselli got "the call." Maybe you should be nice to him this week?

The Hall of Famer knows where to find me.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, I'm not crying, are you crying?

I didn't cry – at least not on Thursday. Backstory: Boselli had learned of his election before the ceremony and had informed me so I could help plan coverage for I enjoy teasing Boselli here in the O-Zone: But remember: This is someone I covered from the first day he joined the franchise, when he was the first selection in franchise history. I flew to Boulder, Colo., for the Florida Times-Union to write about Boselli's childhood and family a few weeks later. I covered most of his Jaguars games and have sat in multiple hotel rooms in recent winters and witnessed the disappointment of his family when the call from the Hall did not come. So, yes, I was happy when he told me he was in. Did I hug the big man and fight tears? I won't say I did and won't say I didn't. But yeah … OK.

JT from Palm Coast, FL

I guess the next logical question is does my favorite football player of all time Mr. Fred Taylor get in next for us? His stats are absolutely worthy.

Former Jaguars running back Fred Taylor absolutely should be the next player from the franchise elected to the Hall of Fame, and he absolutely deserves it. It could be a long road, but Taylor has been a semifinalist the last two years. He's starting to get the recognition from the process he deserves. That's a good start. And yes … it's time to focus on Taylor. Past time, actually.

Gary from Centerville, OH

I can't believe how emotional I got when Bruce Smith started talking and I saw the video showing Tony. I stood up and gave a personal standing ovation in my family room. And yes, that was a tear running down my cheek. So proud and happy for Tony. Way to go. Now, time to look at traveling to Canton in August.

You were not alone.

Rob from San Antonio, TX

One fer Tony!

Absolutely, one fer Boselli …

James from Clarksville

I finally feel like the sun is shining on the Jacksonville Jaguars. Way to go Tony Boselli. Now let's get Fred and Jimmy in!!!

… and fer Taylor and Smith …

Matt from Fort Worth TX

If you see Tony, will you let him know I say congrats?

Boselli is well aware of how Jaguars fans feel about him. Their support through this is part of what makes the moment special.

Nick from Virginia Beach, VA

The happiest I've ever been as a Jags fan in February. Way to go Tony. Duuuvall

… and another fer Boselli …

_Keith from Saint Augustine, FL  _

The Hall of Fame is well deserved and long overdue for Tony Boselli, the best left tackle to ever play the game.

… and another …

Josh R. from Fernandina Beach, FL (via Ft. Lauderdale)

Zone: Glad to hear this is Tony's year. Well deserved. Thanks and Go Jags!!

… and another …

Bill from Hawthorn Woods, IL

So, SO happy for Tony. Happy for the franchise, and the city too. I understand why it took so long, but it certainly was due and deserved. How was it being there?

Cool. And very memorable.

Jeff from Wake Forest, NC

Congrats Tony! All of us won when you did! And my condolences John. He is gonna be unbearable now. Hahahaha!

Yeah … well, he earned it.

Josh from Fernandina Beach, FL (via Ft. Lauderdale)

Zone: Glad to hear this is Tony's year Well deserved. Thanks and Go Jags!!

… and another.

Unhipcat from B bar h ranch, ca

Great day for Tony Boselli and for Jaguars football.


Brandon from Louisville


… and another …

JT from Palm Coast, FL

Extremely proud of Tony Boselli! First Jag in the hall. Very cool moment. Congrats to you big Bo!! So very well deserved and a little late, but he's in and that's ultimately all that matters!!!

… and another …

Shawn from The mean streets of Arlington

One Fer T-BO!!!

… indeed …

Crash from Jax

Rah! Big Bo is in! Guinness for all!

… Yep.