Joining the fraternity

Kyle Riviere
NFL Hall of Fame building.

We all know LSU to be a professional football factory.

For the past 20 years, the school has routinely had high-profile players drafted into the NFL, and many of them have gone on to be successful starters and even Pro Bowlers.

In fact, there have been multiple years in which LSU was the college to field the most former players in the league. 

But it wasn't always like that.

Prior to 2000, it was rare to find a former Tiger playing pro ball. In fact, before last weekend, there were only three LSU players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Now, there are two more. Last weekend, Kevin Mawae and Johnny Robinson were officially inducted.

It was special enough to have two alums enshrined on the same day, but Mawae's words just made it all the more memorable.

To close out his 28-minute speech, Mawae said, "Know this, I will forever be LSU. Go Tigers."

What an amazing representative he has been for LSU over the years--on and off of the field.

Whichever team he was playing for, he was always a consummate professional and a natural born leader.

And his work on the field speaks for itself.

Mawae played 16 seasons in the NFL. In that time, he started in 238 of 241 games.

The LSU teams he played on weren't very good, but that changed when he went pro. He had the privilege of playing on some great Jets and Titans teams that won division titles and made deep playoff runs.

Amazingly, Mawae blocked for a 1,000-yard rusher in 13 of his 16 NFL seasons. In all, he paved the way for five different backs that surpassed the 1,000-yard barrier--including Curtis Martin and Chris Johnson.

Mawae went on to be named to the Pro Bowl eight times, and he is a member of the NFL's 2000s All-Decade Team and the New York Jets Ring of Honor.

Off of the field, he joined the NFLPA's executive committee in 2002, and he was elected as the organization's president in 2008, and then reelected in 2010.

Mawae didn't have to wait long to get voted into the Hall of Fame, but it was quite another story for Robinson. Robinson was finally elected 47 years after retiring from football.

By looking at the list of his accomplishments, you'll see that Robinson's induction into the hall was long overdue.

He was one of the greatest to ever wear the purple and gold. Robinson played both sides of the ball while at LSU.

His best season came in 1958, when he helped lead the Tigers to their first-ever national title. He was a first-team All-SEC running back that year.

Robinson went on to be the third overall pick by the Dallas Texans (now the Kansas City Chiefs) in 1960. After two seasons, he made the transition from running back to safety.

In 1966, he led the league in interceptions with 10. He was named All-AFL five straight seasons.

Eventually, he helped lead the Chiefs to two Super Bowls, including the franchise's only championship victory in Super Bowl IV. In Kansas City's 23-7 win over the Vikings, Robinson had an interception and a fumble recovery.

For his career, Robinson recorded 57 interceptions, and he scored 19 touchdowns.

He and Mawae now join Steve Van Buren, Y.A. Tittle, and Jimmy Taylor as LSU's only Pro Football Hall of Famers.

It will be interesting to see how many former Tigers will join that exclusive fraternity in the future, with so many of them now playing and thriving in the NFL.

One player that should be getting inducted within the next five years is Alan Faneca. He was a nine-time Pro Bowl guard and Super Bowl winner for the Steelers.

In the next 10-15 years, I'm more than certain we'll be seeing Patrick Peterson have his election ceremony. Peterson has made the Pro Bowl in all eight of his NFL seasons.

It's far too early to make a prediction with other LSU guys, but players that have certainly performed well enough to put themselves on track for a future induction are Odell Beckham. Jr., Jarvis Landry, Deion Jones, and Danielle Hunter.