Posted January 4, 2017 05:35 pm - Updated January 4, 2017 05:56 pm

Is seven years enough for anyone to make Canton?

Rick Wilson/ Florida Times-Union archives Tony Boselli (left) blocks Buffalo Bills defensive end Bruce Smith during the second quarter of an Oct. 18, 198 game in Buffalo. The Jaguars lost 17-16 to fall to 5-1 on the season. Smith, has since been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Boselli is a 2016 finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Curiosity and an internet connection can lead to some interesting places.

Such was the case Wednesday afternoon when a good friend of mine sent me a text arguing about who is the best quarterback in the history of the NFL.

“Tom Brady > Manning and Montana”.

I didn’t disagree with him, but noted the idea that Brady didn’t have any weapons, especially in his three most recent trips to the Super Bowl, is not exactly a valid one.  Because “…Gronk is a future Hall of Famer.”

The second I sent the text, I asked myself: Is Rob Gronkowski really a future Hall of Famer?

It turns out that if he doesn’t play another down, Gronkowski is more than worthy of enshrinement, despite only playing seven years.

Of the eight modern era tight ends in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he has more catches, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns that Dave Casper, John Mackey and Charlie Sanders. Gronkowski has more receiving yards and receiving touchdowns than Mike Ditka and more touchdowns than the four other tight ends currently enshrined — some stiffs named Shannon Sharpe, Kellen Winslow, Jackie Smith and Ozzie Newsome.

Clearly, the NFL has changed since the octet of legends hung up their cleats. Statistically, there is little denying the New England Patriots tight end will have a strong case, even if he never plays again — which he undoubtedly will.

The reason Gronkowski’s career came to mind was because of the seven-year dominance of another player, who battled more than his fair share of injuries: Jacksonville Jaguars tackle Tony Boselli.

Monday, Boselli was named a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

He is joined by three other offensive linemen, Raines graduate Brian Dawkins, a pair of Super Bowl winning safeties in Ty Law and John Lynch as well as Kurt Warner, Terrell Owens, Terrell Davis LaDainian Tomlinson, Jason Taylor, Issac Bruce and the NFL’s all-time leading scorer Morten Anderson.

A shoulder injury ended Boselli’s career after the 2001 season. He only played seven seasons, but managed to make the Pro Bowl four times and be named First Team All-Pro three times.

The four Pro Bowls equals what fellow finalist Joe Jacoby accomplished with 13 seasons in Washington; however, Boselli wasn’t a part of the most famous offensive line in pro football and doesn’t have a trio of Super Bowl rings chillin somewhere.

Kevin Mawae, another finalist, earned seven Pro Bowl selections and three All-Pro selections over his 16-year career with the Seahawks, Jets, and Titans. He was a First Team member of the 2000s All-Decade team. (Of the five first teamers Walter Jones and Jonathan Ogden are already in Canton, five-time All-Pro Steve Hutchinson is not yet eligible and six-time All-Pro Alan Faneca is a 2016 finalist, Mawae’s inclusion is a good barometer of his dominance.)

Of all the 15 finalists this year, Faneca may have the strongest case for Canton.

In the history of the NFL, there are 29 players who have been selected First Team All-Pro six times. Of those 29, 23 are in the Hall of Fame. Houston Texans punter Shane Lechler and Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas are still active players and Tony Gonzalez is not yet eligible for induction. Suffice it to say, Faneca should go ahead and find his nearest tailor and get his measurements sent to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

What began as a text conversation morphed into an internal question of the merits of the four offensive linemen who are Pro Football Hall of Fame finalists. To paraphrase a few of my cousins: The world is truly at our fingertips.

Obviously, statistics alone do not make an excellent player.

There are intangibles that can only be observed through watching the players, watching film or having an intimate knowledge of the game. But, it’s certainly fair to say that by these objective metrics, the call for the Hall, at least for Boselli, will have to wait.