Sunday, February 1, 2009

Cris Carter and Shannon Sharpe, not in the Hall of Fame?

Several great players were inducted into the Hall of Fame recently, but with two notable exceptions. Somehow two of the most iconic and dominant receivers of my football-watching life, still in the public eye working NFL studio shows, got the snub. I'm not the only one upset by this.

Shannon Sharpe (first ballot)

Why is this even a discussion? Until Tony Gonzalez, another sure-fire hall-of-famer, broke his record this season, Sharpe was the all-time leader in receiving yards from the tight-end position, with over 10,000yds to his name, on top of 62 TDs.

Sharpe had three seasons of 1,000yds receiving or more, the same as HOF TE Kellen Winslow, one more than Ozzie Newsome. At 49.3yds per game receiving, Sharpe is notably above the 37.7yds per game of John Mackey, who was declared the best TE of all time by the NFL Network this summer.

Sharpe reached eight pro-bowls in his career, and was named first-team all-pro four times, both of which are more than the three HOF TE's mentioned above. He has three Super Bowl rings, and was especially important in the third, with two receiving TDs that postseason.

To top it off, when posted its announcement of the HOF nominees a few months back, the lead image was of Sharpe. The editor of the site apparently thought he was as obvious a choice as I do.

Cris Carter (second ballot)

Out of the two, I suppose this is the slightly harder argument to make, but it's still barely debatable. In the minds of most football viewers of my generation, Cris Carter is always the second receiver mentioned after Jerry Rice, and for good reason.

Carter sits in third all-time in pass receptions, after being passed this season by Marvin Harrison, with 1,101. There are no hall-eligible players head of him that aren't in the hall.

After being pass this year by Terrell Owens and last year again by Marvin Harrison, Carter places 7th in career receiving yards, with 13,899. There are no hall-eligible players head of him that aren't in the hall.

Cris Carter is behind only Rice, Moss and Owens in career TD receptions, with 130, although once again Marvin Harrison is about to pass him. There are, once again, no hall-eligible players head of him that aren't in the hall.

Notice a pattern here? Career-wise, Carters numbers are more than enough. Eight consecutive 1,000yd seasons, eight pro-bowls and two first-team all-pro appearances don't hurt either.

In addition to the staggering numbers, Carter is also often credited as being a mentor to both Randy Moss and Larry Fitzgerald, two of the most dominant receivers in the game today.

The knock against Carter is that he never won a ring, which is, as in all sports, a terrible argument. Carter wasn't an Alex Rodriguez disappearing act in the playoffs or anything, catching 8 postseason TDs from SIX different QBs, but the teams just weren't good enough.

Between 1988 and 2001 (I'm not counting the half-years that bookend his career) only nine teams won a championship, and with Carter's Vikings playing in an NFC with the Niners and Cowboys dynasties and the rise of Brett Favre, it's not much of a knock to, as a receiver, not guide a team to the title.

Now, both of these men will likely make the HOF eventually, but the fact still remains that these are hardly debatable choices. The politics need to end, and these men given the honors they've definitely earned.


Stamford Talk said...

Excellent post!
Who got inducted instead of these guys, I'm just wondering.
Were the voters just not into WR this year? Or did they snub Carter and Sharpe in favor of someone less remarkable?

Rob Fitz said...

Thanks! I don't think there was anything against receivers this year, they just thought Smith, Thomas and McDaniel (below in the list) were the more deserving "modern era" nominees.

Bob Hayes, WR 1965-75
Bruce Smith, DE 1985-2003
Derrick Thomas, LB 1989-99
Ralph Wilson, owner (Bills) 1959-present
Rod Woodson, CB 1987-2003
Randall McDaniel, OG 1988-2001