The Pro Football Hall of Fame has been criticized for many perceived injustices in the past. Defensive players are woefully under-represented. Offensive Linemen in particular have gotten the shaft in the voting process - despite making up nearly half the offensive players on the field at one time, there are nonetheless fewer than two offensive linemen in the hall of fame for each QB, RB, or WR. Kickers and Punters of course do not exist in the Hall even though special teams can have an unbelievably significant effect on the outcome of games, and even seasons, in the NFL.
But one injustice that often goes unnoticed is the Hall of Fame's questionable record in inducting wide receivers. First, compared to quarterbacks and running backs, wide receivers are under-represented - there are fewer receivers in the hall of fame than QBs or RBs, despite more wide receivers seeing the field at any given time than either QBs or RBs. I mean if you think about it there are always at least 2 Wide Receivers on the field, and for some teams you have as many as 4 on every down.
Stranger still is the relative number of wide receivers who played the bulk of their careers after the explosion of the passing game in 1978. There are just seven wide receivers from that era in the hall of fame (and two of them - Stallworth and Swann - built the majority their hall of fame resumes in the 70s), compared with 7 RBs and 8 QBs in that same era.
Perhaps even more astounding is that only 4 WRs currently in the Hall of Fame played even one season in the 1990s, while 9 QBs and 6 RBs. The fact is, there is a backlog of deserving WRs, and this decade has shown us that WRs have to wait significantly longer following their retirements to be inducted. On average Wide Receivers have to wait about 13 years before induction. Running Backs and Quarterbacks usually wait about 6 or 7 years.
This brings us to the delimma of who gets in and when. Harold Carmichael, who by the way was probably the best WR to lace them up before the great Jerry Rice took the field is still not in the Hall of Fame. The same argument can be made for Tim Brown. It is not that their numbers aren't deserving, its just athat the NFL unlike most other leagues is a generational league. Your peers will look at your numbers in comparison to the other people in your era before they will decide to give you the nod at the Hall.
Being a first ballot HOF inductee is an honor denied to many. Everyone has been in an uproar the past 4 years about Cris Carter not getting in. If the pattern holds true to form, then Cris Carter will be inducted into the class of 2012. I know it may sound strange but that is the way the ball bounces in the NFL when it comes to the HOF. Plus Carter couldn't go in as a first ballot hall of fame WR until the great Jerry Rice solidified himself as the one and only one to do it in the modern era.
Now the 3 best Wide Receivers of the last decade will have to face the same situation when justice is to be served. Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, and Tory Holt will take their seats, be judged, be ridiculed, but one by one they should all get that pass into infinity. However it is probably going to work out that it happens slowly for each one with Moss going in first. Owens will get the nod second because he is either second or third in every category of receiving. Then we will get to watch Tory Holt go in as he rounds out this group of greats.
The travesty is that guys like Tim Brown are still waiting to get the call from Canton. Maybe they should hold off on Cris Carter and have one class of receivers go in together. Carter, Brown, Moss, Owens, and Holt. That would be wide receiver justice.
Stay Breezy ~ I'm Out