The Pro Football Hall of Fame has announced it’s 15 modern-era finalists for this year, and among them is wide receiver Cris Carter, who played 16 NFL seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles (1987-1989), Minnesota Vikings (1990-2001) and Miami Dolphins (2002) . He is currently in the top 10 in league history in receptions (1,101-fourth), receiving yards (13,899-ninth) and receiving touchdowns (130-fourth), so there is no arguing with his production on the field. But the biggest thing missing from Carter’s Hall of Fame resume is a Super Bowl ring, with the closest he ever got to playing in the game coming in two NFC Championship Game appearances with the Vikings after the 1998 and 2000 seasons.
Despite his lofty rankings in the most notable statistics for NFL pass catchers, Carter has yet to earn induction into the Hall of Fame and this is his sixth year of eligibility. No wide receivers have been inducted in the past two years, despite other all-time greats Tim Brown and Andre Reed also being finalists in 2012 along with Carter.
Hall of Fame voting in all sports, no matter what the voting process is, usually comes down to a popularity contest. Carter was known to have a big ego and likely had an adversarial relationship with the media, which may have rubbed some people that are now part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s selection committee the wrong way. I don’t think any Hall of Fame voter should allow their personal feelings about a player to tilt their vote one way or the other, but it’s a reality of the situation that may have hurt Carter through his first handful of years on the ballot.
The list of 15 finalists will be narrowed to five, which is the maximum number of modern-era inductees, and the results will be announced from that final list on February 2. Some other notable finalists include Brown, Reed and Jerome Bettis, along with notable first-time eligibles Warren Sapp and Michael Strahan.
If Brown, Reed and Carter essentially split the opinion of voters since they played the same position during the same era, it’s possible all three will be left out again this year. But if only one gets in among them, and I feel all three are deserving and will be inducted at some point, I think it is time for Carter’s wait to be over.