The NFL Hall of Fame vote is quickly approaching and there are many worthy candidates on the 2013 ballot.
The finalists include: Larry Allen, Jerome Bettis, Tim Brown, Cris Carter, Curley Culp, Ed DeBartolo Jr., Charles Haley, Art Modell, Jonathan Ogden, Bill Parcells, Andre Reed, Dave Robinson, Warren Sapp, Will Shields, Michael Strahan, and Aeneas Williams.
Forty-six media members from across the country will vote four to seven individuals into the Hall this year. To be elected, a finalist must receive a minimum positive vote of 80 percent.
The question is who will get in?
Although that is up for debate, the eligible wide receivers better pray that they make the Hall this season. Here is why.
Historically the wide receiver position is the least represented position in Canton besides tight ends, punters and kickers. Steve Largent, Jerry Rice and Michael Irvin are the only modern day receivers elected into the Hall.
Next, with candidates such as Marvin Harrison, Isaac Bruce, Terrell Owens and eventually Randy Moss looming on the horizon there is a finite window of opportunity for these receivers to get in. Owens and Moss are quite possible two of the top three receivers of all-time besides the great Rice. Therefore, if Carter and Brown have to wait until Owens and Moss become eligible, their numbers and accomplishments look a little more ordinary.
Carter’s numbers are staggering. He finished his 234-game career as the NFL’s second all-time leading receiver with 1,101 receptions and 13,899 yards. Carter played full 16-game seasons in 13 of his 16 years in the NFL. At the time he retired following the 2002 NFL season, Carter had scored 130 touchdowns which ranked second most in NFL history.
Brown retired in 2004 as the third all-time leading receiver with 1,094 receptions for 14,934 yards, and notched 100 touchdowns. Brown also recorded nine straight 1,000-yard seasons and had 10 consecutive years with 75 or more catches. Upon retirement he also ranked fifth in combined net yardage with 19,682 yards, which includes his kick returning and punt returning duties.
Reed tallied 941 receptions, 13,095 career reception yards and had 36 games with 100-plus receiving yards. Reed added an additional 85 catches for 1,229 yards, including five 100-yard games, in the post-season during his career. Reed also helped the Buffalo Bills to four straight Super Bowls and five AFC Championship games.
The numbers indicate that Carter and Brown were two of the greatest receivers of all-time, with Reed probably being a tier below. However, with rule changes in the early 1990’s that favored the passing game, some voters may see these numbers as somewhat inflated.
One thing is for sure. If these receivers do not get in this year, each year will be increasingly more difficult for them to be elected, as sure fire first ballot Hall of Famers will leapfrog them and somewhat diminish their Hall of Fame resume.
Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo