The Pro Football Hall of Fame 2013 class was announced this evening and the tip top of the list was wide receiver Cris Carter. Carter was zero for five in Hall of Fame voting prior to this season, but this year voters decided finally Carter deserved to be enshrined. Am I the only one who sees the absurdity in this? Let me go on.
Oh, and don’t misunderstand me. My commentary has practically nothing to do with Carter as a player. He was a tremendous wide receiver. I have almost zero interest in him as a commentator where I find him totally droll and teeming with arrogant biases, but as a player he was incredible. Having said that, it’s just silly he got into the Hall of Fame this year.
The rules of the Hall of Fame are a little puzzling. I am taking this straight from the Hall of Fame Wikipedia Page.
The Selection Committee then meets the day before each Super Bowl game to elect a new class. To be elected, a finalist must receive at least 80 percent support from the Board, with at least four, but no more than seven, candidates being elected annually. If less than four candidates get 80 percent of the vote, then the top four vote-getters will get in that year. If more than seven get 80 percent, then only the top seven vote-getters will be inducted.
I understand the reasoning behind the four players minimum. The NFL doesn’t want what just happened with baseball Hall of Fame voting where no one got in. But the entire philosophy of minimums and maximums are why guys like Carter didn’t get in back in 2008 when he was most deserving. If you ascribe to the notion that statistics matter, than all that’s happened in the seasons since Carter has retired is he’s slid from 2nd to 4th in receptions and receiving touchdowns and is currently down to 9th in receiving yards. I am in no way disparaging those numbers, but it stands to reason that in a system that worked correctly, Carter is inducted in 2008, not 2013.
I have lobbied for years that far too many players are inducted into the Hall of Fame. The level of talent seems to get a little more watered down every year, and it’s because of a combination of these silly rules, and the sentimental nature of fans and voters. But having said all that, I am not at all opposed to Carter getting in, because as I have said before, if you want to get in, the story of the NFL has to be told and you must be a character. Carter is certainly one of those guys.
The Hall of Fame must fix this problem. Whether it’s tightening up their entrance requirements so the minimums and maximums don’t matter as much, or fixing this silly minimum/maximum thing; the credibility of the Hall and what it is supposed to represent takes a hit every year with the choices that are made. Congrats to Carter for finally getting the nod, but the idea he’s Hall of Fame worthy in 2013 but not in 2008 attacks my sensibilities and makes it hard for me to be interested in which players go in and which do not.