The Pro Football Hall of Fame held its annual vote not too long ago, and while fans of the Beloved Purple got some good news in the well-deserved induction of John Randle, one of the bigger mysteries in recent Hall of Fame voting inexplicably continued along.
Yes, for the third consecutive year, former Viking and Philadelphia Eagle wide receiver Cris Carter was denied entrance into professional football's ultimate shrine. The man who retired from the NFL after the 2002 season with more receptions, yardage, and touchdowns than any wide receiver in NFL history not named Jerry Rice was somehow left on the outside looking in as more of his contemporaries wound up reaching immortality before he got there.
And outside of the arbitrary, B.S. Football Hall of Fame reasons. . .ie "can't induct two guys at the same position in the same year" and "can't induct two guys from the same team in the same year". . .I've yet to hear a really legitimate reason why #80 got passed over again. I'm guessing that has quite a bit to do with the fact that there really isn't one. As to the former reason, everybody knew that Jerry Rice was getting in this year. . .I mean, we're talking about the greatest receiver in NFL history not named Jerry Rice, so you know the actual Jerry Rice is going to get in first. As far as the latter. . .I'm not entirely sure that John Randle deserved to get in before Carter did, and I love me some John Randle, to be sure. But if Viking fans have to be happy with getting "only" one Hall of Famer (for the second consecutive year, I might add), then I guess we'll have to do so.
But let me just remind everyone again as to what Cris Carter did over the course of his career, and why it's a joke that a guy that should have been a no-brainer, first-ballot lock for Canton has been passed over for a third consecutive year.
As I already mentioned, when Carter retired, he was #2 in NFL history in receptions (1,101), receiving yardage (13,899), and touchdown receptions (130). After having been out of the league for seven seasons, he's still 3rd in receptions (one whole catch behind second-place Marvin Harrison), 8th in yardage, and 4th in touchdowns. Not to mention that he had the most ridiculous pair of hands in National Football League history, and better field presence than any other receiver that's ever played the game. Don't believe me? Take four minutes and twenty-four seconds out of your life to watch this. . .then come back and apologize for thinking I'd lead you astray.
And it's not as though Carter constantly played with Hall of Fame quarterbacks or anything similar to the likes of what Rice, Harrison, and others got the benefit of for their entire careers. In his 12 seasons in Minnesota, Carter went over the 1,000-yard receiving mark eight times, which doesn't sound like a big deal at first. However, thanks to Denny Green's "the quarterback just has to drive the car" system of offense, Carter got those 1,000-yard seasons with six different quarterbacks. . .and it wasn't exactly a Murderer's Row of passing prowess, either.
Only one Hall of Famer among them, as far as I can tell. Heck, you put Carter with Peyton Manning or with the Montana/Young combo platter in San Francisco, and we aren't talking about Jerry Rice being in a league all by himself. . .we're talking about Rice and Carter being in a league by themselves.
So, seriously, what legitimate reason can anyone out there come up with for Carter not getting in? His off-the-field problems? (If that's the case, you'd better start tossing a whole lot of those bronze busts out on the lawn.) His aloof manner with the media? His lack of a championship ring?
There is no good reason why Cris Carter isn't in the Hall of Fame. He's still the second-greatest receiver in National Football League history, and to be honest I really don't think that anybody else is all that close. You can have your Marvin Harrison, your Isaac Bruce, your Torry Holt, your Terrell Owens, and your Randy Moss. I'll take Cris Carter over every single one of them every single time.