Or, "How Stupid Are People That Believe Wide Receiver Is An Unimportant Position?".
OK, you all know by now that once again, for the stupidest reason I've ever heard, Cris Carter has been denied entry into the Hall of Fame. Again. For the fourth freaking time.
Now, if you haven't heard, the reason rumored is that the Hall of Fame voting committee considers Wide Receiver to be one of the more unimportant positions in the NFL, and the statistics absolutely show this. There is an incredible dearth of WRs in Canton- only Kickers and Tight Ends are less represented. And it's not just the Hall of Fame that has this opinion- I've seen and heard the most ludicrous suggestions out there that a top-level WR just isn't important.
Well, let's focus on that, shall we? Let's take a Leap of Faith and explore just how worthless that position really is.
This is a bit of a break-down, by the way, to enlighten the morons who hold to this position. Now, I'm not going to say I understand the game of football as well as the Hall of Fame committee... but I truly, truly disagree with them in their assessments of Wide Receivers and their value.
One of the stupidest things I've ever heard/ seen held up as proof that WRs are essentially ‘side shows' for a real NFL team is Randy Moss' final season. Moss leaves New England, New England picks up Deion Branch (who nobody can consider superior in any way to Moss), and they do just fine. Moss goes to Minnesota, does very little to help team win games, and is kicked out and then winds up in Tennessee, where he has equally little impact and is out of the league the following season. And since Moss is arguably in the top 3 of WRs all-time, clearly, this is a perfect example that the position isn't that important?
>smacks forehead... hard<
OK then. Let's sample another piece of Randy Moss-related history. Oh, say, the 1998 Minnesota Vikings and the 2007 New England Patriots. There are two very interesting similarities between those two teams: both set the record for most points scored in a regular season, and both featured... >gasp< Randy Moss, with absolutely no other player having been on both teams. Gee, that's a mighty coincidence- the arrival (as it was his inaugural season with both teams) of Randy Moss twice creates unprecedented offensive juggernauts.
What would you weigh more? This fact, or the previous one of his disastrous final season? It's amazing how many people seem to prefer the latter as evidence of a WR's value. As a side note, when Minnesota did pick up Moss that year, my friend (who is actually a Packer fan, curse his soul) texted me- "Well, AP just got his 2K yard season". Keep that little tidbit in mind... we'll cover it more later.
Now then, let's move along to another subject I'd like to discuss- last night's Super Bowl. Two top-tier quarterbacks. Two decent pass rushes, two decent run games. Two talented, seasoned, intelligent head coaches- themselves likely headed to Canton one day (alongside their QBs, in all likelihood). Now, this one could be argued very effectively either way, but personally there was one key difference that the Giants- you know, the team that won- had in their favor that the Patriots did not- a group of very talented WRs. Yes, Wes Welker had a great game, that drop aside. Deion Branch was okay. Chad Ochocinco... well, he made a catch and then I think tweeted about it so much he never saw the field again. On the other side of the ball were Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, and Mario Manningham, doing his best David Tyree impersonation of saving the day in a critical moment. (Oh yeah. It was a WR who essentially make the Giant's success possible... in a single play.) While you can't knock Wes Welker, even despite that one critical dropped pass, the WR corps as a whole for the Giants trumped the Patriots' WR corps... and lo and behold, it was the Giants who won. (Again, I know there are other factors, and the overall weighted importance of this one part can be debated ceaselessly- but to me, it was the main part of the Giant's win.)
Now, I said we'd return to my friend's text earlier, and we'll do so now. I wanted to cover the Giant's WR corps first because it plays into this. Ever notice a top-level WR do a ‘disappearing' act? When the Pats made their SB run in 2007, Moss pretty much did just that in the playoffs. And while Cruz had his TD (and salsa dance!), he himself made a lengthy disappearance after. But therein lies the threat of a top-level WR- they draw so much attention that they open things up for other players in other positions- TEs, RBs, lesser WRs. Now, WRs aren't the only ones to do this- Adrian Peterson's trend of drawing eight men in the box has an opposite effect, so to speak. But how do we get the best out of our superstar running back? It's no secret around here- we need a top-tier WR to stretch the field. Outside of our offensive line, it's our biggest gap on that side of the ball, and it's well known it would immediately make our offense much better.
This is a passing game, ladies and gentlemen. And that's not exactly a recent trend. Yes, offenses have become more prolific in recent years thanks to new helmet-to-helmet rules and rules regarding hitting a defenseless player, but football's been a passing game since the 70's. Is WR the most important guy on the field? No, that honor remains uncontested- the QB. But let's consider too, just as a great QB can make average WRs look equally great- so to can great WRs make average QBs look great. (Another Randy Moss reference! See- Matt Cassel, career comparisons between Patriots and Chiefs of.) It is the most ludicrous assumption that WRs are the most unimportant guys on the offense.
And with that in mind, it is absolutely ludicrous that the man who finished his career number two in career receptions and touchdowns, and still currently stands number 4 in touchdowns is not in the Hall of Fame, just because some people are so stupid as to genuinely believe that WR is an unimportant position. How well would the Vikings have fared in 1998 with just Randy Moss? Would we have won 15 games? I don't believe so- we would have still been good, but not 15-1 good. Cris Carter absolutely was a game changer on two of the three teams he played for (Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings- the whole ‘Miami Dolphins' stint at the end of his career is a bit of a ‘lost year', albeit for a guy well past his playing days by then).
And yet... he's still not in the Hall of Fame. All thanks to the stupidest reason imaginable.