My Take On Cris Carter Being Passed Over For Canton Again

I know I'm a bit late to the party on this, and I know that Kyle already covered it, but I wanted to throw out my own take on the running gag that is Cris Carter's continued exclusion from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

As I sat in my recliner on Saturday afternoon, watching the announcement of the Hall of Fame Class of 2012 on the NFL Network, I really, truly thought that this was the year that Carter was going to make it in. Yes, he had the same fairly stiff competition at wide receiver that he's had the past couple of years in Tim Brown and Andre Reed, but when it was announced that Brown hadn't even made it past the first cut, I thought that Carter was a cinch. Chris Doleman had made the cut as well, so I thought that there was a great chance that the Minnesota Vikings would pull off the relatively rare feat of getting two Hall of Famers in one class.

However, it was not to be, as Carter was eliminated in the second cut, and wound up getting passed over for his rightful place in Canton for the fifth time. I couldn't believe it. . .the guy that the NFL Network said had the best hands in the history of the National Football League and a guy that should have gotten in as a first-ballot Hall of Famer had been jobbed one more time.

Over the days since the Class of 2012 has been announced, I've looked at various online sources and attempted to determine why it is, exactly, that Cris Carter keeps getting snubbed. A couple of themes kept repeating themselves, and so I'd like to take a minute to thoroughly debunk them.

Before we start off, I need to point out something that some of the Carter haters out there can't seem to get a handle on. Chris Carter is the guy responsible for creating The X-Files in the late 80s/early 90s. Cris Carter is the guy that played wide receiver for the Vikings and the guy we're talking about here. If you can't figure out the difference, you pretty much forfeit your expectation of being taken seriously while discussing the credentials of either guy.

Okay, now that that's out of the way. . .

One of the big ones that seems to keep coming up is Cris Carter's lack of a Super Bowl ring. If this is really, truly one of the things that's holding Carter back, then the voting process and the people that are a part of that process are a bigger joke than I can even begin to express. Seriously, here are the career numbers for two guys that played in the same era. . .one of them is in the Hall of Fame, and the other one is still waiting for his call.

Games

Receptions

Yards

Touchdowns

Michael Irvin

159

750

11,904

65

Cris Carter

234

1,101

13,899

130


For his career, Irvin is currently 20th all-time in receiving yardage, 29th all-time in receptions, and 45th all-time in receiving touchdowns. Carter is 8th, 4th, and 4th in those three categories, respectively. For crying out loud, he has twice as many touchdowns as Michael Irvin. . .and keep in mind, Irvin spent pretty much his entire career catching passes from a future Hall of Famer at quarterback, while Cris Carter largely had the Bum of the Month Club rolling through Minnesota every season.

But because Irvin managed to get himself three Super Bowl rings, people want to tell you with a straight face that he's a better receiver in the annals of NFL history than Cris Carter. To which I say, "the hell he is." I just don't understand the logic behind attempting to use a team achievement to prevent players from an individual honor like the Hall of Fame.

Oh, and incidentally. . .the modern era members of this year's Hall of Fame class (Dermontti Dawson, Chris Doleman, Cortez Kennedy, Curtis Martin, and Willie Roaf)? A combined zero Super Bowl rings. Their lack of team accomplishments didn't prevent them from getting enshrined, and that leads me into the next argument that I keep seeing about Cris Carter not getting into the Hall of Fame. . .the argument about Cris Carter's "character."

That line of reasoning may be an even bigger load of garbage than the one I just went over.

Yes, when he played in the NFL, Cris Carter had a cocaine habit early in his career. You know who else had a cocaine habit? Michael Irvin. It sure as heck didn't keep him from getting into the Hall of Fame. There's one guy in the Hall of Fame by the name of Paul Hornung that was suspended for an entire season (and the suspension was originally "indefinite") for gambling on his own team. That guy's in the Hall of Fame, too. The people that are so quick to point that out aren't nearly as quick to point out that, after the Philadelphia Eagles released him because of his drug habits, that he totally turned his life around. The guy was even named the NFL's Man of the Year in 1999.

Was Cris Carter a model citizen? Not for his entire NFL career, no. But if you only want people in the Pro Football Hall of Fame that were good people off the field as well as on it, then that big building in Canton, Ohio is going to be a pretty empty place. There are plenty of guys already in there that weren't angels off the field, but it seems that Carter is getting held to a different standard.

This leads me to the third. . .and, quite possibly. . .the dumbest reason of them all that I've seen for Carter not getting into the Hall of Fame. It has to do with the fact that he was, allegedly, not terribly nice to the media during his time in Minnesota. Unfortunately, it's the media (largely) that has the keys to the Hall, and the speculation is that there are people that Carter might have blown off during his career that don't want to see him get in.

What a joke.

So Cris Carter might have been a jerk off the field. Heck, I've never met the guy or spoken to him, so I can't personally verify that one way or another. But, apparently, there are a few people that have that impression of him, and the best response I can muster is "so freaking what?" Again, there are plenty of people that are currently in Canton that were jerks away from the football field. They managed to make their way into the Hall of Fame, but Cris Carter has not, even though his numbers and his accomplishments have shown him to be more than deserving.

Look, if the media folks that cover professional football want to construct a Pro Football Hall of Congeniality and keep Cris Carter out of it because they think he was a big stupid meaniehead poopyface, then that's fine. But that shouldn't be what the Pro Football Hall of Fame is all about.

As it stands right now, there are 21 modern-era wide receivers that have gotten into Canton. There are not 21 modern-era wide receivers that were or are better than Cris Carter. There just aren't.

Pro Football Talk has suggested that the way the Hall of Fame goes about things needs to be changed, starting with an overhaul of the Hall's Board of Trustees, which "sports a hybrid of football people and Canton-area businesspeople that are likely more concerned about networking than ensuring the best possible filter for determining who gets inducted into the Hall of Fame." Again, I'm not a Hall of Fame voter, and I don't know what goes on during these meetings for sure. . .but maybe something does have to change.

We'll have to see going forward. Cris Carter is going to (likely) be a finalist again in 2013. . .and if he doesn't make it next year, the next few years are going to see the addition of players like Marvin Harrison, Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce, Terrell Owens, and Randy Moss (and if you think the debate surrounding Carter is ridiculous, wait until Moss' name comes up). If Carter doesn't get in next year, the question of his Hall of Fame induction shifts from what should be a question of "when" to a question of "if," which is ludicrous to say the least.

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