What Defines A Hall of Famer?

Codeezy's picture
January 21, 2013 at 9:31p

I've talked to a lot of angry people about the way the NFL HoF is run and the selection process is, and I have this to offer.

Cris Carter vs Michael Irvin.

A Hall of Fame for a sport doesn't necessarily HAVE to include anyone based on stats. Irvin was blessed to preform with elite coaching and personnel around him. Cris Carter was not always. Both men are blessed with amazing physical ability, obviously.  But only one of these guys got to use their abilities on the "biggest stage" so to speak, in the Super Bowl. Is the deciding factor of who is better or more deserving of enshrinement based on stats, performance in big games, or even personality?

Hypothetically, if there had never been a Pro Football Hall of Fame and they decided to open one up now, and let a large number of player entries in, just to christen the HOF, so to speak, who would they induct? Being 25 years old, I am not as knowledgeable when looking at the history of the NFL, so forgive me. But the first people looked at would be either all-time innovators at their respective positions (Walter Payton, Jim Brown type), and Super Bowl ballers (Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana type). This is outside of coaches and other entries obviously.

I'm not sold, that even if they selected 267 entries (which they are at currently), that Cris Carter is such a big snub. In 20 years he may not even be in the top 15 of his receiving records, and he rubbed a lot of the wrong people the wrong way. Okay he did it with bad QB play for the most part, but I will get to that in a second. I whole-heartedly think CC should be in the HoF, but my friends get so worked up over him not being first ballot and I don't understand being upset about something like this. Do you think if he had been more personable he would have been first ballot? Or had he won a Super Bowl, same outcome? If you are an athlete in the NFL, you are obviously blessed with God Given talent. But going from Pro-Bowler to All Time Great has a lot to do with timing and luck.

Timing and luck vs Joey Galloway

Okay sorry, I had to take it to this level. If you know anything about me, which, yeah you don't, you could have expected this. And this is not necessarily just Joey Galloways bad luck. Yeah, the QB he caught the majority of his passes from is Quincy Carter (right?). But lets say he somehow comes out in the 1996 draft, and gets drafted in the first round by the Colts, in need of a deep threat receiver. Then who the crap is Marvin Harrison and who is Joey Galloway? I'm sure there are many of these scenarios, but Joey Galloway had 77 TDs and almost 11,000 yards with the likes of Rick Mirer, Quincy Carter, Chad Hutchinson, and Jeff Garcia tossing him the rock. Ok, yeah he couldn't get the Pats offense down later in his career, but look at what he did with what he had. Same argument can be made for Barry Sanders. With his ability behind any other line or in any other scheme he may have been the best ever. Its almost like the butterfly effect of NFL careers.

In Conclusion

What separates a fringe NFL Legend and a Hall of Famer has a lot to do with the right place, right time, because all of the athletes in the NFL are so blessed with talent just to get to the spot where they are. But it also has a lot to do with team outcomes; Super Bowls, dynasty type teams always produce Hall of Famers. And yeah those players are needed to create the "Dynasty" team, but you cant tell me that Michael Irvin was the best WR of his era. What came first, the chicken or the egg? The dynasty team or the hall of Famer? This doesn't mean the dynasty player he should or shouldn't be in the HoF, it is just a combination of a bunch of factors to turn Great NFL Players to busts in Canton, Ohio. Cris Carter will have his year folks.

Answer some of my questions! Criticize me! I don't care!


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Chief B1G Dump's picture

Much of what you said here applies to CC. The Hall of Fame includes the fame section by definition. It did him absolutely no favors that he was a jerk to the media and never got titles and/or to showcase frequently on the biggest stage. If he had the benefit of somehow taking Irvings spot on the Cowboys, then no doubt he's a first ballot HoF'er. But he didn't. He had mostly poor QBs and played opposite another HoF receiver for years. A position like WR is fairly dependent on variables outside of the players control...so WR is a tricky one to vote for.
But I do believe CC should and will get in. That's the weird part. I don't understand how multiple ballots can pass, the player is still retired thus amassing no more stats...and is somehow worthy to make it in year 6 but wasn't in years 1-5?

Codeezy's picture

Agreed. Its like a players career becomes more appealing over time. We see them as better players in retrospect, like "Gosh we havent had a reciever like Joey Galloway in a while in the NFL, lets put him in the Hall."

hodge's picture

What defines a Hall-of-Famer?

The narritive. 

pcon258's picture

I can't help but draw a parrallel to the baseball hall of fame's character clause. To me, the Hall of Fame is about enshrining significant players. Whether they're significant for their talent, their exploits in big games, etc., it's hard to quantify it. There will always be snubs in some peoples' minds. What fun is a hall of fame if we can't argue over who should be in it?