Two years ago, I wrote about how difficult it was for great wide receivers to get into the Hall of Fame.
The primary factor was the number of receivers vying for Canton. Cris Carter, Tim Brown, and Andre Reed were all HOF finalists from 2010-2013. This likely divided votes between the three and kept all three of them out. Carter was eventually enshrined in 2013, but more worthy receivers were on the way (from the article):
Next year’s Hall of Fame ballot will be the first year of eligibility for Colts receiver Marvin Harrison. Statistically, he has the edge over both Brown and Reed in career receptions and touchdowns catches, while trailing Brown in receiving yardage by less than 400 yards. Harrison is admittedly a long shot to get in first-ballot, but he’s certainly a strong enough candidate to split the votes three ways once again.
Should none of the three be inducted then, we’re in an even deeper hole come 2015, which is former Rams receiver Isaac Bruce‘s first year of eligibility. Throw in Hines Ward the following year (though his resume pails in comparison to the rest of the field) and Terrell Owens in 2017, and you’ve got a serious problem on your hands. Don’t even get me started on Randy Moss.
Two years later, it seems like the problem has been solved. Andre Reed was inducted in 2014. Tim Brown will be part of the 2015 class.
The 2016 class could create yet another logjam, however. Former Rams receivers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt became eligible in 2015 and were HOF semifinalists. The next HOF cycle will introduce Terrell Owens into the field. Owens trumps Holt and Bruce in nearly every category and should be any easy choice, but he was a very divisive player during his career.
If all three are left out of the 2016 class, then we may have another logjam on our hands. Hines Ward is eligible in 2017. While he’s probably the lesser of the four, he was a very well-liked player which could mean just as much to the voters. More importantly, it will split the votes even more.
And again, don’t get me started on Randy Moss, who’s eligible in 2018.