It doesn’t seem like a very difficult proposition. Get 44 of the best football minds in one room and select the next class of Hall of Famers from a list of 17 players, including two nominees from the Senior Committee.
If only it were that simple. Everyone has their own personal biases which come into play when narrowing down the list. This doesn’t mean too much when you’re talking about the 573 ballots cast for the Baseball Hall of Fame. A handful of voters can make a bad decision without any real impact, case-in-point Pedro Gomez voting for Bill Mueller. However, one must only convince eight of the 44 football voters to effectively filibuster a player’s election, a much easier figure to manipulate.
Now I’m not saying there’s any funny business going on behind closed doors, but there aren’t too many other logical conclusions to the question “Why isn’t Cris Carter in the Hall of Fame?”
My personal standard for Hall of Fame election is very simple: a Hall worthy player should have displayed an era of excellence that stretches roughly 10 or more years. There can always be exceptions to this rule, like Gale Sayers, but generally speaking 10 years is my gold standard.
From 1992 to 2001, Carter met that standard, leading the NFL in receptions (905) and touchdown catches (102) while standing behind only Jerry Rice and Tim Brown in receiving yards (11,008). He went to eight Pro Bowls and was named an AP First Team All-Pro twice during that stretch.
Need more evidence? Carter recorded seven seasons with at least 75 receptions, 1,000 yards and nine scores. The only receivers to perform that feat more times? Jerry Rice and Marvin Harrison. Only six players have done so more than four times.
Another complaint I have is the exclusion of Bill Parcells, the ornery old man who flipped bad teams like repossessed houses. His accolades aren’t mind-boggling, but take into account the fact that he had to build four teams virtually from the ground up.
The Giants had posted a 46-96-1 record in the ten seasons before Parcells took over as head coach, making just one postseason appearance between 1963 and 1982 (He was the defensive coordinator on the only playoff team in 1981). With Parcells at the reins, they went 77-49-1 with two Super Bowl wins and five playoff spots.
Parcells had similar success with his three other stops. The Patriots had posted four consecutive losing seasons before the “Big Tuna” arrived. He took them to the postseason twice, including a Super Bowl appearance in his final campaign with the team. The Jets went from 1-15 in 1996 to 12-4 in ’98, moving their scoring defense rank from last to fifth place during that span. Finally, the Cowboys went from 5-11 in three consecutive season to 10-6 with an offense led by Quincey Carter and Troy Hambrick. Enough said.
But perhaps the most lasting success of Parcells is his coaching tree, the assistants he mentored and taught the knowledge necessary to become leaders of men. They include Bill Belichick, Romeo Crennell, Tom Coughlin, Sean Payton, Todd Haley, Eric Mangini, Al Groh and Tony Sporano. At least two of these men will someday grace the Hall of Fame with their membership.
All it takes is eight of 44 men to decide someone doesn’t belong. In my humble opinion, the voters should be shaken up a bit to ensure more integrity. For one, all the ballots should be public, no hiding behind a veil of anonymity. Second, there should be 15-to-20 year term limits for voters to remind those people that their position is a privilege and not a right. Finally, I believe the field should be widened to include more minds. Not to the point that baseball has, but it there were a 100-man panel it would take 21 nay votes to stonewall a candidate, hopefully leading to the most deserving players, coaches and executives earning their rightful place in Canton.
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Filed under: NFL |