Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

30 Dec 2009

Which Wideouts Deserve Hall Nod?

Chase Stuart at the always-excellent pro-football-reference blog has a detailed look at three wideouts with Hall cases: Andre Reed, Cris Carter, and Tim Brown.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 30 Dec 2009

17 comments, Last at 03 Jan 2010, 11:26pm by Red5

Comments

1
by Theo :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 5:25pm

Jerry Rice set the bar, the optimum, for all wide receivers.

Rice played in the 80s and 90s.
So I don't know why one would compare any receiver to anyone else than Rice.

2
by huston720 :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 5:29pm

Probably because if we are going to use Rice as the bar for a WR getting into the hall then we probably won't have any other WRs in the hall and will need to remove all others currently enshrined. Obviously there are levels of talent ina any hall of fame and this article is simply focused on attempting to find where the line is drawn for receivers from the 80s and 90s. I think he makes a good case that the line should be drawn somewhere between Chris Carter and Andre Reed.

3
by Theo :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 5:55pm

The article says that it became easier over the years to rack up stats - in a given year.
Carter and Reed played in another environment than today's. That's why I still mention Rice. People were allowed to bump him until the pass was thrown and he still caught everything.
Makes a double point for Rice's records. (and him as a person and player) and a benchmark for wide receivers.

But yeah, Carter was pretty awesome. I don't know. What makes a Hall Of Famer?

8
by BigCheese :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 8:11pm

Rice played in the 70s???

- Alvaro

4
by andrew :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 6:57pm

The article says fans overvalue touchdowns, and that's Carter's strongest suit....

Sheez, cue up Berman's Buddy Ryan quote.

The article seems to place the most faith in receiving yards.... what about receptions? which produced the most first downs? i.e., how would they compare in DVOA? I know we don't have data for stuff back that far, but in general Carter's back to back 122-catch seasons (he held the record for exactly one year when Herman Moore got 123 the next season while he had 122 (with his 123rd catch called back to accept a penalty in the finale) have to count for something.

If I had to run down the greatest catches I've seen by the three of them I think Carter gets like 8 of them. Just offhand the one-hander against the Falcons, the horizontal out of bounds with his toes in against Denver are over the top.

And if you're going to blame him for getting less yardage than Randy Moss on his team, I think you also need to give him some credit for mentoring Randy Moss when he came into the league.

I still can't believe we're having to debate this now because they voted in Monk first.

7
by Adam B. :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 8:03pm

... folks know the story behind that quote, right? Ryan needed a sham reason to cut him from the team because Carter was going through severe cocaine/alcohol issues, and didn't want Carter to get suspended by the league.

10
by Pitt-skee (not verified) :: Thu, 12/31/2009 - 1:45am

You have to look at each player individually, there is no bar set by any one receiver. Rice was great for his own reasons, but I wish they kept stats on the best blocking receivers, there have been some amazing receivers out there that had a lot to do with their teams success and their abilities changed the way people thought about wide receivers, but their numbers aren't unbelievable. Some players are great for their guts, some for their glory. You can't always get the yards and the touchdowns. Sometimes you're the guy who gets open in five yards, makes you great in the red-zone. Sometimes you're a Wes Welker and are a first-down on third down almost every time kinda guy. What about T.O. has she actually ever made any of her teams better?.. in comparison to a Sterling Sharpe per say. I doubt the Bills would have ever made it to the Superbowl 4 times without Reede. I absolutely hated the guy growing up because I knew he was something else, a player that always had to be accounted for and dictated the way defenses would play.

Just a thought
Bars ONLY exist for one generation anyway.

5
by Bobman :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 6:59pm

Nothing much to add to the discussion aside from how much I enjoyed the piece. These guys are sandwich WRs, stuck between the old days of the 70s and the super-explosive 21st C players. The passing game was growing a lot in the 80s/90s, so their stats look good looking backward, but looking forward and comparing them to their hairs who AVERAGE 90/1300/12, Brown is the only one who stands out. And looking at the list of guys who will be eligible in about 15 years, the sandwich guys better hope they get in soon.

6
by Raiderjoe :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 8:03pm

Cliff Branch, Tim Brown and Jerry Rice all Raider grets

12
by David :: Thu, 12/31/2009 - 6:08am

Tim Brown is clearly heading to the hall as a buccaneer :)

9
by Still Alive (not verified) :: Thu, 12/31/2009 - 1:43am

I cannot imagine anyone takes the hall of fame seriously anymore? It is such a joke.

11
by Red5 (not verified) :: Thu, 12/31/2009 - 4:02am

raiderjoe, have you drunk so many sierra nevadas that you think Rice will enter Canton as a raider and NOT a 49er??? Sixteen years as a 49er and four as a raider. That must be some beer.

13
by Raiderjoe :: Thu, 12/31/2009 - 8:03am

Rice was great player for Raiders but of course bulk of greatmness with 49ers. players dont enter HOF with a team like they do in baseball.

17
by Red5 (not verified) :: Sun, 01/03/2010 - 11:26pm

Yes, players go to the HoF as individuals and not as members of team. Still, a raider fan crowing about Jerry Rice is akin to a chief fan crowing about Joe Montana or (in 10 years) a falcons fan bragging about Tony Gonzalez.

14
by capt. Anonymous (not verified) :: Thu, 12/31/2009 - 11:10am

Chris Carter yes. Andre Reed no. What story am I going to tell my kid about Andre Reed. The only way he gets mentioned is because Jim Kelly had to throw to someone.

Thats not to take away from him as a football player. He was obviously an amazing ball player. Just not a legend.

Lets remember this is a writer's vote. Writers write stories. Its not about the player its about the story.

15
by MC2 :: Thu, 12/31/2009 - 11:13am

Carter deserves to get in and will eventually, although I'm not sure if it'll be this year. I kind of doubt it, given the presence of 2 lock first ballot guys.

Brown probably deserves to get in too, but may not because he played on a bunch of lousy teams. Reed, on the other hand, probably doesn't deserve to get in, but I wouldn't be surprised if he does because he played on great teams.

Ultimately, I feel the HOF should be more about rewarding individual excellence than team success, but unfortunately, that's not always the way it works.

16
by Go Pats (not verified) :: Thu, 12/31/2009 - 12:19pm

Re 14,

You dont have to be a legend to get into the HOF, the HOF has many "average" players who were on very successful teams and so were elected. If you can serious put Troy Aikman and all those Steeler receivers from the 70's in the HOF, then Reed deserves to be in. Do you know how hard it is to play WR in the weather conditions in Buffalo? I am not a Bills fan but Reed belongs in my opinion. So does Roger Craig IMHO.