Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

29 Feb 2012

Steelers to Cut Hines Ward

Just in time for the long discussion of the Hall of Fame's wide receiver column that's coming in tomorrow's Walkthrough. The dude seems like a slam dunk to me. You're talking about the all-time Steelers leader in every single receiving category who also has two rings and a Super Bowl MVP trophy. If you want intangibles, he was also regarded for most of his career as the best blocking wide receiver in football. I'm sure the competitive juices still flow inside of Ward and he still wants to play. (He does, according to this statement.) However, how much is he going to help another team? Ward had not put up negative DVOA in any season from 2002 to 2010. Last year he was at a career-low -11.2% DVOA, even though he still had 73 percent catch rate. He is really strictly a short-pass receiver at this point, averaging just 6.2 "air yards" per pass last year. Do you really want your fourth receiver to be a 36-year-old veteran who blocks well but can't run routes past a dozen yards or play special teams?

P.S. Yes, I know Cris Carter isn't in, and other wide receivers, and so on. Like I said, we'll get to that issue in Walkthrough tomorrow. If we can fix the WR backlog problem, I think Ward should go in. Fixing the WR backlog problem is the first issue, of course.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 29 Feb 2012

141 comments, Last at 08 Mar 2012, 9:48am by erniecohen


by AnonymousA (not verified) :: Wed, 02/29/2012 - 7:21pm

Could the Pats use Ward's availability as leverage in discussion with Mr. Welker? I don't have the numbers, but I suspect Wes' average air yards aren't spectacular, either.

by commissionerleaf :: Wed, 02/29/2012 - 7:24pm

It's different when your slot guy is also your #1 wideout.

by dryheat :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 3:10pm

I don't think Ward is any better leverage than Julian Edelman is. Even though Ward can still get open and catch, it's pretty clear that Ward no longer has the ability to make the first defender miss.

by Jerry :: Wed, 02/29/2012 - 8:10pm

I (selfishly) hope he retires; I don't want to see him in another uniform. Thank you, Hines. It was a pleasure to watch you play.

by drobviousso :: Wed, 02/29/2012 - 8:29pm


by Thok :: Wed, 02/29/2012 - 8:20pm

The dude seems like a slam dunk to me

Whether or not he's a slam dunk, he's going to wait a minimum of five years on the ballot with the current Hall of Fame backlog.

by johonny (not verified) :: Wed, 02/29/2012 - 8:21pm

If he blocks well couldn't he play special teams?

by Jerry :: Wed, 02/29/2012 - 9:33pm

He was actually a good special teams player before he became a starting receiver.

by Theo :: Wed, 02/29/2012 - 8:22pm

Awesome player to watch. Thanks Heinz.
He'll probably join Arizona or something - do not much and retire a Steeler at the end of the year.
Hope he'll play the Steelers in the Super Bowl.

by ebongreen :: Wed, 02/29/2012 - 8:38pm

In all likelihood soon to be followed on the waiver wire by Donald Driver.

Both professionals whose conduct will be missed on their teams. [salutes]

by deflated (not verified) :: Wed, 02/29/2012 - 9:10pm

All-time franchise receiving leader, two SB rings, regarded as the best blocking WR in football over his career - so you would also view Rod Smith as HOF worthy? Most opinion I've seen hadn't rated him as that close.

by Lance :: Wed, 02/29/2012 - 10:31pm

I actually think Rod Smith should be there. If you're the main WR on a two-time SB-winning team, I think he at least deserves mention. Remember, it's the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Lots of Stats. His career stats are somewhat middling, but he played before the NFL decided that by all means we need to see more passing.

I don't think Smith is a slam dunk, and we have such a backlog that it could take awhile. And actually, looking at his numbers, they're a little more disappointing than I recalled-- did the NFL's desire to have most of its offense come from the pass inflate the numbers of the last 6-7 years so much?

Meh. I don't know. But for me, it wouldn't upset me if he got in-- and I have no Denver love at all.

by Eggwasp (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 3:23am

Rod Smith? I hope that was a joke.

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 11:57am

But that's what makes all the HoF talk fun. It's interesting how some guys get maximum credit for what they accomplish, while others fly below the radar. If you're in the camp that says Ward should certainly get in, then why wouldn't Smith be at least worth of having a conversation about? So much has to do with who was on TV more often and got the most kudos from the talking heads.

by Mr Shush :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 1:23pm

Neither is worth having a conversation about. Neither had a high enough peak. At wide receiver, if you were never a dominant player, you have no business in Canton. Neither was ever dominant.

by 'nonymous (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 1:46pm

There's more than one way to be dominant.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 7:46am

Um, care to expand on that?

by bubqr :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 2:27pm

Curtis Martin ? Isn't he hall of good stat material only ?

by RickD :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 2:29am

"Stat material"?

Being clearly the best RB in the history of the NY Jets? #4 on the all-time rushing list?

There are stats and there are stats. Sometimes the stats show that a player had a great career.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 7:55am

"Being clearly the best RB in the history of the NY Jets"

What's that got to do with anything. Plenty of franchises have never had a Hall of Fame-worthy RB. The Jets are one of them. You wanna put Corey Dillon in the Hall of fame? Gerald Riggs?

"#4 on the all-time rushing list?"

That's nice, but it mainly just shows that he played for a long time in an era of high feature back usage. The all time top 10 passers include Testaverde, Bledsoe and Collins. You want to enshrine them?

Look, Martin's not a completely horrible choice. I regard him as on the lower end of marginal. I don't hate the fact that he's in, but I wouldn't have put him there. At the very least, he has a much better case than Ward.

by Lance :: Sat, 03/03/2012 - 6:56pm

Whatever "dominant" means.

by Lance :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 1:11pm

Sorry; you're smarter than I am and your opinion matters more. Never mind.

by Tim R :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 5:01am

Isn't Rod Smith the only undrafted player to get 10,000 career receiving yards? Not sure he should be in but I don't think him being in the discussion is ridiculous.

by Shattenjager :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 5:56am

He is. In fact, he is the only undrafted player to get 8000 and he had over 11 000: http://pfref.com/tiny/KgnLT

I don't think that should really affect his HOF credentials, but it is true.

by Tomlin_Is_Infallible :: Wed, 02/29/2012 - 9:18pm

sad to see, but necessary

Velvet Sky fan

by theslothook :: Wed, 02/29/2012 - 9:20pm

im sure he is a slam dunk, but honestly, was he more valuable than a number of other receivers who may or may not get in? Was he truly better than holt, bruce, To, Carter, reed, brown, etc? Or how about still active but will come receivers like steve smith and wes welker? I suspect most of us(especially non steeler fans) would prefer most of the receivers i mentioned ahead of hines(not to suggest hines wasn't great or necessarily deserving).

by tuluse :: Wed, 02/29/2012 - 9:25pm

I would say every name on your list except Reed should make it in.

by theslothook :: Wed, 02/29/2012 - 9:45pm

True, but i honestly, i think of that list, only ward, carter, and possibly welker will make it. And really, ward and welker will probably get it much more because they were on winning teams. Honestly, its sad that holt and smith won't make it because they weren't on winning teams all the way to the end of their careers like ward and welker were. (again, really nothing against any of these receivers as i think they are all deserving).

by Tim R :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 5:03am

Well Holt has a ring and played in another SB while Smith played in one, so it's not like their teams exclusively sucked but I get your point.

by dmstorm22 :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 3:45pm

If Wes Welker makes it in ahead of any of the current WRs in the backlog (Carter, Brown, Reed) or even Torry Holt, Hines Ward I think there is a problem. I would go for Steve Smith over Welker. Steve Smith had mostly Jake Delhomme as his QB and was insane in some years (2005, 2008). Steve Smith probably won't make it in because I doubt he'll have the raw stats, but I will tell my kids about Steve Smith, this 5'9" receiver who at his best was the best WR in football and absolutely uncoverable.

by RickD :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 2:32am

Welker is 30. He's years away from retiring, much less worrying about being eligible for the Hall of Fame.

If there's still a backlog 8-10 years from now, then the problem won't be Wes Welker.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 7:57am

I agree. Smith was/is a Hall of Fame talent who probably won't make it due to injuries and team-mates. Even on the Panthers, he'd probably have posted the requisite numbers if he'd been a bit healthier. But in many nearby possible worlds, he's a first ballot slam dunk.

by Lance :: Wed, 02/29/2012 - 10:36pm

This surprises me.

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 12:02pm

Interesting thinking of both Holt and Bruce making it in. I doubt the voters let that happen. As great as the Greatest Show on Turf was, it was fairly short-lived and only produced the one Super Bowl. Having them have a RB, two receivers and potentially also the QB in the HoF doesn't seem likely, even if they all do deserve it.

Great example of how with the passing game having exploded over the last couple decades what a huge backlog of guys there are with good numbers.

by tuluse :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 12:15pm

They went to 2 Super Bowls.

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 1:20pm

And Andre Reed went to 4. Assuming he doesn't make it in, will both Bruce and Holt? There's a lot of guys with great numbers who probably aren't. And without a doubt the voters favor guys from teams that won multiple SBs. If not for that bias, I doubt there's much talk about Hines Ward getting in.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 8:00am

Holt and Bruce are both marginal. Faulk, Pace and Warner should all certainly go, as should Aeneas Williams, ahead of either reciver. But I wouldn't have a huge problem with enshrining all 6.

by ppabich :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 3:14am

Randy Moss? Marvin Harrison? Both way more slam dunks than Ward. Not to mention, if it takes Ward a while to get in, he will have to start competing with the likes of Fitz, Calvin and AJ. He could get in based on post season stuff, but that's BS to me.

by dryheat :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 9:59am

Just how soon do you see Johnson, Johnson, and Fitzgerald retiring? I would think they all have at least 8 years in the league left, plus a 5-year waiting period. If Ward isn't in by then, he's not getting in.

I'm conflicted on Ward. I think he's probably better than a lot of guys who are in, including Swann and Stallworth, but I hate playing that game. Is he really one of the all-time great players in the league (and I don't buy the Hall of "Fame" argument....if that were the case, let's put in William Perry, Ickey Woods, Art Schlichter, and Tony Mandarich)?

I think he'll have a tough time getting in. But certainly in his era he's behind, at minimum, Moss, Owens, and Harrison. And there are arguments for plenty of others. Throw in the guys on the outside looking in, and I'm apparently alone in thinking Andre Reed is the best of the bunch. And then throw in guys like Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates whom are probably also competing with the other pass-catchers, and unless the HoF goes on a wild wide receiver / tight end kick, I wouldn't bet on Hines wearing yellow again.

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 12:12pm

Not better than either Swann or Stallworth, imo, but they're legitimate HoFers in my book, so that's not really a dis of Ward as much as a compliment to them. The passing game is so different now, it's almost impossible to compare today's guys to those who played in the 70s and early 80s.

There's a huge backlog already of guys with great numbers and it's just going to get worse. The argument that Ward leads the Steelers in all categories--definitely a valid point, but then again in pretty short order that will probably be true of lots of lesser guys simply because the passing numbers are higher than in the past and careers are longer. I say "probably" only because guys move around more than they used to so that may keep them from staying in one city long enough to break team records.

by ppabich :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 7:33pm

I would say the 5 year waiting period is moot, considering Ward has to wait 5 years as well. Also Ward might not be done.

by RickD :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 2:34am

Fitz is 28. Megatron is 26. Andre Johnson is 30. Can we please not worry about their positions on the Hall of Fame ballot yet?

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Wed, 02/29/2012 - 9:29pm

Wow, when did Aaron get so media-savvy? Look at him driving up page views with a controversial opinion on a player's chances of making the HOF. Personally, I think Ward is a fringe candidate who has sentiment on his side but too many other players ahead of him to make it in, at least anytime soon.

by Joshua Northey (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 12:51am

I would put Ward behind 10 other guys from the last 15 years. Maybe 20. Definitely one of the best, but just how many WR are we going to put int he hall anyway?

by jonnyblazin :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 1:39am

I say no way to Hines Ward for the hall. His peak value is just way too low. How many years was he considered a top 5 WR? Both by stats and the eye-test he just doesn't measure up. As a Ravens fan I never ever wondered "how are we going to stop Hines Ward?", whereas Plexico Burress and Santonio Holmes were legit matchup problems.

by duh :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 5:19am

"how are we going to stop Hines Ward?"
NOBODY ever said what we need to do is stop Hines Ward to win the game.
If I were a HOF voter I'd never EVER cast a vote for Hines.
We need to stop Chris Carter, yep.
We Need to stop Tim Brown, yep again.
We need to stop Andre Reed, indeed we do .... but we need to stop Hines Ward? never once thought that .......

by RickD :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 2:39am

Well, if you were trying to beat the Steelers, you tended to worry more about scoring points than stopping Hines Ward. But for a couple of years there, yes, he was the top scoring threat for the Steelers.

In 2002, Ward scored 12 TDs. The rest of the team scored 14 TDs. I suspect more than one coach worried about him.

by Anonymouss (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 10:36am

Good point. Ward wasn't even the best receiver on his team for half of his career:
2000 2nd behind Shaw
2001 2nd behind Burress
2007 2nd behind Holmes
2009 3rd behind Holmes, Wallace
2010 2nd behind Wallace
2011 3rd behind Brown, Wallace

by ppabich :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 3:17am

46, 32, 32, 3, 7, 12, 6, 25, 38, 7, 9, 24, 64.

Those are his ranks in DYAR during his career. Not HOF worthy to me. It says he was good, not great. The fact that he played on a team with the best defenses in the league taking him to the playoffs year after year shouldn't give him a benefit over other players. Although it probably will.

by Eggwasp (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 3:25am


by Dr. I Love Statistics... to a Point (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 12:01pm

DYAR doesn't measure his run blocking, and his run blocking was worth oodles of yards above replacement.

Let's not forget his pass blocking either: the Steelers occasionally kept Hines Ward in the backfield to block in max-protect schemes on passing downs. Yes, really. How much DYAR did that cost him in passes he didn't catch because he wasn't even running a route?

by tuluse :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 12:17pm

I think if a receiver is being left in to block instead of running a route, that should be a mark against him making the Hall of Fame.

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 1:28pm

I don't know about it being a mark against him, but the talk of him being the best blocking receiver ever without a doubt needs to be more of a sidebar than a major argument for him making the Hall of Fame.

First off, it's a very subjective label. No doubt he was a good blocker, but how much better was he than other guys? Who was the best blocking WR before him? Who's seen as being second best? It's just a label that got stuck on him that's accepted as fact without much thought about it. Secondly, receivers main job by far is to catch passes so the fact that he was good at something that wasn't his primary job is great but not nearly as relevant.

by Dean :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 3:36pm

I've always thought he was terribly overrated as a blocker. He's great at cracking down on a linebacker who's looking the other way and off balance, and he can outmuscle little 180lb CBs who think they're too cool to tackle (thanks again, Deion, you ass), but ask him to block a guy who's his own size and knows he's coming and suddenly he's not so tough.

by Johnny Socko (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 2:11pm

Exactly. Hines is a punk who built a reputation as "tough" by cracking back on guys who never saw him coming. That's not tough, it's bush league.

by DGL :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 3:23pm

Yeah, well, no. He would often motion in tight against the TE or OT and block a DE or LB on the line. Heck, a lot of TEs don't like to do that. (For an example, see this article).

The downfield blocks are the ones that get attention because they were so notable. But the in-line blocks where he was basically another TE were a big part of his game too.

by Mr. Asterisk (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 5:51pm

That's more a function of offensive philosophy than an indictment of a
specific receiver.  During Ward's career the Steelers have ranked 23
in the league, on average, in pass attempts, with 5 five years ranked
28th or below.  As such, it is unsurprising that his counting stats
may be somewhat underwhelming, and indeed why no defense ever set out
to 'stop Hines Ward.'  During his prime years the Steelers were a
running team, first and foremost.

When they DID throw, however, Ward was very productive.  Through his
Steelers career he caught 14.8% of the passes thrown by Steelers QBs;
his exact contemporary Randy Moss caught 13.6%.  (Naturally, this
comparison flatters Ward, a possession receiver over home run hitter

Nevertheless, Ward caught substantially more touchdowns than the
ostensibly more-feared Plaxico Burress during their time together, as
well as more overall passes.   During 2001-2004, Ward caught 20.1% of
the balls thrown by the Steelers, years comprising three different QBs
(Steward, Maddox, Roethlisberger.)   By way of contrast, that is the
same percentage that Welker caught this year, and a higher percentage
than Chris Carter caught in either of his 122-catch seasons.

Baseball statistics have evolved over the years to adjust for both
park factors and offensive context.   Football stats are well behind
in this regard.   Part of the problem is that offensive context is
dependent both on league, but also on team.   In the case of Ward, the
Steelers attempted nearly 9% fewer passes than league average over the
course of his career.  The relatively high passing DVOAs that the
Steelers/Ward have posted over these years suggest that this was a
matter of choice, not necessity.

If one were to adjust all receiver stats to a normalized league
average context, I suspect that Ward would look better than he does based in purely nominal stats and as such would win a little more favor.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 8:15am

Then again, passing less almost certainly makes it easier to pass when you do, and DVOA always over-rates possession receivers.

by Mr. Asterisk (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 6:06pm

Is there any proof of that (you're more successful if you do something less often) beyond casual "run to win" style conventional wisdom? Certainly not via the Ward-era Steelers. Over the course of Ward's career, the Steelers threw a greater than average number of passes 4 times. Their average passing DVOA rank during those years was 9.5. In the other years, the rank was 12.4. Of course, some of that has to do with low rankings during the Stewart years. Looking at just the Roethlisberger era, those rankings are 6.5 and 8.17, respectively. So there's certainly no evidence that they were more successful because they threw less.treesme son

by Mr. Asterisk (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 6:07pm

Is there any proof of that (you're more successful if you do something less often) beyond casual "run to win" style conventional wisdom? Certainly not via the Ward-era Steelers. Over the course of Ward's career, the Steelers threw a greater than average number of passes 4 times. Their average passing DVOA rank during those years was 9.5. In the other years, the rank was 12.4. Of course, some of that has to do with low rankings during the Stewart years. Looking at just the Roethlisberger era, those rankings are 6.5 and 8.17, respectively. So there's certainly no evidence that they were more successful because they threw less.treesme son

by RickD :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 2:43am

"I think if a receiver is being left in to block instead of running a route, that should be a mark against him making the Hall of Fame."

I think if a receiver is pulled from the field on running plays, that should be a mark against him making the Hall of Fame.

If a receiver is on the field on a running play, I think he's more useful as a blocker than as a decoy.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 8:17am

Up to a point, but if I was a running back I'd much rather play on a team with prime Randy Moss than prime Hines Ward. Ideally, you want someone like Andre Johnson, who's a very dependable blocker as well as a devastating all-purpose receiving threat, but a guy who's great at going deep definitely helps his backs even if he can't or won't block.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 11:48am

If I were a prime RB, I'd rather play with Herman Moore, who was Hines Ward's attitude in Randy Moss's body.

Herman Moore was the best lead blocker Barry Sanders ever played with.

by tuluse :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 2:22pm

"I think if a receiver is pulled from the field on running plays, that should be a mark against him making the Hall of Fame."

I agree.

by ppabich :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 3:17am

double post.

by Mr Shush :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 6:40am

I will be furious if Ward gets in.

Years in the top 5 for receiving yards: 1
Years in the top 10 for receiving yards: 3
Years in the top 5 for receptions: 2
Years in the top 10 for receptions: 4
Years in the top 5 for receiving touchdowns: 3
Years in the top 10 for receiving touchdowns: 3
Years in the top 5 for DYAR: 1
Years in the top 10 for DYAR: 5
Years leading the league in any major category: 0
Pro bowls: 4
1st team all pro selections in any publication: 0

His peak was just not even close to being high enough to merit serious consideration.

Receivers not yet in Canton I would far rather see enshrined than Ward if the NFL shut down for good tomorrow:

Owens, Bruce, Brown, Moss, Harrison, Carter, Ellard, Holt, Wayne, Ochocinco, Harold Jackson, Steve Smith, Andre Johnson, Fitzgerald, Roddy White, Calvin Johnson

Note that I certainly don't think all of those should go - Owens and Moss are the only ones I regard as absolutely unarguable, though I would certainly also vote for Brown and Carter, and think AJ, CJ and Fitzthulu are all likely to be deserving by the time they hang it up.

Receivers who I consider to have fairly comparable (ie equally bad) cases for enshrinement to Ward:

Reed, Jimmy Smith, Mason, Muhammad, Rod Smith, Stanley Morgan

Team-mates of Ward who should get in before him (again, if they never played another down):

Polamalu, Harrison, Faneca, Roethlisberger, Aaron Smith, Bettis, Hampton, Porter

In other words, he's about the 20th best wide receiver not currently enshrined, and about the 9th or 10th best player on his own team in his own career (very close call with Farrior).

Good player. Not even remotely worthy of enshrinement. Will probably get in anyway. Freakin' Hall of Fame voters.

by ppabich :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 4:29pm

great post.

by Dean :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 4:56pm

All of this logic gets thrown out the window because he's very media savvy and plays for Pittsburgh. If he produced those same stats playing for, say, Jacksonville or Denver, this conversation wouldn't be happening.

by Marko :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 7:59pm

Ding ding ding! Definitely true.

by bigpig666 (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 8:48pm

You are crazy, look at postseason stats.

You know Ward is the second best playoff wr ever to play the game right?

by RickD :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 3:00am

There's just too much wrong with this argument.

Hines Ward might not be the second best playoff WR from the Steelers , given that the franchise has produced three different WRs who won Super Bowl MVPs. I know he's got the career stats, but this argument is not as much of a slam dunk as you might think.

Hines Ward has cumulative playoff stats. But I'd be hard-pressed to think of a single playoff season when I thought to myself "Gosh, Hines Ward really is the best WR in this year's playoffs." Not even in 2006, when he won the Super Bowl MVP.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 8:20am

Second most productive, perhaps. Second best, hell no. He was a good player with great team-mates, which meant he got to play a lot more games than many better players.

by CoachDave :: Sun, 03/04/2012 - 11:56am

+ 1 bazillion

There is no way that body of work gets anyone in the HOF.

Oh yea, he was a Steeler and he is a good blind (aka, cheap shot) cut blocker and the media slobbers over him.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Sun, 03/04/2012 - 4:46pm

While you're right that playing for the Steelers will probably make it harder for him to get in, I think his blocking will be a strong positive for him in the voting because he was widely regarded at the best in league at it for almost his entire tenure, and I think the voters are at least informed enough not to buy into that "cheap shot" garbage with which some have tried to label him.

by Theo :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 7:13am

HOF team mate and HOF Steelers player. But HOF NFL receiver? I don't think so - too many other guys were better during his career.
He is/was extremely valuable for the Steelers and the way they played.

by young curmudgeon :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 9:58am

Theo has it right in number 30--as a Pittsburgh fan, I have a deep appreciation for all that Ward has done, but the number of wide receivers with a case for inclusion is just too large for Ward to make it.

I'm surprised that some of the posters are writing as if Welker is a shoo-in. (and yes, that is the way it's spelled.) I think he needs a couple more years at his peak to have a comparable eyeball case to Ward...not to say that he won't have a couple (or more) additional years at his peak and end up being a strong candidate, but to me, he's not HOF yet.

This is a case where, as a fan, I really wish the guy had retired. (Hampton and Farrior are two more cases at the moment.) I know that the competitive fires burn brightly, but Ward really can't accomplish much more than he already has, and he seems like a guy with many outside interests and abilities who can have a productive and worthwhile life outside of being an NFL player.

by rk (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 10:00am

Arguments that will be made for Ward by the committee:
2 Super Bowls
1 Super Bowl MVP
best blocking receiver
smiled a lot
leader in every receiving category on a premier franchise
limited opportunities to amass stats because of run-first offense
1000 catches
versatility (He played QB in college!!)
4 Pro Bowls

by Marko :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 8:03pm

Winner of "Dancing with the Stars."

by bigpig666 (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 8:55pm

Dont forget

18 Playoff Games 88 catches 1181 yards and 10 tds

i think that is 2nd, 5th and 3rd all time

by RickD :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 3:12am

He's got a lot of cumulative playoff stats. That's basically a worthless category for historical comparison for a number of reasons. For starters, the playoffs have expanded a lot over the past few decades. Are you going to say that Brandon Jacobs is a more impressive RB than Jim Brown because he is higher on the cumulative playoff statistics lists?

Do you think those stats are impressive, considering that they are stretched over 18 games? 88 catches and 1181 yards for what is 2 games more than an entire NFL season? Yes, the competition level is higher, but you're still talking about averaging 65.6 yards/game. He had a few very impressive games, but mostly he stuck around for a long time.

by bigpig666 (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 2:25pm

ward has the 3rd most 100 yard playoff games
3rd most receptions in a playoff game
3rd longest streak of consecutive games with a td

why are only ward's stats the result of accumulation?

Marvin Harrison 16 games
Michael Irvin 16 games
Cris Carter 14 games
Andre Reed 19 games
Jerry Rice 29 games
Donald Driver 19 games
Cliff Branch 22 games
Derreck Mason 16 games
Reggie Wayne 17 games
Fred Biletnikoff 16 games
Bob hayes 14 games
art monk 15 games
swann 16 games
stallworth 17 games

by bigpig666 (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 2:26pm

driver is only 14 games

by BJR :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 10:22am

I agree that he is not HOF worthy. But an interesting question to ask is, which players from the Steelers mini-dynasty of the last decade are worthy? Are there any slam dunk candidates?

by Mr Shush :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 10:46am

I'd vote for Polamalu in a heartbeat, and he will get in. Faneca and Roethlisberger will go, and I'm fine with that. I would probably back Aaron Smith, but in the real world I don't like his chances. Hampton deserves more consideration than he'll probably get, but probably shouldn't get in. Unless Harrison keeps playing well to an astonishing age, his peak will ultimately prove too short. Woodley clearly isn't there yet, but conceivably could get there.

I think that's about it for players. Cowher deserves consideration, and Tomlin may reach that point too, but I'm not sure that Colbert won't ultimately have a better case (though a worse chance) than either. There also should be a co-ordinators wing, so that LeBeau could be in for the reason he actually is in, not for his good-but-not-great playing career.

Edit: Forgot about Bettis. I don't hate his candidacy as much as some, and don't see him as a much weaker candidate than Curtis Martin. But I wouldn't let either of them in.

by tuluse :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 11:45am

What about Farrior or Joey Porter?

by Mr Shush :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 11:57am

Both fine players, neither a credible Hall of Fame candidate, especially not Farrior. I would take Porter ahead of Ward, though.

by theslothook :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 12:13pm

IMO. smith should be there ahead of faneca. The trouble with smith types is that their stats are simply not measurable most of the time. How do you measure stops and defeats when all you have to go on from box scores are tackles, games started, and sacks. Its a shame because i think smith has played so well for so long that if his stats were measurable, he would get in. I have no problem with letting polamalu, faneca, and smith go. I personally don't agree yet on ben. I feel like if you took away the rings(maybe thats not fair), but as a passer, he was never elite and never in the top 3 or 4. Part of it is his scheme and style, but i would never say he was better than rivers for most of his career and im positive rivers will never make the hall of fame.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 8:25am

Rivers has a long time left to play. I think there's a reasonable chance he'll go, and an excellent chance he'll deserve to go but not get in.

Take away the rings, and Roethlisberger's very marginal, but I do think he deserves credit for coping with that travesty of an offensive line, and in reality he does have the rings and that will put him in.

by tuluse :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 2:24pm

Big Ben is an odd case because while he didn't throw much early in his career, he was hyper-efficient when doing so.

I don't think counting stats really do a good job describing his effect on the team.

by BJR :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 1:20pm

Harrison won't get in, but it won't be because of the level of his play.

by RickD :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 3:23am

Harrison won't get it, but you might say it's not only because of the level of his play.

But you'd really be hard-pressed to say that a lack of inclusion is reflective of something else. His peak is too short and below the Lewis/Urlacher/Seau level you need to be considered as a serious contender for a Hall of Fame LB.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 4:05am

I think you're being a little hasty and hard on Harrison. His peak is every bit as high as those three; heck, he won the DPOY in 2008 and considering only two defenders have ever won MVP that's about as high a peak as it gets. And he's still likely in his peak. I agree that given how long it took him to crack the starting lineup, he's likely not going to make it. But if he were to keep playing at his current level for another four or five seasons, he'd merit strong consideration.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 8:28am

This. Ward doesn't belong because his peak was too low. Harrison probably won't belong, because his peak will probably have been too short.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 11:52am

As much as Goodell hates Harrison, his attitude is one loved by the HOF committee. The MLB roster is well-stocked with players who loved imparting a good concussion.

by MC2 :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 4:36pm

Goodell doesn't hate Harrison because of his penchant for dishing out concussions. He hates Harrison because of Harrison's refusal to kiss his ass, plain and simple.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 4:17am

I agree with pretty much everything you said. I think Bettis and Ward are both fringe candidates, but I fall on the "should" rather than the "should not" line (but I think they let too few in per year in general, so there's that). I would consider Cowher to be fringe as well, but I guess I should remember that he's still contributing to the sport even if not as a coach. Farrior and Porter? Great players, but not great enough in my opinion. Wallace (assuming his years even count by your reckoning)? He's on pace, but talk about too soon for that discussion .

Do they not vote in coordinators? I know very little about his playing career, but he's got to be one of the greatest defensive coordinators ever. His development of the zone blitz has been a major influence on strategy on both sides of the ball for the better part of two decades.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 8:34am

No-one's ever officially been admitted (or even seriously considered) for their work as a co-ordinator. Lebeau's in as a player, but his playing career was not obviously good enough to merit induction. Maybe analagous to . . . Chris McAlister if he'd stayed healthy and carried on being a solid starter into his 30s. Most people don't think he'd be in were it not for his work as a co-ordinator.

I'd be inclined to bet against Wallace ultimately being deserving at even money, but as you say it's far too early to be sure.

by dmstorm22 :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 3:52pm

Polamalu is the obvious one, and I think by the time his career ends Roethlisberger as well (he's probably in today, but with some serious debate).

Joey Porter and James Farrior are probably fringe candidates (Porter's second team All-Decade Team nod helps), as could be LaMarr Woodley if his production continues into his mid-30s.

Aaron Smith and Casey Hampton might get some discussion, but to me both fall short. Smith's injury problems the last 3 years probably hurt him. Alan Faneca seems to have always been a media favorite as one of the best o-lineman. He was a 1st team All-Decade guy, and those guys have a really high rate of getting in.

by Joshua Northey (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 11:22am

I think people need to come to terms with the fact that a lot of the best teams often have a lot of above average but not great players.

Having 11 B+ s out there is a lot more valuable than having 2 A+ s and 9 C s. DOesn't make the B + s hall of famer's unless by hall of fame you just mean "guys who made it to a superbowl". But of course we already have that list so why duplicate it.

by RickD :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 3:29am

Indeed. After Brady, I'm hard-pressed to think of a single Patriot that's a slam-dunk Hall of Fame candidate from their Super Bowl winning teams. Richard Seymour might make it, if his continues to be productive in Oakland, but it's hardly a no-brainer. Ty Law? Not quite at the level of Champ Bailey, and he disappeared after he left the Pats. Bruschi? Hardly. Vinatieri? I'd love to see another kicker get in, but if that were to happen, it should be Morten Andersen long before it's AV.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 8:39am

Completely agree. Seymour and Law are indeed the best candidates, and then there are other good players behind them like Harrison and McGinest, but I don't really love any of their cases. I expect Seymour and Law to both go on the "represent the Patriots" principle.

Actually, Wilfork was there by 2004, and he has a half-decent chance (with pretty good reason) if he keeps playing the way he is. So yeah, Wilfork.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 11:56am

After Brady, I'm hard-pressed to think of a single Patriot that's a slam-dunk Hall of Fame candidate from their Super Bowl winning teams

That's a clever way to dodge the 18-1 team that's likely to generate more HOF consideration, with Welker and Moss.

Because without those later SB-losing Pats teams, I don't think Brady gets in, either. He's only a lesser Roethlisberger without his title-less, stats-heavy later career.

Belichick is also in, if you're counting coaches as well.

by MC2 :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 4:40pm

Because without those later SB-losing Pats teams, I don't think Brady gets in, either. He's only a lesser Roethlisberger without his title-less, stats-heavy later career.

Even if Brady had retired at the end of the '06 season, he would have been a first ballot lock. I don't think he would have deserved it at that point, but there's no way the media guys who do the voting would have left out Mr. Clutch and his 3 rings.

by dmstorm22 :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 3:55pm

There probably aren't any slam-dunk HOFs, but I think Seymour, Law and Vinatieri all get in. BTW, Law would probably be a much better case if fan voting wasn't there in the Super Bowl XXXVI MVP award, which is reportedly what gave it to Brady, as Law was the writer's pick.

Ty Law did have a decent career after NE. He had 17 more interceptions (including a league-leading 10 in 2005) and 2 more in the playoffs (off Peyton). He wasn't the same guy that he was in NE, but he didn't fall off the map.

Seymour has been really productive in his OAK tenure, and has really been the leader in what is a now good DL. He's been to 2 pro bowls in his OAK career, and he is still viewed as a good DE. To me, his case is easy. He was almost universally viewed as one of the top two or three 3-4 DEs of his generation, and was the best defensive player on 3 Super Bowl winning teams (the Super Bowls won will help him, as it will undoubtedly help Law). His 1st Team All-Decade is a good indicator that he will get in. Those guys almost always get in.

Vinatieri I feel will go in. Does he deserve it? Maybe. You can't deny that he has been money in last-second situations in the playoffs. He's had four kicks that won playoff games in the last five minutes (two in the last five seconds to win Super Bowls). He had the kick to send the "Tuck Rule" game in OT, which is still about as inredible of a kick as I've seen.

Another guy who could get consideration is Asante Samuel. His most notable playoff moment is sadly him dropping that possible interception in Super Bowl XLII, but apart from his constant regular season production, he's been great in the postseason. 7 career playoff interceptions, with four returned for touchdowns (2005 vs JAX, 2006 vs NYJ, 2006 @ IND, 2008 @ MIN) and one more returned to the 2 (2008 @ NYG). Over time, people will probably forget that he was burned every now and then and disliked tackling, but remember the interceptions. He's not a lock obviously, but I think he has a case, especially if he continues playing at a pretty high level for another three or so years.

by theslothook :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 12:10pm

Forget if you think ward is deserving or not---if nothing else, he will get voted in for how good a story his carer was. Look, we all know how incredibly foolish most sportswriters and nfl media men are and that includes hall of fame voters. I remember one time michael wilbon said on pti when asked if mike flynn's week 17 performance dropped rodgers' from the mvp. I'm paraphrasing, but he essentially said absolutely, he drops to third on the list behind drew brees and get this, maurice jones drew given how hard maurice has to carry his offense. And this is a man who at one time had a vote for mvp. When i heard that, i just realized what a horrible tragedy it is that such people are given the responsibility of deciding who wins awards that ultimately go toward your legacy. Makes you wonder if Wilbon and others do any actual homework other than glance at box scores and find the best story?

by RickD :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 3:30am

You are seriously underestimating the backlog at WR. Hines Ward will never even be a finalist.

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 11:49am

In Wilbon's defense, he used to be a HOF voter because he used to be a beat reporter. Wilbon has not been a beat reporter in a long time, and he isn't even a columnist anymore. It shouldn't be too surprising that he doesn't pay as close attention to the league now.

by theslothook :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 12:06pm

Btw, given the logjam, i think you have to start being realistic that only say 4 to max 5 of the group will actually get in. As far as I am concerned, the ones who deserve it should be carter, moss, To(personality and story should have no influence here), holt, harrison, and Brown. Note: I'm only including receivers that are officially retired: No one knows how long Cj, Aj, welker, smith or any of the others will play. And as for moss and to, i really feel like their nfl careers are done.

by ppabich :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 7:38pm

I wouldn't put in Holt over his teammate Issac Bruce.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 8:41am

I'm inclined to agree. I'm also not sure I'd put Harrison in ahead of Bruce. But I regard those three as really quite close together - they could all get in, or all be left out, and I wouldn't be that fussed either way.

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:01pm

I think Holt had a higher peak and is more deserving despite Bruce's impressive career numbers, but Harrison was obviously better than either of them. It's laughable to me that throughout his career, everybody considered Harrison to be the top receiver in the league on a year-to-year basis (Moss being unreliable and TO being a malcontent) and yet somehow after his retirement everyone is trying to knock Harrison down. The man went to 8 consecutive Pro Bowls! Neither TO or Moss even had 8 in their careers. When they were actually playing, if the question was posed "Which WR would you want to sign to a multi-year contract?" anyone would have picked Harrison #1.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:33pm

Do you not think it just comes down to people concluding from Peyton's subsequent performance that he was probably responsible for more of their combined success than previously thought, and Harrison less?

And yes, Harrison was consistent and not a douche, but in any given year there were usually other people playing better. I don't see the case for him as clearly better than Bruce and Holt, after adjusting for quarterbacking - even the two and a half years of Awesome Kurt Warner weren't quite as good as prime Peyton Manning, and they both also caught plenty of passes from lesser QBs.

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 2:59pm

If that's what people think, they are making a mistake. Warner's peak was about as good as Manning, as far as a WR is concerned, and Marc Bulger was pretty decent for 4 1/2 years (plus the half year missing from Warner was Trent Green, no slouch). Bottom line, Holt and Bruce had good quarterbacking. Look at Harrison's 4-year run from 1999 to 2002, which was his best stretch. Manning wasn't even in his prime yet! No MVPs, no 1st team all-pros, Peyton didn't even make the Pro Bowl in 2001. Now tell me that Holt's and Bruce's QBing was significantly worse than Harrison had during those 4 peak years.

Compare to some other HOFers and candidates. It's not like TO lacked quality QBing, and Moss had a pretty good run too. I think Art Monk's QBs, for example, were on the whole significantly worse than Bruce or Holt. Do we penalize Rice for his QBs, or Andre Reed, or Irvin? You'd have a much stronger argument talking about Tim Brown or, I dunno, Steve Largent.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 11:59am

This probably sounds insane, but I don't think CJ is even the most deserving Lions WR at the moment. He's a better pure receiver than Herman Moore, but I think Moore was the better total package.

And frankly, Moore spent his career playing with the dregs of the NFL QB pool.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:27pm

I've got a reasonable amount of time for Herman Moore's case, actually. Johnson's will almost certainly be better by the time he hangs them up, but I agree it's not as of right now.

by erniecohen :: Thu, 03/08/2012 - 9:48am

TO and Moss should make it, but I'm not so sure that they will, because of (1) the silly overemphasis given to SB wins, (2) the perception that they were bad teammates.

by Dean :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 12:15pm

If Ward wants to prolong his career, I wonder if he'd consider playing TE?

by DGL :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 2:33pm

Some would say he already does. Short routes? Check. Line up tight against the OT or TE to block on running plays? Check. Block on WR screens? Check. Motion into the backfield in max protect? Check...

by Tomlin_Is_Infallible :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 10:36pm

add Kemoeatu and Smith to the released list

bring on Farrior or Foote (or both)

time to give Wallace the offer he deserves!

Velvet Sky fan

by BaronFoobarstein :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 11:26pm

And Hampton and Mendenhall.

by Tomlin_Is_Infallible :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 11:43pm

can they cut players who are on IR ?

If so, I'm fine with it.
I'd miss Mendy some, but Redman is capable, and I like Turbin as a late round bruiser with athleticism


1. Hightower
2. Zeitler, Ta'amu
3 gone via trade
4 gone via trade
5 Turbin
6 ?
7 Russel Wilson

Velvet Sky fan

by tuluse :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:05am

"can they cut players who are on IR ?"

A team can, but it has to pay an injury settlement.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:10am

Which doesn't count against the cap... yet.

by Jerry :: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 10:57pm

Aaron Smith is on the way out, too. And James Farrior's agent tweets "Percentages are not w/ #Steelers keeping @JamesFarrior. He wanted to retire a PS but he is healthy & ready-wants to play. Good morning!"

by RickD :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 3:37am

How much interest is there in a 37-year old LB? That's really pushing it for that position. Junior Seau was productive at 37-38, but he was very fit for his age, and even then he was far below his peak level of production.
I hope for Farrior's sake he finds somewhere to play.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 9:08am

I imagine he'll find someone who's willing to give him the veteran minimum as a back-up, at any rate. I'd be quite happy to see him in that role in Houston, but Arizona seems like the obvious answer.

by MC2 :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 7:04am

When I think about the HOF, I like to divide potential candidates into 4 different groups. Group 1 is the guys who are slam dunks, or at least ought to be. If they don't get in, I consider it an outrage. The only WRs I would currently put in this group are Moss, Carter, Owens and Harrison. Groups 2 and 3 are the borderline guys. Group 2 is the guys that probably deserve to get in, but if they don't, it doesn't really bother me. Group 3 is the guys that probably don't deserve to get in, but if they do, I'm OK with it. Finally, Group 4 is the guys that have no business getting anywhere near the HOF. If they get in, it makes the Hall seem like a joke.

I would put Ward in the third group. Personally, if I had a vote, I would vote against him, but if he makes it in, I wouldn't consider it a travesty, just like I don't consider it a travesty that guys like Swann and Monk are in, although their presence does make it even more of an outrage that a guy like Carter hasn't gotten in yet.

by Dean :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 11:45am

The more I read this thread, the more I find the idea of Hines Ward in the Hall of Fame to be utterly absurd.

If Hines Ward is a Hall of Famer, then so is Herman Moore.

Both are 4-time pro bowlers.
Both finished in the top 10 in receptions 4 times.
Top 10 in receiving yards: Ward 5, Moore 4.
Top 10 in receiving TDs: Ward 4, Moore 2 (on a much weaker team)

On the other hand, Herman Moore was 3 times a first team all pro and Ward never once had that distinction.

Moore also gave us a magical season where he finished 2nd all time in receptions and 6th all time in receiving yards. Hines Ward never raised his game to that level.

I'm not saying Herman Moore is a Hall of Famer. He had a nice career. One that in my mind is comparable, and slightly superior to that of Hines Ward. With all the WRs who aren't in The Hall, if you're in line behind Herman Moore, why are we even bothering to discuss the topic?

by Hurt Bones :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 1:43pm

Someone's arithmetic is wrong. Ward only had three seasons in the top ten in receiving yards, 2002, 2003 and 2009.

His yards per catch is the lowest among the names mentioned:

Randy Moss 15.9
Isaac Bruce 14.9
Terrell Owens 14.8
Steve Smith 14.7
Torry Holt 14.5
Chad Ochocinco 14.4
Jimmy Smith 14.3
Andre Reed 13.9
Reggie Wayne 13.9
Tim Brown 13.7
Herman Moore 13.7
Donald Driver 13.7
Rod Smith 13.4
Marvin Harrison 13.2
Keenan McCardell 12.9
Derrick Mason 12.8
Cris Carter 12.6
Hines Ward 12.1

by Dean :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 3:43pm

You're right. I pulled the data from PFR, but there was a user error involved.

by tuluse :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 2:28pm

I think you've convinced me, Herman Moore should be in the Hall.

by Dean :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 3:44pm

Moore was a really good receiver on some mediocre teams, but I don't think he belongs. If it came down to him or Hines Ward, though, my vote would go Herman Moore.

by Whatev :: Sun, 03/04/2012 - 3:31am

I think what I've really been convinced of is that the Hall of Fame, on a conceptual level, is stupid.

by tuluse :: Sun, 03/04/2012 - 4:22am

I think people take it too seriously. It's just a way to celebrate things we enjoy.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Sun, 03/04/2012 - 5:15am

I like to think of it as a museum and a way to honor a few select people. The people in the hall are the names I want brought up when the story of the league is told. I think that perspective differs somewhat from a lot of people here. Excellence in the game and production are major factors to me, but they aren't everything. Leaving aside arguments about his talent and production, take Joe Namath as an example. He was at least a good player, but his guarantee is a major piece of the lore of the early Super Bowl era. I think that sort of thing is worthy of consideration.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 3:54pm

I, for one, have no problem with Moore in the Hall.

On a Lions offense that was truly explosive for a few short years, he and Sanders were the only true standout players. He was also a hugely underrated blocker.

by Shattenjager :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 10:47pm

"Moore also gave us a magical season where he finished 2nd all time in receptions and 6th all time in receiving yards."

I still am amazed every time I see that. He finished third in the league in yards that year. One football article I've always wanted to read and never found is what on earth caused the insane passing numbers in 1995 (or whether there is an explanation for them).

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Sat, 03/03/2012 - 7:47pm

Yeah, that was the year Bruce went 119-1781-13 and didn't even get in the Pro Bowl. The 2nd most receiving yards ever and he didn't make the Pro Bowl!

by Red (not verified) :: Sun, 03/04/2012 - 10:28pm

I think it mostly boils down to a crazy number of pass attempts. In 1995, teams threw 34.5 passes per game, which is still the most pass-happy season in NFL history. Why teams threw so many passes that year? I have no idea.

by N8 (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 6:04pm

Don Beebe was on 5 Super Bowl teams and won one ring. He has just as many Super Bowl TDs as Hines Ward. So I guess he should be HOF too.

by rots (not verified) :: Sun, 03/04/2012 - 10:49pm

Rod Smith >> Ward - and neither of them are HoF worthy imo. Aaron, not sure what you are smoking but to use the words "slam dunk" is a bit crazy.

Ward belongs to the hall of very good and hall of bigtime on field aholes. Both are accomplishments to be proud of but neither warrants inclusion among the all-timers.