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Marvin Harrison’s Hall of Fame Chances Get a Boost from Cris Carter

Posted By Nate Dunlevy On February 13, 2013 @ 8:25 am In Colts News | No Comments

For years the backlog of incredible receivers awaiting enshrinement in the Hall of Fame has been an embarrassment to voters.

The writers who vote for the Hall couldn’t break the log-jam caused by Andre Reed, Tim Brown and Cris Carter. As the room broke into factions each defending one particular player over the others, the line of quality players got longer.

Outstanding players like Jimmy Smith and Rod Smith couldn’t even get a hearing because obviously superior candidates were blocking the way, leaving everyone unable to cross the threshold of football immortality.

Meanwhile, Marvin Harrison [1] drew ever closer to the ballot, threatening to make the situation even more complicated.

Mercifully, Carter’s recent election now opens the door for Harrison and other great receivers to eventually get in.

Carter’s election is a major boon to Harrison’s case for the Hall of Fame. The two have virtually identical career totals, but Harrison accumulated his more than 40 fewer games.

Any careful examination of their careers [2] shows that Harrison was vastly superior to Carter in all facets of the game.

Harrison was more explosive, more consistent, more productive and had better hands than Carter.

Carter absolutely deserves recognition as one of the 10 best wideouts in football history, but he’s no better than the fifth-best of his era, lagging well behind Jerry Rice, Randy Moss [3], Harrison and Terrell Owens [4] in terms of overall productivity.

The fact that Carter ranks so low in the era is what helped caused the back up at the doors to Canton in the first place.

Of the top 12 leading receivers by receptions, only Rice and Carter are in the Hall. Harrison and Tony Gonzalez rank in the top four as well, but so many are recent or active players that it’s hard for voters to get a feel for what constitutes a Hall of Famer any more.

Only four of the top 10 touchdown reception leaders are in the Hall. Only three of the top 12 receiving yardage leaders are in.

The fact that simply ranking among the all-time greats is no guarantee of a gold blazer doesn’t speak well for current stars like Andre Johnson and Reggie Wayne. Wayne, for example, would need two more stellar seasons at age 34 to get into the conversation.

Harrison ranks sixth in yardage, fifth in touchdown receptions and third in catches all-time, but did so in far fewer games than his contemporaries. His eight-year peak was as high as any in the history of the league.

If Harrison does get in on the first ballot, it will open the door for Brown, Reed and others to follow. If he’s left waiting like Carter was, the line of worth receivers will continue to grow.

Read more Indianapolis Colts [5] news on BleacherReport.com

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URLs in this post:

[1] Marvin Harrison: http://bleacherreport.com/marvin-harrison

[2] Any careful examination of their careers: http://www.coltsauthority.com/18-to-88-2011-archives/march/harrison-and-carter.html

[3] Randy Moss: http://bleacherreport.com/randy-moss

[4] Terrell Owens: http://bleacherreport.com/terrell-owens

[5] Indianapolis Colts: http://bleacherreport.com/indianapolis-colts

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