Eight people joined the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio this past summer including Brett Favre, Marvin Harrison and Orlando Pace. The inductees brought the count of people in the Hall of Fame to a total of 303. That might seem like a lot, but there are plenty of players that haven’t been selected for induction that should have been. Then again, there are some that probably shouldn’t have gotten in to begin with, so maybe the number needs to stay as it is right now and change the roster a little bit.
Out of the people that belong in the Hall of Fame that haven’t been enshrined, there are some, that include coaches such as Don Coryell, who revolutionized the game we know today. That personal opinion aside, we want to focus solely on the players with this list. We’ll take a look at the accomplishments of those that both have and haven’t been enshrined, as well as some statistics and historical context.
While this is sure to cause some debate between football fans, it’s time to take a look at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Here are eight players that shouldn’t have gotten in, and eight that need to be inducted already.
16 Doesn’t Belong: Cris Carter
Cris Carter had to wait a few years on the ballot before he was finally let into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013. The former Supplemental Draft Pick from Ohio State started with the Eagles and made his mark with the Vikings before finishing his career in 2002 with the Dolphins. Carter would make three All-Pro teams (two First-teams) over his career, though it felt like his career was helped by Chris Berman’s claim that “all he does is catch touchdowns.”
15 Does Belong: Isaac Bruce
While Cris Carter certainly isn’t the worst player in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, there is a receiver that hasn’t been let in yet despite putting up better numbers. Isaac Bruce was playing in high powered aerial offenses like Carter was, but he was the first option despite being on teams that had Torry Holt and Marshall Faulk. Bruce played for the Rams for most of his career before finishing with the 49ers.
14 Doesn’t Belong: Jan Stenerud
There is only one exclusive placekicker in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and it’s Norwegian kicker Jan Stenerud. Stenerud played from 1967 to 1985 with the Chiefs, Packers and Vikings. Now, most people would make an argument that kickers and punters shouldn’t even make the Hall of Fame, but I disagree with that. Kickers are a big part of the game, but Stenerud shouldn’t be the only one that represents the position.
13 Does Belong: Morten Andersen
There are a lot of kickers that are active right now that will be making a claim to become the second at the position to join the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but out of ones that are eligible for the Hall, Morten Andersen would have to rank on top. Andersen had incredible longevity, playing from 1982 to 2007 with five different teams and was a six-time All-Pro in an era where there were plenty of solid kickers.
12 Doesn’t Belong: Marcus Allen
Winning a Super Bowl ring will no doubt help your Hall of Fame cause, especially if you play at a skill position and have a dominant performance. It also helps if you can pad your career stats thanks to longevity. Marcus Allen was the beneficiary of both of those factors, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2003. Allen was able to put up 1,000+ yards in three consecutive seasons from his second to fourth years.
11 Does Belong: Terrell Davis
If running backs are going to be able to get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame based on a dominant short stretch of play, then Terrell Davis should certainly be included. Davis only played for seven seasons (all with the Denver Broncos) and his first four years were phenomenal. He also has the same dominant Super Bowl performance that Allen did and Davis even has two rings instead of just one.
10 Doesn’t Belong: Troy Aikman
If you’re a quarterback that has won a Super Bowl, you drastically increase your chance of making the Hall of Fame. If you have won multiple Super Bowls, you become a lock. Aikman would end up winning three Super Bowls and had a lot of exposure being the first overall draft pick for the league’s most popular team. However, Aikman was never the dominant player that really changed the game, as Dallas had a very strong overall team with all-time greats at running back and wide receiver with Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin.
9 Does Belong: Kurt Warner
Kurt Warner is a quarterback that has won a Super Bowl and has even won multiple MVP Awards (1999 and 2001), but has not made the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Warner didn’t make it into the NFL as a starter until the 1999 season, when he was already 28 years old so the deck was stacked against him. Warner would be a starter for eight seasons and led two teams to the Super Bowl, winning Super Bowl XXXIV with the Rams.
8 Doesn’t Belong: Bob Hayes
It’s now time for another Cowboys player that received a lot of exposure by playing on good Dallas teams. If there was an Athlete Hall of Fame, Bob Hayes is definitely a first ballot guy since he was one of the best track athletes in the world and had a solid football career. However, you could argue that his credentials in football don’t make him a Hall of Famer in the sport.
7 Does Belong: Alan Faneca
It’s hard for the big uglies up on the offensive line to get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, especially at the guard position since left tackles are the only ones that get any kind of love. Any Steelers fan over the past 20 years will tell you, however, that Alan Faneca was one of the best guards that they have seen. Faneca would be named to six All-Pro First Teams, and added a pair of Second Team appearances on top of that.
6 Doesn’t Belong: Joe Namath
Back in the old days of football, there weren’t that many celebrity players. Joe Namath was able to break the mold with his electric personality and charm. Namath by no means a bad player, as he was an AFL MVP twice and five-time Pro Bowler, but this was at a time when there wasn’t much talent in the AFL overall as the NFL was still king, holding only 10 teams in the league.
5 Does Belong: John Lynch
John Lynch terrorized wide receivers that would come across the middle for more than a decade. The third round pick from Stanford would play 11 seasons for the Buccaneers before spending his last four years with the Denver Broncos, making his mark at both stops. Lynch was consistently considered an elite safety, and won the Defensive Back of the Year Award in 2000. Lynch was also named to four All-Pro teams and nine Pro Bowls.
4 Doesn’t Belong: John Stallworth
We’ve pointed out one former Steeler that was worthy of the Hall of Fame, so hopefully the top two choices in the “don’t belong” category doesn’t ruffle too many feathers. The first in the list is wide receiver John Stallworth, the former Alabama A&M fourth round pick. Stallworth was only an All-Pro once in his career, being named to three Pro Bowls. Winning four Super Bowls certainly didn’t hurt Stallworth’s chances of getting into the Hall of Fame.
3 Does Belong: Jerry Kramer
The second to final choice on guys that should be in the Hall of Fame is one of the best guards in football history. Even the NFL Network acknowledged that Kramer was the most deserving player to be in the Hall of Fame that hasn’t been enshrined. Kramer opened up a lot of holes for the Packers over the course of 11 seasons, helping the team win seven NFL Championships (including two Super Bowls).
2 Doesn’t Belong: Lynn Swann
Joining John Stallworth as the other Steelers receiver that didn’t really have the stats to back up a Hall of Fame induction, Lynn Swann is the top choice on the list. Swann, who is now the Athletic Director at USC, was a first round choice by the Steelers in 1974. Swann had some very memorable catches and they happened to come in big moments during the Super Bowl. He did make one All-Pro First Team and a pair of Second Teams, but was perhaps overrated for the Super Bowl moments and wins.
1 Does Belong: Terrell Owens
Terrell Owens rubbed a lot of people the wrong way during his 15 year career with the 49ers, Eagles, Cowboys, Bills and Bengals...which has to be the only reason he’s not in the Hall of Fame. Owens finished his career where he had nine seasons of at least 1,097 receiving yards and he would put up at least 10 touchdowns in eight different seasons on top of that. His numbers certainly put him in the all-time great discussion.
Owens had a total of 153 touchdowns in his career, which puts him third all time just three touchdowns behind the great Randy Moss. In terms of receiving yards, he would finish with 15,934 yards behind only Jerry Rice. Ranking in the top three in all-time receiving statistics should be an automatic Hall of Fame entry, but Owens has been kept out because of his attitude and lack of Super Bowl ring so far.
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