Cris Carter’s colleagues take up his Hall of Fame case


All 11 Pro Football Hall of Fame finalists who were voted down on Saturday have their supporters, but with hundreds of ESPN employees here in Indianapolis for the Super Bowl, it’s been hard to go anywhere without hearing from one of Cris Carter’s colleagues pressing the case that Carter got robbed.

That’s been true in private conversations but even more so on ESPN’s broadcasts. The ESPN Super Bowl pregame show opened with a discussion of the Hall of Fame class of 2012, and Chris Berman, Tom Jackson and Mike Ditka made their cases that Carter belongs in Canton. Jackson seemed particularly upset that Carter had been voted down and suggested that the vote on Carter is evidence for a need to reform the system of selecting Hall of Famers.

After a long career as one of the NFL’s top receivers, Carter has a good case to make the Hall of Fame, but when the case is being presented by people who sit on an ESPN studio set with Carter, it’s easy to wonder whether that case is motivated more by a desire to do a favor for a friend than a desire to offer an objective analysis of which Hall of Fame candidates are deserving.

It’s also important to note that under the Hall of Fame’s rules, a maximum of five modern-era candidates can be enshrined each year. This year the full allotment of five modern-era candidates were voted in, so if you’re going to say Carter should have been chosen, you also need to pick one of those five modern-era candidates (Dermontti Dawson, Chris Doleman, Cortez Kennedy, Curtis Martin and Willie Roaf) who should have been denied.

A full-court press from ESPN could actually be counterproductive for Carter, as some of the members of the 44-person selection committee may resent feeling pressure to vote for Carter. And it’s only going to get harder for Carter next year, as the 2013 ballot appears more crowded than this year’s ballot was. And every year going forward Carter’s numbers will look less impressive compared to the numbers produced by today’s receivers. No matter how much his colleagues might like him, Carter is going to have a tough time getting a bust in Canton.

78 responses to “Cris Carter’s colleagues take up his Hall of Fame case

  1. I don’t like Carter personally, but I think he should be in. As Michael Irvin said today, he basically was second for virtually all the records (behind Rice) when he retired.

  2. andre reed should get in before carter.
    Andre Reed probably lost his chance at Canton when he threw his helmet in Super Bowl XXVI and cost his team a score.

  3. Still in the shadow of Jerry Rice. The first (and maybe only) first-ballot WR spot went to Rice.

    Every other WR can wait until their second go around for at least the next 5-10 years.

  4. Carter should be in. It doesn’t matter how big the stats are that todays WRs are putting up. FOR HIS TIME, Carter was one of the best WRs in his era. That should be what matters. The same goes for Andre Reed. The bias against WRs in this Hall of Fame process has gotten ridiculous.

  5. He didn’t do enough to deserve to get in. His drug abuse doesn’t help either. As a TV analyst, he comes across as unintelligent and biased. And he can’t speak very well.

  6. Carter was an overrated WR and only made cathes on the sidelines! If not for Randy Moss Carter woudl never been a #1 WR! His big mouth on ESPN does not help him.

  7. Andre Reed
    Tim Brown
    Chris Carter
    Terrell Owens
    Randy Moss

    All are about the same except Carter never played in a SuperBowl. Wideouts are going to find it hard to get in because of the numbers in the last 15 yrs and especially today.

  8. Without knowing who is on that 44 memeber board I’ll still say this. It only makes sense that this should be an induction process voted on by the fans. The fans are the ones who help fund this sport to be played. Without the fans, there would be no NFL, or it would be to a much lesser degree. If the fans were to vote given a list of candidates, Chris would have surely gotten in and rightfully so. Another HOF snub would have gotten in as well, that being Parcells.

  9. absolute malarkey. there is one reason and one reason alone that CC is not in the HOF and we all know it has nothing to do with his ability or his numbers. this guy was an absolute master at his craft, was insanely passionate or the game and even did things to mentor other players (moss) as he got older. every year that CC is not in the HOF the hall becomes suspect in of itself.

  10. Reed was also 2nd in the receiving records when he retired in 1999. Tim Brown has a strong case also – unfortunately, these three guys are going to be splitting the WR votes for years to come because all three have very identical stats and played in the same era.

  11. I don’t care for him personally but he deserves to be in the HOF more than a lot of the people already in the HOF.

  12. @ tylerncom:

    If the fans voted in the players, we’d have nothing but Cowboys, Giants, Jets players and any player that becomes and analyst after his career in the HOF. Fans are too biased to decide HOF – ridiculous suggestion.

  13. @Tylerncom,

    I understand what your point is and it is a fair point. But if the fans voted for the HOF, only WR, RB and QB would be getting in for the most part. DT, OL, Centers especially and few defensive people would be getting what they deserve. Also, fans are only able to evaluate what they see so mediocre players on great temas would get more coverage than dominating players on bad teams (Kennedy for example)

  14. Lets see…

    4th all time in catches
    4th all time in receiving tds
    8th all time in receiving yards
    8th all time in total tds scored (any position)
    8 straight 1000+ yd seasons, 8 straight probowls
    1101 catches. One thousand one hundred and one.
    26th all time yds from scrimmage, 37th all purpose (any position)

    It is insane to even debate if the production above qualifies for the hall of fame. It should be a unanimous vote in favor and anyone voting against has thrown their credibility away.

  15. Anyone who says Cris Carter shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame are either A) a Packers fan, or B) Know nothing about the sport of football.

    Carter should have been in years ago. It’s a joke that he isn’t.

  16. It makes no sense that carter is not in the HOF, 131 touchdowns was good for 4th all time when he retired still good for 8th all time, which is 31 more than curtis martin who barely averaged 4 yards a carry for his career, and for the moron that says Moss made Carter, cater was breaking records when moss was still in middle school and they only played together for 4 years.

  17. Contributions to his game and overall experience (NFL) way too insignificant- massive egomaniac for sure- all the profootballers are ego-maniacs no HOF for that.

  18. If his ESPN colleagues analyze Hall of Fame credentials as well as they analyze football games, he’ll never get in.

  19. First off, I love all the hate from the people that aren’t intelligent enough to know the difference between the guy that created the television show X-Files (who was Chris Carter) and the guy that played wide receiver for the Vikings (who was Cris Carter). Really, if you’re not smart enough to know the difference, then cram your outrage.

    Second of all, the Carter haters are hilarious. Unless you’re a fan of the San Francisco 49ers or the Minnesota Vikings, the odds are very good that your team has never had a wide receiver as good as Cris Carter on their team. Ever.

    The fact that Cris Carter has been passed over for induction into the NFL Hall of Fame five times is nothing short of a complete joke, and it isn’t really a “Hall of Fame” at all until the man gets in. Anyone that says otherwise doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

  20. Maybe ESPN can do a “C’mon Man” segment about why CC should get in….

    ….OK seriously, I can’t fathom how he’s not in. Its tough to compare a WR to a lineman, but I’d clearly rate his HOF case better than Martin and Doleman. I’d rate Haley over Doleman too.

  21. Carter deserves to get in at some point. To me Tim Brown is the real snub.

    I mean Cortez Kennedy, Chris Doleman and Cortez Kennedy over #81? Let’s get serious. Brown also had a better overall career than Curtis Martin. Roaf would be the only one of this year’s enshrinees on par with Brown.

  22. It’s all part of the world wide conspiracy against the slip-shod, 3rd rate vikequeefs.

    Frankly, this is perplexing how come CC has not made it in. He is deserving!

    The point was previously made that WRs are going to face this difficulty going forward because of today’s offense and I agree.

  23. Well, when they are forcing the next crop of HOF inductees down our throats in a few months, why doesnt that ESPN crew of “experts” show some balls and tell one of the guys that they didnt deserve to be enshrined before Cris Carter.

    Andre Reed got the job done in bigger spots than Cris Carter and he didnt act like an immature douche for the majority of his career.

    ESPN trying to pressure the HOF committee is embarrassing.

  24. nesuperfan says: Feb 5, 2012 2:06 PM

    … As Michael Irvin said today, he basically was second for virtually all the records (behind Rice) when he retired.


    Michael Irvin feels bad because he knows Carter, Brown, and probably Reed should be in before he ever got in.

  25. Carter had the best pure hands of his generation. Him being somewhat of a Richard head is hurting him. Same issue Haley has. They both deserve it as does Brown and Reed.

  26. Cris Carter only needs to look in a mirror if he wants to know why he’s not in the HOF.

    He’ll get there, but he’s being sent a message.

    He was nothing more than a “Me-First”, stats guy, who only ever cared about HIS numbers. It was never about THE TEAM, it was always about “CC”….and his legacy is just numbers. Nothing else.

    Great teammate? No.
    Great champion? No.
    Great team leader? No.

    He was universally HATED by teammates, coaches and officials, because he was the most selfish player to ever play in this league outside of Terrell Owens and that’s saying something.

    He represents what the Vikings organization is all about… heart, no character and NEVER a champion at any level.

    He will get in the HOF and based on his numbers, (he deserves to, definitely) but his selfishness, his ego and his hatred for his teammates are what’s keeping him from the Hall.

    Right now “CC” is getting a taste of ‘humble pie’ and you would think after all of the playoff failures and “Me First” attitude, he would be more humble and hopefully this will finally open his eyes and maybe he’ll admit that his attitude is what is keeping him out of Canton, but based on his track record, I doubt it.

    Carter being passed over for another year, just made MY year.

  27. bartpkelly says:
    Feb 5, 2012 2:25 PM

    Wasn’t Steve Largent a first ballot HOF WR?

    Wasn’t Largent overrated? I can’t figure why, though. Hmmm.

  28. Andre Reed
    Tim Brown
    Chris Carter
    Terrell Owens
    Randy Moss

    All are about the same except Carter never played in a SuperBowl. Wideouts are going to find it hard to get in because of the numbers in the last 15 yrs and especially today.
    Randy Moss is in another class compared to these guys. He’s the most unstoppable wide out that I’ve ever seen. I know Jerry’s the best all time but Moss was ridiculous. He’s first ballot no question.

  29. It wouldn’t all have something to do with Carter (1) being a dick to the press and others when he was playing; (2) him being a druggie who got cut from Philly, letting that team down; or (3) his phony religiosity now, would it?

  30. Cris Carter is not in because people don’t like him, it’s that simple.

    He’s a blowhard as a commentator and somehow that career has gotten tied to his NFL playing career.

    Anyone who argues based on what this man did on the field quite simply you did not watch him play.

    He is the best sideline receiver in NFL history and the best one handed catch receiver in NFL history.

    With all due respect to Reed and Brown who are both VERY good wideouts, they were not in Carter’s league in his prime. They could not do what Carter did in the endzone, on the sideline, or with one hand. They simply were not as good.

  31. Hahaha Cris Carter in the HOF?! What a joke! This man is so overrated, and his analysis (what he gets paid for), is awful and pitiful at times. He would need his friends to vouch for him and make his case, because his play certainly was not enough!

  32. With the ‘new’ rules, they need to scrutinize all offensive players more…Drew Pearson deserves it more than Cris Carter.

  33. I have never seen this much complaining about the HOF process than this year. If players were voted in by the fans then we would be inducting the offensive stars from the Cowboys, Giants, Steelers, Patriots, and one or two other teams that are spotlighted on national television.

    If there is any change to be made it might be along the lines of limiting the inductees based upon position. Among this year’s class the least deserving member might be Martin even though he is the best known.

  34. Cmart is 4th all time in career rushing yards and that is deserving of a first ballot induction.

    CC is 4th all time in receptions, 4th all time in receiving TDs, and 8th all time in receiving yards, and he can’t get in on his 5th try?

    CC is also 8th all time in TDs scored by any position. Of the top 15 TD scorers of all time, all are no doubt hall of famers, with the exception of Shaun Alexander and maybe Marvin Harrison… and CC is above both of them on that list.

    The guy deserves to be in, and only politics or personal grudges are keeping him out. The man should be honored for what he did on the field.

  35. Curtis Martin made in the HOF before CC? C’mon man! Will Jamaal Anderson, Robert Smith, Kirby, and a bunch of other OK RBs from the 90s make it in the HOF too? Seriously?!

    CC needs to go next year. Reed and Brown are great but CC deserves it as he basically helped mold Randy Moss

  36. They definitely need a lot of new blood on the selection committee. “Putting pressure” on the current members does absolutely no good at all, as they simply dig their feet in like mules. They made a horrible mistake not putting Jerry Kramer in, get massively reminded of it every year, but won’t admit it needs to be rectified. They made Hank Stram wait until he was about 95% dead. The Hall of Fame Committee is a joke. A very bad joke.

  37. unbiased8383 says:
    Feb 5, 2012 3:19 PM
    Andre Reed
    Tim Brown
    Chris Carter
    Terrell Owens
    Randy Moss

    All are about the same except Carter never played in a SuperBowl. Wideouts are going to find it hard to get in because of the numbers in the last 15 yrs and especially today.
    Randy Moss is in another class compared to these guys. He’s the most unstoppable wide out that I’ve ever seen. I know Jerry’s the best all time but Moss was ridiculous. He’s first ballot no question.

    The numbers may not agree, I’ll grant that, but in my mind EVERYONE on that list above is/was better than Carter at any point.

    Carter’s numbers are obscene, but I just think the group above is better in areas that aren’t measured by numbers —

    I was just never a fan of the guy and I’d take any of the above for good, bad or ugly (yes, I’d take T.O. before Carter — and I’m a Dallas fan).

  38. Okay, here’s my case:

    Carter’s best quarterback was Cunningham.

    Nothing against Rice, but he played with Montana and Young for most of his career, and he played in a perpetually efficient pass-happy system.

    Carter never had that stable of a system, even when him and Moss were tearing it up. Cunningham was injury prone and he was no where near as good as the guys from San Fran.

    Look, I’m a Steelers fan, so I have no loyalty to any team that he ever played for. But the guy had legendarily soft hands and was only second fiddle to Rice. Being second to Rice should be a HOF lock.

    I wonder what he would have done in a system like San Fran had…

  39. The thing is, Carter believes he deserves to be in The Hall. You have to earn it, plain and simple. Ego does not grant you permission to enter.

  40. Krashien21, are you a Green Bay Packers fan?

    Even though I thought you were a bit harsh about my Vikings, you did make some valid points. I agree that the reason Carter is not in the Hall of Fame is because he was not media-friendly (I know people that have interviewed him and they say he was a jerk to them) but that should not prevent him from being in the Hall of Fame.

    I disagree with your point about Carter being selfish and a bad teammate. He was brutally honest with his teammates and he was like a coach on the field. And if you want to talk about “selfish” guys, why not start with the most selfish player whoever played, Brett Favre..

    Carter’s production speaks for itself: Eight straight Pro Bowls, and he did it when he had to compete against Jerry Rice, Michael Irvin, Sterling Sharpe and many other great receivers. He was second all-time in receptions and touchdown catches when he retired and was the best possession receiver of all time.

    Let’s be honest here, some Hall of Fame voters hold grudges against players and coaches (see Parcells) who treated them badly and they are abusing their power by preventing guys like Carter and Parcells their rightful place into the Hall of Fame and that’s not right.

    It’s time to send the Hall of Fame voters “a message” and re-tool the Hall of Fame voting process.

  41. Every year Carter’s numbers look less impressive? Back-to-back 122 catch seasons in the mid-90’s and 1101 receptions for his career. How difficult can it be to elect him? He still ranks third all-time in receptions and has made some of the most spectacular one handed catches that you will ever see. What difference does it make what today’s receivers are doing? Their production is greatly enhanced due to the nature of the many rules changes/enforcement that the passing game relishes today. How impressive are Lynn Swann’s or John Stallworth’s numbers compared to Carter’s? We can make a long list of receivers whose numbers are not in the same league as Carter’s! That doesn’t diminish their effectiveness and greatness but is a resounding testament to Carter’s production. He should be in on his own merit and the fact that he was arguably the greatest possession receiver ever and could also turn those plays into big gains and could often go deep when needed. He was also an outstanding blocker! A football player!! Carter not being in speaks more to the fact that media and sportswriters have no business voting on awards and, especially, the hall of fame.

  42. Here is my solution:

    Give three Hall of Fame votes to each team and let them select the players or coach that they want to have those votes. Like for instance, for the Vikings, those votes could go to Hall of Famers like a Fran Tarkenten, John Randle and Bud Grant. And if a team doesn’t have any Hall of Famers (Like Jacksonville) give those votes to teams like the Cowboys or Steelers, teams who have a plethora of Hall of Famers and Super Bowls.

    And also, make the Hall of Fame voting process public for all to see. I never understood why it took nine hours to figure out who in the Hall of Fame. As things stand right now, the voters pick their guys and they are not held accountable for their picks because most of the voters won’t reveal who they voted for.

    And finally, instead of appointing five players/coaches, expand that number to 8.

  43. Andre Reed
    Tim Brown
    Chris Carter
    Terrell Owens
    Randy Moss


    1) Randy Moss – unbelievable receiver, best athlete ever in the NFL, appeared in SB
    2) Terrell Owens – had good QBs, but was a beast as well, appeared in SB
    3) Tim Brown – 10 seasons in a row with 75+ catches, appeared in SB,
    4) Andre Reed – good team around him, HOF QB, but put up very good #s and was in SB 4 times
    5) Chris Carter – extremely good numbers, All-decade team in the 90’s, no SB appearances.

  44. He may get in eventually by the Senior committee vote, other than that, no chance. The next WR to get in will be Marvin Harrison

  45. Shouldn’t a Hall of Fame player at one time been the best or second best player at his position? Carter played sixteen years and was never once in the top 5 for receiving yards. He was a good player to be sure, but all he really did we stay healthy and play for a really long time.

    Contrast him to someone like Sterling Sharpe who only played 7 years but was top 5 in receiving yards four times. Carter shouldn’t be rewarded for simply being able to stay healthy longer than contemporary players who were better than him.

  46. If the HOF panel is influnced negatively by ESPN then they should be stripped of their voting rights. The rules that govern the HOF voters clearly and emphatically state judgement of a player is restricted to what he has done on the field.

    For those of you such as krashie21, when stating Carter isn’t worthy of the Hall or was really that good, you needed to include the disclaimer that you know nothing about football.

    Go back and watch film. Take a good look at his stats. Then go and check out who he had throwing him the ball!! Not only did he lack elite QBs in their prime throwing to him; he constantly had different QBs throwing to him throughout his career. And he was productive with all of them!

  47. -Tim Brown played in sunny Oakland
    -CC played in a dome
    -Andre Reed played in snowy, windy, freezing, and rainy Buffalo and still put up big-time numbers.

    That says it all right there. Andre should have been in years ago.

  48. The whole process is skewed. There are 44 selectors and 35 are east of Denver. Cortez Kennedy made it with John Clayton lobbying for him big time. Clayton is fron Seattle. Charles Haley was a game changer.

  49. Carter was a horrible teammate who did speak to them unless they were Pro Bowlers like himself. Not a leader or champion.

  50. Many people deserve to be in the hall old and the new…I’ll make a short case for one..Bob Kuechenberg of the Dolphins..some of the younger folks will say who?…but just google and check the bio….I don’t think that you’ll find another player today(and that will be for sure) or yesteday that played with a steel rod inserted in his arm after a game so he could play in the next weeks game. The problem with voting today…as you get younger people on the voting committee the older players are left to the senior ballot…and there are not as many on the ballot…it may take years and years to get in.

  51. For the record………

    NOT a Packers fan. Long-suffering Cowboys, actually — you know? We’re led by the guy who’s suffered 50 concussions (I think that number is far too conservative)?

    NEVER said that Carter isn’t hall-worthy, far from it.

    What I said, was that he was selfish, a ME-FIRST/stats guy and treated EVERYONE (teammates, coaches, officials, media, etc.) like DIRT and it’s no secret that is a FACT.

    My point is that Carter likely should have went in on his FIRST YEAR of eligibility, but his ego, attitude and overall selfishness kept him out and he was being sent a message.

    So while I’m back watching film because I’ve never watch football (?), hopefully those who lack the ability to READ can read my posts and understand that Cris Carter will get into the HOF and he deserves to and I still stand by that I would take Reed, Brown, Owens and Moss before I’d take Carter, because they have ‘intangibles’ that Carter never had.

  52. CCs production is truly amazing when consider tye qbs. That threw to him. U may recognize some names, but mostly they were beyond their prime when they got to CC. Wade wilson, sean salsbury, gannon (b4 he was good), brad johnson, cunningham, moon, jeff george, dante culpepper… For having a rep as me guy he tutored many of these qbs and wrs like moss and jake reed… If u ever put together a highlight reel of him there wld b no doubt he is hof. I gaurantee he has more one handed and tip toe sideline catches then anyone and history… Futhermore he always got the first down.

  53. He was second in a lot of WR all time records to only Jerry Rice, and he never had as good of QB’s as Jerry did nor did he play on as good of teams. If the Hall currently has more than 2 or 3 WR’s in it, which I think it does, then Carter obviously should get in soon.

  54. Carter has no Super Bowl rings, he doesn’t deserve the Hall. Doleman shouldn’t have gotten in either.

  55. First off the writers and news media types need to get over the fact that players were not nice to them. Secondly stats should be the reason you get in not your demeanor. Micheal Irvin was arrested for drugs too and hes in the hall so that point is mute.

    Now to all of you saying Tim Brown over CC ill say this. yes TB had more yards by about 5,000 over all not just receiving but also returns, but CC scored 25 more TDs thats 150 more points than TB. Im in no way sayin TB is nor deserving just not above CC

  56. I dont like CC that much but he should CLEARLY be in the HOF and so does TB! Ill tell you, if Steve McNair gets in before CC or TB, Im gonna cry and refuse to pay a cent for a trip to the HOF.

  57. the hall of fame voting needs to get fixed because if the HOF Committee are negatively influenced or corrupt and biased, they should be removed from voting and replaced by much better voters.

    They need to put these following players in: Jerry Kramer, Tim Brown, Cris Carter, Andre Reed, L.C. Greenwood, Ricky Watters, Steve Tasker, Charles Haley, Ken Anderson, Jim Marshall, Bob Hayes, Ken Stabler, and Alex Karras.

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