After getting voted down by the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee for the fifth consecutive year, Cris Carter says he thinks the voters oppose his position more than they oppose him.
Speaking to Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin on WQAM, Carter suggested that he, Andre Reed and Tim Brown have been the victims of voters who just don’t appreciate the talent of wide receivers.
“I just think it’s the wide receiver,” Carter said, via SportsRadioInterviews.com. “I think the modern-day wide receiver, I would say that his skill level is not appreciated. It’s not just about the numbers. It’s the ability to catch the football and put your talent on display.”
Carter may have a point. The receiver position lags behind quarterbacks, running backs, offensive linemen, defensive linemen, linebackers and defensive backs, with only seven receivers in Canton who started their careers after the 1970 AFL-NFL merger: Irvin, Steve Largent, James Lofton, Art Monk, Jerry Rice, John Stallworth and Lynn Swann. And only two of them, Largent and Rice, were selected in their first year of eligibility. Irvin and Lofton were each voted down twice before being selected, Monk and Stallworth were each voted down seven times and Swann was voted down 13 times before finally making it.
In Carter’s opinion, his own numbers compare favorably to Largent’s. Carter questioned why he has been voted down five times while Largent was elected to the Hall of Fame the first year he was eligible.
“If Steve Largent had 130 touchdowns he would have been a first-ballot Hall of Famer. But he didn’t, he had 100 — and he was still a first-ballot Hall of Famer,” Carter said.
On that score Carter’s case isn’t quite as strong: It’s true that Carter’s raw numbers are better than Largent’s, but Carter played in a more passing-friendly offensive environment. When Largent retired he owned the all-time NFL records for catches, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. Carter never owned any of those records.
Irvin said in his discussion with Carter that he hopes Carter joins him in Canton, and Carter said he has appreciated hearing that from many Hall of Famers, even if the Hall of Fame voters don’t feel the same way.
“When you all say something to me it really means a lot more,” Carter said. “I can’t do no more. I appreciate what you guys are saying and doing and everything, but I pleaded my case those 16 years I played in the league.”
So far, the Hall of Fame voters haven’t thought that case was good enough.