tim-brown-story

Can’t Catch a Break from Canton

Tim Brown and Andre Reed are at the front of the Hall of Fame receiver logjam. It won’t get easier from here, and it won’t hurt any less

By
Andrew Lawrence
· More from Andrew·

By Andrew Lawrence

Tim Brown does not answer calls from numbers he does not recognize. When such a number, bearing a 330 area code, flashed on his phone four winters ago, he cycled through the usual screening checks. The call wasn’t from Dallas, where he grew up and lives now. It wasn’t from South Bend, where he penetrated the national consciousness as a Heisman-winning receiver and returner at Notre Dame. And it wasn’t from California, where he spent the bulk of his 17-year NFL career braving certain harm inside the hash marks as an L.A. and Oakland Raider. So on to voicemail it went and remained, forgotten.

Until later that day, that is, when Brown turned on the television and saw his name among the 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 2010 class. Suddenly it clicked: That was Canton, Ohio, calling. He redialed and was quickly intoxicated by the optimism that greeted him on the other end. The closer he got to D-day, the more inevitable his enshrinement was made out to him.

Smash cut to a month later, the Saturday before Super Bowl XLIV in South Florida. Brown is in Fort Lauderdale, driving down the freeway to an event that will feature current Hall of Famers and the newly inducted, when his rep calls to tell him he didn’t make the cut. Only Jerry Rice had made it in among the four wide receiver finalists. The snub stung like hell, but he could track the logic. Who would argue that Rice wasn’t one of the greatest ever?

Cris Carter could once identify with Tim Brown's dismay, until he broke through the Hall of Fame logjam this year. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images :: Al Tielemans/SI)
Cris Carter could once identify with Tim Brown’s dismay, until he broke through the Hall of Fame logjam this year. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images :: Al Tielemans/SI)

Brown, who caught 1,094 passes for 14,934 yards and 100 touchdowns in 255 games, tried not to take it personally. He adjusted his optimism for 2011, when he might hear his name announced against the backdrop of a Super Bowl being played in his hometown of Dallas. The Hall, he reckoned, wanted him to be home so he could celebrate his crowning achievement with family and friends. And that’s exactly where he was—in front of the TV, again—when he learned that no receivers had made the cut that year.

This is when Brown started to lose it. How, he wondered, could Canton declare a moratorium on wideouts? The waiting list was long, and the names at the front were illustrious. Ever since he became eligible for induction in 2009, five years after his retirement, he had been locked in a perpetual logjam with the Vikings’ Cris Carter, who ranked second in career receptions (1,104) and touchdowns (130) at the time of his retirement after the 2002 season; and the Bills’ Andre Reed, a four-time Super Bowl participant who hung up his cleats after 2000 and had been one half of the most productive quarterback-receiver tandem in history. And yet, no Hall passes. Not one. Not in 2011. Not in 2012. The whole morass left Brown heartbroken and numb.

If there was a silver-and-black lining for Brown, it was that at least two other people on earth understood exactly what he was going through. He found comfort in commiserating with Carter and Reed. It doesn’t matter which one of us gets in first, the men would say to one another. And when the Hall called Carter to its roster this winter—he will be formally inducted in Canton on Saturday—everyone stayed true to the script. It hasn’t been easy, though. “I just saw Cris a week or so ago, and I hugged that brother and said, ‘Congratulations, I’m happy for you,’ ” says Brown, 47. “And I truly am happy for him. But as happy as you are for him, you’re sad for yourself.”

* * *

A receiver is the only one of football’s characters who lacks true agency. A tailback can blaze his own path; a receiver’s is predetermined. A quarterback charts the course of a team. The linemen produce the whole show. A receiver can’t do much until the others have had their say. He needs to be enabled. That takes time. A receiver defies time. Give him 4.3 seconds and he’ll erase 59 minutes. He’ll break the game open; it happens too many times to count. And yet for as high as his potential impact is, it remains locked in inverse proportion to his free will. The more he dials up his confidence to protect himself from the frustration that comes with being powerless, the more that confidence is dismissed as egotism or, worse, a false sense of entitlement. The team can win but he cannot, because a receiver cannot define himself.

Football is, fundamentally, a show about offense. (Occasionally, the players on the other side of the ball steal a scene or two.) The Hall of Fame reminds us why we can’t stop watching. The pass draws us into the game. But the catch is what holds our attention, what we replay, what we retweet. In the modern-era the Hall of Fame has inducted 21 receivers, a cohort that trails only offensive linemen (39), tailbacks (28) and quarterbacks (23) in number. And if you think that’s fair, you are kidding yourself. You are not watching football in this day and age. Because if you were, and you populated a list of potential Hall of Famers with contemporary players, the receivers would come out on top. Just because many men play that position doesn’t mean that there can’t also be a lot of them who are very good at it.

The fantasy market understands that there can be quality in quantity. (See: Cruz, Victor, 2011 waiver wire MVP.) But, more importantly, so does the free market. It recognizes the value of a receiver—the 2013 franchise number for wide receivers, $10.537 million, is second highest among offensive positions behind the quarterback. But that’s because the free market is set by football people, or more specifically, as former Colts GM Bill Polian calls them, “people who deal with the minutiae of football for a living.” These people do not select who goes into the Hall of Fame. Journalists do. People like me. (But not me specifically.)

And though the conversation about potential Hall of Fame members is ongoing, selection committee members meet as a body only once a year, during Super Bowl week, to hear arguments. “The meeting is the culmination of a lot of prior meetings and a lot of formal meetings,” says Hall spokesman Joe Horrigan, who supervises the process. “And then it is a continuation of the year before. I always warn new selectors, ‘Don’t be thrown by the fact that we might not speak as much or as thoroughly about a candidate as you think should be, because that candidate has probably already been discussed in this same room by the same people for the last five years, and they all know what’s been said.’ ” The keys to victory in the jury room? Make it dynamic, and keep it short. “Some people get mad when the meeting goes more than three hours,” says Don Pierson, an ex-voter and former Chicago Tribune writer. “That’s another flaw in the system.”

The pass draws us into the game. But the catch is what holds our attention, what we replay, what we retweet.

But before you go blaming the media for the Hall’s perceived fumblings, consider the football people’s role in this. They handed off this power, and they didn’t always have a firm handle on it either. When the Hall opened its doors in 1963, pro football was in its fifth decade. The line to get into Canton stretched to Pittsburgh, and football men like the Bears’ George Halas and the Giants’ Wellington Mara worked the velvet rope. Not surprisingly, the biggest celebrities got in first, which is understandable. The word fame is right there on the front door, after all. Hence you have Red Grange, an average defensive back with the Bears and Yankees, making the inaugural class largely on his reputation as the celeb student-athlete at Illinois; and Bob Waterfield, a 50% passer whose single-season touchdowns exceeded his picks only once in his eight-year career, getting a Hall pass in ’65 possibly because he had the good sense to wife up Jane Russell, the Megan Fox of her day.

Andre Reed’s 951 receptions are 11th alltime—though he’ll be pushed lower as the current crop continues to pile up the catches. (John Biever/SI)
Andre Reed’s 951 receptions are 11th alltime—though he’ll be pushed lower as the current crop continues to pile up the catches. (John Biever/SI)

Since then the selection approach has become more objective. But objectivity only gets you so far in the modern-day game, which is in the middle of a statistical boom. The last decade alone has seen major rules changes to facilitate passing and scoring. Receivers are thriving now, but their many 90-catch, 1,000-yard seasons are only going to make them tougher to judge in the future. Case in point: Of the 76 100-catch seasons in history, only three came before 1990: Lionel Taylor (106) for the Broncos in 1961, Charley Hennigan (101) with the Oilers in 1964 and Art Monk (106) for the Redskins in 1984. And while it’s true that the move from 14 to 16 games in 1978 helped boost season totals, today’s per-game numbers are historically unprecedented.

Of the 14 players alltime who have averaged more than five receptions per game (minimum 200 receptions), 10 are active and only one, Sterling Sharpe, did not play into the 2000s. By that standard, Wes Welker is the most prolific pass-catcher in history, at 6.1 receptions per game. Yardage numbers are equally illuminating: Sixteen players have averaged more than 70 receiving yards per game (with at least 200 career catches); only three—AFL stars Hennigan, Art Powell and Lance Alworth—did not play in the ’90s or 2000s. Calvin Johnson of the Lions is the alltime leader, at 85.2 yards per game; Torry Holt, a name not often mentioned in Canton discussions, is third at 77.4.

Such numbers leave room for selectors to wonder: Is it the receiver, the quarterback, or (shudder) the system? “I heard that one of the negatives about us is that we came up in a passing era,” Brown says of himself, Carter and Reed. “And I’m like, ‘If we’re in a passing era, then what the heck are you calling this?’ ”

The game is so wide open now that even a tight end can reasonably expect to catch upward of 60 balls a season. The 2011 Hall of Fame class—which, while receiverless, included hybrid pass-catchers Shannon Sharpe (a tight end), Marshall Faulk (a tailback) and Deion Sanders (a cornerback)—seemed more like a harbinger than a fluke. “Should we throw out the terms wide and tight and just make it ends?” wonders The Dallas Morning News’ Rick Gosslein, a longtime Hall of Fame voter. “Pass-catchers? What [Rob] Gronkowski and [Tony] Gonzalez are doing is putting up wide receiver numbers.”

And the more voters parse those numbers, it seems, the more excuses they come up with not to pick a player. In essence, they morph into the very people whose decisions they second-guess for a living: the football people.

* * *

The relevant question in the Hall of Fame discussion should be this: If you had to write the story of the league during a player’s time, could you leave him out? It’s the question that cuts through the confusion that comes with comparing players of different positions and discourages comparisons across eras. It’s the one question that rules all the others—about production, about value, about taste.

That question practically edits the Canton waiting is by itself. Offensive linemen? They had a good run. “I think there are some people who have gotten in on reputation and not really on dominance,” Polian says. “The fact of the matter is, all the great ones are in.” Ditto for eligible tight ends, unless an intrepid Eagles fan goes back in time and tells coaches to not to move the 6-8 Harold Carmichael (who’d go on to score on 13% of his catches) from tight end to wideout. Quarterback? There’s the Raiders’ Kenny Stabler (and maybe Cincy’s Ken Anderson), and then there’s everyone else.

Receivers? They could go in two at a time, with the eligibility of the tandem hinging on the player who retired most recently. They could go in by category: The Deep-Ball Pioneers (the Raiders’ Cliff Branch and Dallas’s Drew Pearson), The Do-It-All Winners (the Broncos’ Rod Smith and the Steelers’ Hines Ward), The Go-To-Guys (the Colts’ Marvin Harrison and the Rams’ Isaac Bruce), The Other Guys (the Colts’ Reggie Wayne and the Rams’ Torry Holt), The Problem Guys (Terrell Owens, Randy Moss).

Isaac Bruce, Marvin Harrison, Terrell Owens and Hines Ward—the other four retired receivers to join Tim Brown and Cris Carter with 1,000 receptions—are only going to make the receiver logjam worse in future years. (Peter Read Miller/SI :: Bill Frakes/SI :: Heinz Kluetmeier/SI :: John Biever/SI)
Isaac Bruce, Marvin Harrison, Terrell Owens and Hines Ward—the other four retired receivers to join Tim Brown and Cris Carter with 1,000 receptions—are only going to make the receiver logjam worse in future years. (Peter Read Miller/SI :: Bill Frakes/SI :: Heinz Kluetmeier/SI :: John Biever/SI)

And then of course, there are The Forsaken: Reed and Brown. Reed has been a finalist in each of the last seven years. Every year that he seems poised to cross the threshold, he gets flagged for losing four Super Bowls. Never mind that his quarterback and running back already have bronze busts in their likeness and that the no-huddle offense he helped electrify is practically a league staple now.

“People keep telling me, ‘He’ll get in. He’ll get in. Just be patient,’ ” says Polian, the architect of those great Bills teams. “And then this year it was, ‘His numbers don’t measure up.’ Measure up to what? If you measure his numbers against everybody who played in his time, he’s as good or better than anybody. I don’t get it. It’s beyond me. I just can’t figure out why. I don’t know why. No one can give me a logical answer. I ask, and the answers that I get … when you apply metrics, when you apply logic, it just doesn’t seem to work out.”

* * *

Once teammates, Tim Brown is waiting to re-join Jerry Rice in the Hall of Fame. (Walter Iooss Jr./SI)
Once teammates, Tim Brown is waiting to re-join Jerry Rice in the Hall of Fame. (Walter Iooss Jr./SI)

If things ever do work out for Brown, if his nine Pro Bowl nods, his fifth-place rankings in all-purpose yards (19,679) and receiving yards, and his 100 touchdown catches (from 11 different QBs) ever put him over the top, it’ll be a bittersweet day. The people he hoped to share that moment with are starting to die off. In 2011 he lost his father—his biggest fan in public and harshest critic in private. Five months later Al Davis, another fan/critic, passed. A month after that, his best friend and longtime Raiders teammate, Chester McGlockton, died of an enlarged heart at just 42.

And then, five months later—Junior Seau. “We had great, real respect for each other,” Brown says of the late linebacker, a perennial menace to him in the Raiders’ frequent AFC West clashes with Seau’s Chargers. “He used to tell me, ‘Brown, when you line up in the slot, we’ve got four people looking at you. And depending on which way you release, they’re gonna keep looking at you.’ ” Off the field, though, the tone was more civil. “We’d play in each other’s golf tournaments. We used to do things together at Pro Bowls. He was just one of those guys that if I ever went to San Diego I knew I had a place to stay, somebody to hang out with, no questions asked.”

What Brown would give to return to a time when people didn’t question him. His four kids want to know why one man can accomplish so much and even more men can minimize it. Is there more control he can exert over his destiny, a campaign he can wage? No. He is resigned to the situation. He’s gotten used to waiting. This is what a receiver signs up for, after all. “I keep saying there’s nothing more I can do,” says Brown, who will sidestep coverage of the induction ceremony for the fourth straight year. “I can’t catch any more balls. I can’t return any more punts. I am totally waiting on other folks to make this happen for me.”

In other words he’s merely playing his position. Give the guy credit for mastering it.

lawrence-wideouts-receptions-chart-800wide

[si_cvp_video id=”video_35031E51-493D-7299-2FB7-3A9C43FEF01B”]

More from The MMQB
50 comments
Tom41
Tom41

What a needless, insulting slap in the face to Grange and Waterfield. Do some research, ask some who know.

Ciscos
Ciscos

Tim Brown should be the next WR to go into the Hall of Fame.  That's before Andre Reed, Isaac Bruce, "that guy from Pittsburgh" and Terrell Owens.  I admit Owen's can't - and won't go until he officially retires.  However, I doubt he's a first ballot HOF'er.  I'm sure some on the voting committee will hold against him his multiple teams and toxicity.  BUT, if they go strictly off the stats, he should be in as soon as he's eligible.  He won't, but I'm just saying.

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

Great article. Very well written.  

As I was reading I was thinking, but the answer is right before us.  They should only be compared to the players of their era.  Were they the HOF players on the field before our eyes when we watched those NFL seasons.  To me the answer is obvious.  Tim Brown and Andre Reed were. We all saw those seasons and if anyone did not, they should not have a vote.  The selection should ONLY be based on this criteria.  I can't fathom anyone trying to deny that they were the best of the best when they played.  How could one argue that this is not what a HOF player is?  

As I kept reading I was taken aback when I hit the section where you proposed the very same concept of what should be the criteria for election.  I read this sentence: "The relevant question in the Hall of Fame discussion should be this: If you had to write the story of the league during a player’s time, could you leave him out?" and smiled.  

Yep, this is pretty much all that matters.  We want the stories told of those unusually great NFL players of that time period and the successes they and their teams had.  This belongs in the hall of fame to tell those stories for eternity.  

evileyefleagle
evileyefleagle

The logjam at the receiver position works against Brown because it causes the HOF voters to look past the glowing statistics and focus on the dropped balls as well as the alligator arms over the middle.

DD
DD

It speaks to Tim Brown's greatness that he put up these numbers without relying on a stud QB. Not to minimize the accomplishments of those WR's who did but its that fact that seals it for me.

Bejaard49
Bejaard49

Tim Brown is a great example of why the HOF is a joke.He played with 11 different QB’s, multiple playoff games, an SB, and as the statistics show are superior to many in the HOF today.He played when safeties like Atwater, Lott, Easley, Lynch could knock you out without getting penalized, had to go against CB that could hold, bump you after 5 yards and etc.., and played when the rules favored defense not offense.

I look at WR like Brown, Reed, Rice, Alworth, Maynard, Cliff Branch, John Taylor, Irving and many others and wonder what kind of crazy numbers they would put up in the league now?

g17
g17

I loved seeing Warren Sapp effectively end Jerry Rice's career when Rice took and end around, and Sapp pulled him down, wasting Rice's leg, and leaving him on the ground whimpering in pain.

psychprof
psychprof

1.  you guys are too young, I think.  (I've been die-hard fan since late '60s.)   if you've grown up in this pass-happy era, Brown's stats might not seem remarkable, but when he retired he was SECOND all-time in receiving yds and THIRD in receptions.  that is dominating.  Nine pro bowls, too.  very good punt returner, too, for years.  2. stop with the "he's no Rice" argument; NOBODY is!  If the Hall only had the Jerry Rices of the league, there would be about 5 guys in it.  3. anyone who thinks that Michael Irvin or Cris Carter didn't dominate or weren't game changers--you must not have been paying attention.   really--all of these guys deserve to be in.

mattmines
mattmines

I've been a broncos fan from birth...and Tim Brown tormented us and changed plenty of games and certainly counts as HOF in my book.  The problem is the "numbers" game with the wide receivers.  I watched Shannon Sharpe change the game for tight ends.  I saw Jerry Rice befuddle defensive backs that were a second faster in the 40, but I look at the list at the end and see Derek Mason, Keenan McCardell, Jimmy Smith, Mushin Mohammad, etc. and I think that this list is meaningless

CliveOwen
CliveOwen

We should just let them all in - that would stop the whining. The idea behind a discriminatory Hall of Fame is that some people get in and many do not. I watched Timmy play and while he racked up some numbers so did a bunch of other guys at his position and during his era. His fault is that he did not distinguish himself from these other players. Rice got an instant invite because there is no one close to him. Timmy just happens to be in a mob of players.

CharlesHenry3
CharlesHenry3

Compare him to the people of his time, that seems like the most fair way of doing things.

Let's face it - Brown was prolific, and the offenses and QB's he played with were for the most part unimpressive at best.  He had 6 different head coaches, a dozen different QB's, but he put up numbers and was very successful.  It can easily be argued that without him the Raiders would've lost at least 3-4 more games each season.

I have a great deal of respect for his quiet consistent production.  I am definitely not a Raiders fan, but I can't help but be a Tim Brown fan, always.  Great player, great man.  With all the others that are in there, and with what he did on the field, he should have his bust in Canton.

ScottSinclair
ScottSinclair

In my opinion alot of these players were simply guys who piled up numbers. I don't think of Brown or Reed or Carter, etc as game changing or altering players. Same goes for Irvin. Jerry Rice, yes he is a HOF. Most if not all these guys benefited from rules changes that gave them more freedom. How would they rank if they played in the 60's or 70's? I don't know why there is such a rush to get these guys in when far more deserving guys like a Randy Gradishar or LC Greenwood still wait.

And let's ask ourselves this...if we elect guys based upon numbers, then is Vinny Testaverde a HOF? He put up better career numbers than alot of other QBs in the Hall.

jamessong83
jamessong83

WTH is irvin doing in the HOF? he put up less than great numbers with a HOF QB, HOF RB and the best oline in NFL history. 

mashley278
mashley278

Yeah, it is kind of weird that Brown is still sitting there, yet Michael Irvin (even with his off the field issues) is in. I mean really Keenan McCardell was more productive than Irvin...I don't even know who Henry Ellard is but he smoked Irvin's yardage and receptions.

geewhiz
geewhiz

"In the modern-era the Hall of Fame has inducted 21 receivers, a cohort that trails only offensive linemen (39), tailbacks (28) and quarterbacks (23) in number."

You know, defenders, coaches/executives also are in the queue as well.  But ya, Tim should get in.

JohnMatuszak
JohnMatuszak

he absolutely belongs in the HOF..11 diff QBs, not to mention at least 6 diff OC's and he still put up the numbers..they let a clown like Lynn Swann in, then Brown should be there

JMillerNC
JMillerNC

If the HoF is only about stats, then Brown clearly belongs in the Hall.  Yet, 20 years from now, when offenses will probably be much more prolific, his numbers will seem run-of-the-mill.

But if the HoF is about a player's impact on their team and on the league, then it's a different story altogether.  That's why guys with much less impressive stats stand the test of time: they deserve to be in the Hall because of what they meant to the game.  

I've been following football for just ~20 years or so, and when I think "most impactful receivers of the last two decades", Tim Brown doesn't make the list.  No offense to Brown.

Ucla74
Ucla74

Okay, SI . . . this is really below your standards. In my feed reader, I see this:

"room? Make it dynamic, and keep it short. “Some people get mad when the meeting goes more than three hours,” says Don Pierson, an ex-voter and formerChicago Tribunewriter. “That’s another flaw in the system.”

[pollquote]The pass draws us into the game. But the catch is what holds our attention, what we replay, what we retweet.[/pollquote]

But before you go blaming the media for the Hall’s perceived fumblings, consider the football people’s role in this. They handed off this power, and they didn’t always have a firm handle on it either. When the Hall . . . "

Folks, it's a PULL QUOTE, not a poll quote. ALSO, I can't sign in using Google, Facebook, OR Twitter. Come on, SI . . . get it together!

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

A couple of other things. 

I thought anyone that argues numbers should consider this.  How those numbers stack up against the same players of their generation of players.  In other words if any receiver is ever held out of the HOF for having Reed's and Brown's numbers it should be players of today as their numbers are not going to stack up so well to other players of their generation, and it should not be Brown and Reed.  They should be in. 

How is this for objectivity.  I HATED the Raiders and the Bills back then.  I can still recognize their accomplishment and think it should be honored and respected. 

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@evileyefleagle No kidding, he would taint the HOF considering there are zero members today that ever made any mistakes on the field or had any flaws in their game.  It is perfection personified and tainting it with his election would be tragic. 

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@DD No kidding.  Who did he catch passes from?  I can't even remember except for Jay Schroeder (puke) and Rich Gannon (eh). 

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@Bejaard49 Very very well said, except for the HOF being a joke.  Slighting a player here and there does not make the entire idea or organization a joke.  The rest of your point is spot on. 

DD
DD

I wonder if a group of us could pool our money and hire Sapp to chase you from your car and reply this singular event from years ago. Seems to have have brought you so much joy, maybe we too could fine happiness.

CBOD14
CBOD14

@g17 How do you figure that dumb ass. Rice had two more brillaint years in San Francisco and was excellent with Oakland as well. What are you some stupid ass fan that wishes injury on others. Warren Sapp belongs nowhere near the Hall of Fame. The only championship he won was when the Bucs knew The Raiders plays. The most overrated defensive unti of all time.

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@mattmines The list isn't meaningless you have to consider that those three played in the pass happy era.  Their numbers are by far less meaningful than Reed's and Brown's.

cookie8287
cookie8287

@ScottSinclair The point is that they didn't play in the 60's or 70's! So they played in an era where it was easier for WR's, as the article says - "what sort of era are we living in now?". 

Totally agree that you judge a player by era and no up against a guys numbers from 20 years later.

KristianColasacco
KristianColasacco

@ScottSinclair All of the receivers you mentioned were gamechangers, playmakers and considered to be the best at their position when they played

psychprof
psychprof

@mashley278 

in the words of Herm Edwards, "you play...to win...the game!"  irvin's in cuz he has 3 rings on his  hand and he was a crucial link in that incredible team.  i'm pretty sure the stats show that of the 3 stars (aikman, emmit smith, irvin), the cowboys' record was the worst when Irvin was out of the lineup more than the other two. ellard was exciting as heck but benefited from pass-heavy teams.  he wouldn't have anywhere near his numbers nor would mcardell if they had an 18,000 yard rusher (emmit) on their teams.

eddie767
eddie767

@mashley278 The only way i can explain Ellard to you is,think of Welker w/blazing speed. 

theMMQB
theMMQB

@Ucla74 This is what happens when developers write the code. 

Is the problem with LiveFyre? 

usameos6
usameos6

@randomdeletion @DD I honestly think that if Tim Brown got the media gig with ESPN instead of Cris Carter that he would be going into Canton this weekend and Carter would still be on the outside.  I didn't really watch Carter much until Randy Moss got to Minnesota and their games were on TV more often and because of that - I'm not sure that I'm the best judge, but I do think that part of the reason he's going into the HOF is because of the redemption story, the "all he does is catch touchdowns" tagline and the fact that he was getting single coverage for the last 5 years of his career because of Randy Moss.  I always thought that he belonged in the Hall of the Very Good versus Hall of Fame.  

ScottSinclair
ScottSinclair

@KristianColasacco @ScottSinclair really? Tim brown was a game changer? name me 1 game he changed! same with carter. Maybe Reed changed some playoff games but that's stretching it. I don't mean to dump on Brown, but since he's the focus of this piece, let's be real. I look at HOFers as guys who revolutionized their position or had game changing moments (superbowls, playoff games) during the span of their career. As I said Jerry Rice is the one bona fide WR who did that. NONE of these guys did. They accumulated huge stats. Tony Gonzalez is a HOF because he changed the way the TE position could be used in addition to putting up numbers. I look at the number of OL going in and think how many were truly dominant. Roaf I would say yes and Ogden too. Larry Allen was at the beginning but towards the end made Pro Bowls by reputation.

pcwhite2
pcwhite2

@eddie767 @mashley278

Exactly, eddie767.  Ellard played many years for the Rams in L.A.   He has the fourth highest yards per catch of all time.  He set an NCAA single season reception yardage record at Fresno State.  And, he is a great guy.  He is currently the receivers coach for the Rams.

Ellard was a beast.  Why he is not yet in the Hall is beyond me.

JMillerNC
JMillerNC

Clear Hall of Famers include Jerry Rice (yeah he's already in, but more than half his career was in the last 20 years), Randy Moss (obvious), Terrell Owens (pains me to write that, but it's true), Marvin Harrison (best/softest catching hands ever), Cris Carter (took Art Monk's sideline receiving to the 100th degree)
Possible Hall of Famers include Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson

And finally a hybrid since I know one won't make the Hall while the other just might, that would be a combination of Wayne Chrebet/Wes Welker (the two have changed the way the passing game is played over the middle - Welker is a modern day Chrebet, absolutely no fear)

And if we include tight ends, I would include Tony Gonzalez (I think Skynet sent him from the future) and Antonio Gates (ushered in the new tight end/former hoops player era), and a game-changer but not Hall of Famer, Ben Coates

Ucla74
Ucla74

@theMMQB @Ucla74 The login problem? I think so. I get the popup, but nothing happens after I make a selection. 

evileyefleagle
evileyefleagle

@CBOD14

The Broncos signed Brown to that offer sheet because they wanted to drain Al Davis' pocketbook.  And it worked.  

ScottSinclair
ScottSinclair

@Ilovemesomeme @ScottSinclair @psychprof @KristianColasacco so you don't agree with my point fine, but you need to stoop to calling my argument stupid? Glad I can disagree with your view but not drop to name calling. You can't have it both ways you can't point out a players numbers over history and say he qualifies as a HOFer, yet when I present Testaverde to you, you just dismiss it and say he wasn't as efficient. As people and the article pointed out, Brown played for a alot of coaches, QBs, etc. Well guess what? Vinny T. played for alot of teams and coaches as well. So, back at ya with that argument. As I say Brown, Reed, Carter, etc were all in the same group, not one of them truly separated himself from the pack. Again, what is so special about these guys that we feel the need to get them in the Hall? Heck, Harold Carmichael and Drew Pearson should get in before these guys.

Ilovemesomeme
Ilovemesomeme

@ScottSinclair @psychprof @KristianColasacco The Testeverde argument is stupid.  His overall volume of numbers may be larger, but he was FAR less efficient than every other QB you named.  Tim Brown was a top three or so receiver in the league for a decade or more.  Being one of the few best players at your position for that long qualifies IMO. 

CBOD14
CBOD14

@ScottSinclair @KristianColasacco Name me one game? Okay at the end of 1993 season Tim Brown effectively forced the Denver Broncos to sign Brown to an offer sheet. Why? In week 17 and the Wild Card Round Brown totaled 14 catches 259 yards and 3 TD's. There are countless other games but those two stand out. If any of you think Wes Welker is a game changer stop, he's never been on the outside facing double teams. Also what impact did Marvin Harrison have? Andre Reed was the leading receiver on a team that went to The Super Bowl 4 straight years. Hello.

ScottSinclair
ScottSinclair

@psychprof @ScottSinclair @KristianColasacco Disagree on a few points. Sayers was a position changer. While I am a Steelers fan, Swann played big in Superbowls but I don't think is a HOFer. Stallworth was also big in big games and was very very good and consistent. I go back to my Testaverde comment. He has career numbers that are better than many in Hall including Montana, Unitas, Fouts and Kelly. Only Favre,Marino, Peyton Manning,Elway,Moon and Tarkenton are ahead of him and four of them are in the Hall and the other two will be. Testaverde must have "changed" alot of games with his numbers then, no?

psychprof
psychprof

@ScottSinclair@KristianColasacco

Scott,  I don't think you need to "revolutionize" your position to earn the Hall.  If that were the standard, the Hall would be a much, much smaller building.  I think you need to be so much better than so many other players for a long period, or to be so spectacularly great for a short period (Gale Sayers, Lynn Swann?), or to be very very good and be closely linked to consistent winning (Swann? M Irvin?).   I think all these guys--Carter most of all, but also Brown--fit that first category.  (Irvin's in the Hall in large part because he was a crucial link for 3 rings,)  the HOF should have Brown in it (I can live without Reed).  I conclude with this:  the single most important individual accomplishment for an offensive player in a football game is to score or produce touchdowns.  (I hope we agree on that.)  Only 7 players in history scored more TDs than Cris Carter, and only 16 more than Tim Brown.  In HISTORY.   They had to have "changed" a lot of games with all those points.     

EasyGoer
EasyGoer

@pcwhite2 @eddie767 @mashley278 Ellard was a beast but he played for the wrong team,  in the shadow of the L.A. /Oakland Raiders and the 49ers' dynasty, and thus received very little publicity (fame). 

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