The NFL Hall of Fame has an argument to be the most prestigious Hall of Fame of any of the four major sports. Professional football has been played for over 85 years and there are less than 300 members inducted thus far.
Having such prestige means that there may be some omissions from time to time. Every year there are guys that should be included but are left off for one reason or another.
Here is the list of the top five players who should someday have their image enshrined in Canton, Ohio.
Sharpe is overlooked because he was not as flashy as some other more well known wide receivers. However, compare Sharpe’s numbers to Hall of Fame member Michael Irvin’s from 1989-1994. Sharpe was the better player. Add to the fact that in only two of those seasons was Brett Favre his quarterback and it makes his numbers stand out even more.
A neck injury cut Sharpe’s career short, but he was without question one of the best receivers of his era. In this year’s class Canton will welcome Andre Reed. Sharpe’s numbers eclipse Reed’s best years easily, and he was by far the more dominant player.
2) Tim Brown
Why a player with 100 receiving touchdowns is not in the Hall of Fame is baffling. Football does not have numbers that make a player a lock to make it like baseball. In baseball, 3,000 hits or 500 home runs meant that Cooperstown was in a player’s future. In the NFL, especially for receivers, the numbers are subjective.
When Art Monk retired he was the All-Time leading receiver in NFL history. It took him years to get in. Shannon Sharpe was the best receiving tight end the league had ever seen when he retired. It took him three tries to get in. No one knows how long it will take for Brown but with more receivers becoming eligible every season, it could be a long wait.
3. Kevin Greene
Greene is one of the most high-strung players the league has ever seen. He was 247 pounds of pure energy. That energy also was a dominant linebacker. He piled up 160 sacks during his career. That puts him third All-Time, behind only Bruce Smith and Reggie White.
Many see Greene as a one trick pony, and he wasn’t. However, if he was, he did his one trick better than almost anyone to ever play. His play helped the Pittsburgh Steelers get to Super Bowl XXX. If not for three Neil O’Donnell interceptions, his career would be seen differently.
If winning is the object of the game, Haley has won more Super Bowls than anyone. He was not just a guy on those teams but he was a crucial cog. He logged 120 sacks during his great career. When Haley was traded from the San Francisco 49ers to the Dallas Cowboys, the balance of power shifted in the NFL. That kind of impact cannot be ignored.
Craig and Waters handled their business on the field in different manners, but what they had in common was success.
Craig was the definition of a multi-purpose back. His success catching the ball and running it was unmatched during his time. His style of play led to talented backs like Marshall Faulk and Brian Westbrook. He is overlooked because the 49ers teams that he was a part of were so stacked with talent.
Watters is the forgotten back of his era. He made the All-Decade team of the 1990s. His numbers are not dissimilar from Hall of Fame running back Earl Campbell. He rushed for over 1,000 yards seven times and was a member of the 1994 Super Bowl Champion 49ers team. His resume is strong, but for some reason most do not consider him worthy of being chosen.
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