Why Bob Hayes and Not Cris Carter?

Scott ReighardAnalyst IFebruary 4, 2009

Clearly those in the Hall of Fame decision-making process are waxing nostalgic. Every year we anticipate the unveiling of the new inductees to be for the fabled Hall of Fame. This year was no different and, as always, we had a few surprises.

As a long time Viking fan, I thought there would be at least two chosen in this year’s blessed group of athletes.

When all was said and done, only Randall McDaniel’s name emerged. Perhaps the Hall of Fame committee was trying to spread the wealth, thereby denying the Vikings two entries. Maybe they were thinking one at a time, and Cris Carter or John Randle will come next year.

As I evaluate the list of worthy candidates, I am troubled by the choice of Hayes over Carter. Sure, Hayes wasn’t as controversial as Carter, but he can’t compete with Carter’s numbers.

I am wondering if the committee said, "We either get Hayes in there now, or forget about him." I realize that Bob Hayes was probably the first real “deep” threat to enter the game, but that would have been an inevitability. Do we give credit to Brian Bosworth, who may have revolutionized how guys look at their bodies in training and fitness?

If numbers (which pundits love to analyze) speak for themselves, then here is a side by side comparison:

Hayes: (11 seasons) 371 receptions, 71 touchdowns, and three Pro Bowls

Carter: (16 seasons) 1,101 receptions (third all-time), 130 touchdowns (second all-time), and eight Pro Bowls. Oh, and the 1990s All-Decade Team

When you look at Carter’s body of work it is much more impressive. Sure, he may have been one of those prima donna like receivers, but other than J.J. Jefferson and Wes Chandler, has football seen a more acrobatic receiver who combined size, speed, and control like Cris Carter?

There have been many great receivers in any given decade, but if you measure each player against their era, then you will see that Hayes was in the middle of the road in terms of performance and numbers.

Conversely, you match Cris Carter against the receivers of the '90s and he stands out, and this is in a league when Rice, Irvin, Sharpe, and Monk all roamed the secondary of opposing teams as well.

If the Vikings, and this always seems to be the argument, won a championship, Cris Carter would have been a first ballot guy last year. I have no doubt that he will be inducted someday, but the HOF committee needs to get over its guilt factor and base their decisions on impact, numbers, and quality of individual.

Cris Carter seemed to change his life around after the Philly experiment, and he proved to the NFL his essence of being a professional man, putting up gaudy numbers and ability, and eventually the mentoring of Randy Moss. What can Michael Irvin say regarding that?