NFL Hall of Fame 2013 Finalists: Cris Carter Can't Be Denied Canton Trip Again

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 11, 2013

Cris Carter is among the finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame
Cris Carter is among the finalists for the Pro Football Hall of FameElsa/Getty Images

It's a travesty that Cris Carter isn't in the Pro Football Hall of Fame yet. That can all be rectified this year.

The NFL released its list of finalists for enshrinement today (via On it once again was the former Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles and Miami Dolphins receiver. It is Carter's sixth year of eligibility.

It's a black mark against the Hall voters that he's been frozen out of Canton for this long.

Carter ranks ninth in NFL history in receiving yards, with 13,899. The eight players above him are either already in the Hall of Fame or will almost assuredly get there.

Even more impressively, he's fourth all-time in receptions with 1,101.

Michael Irvin played during the same era as Carter and has almost 2,000 yards and 351 receptions fewer than Carter. Irvin was voted into the Hall of Fame in 2007.

Fred Biletnikoff is another who's numbers pale in comparison to Carter. He's a little over 5,000 yards short and 512 receptions short.

For whatever reason, voters don't generally warm to the wide receiver position. That's why guys like Henry Ellard, Tim Brown and Andre Reed are having such a hard time getting voted in as well.

Each of those three, especially Brown, arguably deserve to be voted in.

Carter wasn't like his former teammate, Randy Moss, who was a physical freak and had the ability to score every time he touched the football.

On the contrary, Carter is one of the more consistent wide receivers in NFL history. When you threw the ball his way, there seemed to be a magnet attached to his gloves because his hands gravitated toward the ball no matter how he was positioned.

Moss---and others like him---are great without a doubt, but Carter is the kind of player you build a passing attack around for a decade.

Of course it was Carter who mentored Moss and helped him become one of the dominant offensive forces in the NFL for a short time.

The only explanation could be Carter's off-field demeanor and exploits. Sure his time in Philadelphia didn't end particularly well, but he became a much different person as a result.

It's doubtful that Ray Lewis' off-field issues after Super Bowl XXXIV are going to affect him getting enshrined.

Irvin had a litany or run-ins with the law during and after his career, and that didn't stop him from getting the votes necessary.

There are some very good players among the finalists for this year's class. However, it doesn't have enough to warrant another exclusion for Carter.

If the Pro Football Hall of Fame is truly for the best players in NFL history, it's inexplicable that one of the best receivers of the 1990s remains on the periphery.