When the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2014 was announced, some people were bound to be disappointed with the results. There is no arguing with the resumes of the seven men that will enter the Hall of Fame, but here are the three most surprising snubs.
Jerome Bettis, RB
Stats: 13,662 rushing yards (6th all-time), 91 touchdowns (10th all-time)
This was supposed to finally be the year for “The Bus,” but he came up short in the voting—again. Jerome Bettis was denied entrance to the Football Hall of Fame for the fourth consecutive year, but the reasons aren’t so clear.
In 2011, he was stuck behind Marshall Faulk. In 2012, it was Curtis Martin. What happened this year?
There were no other running backs in contention, and there is no disputing his Hall of Fame credentials:
- 8 seasons with 1,000+ rushing yards (T-5th in NFL history)
- 6-time Pro Bowler
- 2-time first team All-Pro
- 1 of 14 players in NFL history to rushed for 12,000+ yards (the only one not in the Hall of Fame)
Not only did Bettis have the numbers, but he was a transcendent running back, as Hines Ward described him to Scott Brown of ESPN:
To be that size and have quick feet was just amazing. Sometimes you found yourself as a teammate watching like a fan to see him get through a hole, side step somebody, run over somebody and then get up and do his patent ‘The Bus’ dance. That is what made him such a special running back. You don’t see many guys be able to maneuver the holes and run somebody over.
Like the rest of these players, it’s only a matter of time before Bettis is voted into the Hall of Fame. That doesn’t make his exclusion from the Class of 2014 any less inexplicable.
Marvin Harrison, WR
Stats: 1,102 receptions (3rd all-time) for 14,580 yards (7th all-time), 128 touchdowns (5th all-time)
Marvin Harrison did not make the Hall of Fame in 2014. The argument for Andre Reed over Harrison is predicated on how long Reed had to wait to get in, since there really is no case for Reed to go in over Harrison based on their numbers:
Here’s a look at some of Harrison’s achievements that indicate his standing among NFL receivers:
- 8 consecutive seasons of 1,000+ receiving yards and 10+ touchdowns (only player in NFL history)
- 143 catches in 2002 (single-season record)
- Averaged 5.8 catches per game (best among non-active players)
When asked about his snub by Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com, Harrison was all class:
Not disappointed. The thing is, not once did I psych myself up about being a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It definitely would have been a great honor, but I'm more happy for the guys who made it. It was well-deserved. Andre Reed made it and any time a fellow receiver can get in the Hall of Fame, that's great. I'm biased for wide receivers. I'm happy Andre Reed got in.
But Harrison’s acceptance of his snub doesn’t make it okay. He was the best receiver since Jerry Rice, and deserved to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Charles Haley, OLB/DE
Stats: 100.5 sacks (28th all-time)
Charles Haley’s numbers aren’t dominant compared to other Hall of Fame linebackers, so his omission would be understandable if this were his first or even second attempt.
This year marks the fifth time that Haley was a finalist in Hall of Fame voting but failed to make it into Canton.
Haley was one of the most intimidating defensive players in the league and is the greatest winner in NFL history. Here are some of his career achievements:
- 5-time Super Bowl champion (only player in NFL history)
- 2-time NFC Defensive Player of the Year
- 5-time Pro Bowler
- 2-time All-Pro
- Won 10 division championships in his 12 seasons
He has plenty of former teammates to stick up for him, but perhaps the most powerful man in his corner is legendary head coach Jimmy Johnson. Here’s what Johnson had to say on the subject, according to David Moore of the The Dallas Morning News:
I’ve said many, many times that Charles Haley should have been in the Hall of Fame a long time ago. No offense to any of the players in there, but I coached and coached against a lot of the players that are in the Hall of Fame, and Charles Haley is better than them. Again, I don’t know the rhyme or reason by some of the voting.