The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced their 2011 class this past Saturday, and the seven men who will be inducted this summer—Deion Sanders, Marshall Faulk, Shannon Sharpe, Richard Dent, Ed Sabol, Les Richter and Chris Hanburger—are all worthy.
But wide receiver Cris Carter was among the notable snubs, and in my opinion, easily the most egregious omission in this year's class.
Carter currently ranks in the top 10 all-time in receptions (1,101), receiving yards (13,899) and touchdowns (130), along with being elected to eight Pro Bowls. As the league moves further and further toward passing offenses, he may continue to fall down these rankings some, but there's simply no debating his numbers.
As ESPN's Chris Berman used to say, "All he does is catch touchdowns."
Carter, is of course, currently working for ESPN as an analyst and may not have been popular with the media during his playing days. As much as I hate to say it, Hall of Fame voting is essentially a popularity contest (see Bert Blyleven's 14-year wait in baseball) and voters that hold a grudge can simply withhold their votes and keep worthy candidates out of their rightful place.
Carter also never won, or even went to, a Super Bowl during his 16 NFL seasons, which compared to some of his peers (perhaps, most notably Jerry Rice) may make him look like something less than a sure-fire Hall of Famer.
Carter's candidacy this year was perhaps hurt by two other of his worthy peers, Tim Brown and Andre Reed, also being eligible and likely led to a split in votes between the three.
I look for 2012 to be Carter's year to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. At long last.