NFL: Does Sterling Sharpe Really Deserve a Shot to Make NFL Hall of Fame?

Randy ChambersAnalyst IAugust 7, 2011

CANTON, OH - AUGUST 6:  Former Denver Broncos tight end Shannon Sharp (R) and his brother former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Sterling Sharp pose with Shannon Sharp's bust at the Enshrinement Ceremony for the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 6, 2011 in Canton, Ohio.  (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

Last Saturday was the Hall of Fame induction, where several players were enshrined in the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame. One of those players was Shannon Sharpe, who was presented by his brother and former NFL player Sterling Sharpe.

During the Hall of Fame speech, Shannon went on to say, "I am the only person in the Hall of Fame that can say I was the second best player in my own family."

He also asked the Hall of Fame selection committee if they would evaluate his brother Sterling Sharpe's career and consider him for possible enshrinement.

Sterling Sharpe played seven seasons in the NFL, all of them with the Green Bay Packers. His career was cut short at the young age of 29 with a career-ending neck injury.

Looking at the numbers, he started all 112 games he played, finishing with 595 receptions, 8,134 receiving yards and 65 receiving touchdowns.

In the seven years he played from 1988 to 1994, his 595 receptions is second in that time span. The receiver who is first, is the receiver who is first in everything, Jerry Rice. 

His 8,134 receiving yards was good for third in that time span. Only Henry Ellard and Rice were ahead of him.

His 65 touchdowns was good for second and the only receiver ahead of him is, you guessed it, Jerry Rice.

Sterling was as dominant as a receiver could get before his career ending injury.
Sterling was as dominant as a receiver could get before his career ending injury.Todd Rosenberg/Getty Images

He holds the Packers single season records for receptions and touchdowns. He is second all-time in Packers career receptions and touchdowns and is third all-time in receiving yards.

When he retired, he was 27th all-time in receiving yards, 22nd all-time in receiving touchdowns and his 72.6 yards per game average was good for second all-time.

Some may argue that he didn't play enough seasons and needed a couple more solid years to his resume to make the Hall of Fame. But he had a career-ending neck injury; should he really be punished for something he really has no control over?

His last season in 1994 he finished with 1,119 receiving yards and 18 receiving touchdowns, which is the third most in one season. You're telling me if he didn't get hurt he wouldn't have put up those couple more great seasons you nonbelievers need to see before you claim he's eligible?

Gale Sayers is another player who played seven seasons but had his career shortened by injuries. He is in the Hall of Fame, and his numbers are nowhere near as impressive as Sharpe's are.

Which career would you rather have: one that lasts double digit seasons and drags on forever to make it look like the stats are impressive, with a few mediocre seasons, or one that is short but every single season that player put up incredible numbers consistently?

Isn't being a five-time All Pro and five-time Pro Bowl selection in seven seasons more valuable than an eight-time Pro Bowl selection for say, a player that played 17 seasons?

Sharpe led the league in receptions three times, touchdowns twice and receiving yards twice.

Michael Irvin never led the league in receptions and only led the league in receiving yards once, and he played 12 seasons.

James Lofton never led the league in receptions, receiving yards or touchdowns, and he played 16 seasons.

Art Monk only led the league in receptions once, but never in receiving yards or touchdowns, and he also played 16 seasons.

All three of those wide receivers are Hall of Famers. 

Sharpe dominated his position in his short career better than some Hall of Famers did in careers that were more than double the seven seasons he played.

Some may say if Sharpe deserves to make the Hall of Fame, it can't be before Tim Brown, Cris Carter and Andre Reed, three players who have been on the Hall of Fame ballot for years and fail to make the final cut.

But let's pretend all of their careers ended after the seventh season. Sharpe would have more touchdowns than all of them and only Brown would have more receptions and receiving yards.

Shannon asked that we look at his brother's numbers and decide if Sterling has a Hall of Fame case. When broken down, the numbers support it. The question now is, do you?