Proof That Todd Christensen, Raiders Tight End, Deserves Hall of Fame Membership

Matt SmithCorrespondent IAugust 8, 2009

UNDATED: Todd Christensen #46 of the Los Angeles Raiders carries the ball during the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Two of the greatest tight ends to ever play in the NFL were Raiders, and one—Dave Casper—has rightfully been recognized as such and inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

The other, it seems, has been forgotten. 

If you compare former Oakland/Los Angeles Raider Todd Christensen’s stats to the tight ends that are in the Hall of Fame, his numbers are as good as and often better than the inducted ones. Christensen was on two Super Bowl teams, he was the second TE ever to lead the league in total receptions (Kellen Winslow was first), and he was the first TE to ever have two seasons of 90 catches.

There are seven tight ends from the modern era that have been inducted into Pro Football’s Hall of Fame. I have listed each of the seven players and their career totals in receptions, yards, and touchdowns. Take a look at their numbers compared to Christensen’s. 

The magnificent seven tight ends, plus one (in chronological order):

Mike Ditka, 1961-1972 (five-time Pro Bowler, one-time Super Bowl Champ)

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Player             Rec      Yards         TDs       1,000-yard seasons

Ditka                427      5,812        43         1 

Christensen      467      5,872        41         3

John Mackey, 1963-1972 (five-time Pro Bowler, one-time Super Bowl Champ)

Player         Rec       Yards          TDs       1,000-yard seasons

Mackey        331       5,236         38         0

Christensen  467       5,872       41          3

Jackie Smith, 1963-1978 (five-time Pro Bowler)

Player        Rec       Yards          TDs       1,000-yard seasons

Smith         480       7,918        40         1 

Christensen 467       5,872         41        3

Charlie Sanders, 1968-1977 (seven-time Pro Bowler)

Player        Rec       Yards         TDs       1,000-yard seasons

Sanders      336       4,817         31         0

Christensen 467       5,872        41         3

Dave Casper, 1974-1984 (five-time Pro Bowler, one-time Super Bowl Champ)

Player         Rec       Yards       TDs       1,000-yard seasons

Casper         378      5,216        52         0

Christensen  467      5,872       41         3

Ozzie Newsome, 1978-1990 (three-time Pro Bowler, no Super Bowls)

Player         Rec       Yards         TDs        1,000-yard seasons

Newsome     662       7,980       47         2

Christensen  467       5,872        41         3

Kellen Winslow, 1979-1987 (five-time Pro Bowler, no Super Bowls)

Player         Rec       Yards        TDs       1,000-yard seasons

Winslow        541      6,741       45         3

Christensen    467      5,872        41        3

Todd Christensen 1979-1988 (five-time Pro Bowler, two-time Super Bowl Champ)

So among the seven Hall of Fame-inducted tight ends of the modern era, Todd Christensen would rank fourth in receptions and yards, fifth in touchdowns, is tied for first in 1,000-yard seasons, and has the most Super Bowl rings of the group. 

Clearly his stats are Hall-worthy; add that to his two Super Bowl rings, and this should be a no brainer. 

I know the tight end position is not only a pass catching position and blocking is a big part of the job, but come on people, look at the numbers.

He has more championships than any other tight end in the Hall, is tied with Winslow with the most 1,000-yard seasons, and is a five-time Pro Bowler. What else does he need?

At his peak he led the league in receptions twice and had a total of 349 receptions from 1983 to 1986, which was an NFL record for a tight end over that span.

I think his 1983 season is arguably better than any one season for a tight end in NFL history. He had 92 catches, 1,247 yards, 12 TDs, and finished his greatest statistical season by closing the deal with a Super Bowl win.

Case closed: Raider great Todd Christensen deserves to be a Hall of Famer. His numbers prove it—now Canton needs to recognize it.


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