Deion Sanders Says Too Many Players Being Admitted to Pro Football Hall of Fame

Blake SchusterContributor IIIJanuary 29, 2020

Deion Sanders speaks on the Thursday Night Football set during halftime in an NFL football game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Miami Dolphins, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)
Gail Burton/Associated Press

Deion Sanders doesn't think the Pro Football Hall of Fame is exclusive enough. 

While speaking on the Dan Patrick Show radio show, the 2011 inductee said the Hall is letting too many players in these days (h/t/ Pro Football Talk):

"What is a Hall of Famer now? Is it a guy who played a long time? It's so skewed now. Once upon a time, a Hall of Famer was a player who changed the darn game, who made you want to reach in your pocket and pay your admission to see that guy play. That's not a Hall of Famer anymore. Every Tom, Dick and Harry, you're a Hall of Famer, you're a Hall of Famer, you're a Hall of Famer. They let everybody in this thing. It's not exclusive anymore. And I don't like it."

When Patrick asked if Sanders thought the recently retired Eli Manning deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame, the former cornerback simply responded by saying: "You get the point." 

As of 2019, the Pro Football Hall of Fame boast 326 members. By comparison, the Basketball Hall of Fame has 407 members, the Baseball Hall of Fame has 333 members and the Hockey Hall of Fame has 411 members. 

The NFL has inducted at least six new members in each class since 2006. That's where Sanders feels things have gone too far.

"It should be based on, 'Are you that guy?'" Sanders said. "Not just because we have to meet a quota." 

While Sanders isn't necessarily wrong there, looking at the seven members of the NFL Hall of Fame who were inducted alongside him in 2011—Marshall Faulk, Richard Dent, Shannon Sharpe, Ed Sabol, Les Richter and Chris Hanburger—it's hard to argue any of them aren't worthy of induction.

The case of Manning, of course, is a bit more complicated.

While his regular-season success isn't as notable, the resume Manning put together in the playoffs is hard to understate. He executed two miraculous plays in two separate Super Bowl games to beat the New England Patriots

The debate over whether or not Manning belongs in Canton, Ohio, will rage on in perpetuity, regardless of if he gets in or not. 

Sanders has drawn his line in the sand in that battle already—and the battles of all future Hall of Fame classes to come.  

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