The 2014 Hall Of Fame class was announced late Saturday night, and when former Indianapolis Colts Wide Receiver Marvin Harrison was left off the list, Colts fans took to social media to share their complaints. Many were outraged that the former Colts all pro receiver was left off the list.
Harrison finished his career in 2008 with the same team he started with, the Colts. He amassed 1,102 receptions, which was good for second all-time upon his retirement (Tony Gonzales passed him in 2013). He averaged 84 receptions a year throughout his career, only second to Shannon Sharpe who averaged 85. He finished with 128 career touchdowns, good for 3rd all-time when he retired, only to be passed by Randy Moss and Terrell Owens in recent years. He finished with 14,580 receiving yards to place him 4th on the all-time list, until Gonzales, Moss and Owens recently passed him. He also set the record for most receptions in a season in 2002 with a mind blowing 143.
The man was healthy throughout his whole career until 2007 when a knee injury limited him to 5 games, which resulted in only 20 reception and one touchdown. That broke his NFL record of 8 straight seasons with at least 10 touchdown receptions.
To say the least Harrison was a consistent high caliber player for a team that was dominant through the first decade in the 21st century. Anyone who watched him play knew that if the ball was thrown in his direction there was a 99 percent chance that he was catching it.
So why wasn’t Harrison selected as a first ballot hall of famer? And why did Andre Reed get in before him?
Some questions cannot be answered, but I do have some insight on why the voters might have left him off this year, because make no doubt about, Harrison will have his place in Canton soon.
Harrison was known as a quiet leader on the team. After every possession the offense would go to the bench and try to figure out how to be more productive the next time out. Not Harrison, he was well known for sitting by himself on the opposite side of the bench with no one ever around him. Yet shortly after his retirement in 2009 a man was gunned down near one of his businesses in Philadelphia. Shortly later it was released that Harrison could be involved and the FBI would join the investigation into him. While Harrison was never convicted, you have to wonder if this incident was in the back of the minds of the voters as he appeared on his first NFL ballot.
Another reason is that only 18 Wide Receivers have made it into the Hall of Fame, and for many years this was not a passing league like it is today. Receivers have had trouble getting in the past with the likes of Reed recently, and others like John Stallworth and Lynn Swann, both of whom waited almost over 20 years to get in. Of the 18 to get into Canton, only 4 have been first ballot elects. Raymond Berry, Steve Largent, Jerry Rice, and Paul Warfield. All house hold names to those of us who grew up watching the game. Harrison was considered a great, but often was under the radar when it came to the media with the likes of Moss and Owens sharing the spotlight with their antics in the media.
As the NFL has shifted to more of a passing league in the last 10 years, the Hall of Fame will catch up in time. While only 15 tide ends have made it in and 18 Wide Receivers, a whopping 38 Running Backs and Half Backs have had their shrine put up in Canton.
I believe Harrison was a giant snub in his first year, and many will agree with me on that. Yet there is no doubt that he is a sure fire hall of famer, and will get his moment within the next two years. Until then, he will have sit quietly and wait. Just like he has done throughout his whole career.
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