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Sterling Sharpe needs to be in the Hall of Fame
September 16, 2009 - Chris Masse
There are a lot of mysteries in life that leave me scratching my head. One that immediately comes to mind is this...
Why is Sterling Sharpe not in the Hall of Fame?
Sure, Sharpe only played seven seasons but it's what he did in those seasons that should put him in the Hall of Fame, especially when compared to receivers who have no business enshrined at Canton (Lynn Swann, I'm talking to you).
Look at what Sharpe did from 1988-94: He topped 1,100 yards five times, he had more than 65 catches six times, he had 90 or more catches four times and more than 100 twice. In his last three years before a neck injury ended his career, Sharpe 314 passes. He also led the league in receptions three times, in yards one and receiving touchdowns twice...and he did this while the greatest receiver ever, Jerry Rice, was in his prime.
Sharpe also broke the then single-season record for receptions in 1992 with 108--and then he topped his own record with 112 catches in 1993. An AVERAGE year for Sharpe consisted of 85 catches for 1,162 yards and nine touchdowns. Four times in seven years, Sharpe caught at least 11 touchdowns. It's not a stretch to say that if he did not suffer a neck injury, Sharpe might have made a run at Jerry Rice's records, something no other receiver has ever seriously done.
It's a testament to how good Sharpe was that in seven seasons he was a three-time first-team All-Pro and a five-time Pro Bowler. He also had 29 100-yard games.
Another measure of how great a player is how they play well in their team's biggest games. While vastly overrated players like Marvin Harrison always disappear in playoff games (two touchdowns and one 100-yard game in 16 playoff games), Sharpe topped 100 yards in both his playoff games and scored four touchdowns in them. Included was a memorable 101-yard, 3-touchdown performance at Detroit in the 1993 playoffs. Sharpe caught the game-winning touchdown pass in that game against the division champions before having six catches for 128 yards and a touchdown against eventual world champion Dallas a week later.
Oh and Sharpe also was a great blocker. Has Marvin Harrison ever made a block? Just curious. Oh and by the way, while an overated player like Harrison is scared to go over the middle and rarely breaks tackles, Sharpe was at his best making the tough catches over the middle and also was great at shedding tacklers after contact. He also had some of the best hands the game has ever seen, rarely dropping a pass.
So why is Sharpe not in the Hall of Fame? Basically because he did not cater to the media. It's sad, but true. Sharpe did not talk to the media during his playing days and now these oversensitive voters are foolishly making him pay. The Hall of Fame is supposed to be for the best players in NFL history and there is no doubt that Sharpe is one of them.
While Sharpe did not talk to the media, Lynn Swann was a media darling and that is why he is in the Hall of Fame. It is ridiculous that A, Swann is in the Hall of Fame (see a previous blog for plenty of explanation on why that is so) and that B, kissing the media's backside is a requirement by some voters to get into the Hall of Fame...why do you think Cris Carter is still not in the Hall of Fame. here's a hint...he was not beloved by the media.
The bottom line is Sharpe did a lot more than Swann did in less seasons. Remember those numbers Sharpe put up...Swann never even came close to 1,000 yards. And while Swann played nine seasons he was only an All-Pro once and made only three Pro Bowls. Oh, and he never led the league in anything...unless you count whining about physical defenses like the Raiders. Remember how Sharpe had 29 100-yard games? Swann--11. 11! And this guy is in the Hall of Fame? Sure, Swann played great in the super bowl but Sharpe had almost as many 100-yard playoff games in just two games as Swann did his entire career. An average year for Swann consisted of 37 catches for 609 yards and 6 touchdowns. Sounds like a decent No. 2 receiver in today's game now but that is about it. Swann might be the most overrated player of all-time and that he is in and Sharpe is not is an absolute joke.
Sharpe meets all the requirements. He was great, he was complete and he was clutch. And while a neck injury eventually ended his career, Sharpe was as durable as they came. In his seven seasons, Sharpe never missed a game. Swann played all of his team's games just twice in nine years.
Come on voters, you are making a mockery of the Hall of Fame. Give Sterling Sharpe the credit he deserves whether you liked him or not. The Hall of Fame is not for the most popluar players--it is for the best players.
And when it comes to wide receivers they don't get much better than Sterling Sharpe.
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