Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News
Vote: Maybe No (4/10)
The Buffalo News
December 28, 1992
Thomas Takes No Satisfaction in NFL Mark
James Lofton’s six catches tied him with Bills receivers coach Charlie Joiner for third on the all-time receptions list at 750. Lofton finished the season with 51 catches, his ninth 50-plus catch season. Only Art Monk (9) and Steve Largent (10) have as many.
The Buffalo News
November 11, 1998
Flutie and His Family Try to Cope With Loss
Andre Reed reached another career milestone in Sunday’s game against the New York Jets.
The 34-year-old Buffalo Bills receiver passed Bills receivers coach Charlie Joiner on the NFL’s all-time receiving yards list. Reed has 12,150 yards in receptions over his 131/2 seasons, which puts him in sixth place. Joiner had 12,146 in his 18-year career. Joiner was named to the Hall of Fame in 1996.
Art Monk is in fifth place on the yardage list at 12,721. Reed ranks third all-time in receptions at 858. Jerry Rice is No. 1 at 1,105 and Monk is No. 2 at 940.
The Buffalo News
August 5, 2005
On the Road Again; Bills Fans Have More Hall Journeys Ahead
There will be a strong cast of candidates the first year in which Thomas and Reed are eligible, including Troy Aikman, Reggie White, Deion Sanders and Warren Moon.
Joiner, the former Bills assistant coach, ended his career as the No. 1 pass catcher of all time but had to wait 10 years to get in. Art Monk was No. 1 in catches at the time of his retirement (in ’95) but didn’t make it the last two years he was up for election. Lofton has been up for election four times and made the final 15 twice.
“It’s no shame to not get in the first year,” said Len Shapiro of the Washington Post. “There are so many great players up each year. Lynn Swann had to wait 14 years. Sam Huff had to wait 12. George Allen had to wait 25.”
“There are a lot of receivers with really good stats from that era,” said voter Dave Goldberg of the Associated Press. “Andre’s one of them, but I don’t know if he separates himself from the others.”
“Andre has 900 catches on a team where the running back is leading the league in total offense and you have a very balanced offense,” said Larry Felser, former Buffalo News sports editor. “That speaks volumes. Andre deserves it. The thing is, it’s the hardest position at which to get in right now. The voters want to see how the numbers are going to stack up 10 years from now.”
The Buffalo News
February 13, 2005
Making Quick Move on April Made Season Special
Dallas receiver Michael Irvin missed induction to the Hall of Fame last week. He deserves to be in the Hall, he got this selector’s vote, and he will eventually get elected. Hopefully, it will happen next year.
It’s hard to say why Irvin got rejected after reaching the final six in the voting process. (The candidates are whittled from 15 to 10 to six before the final vote.) It’s possible some voters may think that first-year-eligible candidates should not get in unless they are among the greatest ever to play their position — the Jerry Rices, Joe Montanas and Jim Browns of the football world.
Only 56 of 166 members of the Hall were chosen in their first year of eligibility. The majority went in on their second, third or fourth years of eligibility.
Irvin ranks 14th all time in catches with 750. Ex-Redskin great Art Monk is fifth with 940 catches. Monk didn’t get in, either. Monk probably deserves induction, too.
But Monk was not as great as Irvin. He wasn’t the go-to game-breaker that Irvin was. He led his own team in receiving in only six of his 16 years.
The Hall of Fame is not about numbers, it’s about impact. Irvin had big games at every stage of the playoffs. He was the go-to receiver on three Super Bowl winners. He was the emotional leader of one of the greatest teams ever. “He was the Reggie Jackson” of the Cowboys, Colts coach Tony Dungy said.
Irvin was the Cowboys’ swagger. He was one of the hardest workers on the Cowboys, too.
Receivers tend to have a hard time getting in quickly because of the inflation of passing numbers the past 20 years.
In 1985, when Rice entered the NFL, there were four receivers with 600 or more catches. Today there are 34 with 600 or more.
So the argument that a candidate has more catches than any receiver already in the Hall isn’t necessarily compelling.
Charlie Joiner ended his career No. 1 on the all-time list. It took him 11 years to get in. It took Lynn Swann 14 and John Stallworth 17. Bills great Andre Reed stands fourth all time in catches.
Unlike Monk, Reed was the game-breaking receiving threat for the Bills. But given the fact Monk and Irvin have had to wait, Reed’s quick induction is far from assured.
The Miami Herald
February 4, 2006
The Hall Debate
A great example of that inexact science of electing players is the debate between Irvin and Monk. Although it’s possible both can, and perhaps should, get into the Hall, the voting often comes down to a comparative analysis.
Both helped their teams win three Super Bowls and posted excellent career numbers, Monk finishing his career as the league’s all-time leading receiver at the time. But when measured as impact players, many say Monk doesn’t stand up to Irvin.
”To me, there’s no question that Irvin is a Hall of Famer,” Gaughan said. “You’re talking about an impact player. He was the go-to receiver on that team. With Monk, he led his team in receiving six times in 16 years, and there are an awful lot of coaches who will tell you he wasn’t the most dangerous receiver on those teams.”
PROS AND CONS
For most of the time, former Redskins star Gary Clark was considered the bigger threat at wide receiver. But Clark wasn’t there for the entire title run, and the Redskins, despite having a dominant offense in the 1980s, have only one offensive player from that era in the Hall — running back John Riggins, who played on only one of the three title teams and had a number of career achievements outside of his days with Washington.
But there are some voters who have said that for as great as Irvin was, they will not vote for him until Monk is inducted.
The Buffalo News
October 20, 2006
Hall of Fame puts receivers in a delay pattern
Question: Since you’re on the Hall of Fame voters committee, do you have any picks or insight into who are some of the front-runners for the class of 2007? – Mike Bourg, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Answer: Thurman Thomas was very close to getting elected last year in his first year of eligibility. Nothing is ever a lock when it comes to Hall of Fame voting, but Thomas should get elected this year. The top first-year eligible player probably is Oilers offensive lineman Bruce Matthews. The top candidates of those who made the final 15 last year are Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin, Redskins receiver Art Monk and Chiefs pass rusher Derrick Thomas. The two senior candidates are Lions tight end Charlie Sanders and Browns guard Gene Hickerson. Sanders is a lock in my eyes. Hickerson is deserving, but I think Dolphins guard Bob Kuechenberg is more deserving. We’ll see how that plays out.
The voters continue to be reluctant to vote for contributors, but Ralph Wilson should be in the Hall. He has stood up for everything that is right in the game and arguably been the conscience of the NFL for his entire 47-year career. Hopefully he can get to the final 15 again. Andre Reed is a Hall of Famer. But receivers generally take longer to get in than other positions. I get lots of e-mails from Bills fans about Steve Tasker. A strong case can be made for him as the best special teams player ever. But I have to push for Wilson, Thomas and Reed ahead of Tasker. Only one special teamer (Jan Stenerud) ever has made the Hall. Tasker probably has to wait awhile to have a more serious shot at the final 15.