Six players are making the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008 (ESPN).
The most notable name is Art Monk, whom Washington fans have been enraged over for years.
Viking Cris Carter did not make it in, showing just how little the HOF selectors trust modern passing numbers. Carter is currently 2nd all-time in career receptions (1,102) and 2nd all-time in career touchdown receptions (130--almost twice Art Monk's 68). The selectors are right to be skeptical of those numbers, though; after all, Art Monk retired with a lot of career numbers that were soon obliterated, and so after a few years great cumulative numbers don't appear so impressive. Still, Carter had eight seasons with 9+ receiving touchdowns (Art Monk never had nine touchdown catches in a season: his career high was eight, which he did twice), eight seasons with 1,000+ receiving yards, and 10 seasons with 70+ receptions. He was a consistent statistical compiler. The big numbers just don't mean much for wide receivers anymore, because everybody has them; that's one reason Monk and Michael Irvin didn't get elected to the Hall in their first years of eligibility, either.
Last year I showed why Michael Irvin was a better wide receiver than Art Monk. A lot of the same arguments apply for Carter being superior to Monk. There are two key arguments:
Cris Carter compiled more quality seasons than Art Monk did.
When we compare Monk and Carter not to each other but to their respective contemporaries, Carter comes out the superior player.
Carter made eight Pro Bowls, Monk three. Carter was in the top-ten in receptions eight times, Monk four. Carter was top-ten in receiving yards five times, Monk three. And Carter was top-ten in touchdown receptions eight times (leading the league three times), while Monk was top-ten in touchdown receptions just once.
Look at it this way: Art Monk's top season ranking in touchdown receptions was 8th in 1991. Cris Carter ranked higher than that eight times: 3rd ('89), 5th ('93), 1st ('95), 5th ('96), 1st ('97), 4th ('98), 1st ('99), and 6th ('00).
Carter has better career numbers than Monk. Carter has more good seasons than Monk. And if you don't want to compare the actual numbers of players whose primes were in different decades, you can compare their rankings against their contemporaries. Carter was among the league leaders in receptions, yards, and receiving touchdowns much more often than Monk.
I'm glad Art Monk is now going to the Hall of Fame. But Cris Carter was a better wide receiver than Art Monk.