Tuesday, February 19, 2008

What About Sterling Sharpe?

This year Art Monk finally made it into the Hall of Fame, and there has been plenty of hand-wringing over Cris Carter's exclusion. But there's one receiver who's arguably better than either who has been left out in the cold yet again: Sterling Sharpe. Here are some highlights from Sharpe's considerable resume.
  • Sharpe is a 5-time All-Pro, compared to 3 times for Monk and and 4 for Carter.

  • Sharpe led the league in receptions 3 times; Monk and Carter once each.
  • Sharpe twice led the league in touchdowns, as did Carter; Monk never had double-digit touchdowns in a season.

  • Sharpe led the league in receiving yards in 1992; neither Monk nor Carter ever did this.

If there's a knock on Sharpe, it's that his career ended prematurely, cut short by a neck injury . Because of this, his career numbers don't match up to Carter's or Monk's. But it also makes his high number of All-Pro selections and stat leaders even more staggering. And, there are other Hall of Famers with relatively brief but stellar careers: Gale Sayers, like Sharpe, played only seven seasons, and made such an impact in that time he earned a spot in Canton. Hall of Famer Earl Campbell played eight season; Lynn Swann and the great Jim Brown played only nine but were considered worthy of Hall inclusion.

Another Hall of Famer receiver for comparison: Hall of Famer Michael Irvin. Both he and Sharpe came into the league in 1988. In the seven years they were both in the league, Sharpe's numbers blow Irvin's away. Sharpe had 65 touchdowns to Irvin's 40; 595 catches to Irvin's 316; and over 8,000 yards to Irvin's less than 7,000. Yes, Irvin played in an offense focused more on the running game and also had some strong seasons late in his career, but it's hard to get around the fact that they both finished their careers with 65 TDs even though Irvin had give more years to do it. If Irvin made it in, Sharpe should be a no-brainer.

Monk, Carter and Irvin had great careers, but were not as dominant at their position as Sterling Sharpe. Few receivers ever were. The guy even made an All-Pro out of Don Majkowski! If not for his injury and playing his entire career for the then-irrelevant Packers, Sharpe would have been in Canton long ago. At this point, the only thing more inexplicable than his exclusion from the Hall is the fact that neither the media nor the voters seem to have noticed.


  1. So true. If the question of whether Terrell Davis should get in Hall can even be raised, then sharpe should be there as we speak.

  2. Sterling (who is as sharp as his name) figured out as soon as his career ended that he wouldn't be getting into the HOF - not only because of his shortened career, but because the writers wouldn't be giving him any "Gayle Sayers Treatment" due to Sterling's aloofness with the media. This is the reason why it took Art Monk so ridiculously long to get into the Hall - the media were paying him back for Monk's so-called aloofness. Problem is - the media didn't bother to accept that Monk's quiet, retiring personality led to his shying away from the media - it wasn't anything personal. (Sterling didn't/doesn't have a quiet or retiring personality at all - and was aloof with the media because he had a big-time grudge-match going on with them.)