The Pro Football Hall of Fame is filled with the busts of some of the greatest players to ever play the game. It doesn’t matter if a player made his living running, throwing, tackling, or blocking, if they were one of the best, then they are in the Hall of Fame. Just one simple look at the top of the passing, rushing, and receiving yards lists is an easy way to see that the best that ever played the game have been enshrined there.
Who though, through the 2009 season, are the players on those lists that are ranked the highest and either are not in the Hall of Fame or will not get into the Hall of Fame?
No player has passed for more yards in their career than Brett Favre. He begins the 2010 season at just under 70,000 career yards and is a sure Pro Football Hall of Famer. Also not in the Hall of Fame and sitting at fourth on the career passing yards list is another sure Hall of Famer, Peyton Manning. Sitting at number seven on the list though is Vinny Testaverde who passed for 46,233 yards during his career. That is more yards than Joe Montana, Johnny Unitas, Jim Kelly, Steve Young, Y.A. Tittle, Troy Aikman, or Sonny Jurgensen who are all in the Hall of Fame. Testaverde though will not likely ever be inducted.
Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, and Barry Sanders sit atop the career rushing yards list and are all in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Curtis Martin and Jerome Bettis are next on the list and will be eligible for induction shortly. LaDainian Tomlinson is another sure Hall of Famer who is still active and he sits at number eight on the all time rushing list. Marshall Faulk is 10th on the list and will definitely be in the Hall of Fame soon. Sitting at number 11 though is Edgerrin James. Many fans are split on James’ shot at Hall of Fame induction, so he is a possibility. He is followed by Fred Taylor at number 15, Corey Dillon at number 17, and Warrick Dunn at number 19. The majority of those players will probably never see the inside of the Hall of Fame, although they all have more career rushing yards than other Hall of Famers like Joe Perry, Earl Campbell, Jim Taylor, Larry Csonka, Leroy Kelly, John Henry Johnson, and Floyd Little.
Everyone knows that the wide receiver with the most receiving yardage ever is Hall of Famer Jerry Rice. The passing game in recent years has really increased the receiving yardage leaders in the NFL. Other than Rice, only one other player on the top ten career receiving yards list is in the Hall of Fame, James Lofton at number seven. Isaac Bruce, Terrell Owens, Tim Brown, Marvin Harrison, Randy Moss, and Cris Carter are all either eligible for the Hall of Fame or are still playing and will eventually make it into the Hall of Fame. Sitting at number nine on the list though is Henry Ellard who racked up 13,777 yards receiving during his career. He most likely will not be a Hall of Fame player, even though he has more receiving yards than other Hall of Famers like Steve Largent, Art Monk, Charlie Joiner, Michael Irvin, Don Maynard, Lance Alworth, Raymond Berry, Charley Taylor, Fred Biletnikoff, and John Stallworth.
There are some great players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and also some great players waiting to get in. There are also players that put up really good numbers, sometimes better than several people that are in the Hall of Fame, who will never get in. That’s natural too, at some point there has to be a cut off where a player’s numbers aren’t good enough and there are no other compelling reasons for voting them in too.
Who do you think is missing from the Hall of Fame?