Most people around and associated with football seem very surprised that former Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison is not yet a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The wideout is entering his third straight season as a finalist, and many are hopeful that this will finally be the year that Harrison gets in, even if it comes later than it should have.
It seems players already inducted in the Hall of Fame agree with that sentiment. On NFL Network, Hall of Famers Marshall Faulk (running back), Deion Sanders (defensive back), and Michael Irvin (wide receiver) recently sat down to discuss Harrison's candidacy and made a very strong case for the former Colts receiver.
"I loved watching this dude play the game the way he played the game," Irvin said. "I loved the way he got to the game early with Peyton Manning, they would run the route tree before the games. This man went for 1,000-yards and ten-plus touchdowns in eight straight seasons. You know what greatness is? Greatness is when everybody knows you're great, and they're doing everything to stop you, and you continue to make plays. And that's what he's done, he continued to make plays. His numbers say he should go in the Hall of Fame. His numbers say he should already be in the Hall of Fame, but I don't know why they do the things they do to receivers."
I love Irvin's quote about greatness being when the defense is doing everything they can to stop you and yet you still make plays, as that's what Harrison did. That's a topic that came up later in the discussion as well, too. Faulk mentioned how Harrison always and only played on one side of the field, not going in motion or doing any switch releasing or anything like that. He just stayed on one side of the field, which the three pointed out let the defense know exactly where Harrison was on every play - and yet he still produced. "I'm trying to tell you how special this is and what he did!" Faulk exclaimed.
Faulk also pointed out how polished Harrison was when he entered the league (Faulk played with Harrison on the Colts for the first three seasons of the receiver's career) and how Harrison helped bring along Reggie Wayne when the Colts drafted him in 2001 yet still made plays and still got his numbers.
"Why are we having this conversation about Marvin Harrison in the Hall of Fame?" Sanders asked, conveying the belief that Harrison's case is so obvious that it shouldn't even have to be discussed. He listed several Hall of Fame receivers that he faced and then talked about Harrison, saying that he wasn't just a numbers guy but was a great player. "This man could run routes. This man was tough. This man was durable. This man knew the game. And this man should be in the Hall of Fame without a shadow of a doubt," Sanders said.
The conversation ended with all three giving a short message to Harrison, and Sanders' was the most compelling. "Marvin, let me tell you something man," he started. "Marvin, I don't know what these shenanigans are with the Hall of Fame and this ignorance, but you should have been in there a long time ago. But I don't want you to get mad, I don't want you to get upset, time will come. And just go out there and give them the speech that you never gave before, but at the same token, tell them that you're not happy about this mess."
We looked at the Hall of Fame case for Harrison a few days ago and noted that it is quite obvious that the receiver belongs in Canton and should in fact already be there. Harrison caught 1,102 passes for 14,580 yards and 128 touchdowns in his career, ranking in the top seven in each category. He made eight Pro Bowls, was a three-time first-team All-Pro, was named to the NFL All-Decade team of the 2000s, is a member of the Colts' Ring of Honor, and owns the single-season record for receptions with 143 in 2002. Furthermore, he put up eight straight seasons with at least 1,000-yards and 10+ touchdowns, something not even Jerry Rice did (he did it nine times in ten years, but his longest consecutive streak ended at seven seasons).
But, unfortunately, politics entered the discussion and the Hall of Fame voters decided to put in other receivers over Harrison simply because the others had been waiting longer. It doesn't make sense, but that's what the voters decided to do. Michael Irvin and Deion Sanders both can't understand it, saying that Harrison should have been in already. And these three Hall of Famers make it very clear that Harrison belongs in Canton, something that hopefully will happen this year.