Inside The Bills

HOF Selectors not all about the numbers

Posted by Chris Brown on January 10, 2014 – 1:24 pm

With Bills all-time leading receiver and Wall of Famer Andre Reed once again a Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist, fans wonder if this will be the year he’s given the thumbs up for enshrinement. At the same time fans worry that his career numbers, which were very impressive when he retired, have been minimized by the proliferation of the passing game with more modern candidates like this year’s first ballot finalist Marvin Harrison.

Last year Cris Carter leapfrogged Reed to gain induction, even though Reed had made the final cut from 15 to 10 three of the previous four years and Carter had not. Buffalo presenter and Buffalo News Bills beat reporter Mark Gaughan in an appearance on the John Murphy Show this week indicated it was largely due to the fact that Cris Carter had 135 career touchdowns to Reed’s 87.

At the same time Gaughan assures that the Hall of Fame Selectors are not guided solely by career numbers.

“That is a point that I can assure I make at length, and that is an issue that the selectors have embraced that it’s about more than numbers,” Gaughan said. “When Michael Irvin got in his total numbers are much lower than Andre’s and Tim Brown and all those guys. But what did Michael Irvin mean to his team and the Super Bowl and what did he do for his team in the biggest games on the biggest stages? All those arguments can be made on Andre’s behalf as well.

“The Cowboys wanted to give the ball to Emmitt Smith much like the Bills wanted to give the ball to Thurman Thomas. That’s another point that I make. The Bills had a balanced offense. Even though they were the K-Gun they were not an aerial circus like Peyton Manning’s Colts or the Rams. In Andre’s six most prime years the Bills averaged 479 pass attempts per year. Four-hundred seventy-nine pass attempts would’ve been 29th in the league this year.”

When asked for the strongest argument that he makes in presenting Reed, which he will again do for an eighth time this year, Gaughan said he highlights Reed’s team first approach.

“I think that Andre was what a Hall of Famer should be all about,” Gaughan said. “He has the numbers, but he wasn’t just about the numbers. He was a team player. He produced in the biggest moments for his team. He was a quintessential tough receiver who did the dirty work. He was about impact, not just about the numbers. How much he meant to the Bills offense and what he did in the biggest games at the most important times. And his playoff numbers in three of the first four Super Bowls, the Bills probably don’t get there without great games from Andre. So he epitomizes what a larger than life Hall of Famer should be all about.”

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