Buffalo Bills all-time great receiver Andre Reed was not part of the 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame class. Voters for the Hall agreed to not share the details of the debates from inside the room. While voters Rick Gosselin of The Dallas Morning News and Jim Trotter of Sports Illustrated were on NFL Network following the announcement, they didn't share a lot of information.
After combing through each and every Hall of Fame voters' articles and videos following the vote, it's evident that there was a large split inside the room. Always outspoken about his vote, Sports Illustrated scribe Peter King admitted he put Cris Carter ahead of Reed on the merit of the former Eagles and Vikings receiver's superior touchdown numbers - in addition to another trait.
"He was the most deserving of the three receivers (over Andre Reed and Tim Brown), I thought, because he did two things superbly: score touchdowns - 130 of them - and catch the ball within millimeters of the sideline and end line. He's the best boundary receiver I've ever seen," wrote King on Monday.
Another vote for Carter came from Mark Gaughan of The Buffalo News. The man who presented Reed for induction voted for both receivers on his final ballot, leaving offensive lineman Larry Allen - who is part of the 2013 class - out.
"My final five votes during the selection meeting were for: [Bill] Parcells, Andre Reed, Cris Carter, Jonathan Ogden and Warren Sapp," Gaughan wrote.
While I have yet to see any other voter share their vote, some shared strong opinions. Trotter, in particular, was surprised that Reed was bypassed by Carter just two years after Reed was clearly ahead in the voting.
"The thing that surprised me is that the last two years, Andre had made the cut from 15 to 10 where Cris did not and this year Cris jumped over Andre," Trotter told SI.com shortly after the selection meeting concluded. "I don't know [what changed]. That's part of the thing in that room. It's a silent vote, so you have no idea how anyone is voting, you have no idea how close it is, and then to see all of the sudden Cris make that jump, I was like 'wow'."
In years past, the wide receivers have dominated the discussion in the room. Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com, who has a Hall vote, shared the amount of time spent on each nominee. That figure ultimately wasn't an indicator of enshrinement, as two of the top four were elected, while other class members had comparatively short debates.
1. Bill Parcells, 55 minutes, 0 seconds. 2. Modell, 32:15. 3. Cris Carter, 30:30. 4. Jerome Bettis, 29:55. 5. Dave Robinson, 28:27. 6. Eddie DeBartolo Jr., 27:50. 7. Aeneas Williams, 22:45. 8. Andre Reed, 18:30. 9. Warren Sapp, 17:55. 10. Jonathan Ogden, 15:40. 11. Kevin Greene, 15:30. 12. Curley Culp, 13:21. 13. Michael Strahan, 13:13. 14. Charles Haley, 10:56. 15. Larry Allen, 9:02. 16. Will Shileds, 4:26. 17. Tim Brown, 3:45.
"The committee spent a looong time discussing the receivers again this year," wrote Carter's presenter, Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "I can't repeat anything that's said in the room, but it was a struggle for everyone as they tried to determine again in their heads how to prioritize Carter, Reed and Brown."
The most damning number on the timing list is Tim Brown's. He was clearly the third wide receiver after the voting, and looks to still be considerably behind Reed (and, in all likelihood, newcomer Marvin Harrison in 2014), says voter Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union Tribune. Canepa also had an opinion to share on Harrison's future involvement.
"Receiver Marvin Harrison is eligible next year. He’s getting in, and should leap-frog Brown and Reed," Canepa wrote.
Harrison presents another obstacle to Reed. He has better numbers than the former Bill as King notes, but did play in a dome for his entire career.
"I am just glad we, as a voting group, put one of the deserving pass catchers in this year," wrote King. "But it won't get easier in 2014. Marvin Harrison enters the fray next year, and that can't be good for Reed or Brown. Harrison caught 151 more balls than Reed - in three fewer seasons."
"I truly thought the same thing was going to happen this year as previous years where all three of those wide receivers were going to cancel each other out and it didn't happen," said Trotter. "That's a good thing because you have Marvin Harrison coming into the mix next year."
Gaughan will be presenting Reed for the eighth time in 2014, and believes he will join the 11 players enshrined in their eighth or later turn as a finalist. He is undeterred:
"I'm as convinced as ever that Reed ultimately will get elected to the Hall."