When Andre Reed entered the conversation for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007, Art Monk was on the ballot and Michael Irvin was poised for selection. In 2008, Cris Carter joined the pair with Monk finally earning his gold jacket. In 2010, Tim Brown joined the fray and for three years, none of the three remaining receivers were able to garner enough votes until 2013 when Carter supposedly broke the logjam. That doesn't mean it will be easier for the Buffalo Bills' Andre Reed in 2014.
In 2014, first-time eligible candidate Marvin Harrison enters the pictures with superior numbers to Reed and Brown, who played in an era when teams still ran the ball half the time. Harrison's numbers dwarf Reed's, in particular, with almost 20 more yards per game and 41 more touchdowns.
Mark Gaughan, one of the Hall of Fame selectors and writer for The Buffalo News was on the John Murphy Show last week and spoke of the logjam at receiver. After explaining that he believes the tipping point for Carter was his prowess for catching touchdowns (Carter had 135 to Reed's 87), he noted the way path has not been cleared for Reed just yet.
"I hope so although it's not simple," said Gaughan of the broken logjam. "Tim Brown is still there, but he has never made the final 10. Andre has made the final 10 for four of the last five years. Marvin Harrison is up this year so how does that impact the dynamics of the vote? That's a good question."
Reed has made the cut from 15 to 10 four times while Brown has never moved on. Of course, Reed had advanced past Carter before, as well, yet Carter is the one in Canton with Reed still absent. The biggest wild card is Harrison. He played in a different era, in a dome, with one of the top 3 quarterbacks of all time in an offense that was heavily weighted to the passing game. Gaughan will make all of these points to voters on February 1st in Canton.
"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."