The Case For Shannon Sharpe: Tight End Comparison

The Pro Football Hall of Fame website has an interesting look at the candidates for the Hall of Fame Class of 2011 and how they compare to current Hall of Famers at their position.  So I thought it would be interesting - albeit obvious - to see how Shannon Sharpe compares to the other Tight Ends in the Hall of Fame.  Take a look:


Receiving Rushing Punt Returns Kickoff Returns Scoring
Player Yrs. No. Yds. TD No. Yds TD No. Yds. TD No. Yds. TD TD PAT FG TOT
Shannon Sharpe 14 815 10,060 62 3 9 0 - - - 1 0 0 62 0 0 372
Tight Ends in the Pro Football Hall of Fame
Dave Casper 11 378 5,216 52 6 27 - - - - - - - 53 0 0 318
Mike Ditka 12 427 5,812 43 2 2 0 - - - 3 30 0 45 0 0 270
John Mackey 10 331 5,236 38 19 127 0 - - - 9 271 0 38 0 0 228
Ozzie Newsome 13 662 7,980 47 18 135 2 2 29 0 - - - 49 0 0 294
Charlie Sanders 10 336 4,817 31 4 -6 0 - - - - - - 31 0 0 186
Jackie Smith 16 480 7,918 40 38 327 3 - - - 5 103 0 43 0 0 258
Kellen Winslow 9 541 6,741 45 - - - - - - 2 11 0 45 0 0 270

Sure, it is unfair to really compare Sharpe to the group since the nature of the position has changed so much - mainly because of Sharpe and Tony Gonzalez.  A deeper look, however, at what the selection committee looks for makes Sharpe even more of a slam dunk.

1.  STATS - Obviously Sharpe led all Tight Ends in receptions, yards, touchdowns, et al when he retired so this is a no-brainer.  Perhaps even more impressive is the fact Sharpe was the leading receiver on two different Super Bowl Championship teams.  Not only was Sharpe a pass-catching tight end, but he was the main target on two teams that won the Super Bowl!

We all know you can't run the ball if your tight end or wide receivers don't block.  We all know the story that Mike Shanahan told Sharpe early on that if he didn't block he wouldn't be on the field.  During Sharpe's time with the Broncos, Denver rushed for more yards than any team in the NFL - by far. 

2. Longevity - You know, the reason Terrell Davis isn't in the Hall of Fame?  We hear the same about Randy Gradishar too.  If there is something I cannot stand it is hypocrisy.  By keeping Sharpe out of the Hall, the selection committee are being hypocrites.  Sharpe spent 14 years in the NFL - and was still at the top of his game when he retired.  Only Jackie Smith played longer - and I have a feeling Smith didn't have a deal in TV motivating him to retire.  Sharpe played a long time and was effective up until the day he retired.

Let's compare Sharpe to the other Hall of Famers in terms of Honors:


Championship Teams
Player Yrs. All Pro All Conf Pro Bowls Div. Conf. League
Shannon Sharpe 14 4 4 8 3 3 3
Tight Ends in the Pro Football Hall of Fame
Dave Casper 11 4 4 5 3 1 1
Mike Ditka 12 4 5 5 4 2 2
John Mackey 10 3 3 5 3 2 1
Ozzie Newsome 13 2 2 3 5 0 0
Charlie Sanders 10 2 3 7 0 0 0
Jackie Smith 16 0 2 5 3 1 0
Kellen Winslow 9 3 4 5 3 0 0

 

Again, this is a no-brainer.  While you can debate if comparing stats is relevant, comparing honors - both individual and team - is definitely in play.  Sharpe's 4 All-Pro Awards is tied with Dave Casper and Mike Ditka.  Sharpe's 8 Pro Bowls is tops.  His 3 Super Bowl rings are also tops.  What am I missing?

I think we can all agree that Shannon Sharpe will get into the Hall of Fame.  It is just a question of when.  The argument that "there are so many great players this year" is BS!  If we all agree that Shannon Sharpe is a Hall of Famer, put him in the Hall... NOW!  That goes for any player.  Make the class sizes bigger, do whatever it takes, but quit with the excuses!!

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