Last week, Sterling Sharpe was chosen as a semifinalist for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2023. The fact that the Green Bay Packers legendary receiver has already had to wait through 25 years of eligibility and has been passed on to the Seniors Committee for consideration, is a crime all in its own. During Sterling Sharpe’s seven-year career, there’s only one receiver that was better than him, and that was Jerry Rice, who’s arguably the best receiver of all time. So why the hold up?
Hall of Fame Snubs
The Green Bay Packers seem to have a history lately of well-deserving players waiting on their Hall of Fame Induction well beyond what they should. Jerry Kramer, one of the best Offensive Linemen of the 60s, had to wait 45 years for his induction in 2018. Bobby Dillon, a ball hawking defensive back ahead of his time, was inducted 62 years after his retirement, and unfortunately 2 years after his death. This summer, Leroy Butler will finally be inducted 23 years after his retirement. So, what gives? Does the Hall of Fame committee just have it out for Packers players? It sometimes seems so.
Finding his Place
In my 35 years of life, the names of Packers players have cycled through my head by the hundreds. But the first name I think I ever learned was Sterling Sharpe. This is no surprise as the first Packers season I remember the most was 1992. I was 5 years old, and Sharpe had just found his place with a young new QB named Brett Favre. He caught 108 passes for 1,461 yards and scored 13 touchdowns earning him 2 votes for NFL MVP that season. Sharpe’s rookie season in 1988 was the only season he saw less than 800 yards receiving. This was partially due to the QB carousel in Green Bay that year between Randy Wright and Don Majkowski. But once Majkowski officially took over, Sharpe had a career year in 1989. Sharpe received Pro Bowl nods in 5/7 years of his career. If not for his career-ending neck injury in 1994, Sharpe likely would be on the all-time leaderboard for receivers, and already in the Hall of Fame.
The time is now
When Sterling Sharpe’s younger brother, Shannon Sharpe, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011, he lobbied for his brother’s enshrinement during his speech. Shannon went on to say, “I’m the only pro football player that’s in the Hall of Fame and I’m the second-best player in my own family.” He asked the induction committee that next the time they go into that room to vote, to look at Sterling Sharpe’s accomplishments for the seven-year period of the guys that are in the Hall of Fame at the receiver position. Also, to compare him to the guys that have the potential to be in the Hall of Fame.
That is all we can ask as well of now the Senior Committee. Sterling Sharpe had a legendary career that was unfortunately cut short. Sharpe’s legendary career saw 595 receptions, 8,134 yards, and 65 touchdowns. Compared to the other top receivers of that era, and the seven-year timeframe, after Jerry Rice, Sharpe is leagues ahead of the rest. No more waiting. I don’t want to wait 20 more years to see it. Sterling Sharpe deserves his Hall of Fame Induction NOW. Let’s make it happen.
Greg Meinholz is a 24/7/365 Packers fan. When he’s not spending time with his family, he can be found meditating in his Packers shrine with a good beer. You can follow him on twitter at @gmeinholz.