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Sports Then and Now



Best Players Not In the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Wide Receivers 10

Posted on July 08, 2009 by Dean Hybl

Cliff Branch

Cliff Branch

Our position-by-position look at the best eligible players not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame continues with a spotlight on the position where HOF voters have arguably displayed the most inconsistency in their choices: wide receiver.

Perhaps more than any other position, the role and statistics associated with wide receiver has changed dramatically over the last fifty years as the NFL record books have gone from no players with 500 career receptions in 1960 and only four in 1970 to 106 today, including 85 who have joined the club since 1990.

For that reason, the Hall of Fame selectors seem to be in a constant struggle with history to try and deduce which former pass catchers belong in Canton.
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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Drew Pearson: Mr. Clutch
      August 7, 2021 | 6:59 pm

      Drew Pearson

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former NFL wide receiver know as “Mr. Clutch” for his penchant for making big receptions at crucial moments of the game. After waiting for more than 30 years, he is finally earning his rightful place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the 2021 Hall of Fame Class.

      During his decade with the Dallas Cowboys, Drew Pearson had a habit of making the big catch at the right moment to help the Cowboys time and again snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

      The favorite target of Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach, Pearson was widely recognized as one of the great receivers of his era. Though at the time of his retirement many expected Pearson to easily breeze into the Hall of Fame, his enshrinement was derailed by changes to the game which artificially inflated receiver stats and made the numbers he produced during a time when wide receivers weren’t catching 100 passes a season seem inferior.

      Read more »

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