Hall of Fame: The Case for WR Marvin Harrison

After being left out the past two years, Harrison now faces his toughest competition yet among wide receiver finalists.

INDIANAPOLIS --- The rebuttals have been loud over the past two years when the most prolific wide receiver in Colts history, Marvin Harrison, was not elected for enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Now, as a finalist for a third year in a row, many are saying it's overdue for the Syracuse University product to get into Canton.

The Annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee Meeting will be held on Saturday, February 6, 2016, in San Francisco when the 46-person Selection Committee meets to elect the Class of 2016.

The numbers certainly back that up. In fact, they backed up Harrison's case in both 2014 and 2015 when fellow receivers Tim Brown and Andre Reed were elected before Harrison, but there seemed to be a feeling among voters that it was Brown and Reed's "time" after being eligible for five and nine years, respectively. Harrison has only been on the ballot since 2014.

Marvin Harrison: 1102 rec, 14580 yds, 128 TD, 8 Pro Bowls, 3 1st-Team All-Pro

Tim Brown: 1094 rec, 14934 yds, 100 TD, 9 Pro Bowls, 0 1st-Team All-Pro

Andre Reed: 951 rec, 13198 yds, 87 TD, 7 Pro Bowls, 0 1st-Team All-Pro

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Now Harrison finds himself in a similar situation as Brown and Reed, facing a fellow wide receiver finalist with career numbers that stack up to his but fewer years on the ballot. Is it Harrison's "time"?

Marvin Harrison: 1102 rec, 14580 yds, 128 TD, 8 Pro Bowls, 3 1st-Team All-Pro

Terrell Owens: 1078 rec, 15934 yds, 153 TD, 6 Pro Bowls, 5 1st-Team All-Pro

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When Harrison's case is presented to the voters though, the prolific lines on his NFL resume should be enough to receive a gold jacket in 2016.

Members of the Hall of Fame selection committee already chose Harrison over Owens once, when voting on the 2000s 1st-team all-decade team. Harrison made 1st-team. Owens made 2nd-team.

Harrison is 2nd all-time in receptions among wide receivers, trailing only the greatest of all-time, Jerry Rice.

Harrison's 143 receptions in 2002 is still an NFL record, even in recent years of unprecedented passing offense around the league. His six seasons with at least 90 receptions is also tied for the NFL record.

Harrison's eight Pro Bowls are tied for 3rd most all-time among wide receivers, trailing only Jerry Rice (13) and Tim Brown (9).

Harrison's 14,580 receiving yards are 7th all-time. He led the NFL in receiving twice (1999 and 2002), something Owens never did.

Harrison is 5th all-time in receiving touchdowns, and despite Owens having more, both had the same number of 10 touchdown seasons, with eight of them. That is 2nd most all-time. Harrison's double-digit touchdown seasons came in consecutive seasons from 1999-2006.

Harrison's 11 seasons with 50 receptions is tied for 3rd all-time, trailing only Jerry Rice (17) and Andre Reed (13).

Harrison's eight seasons of 1,000 receiving yards trails only Jerry Rice (14), Tim Brown (9), and Jimmy Smith (9). In fact, Harrison had more than 1,100 yards in each of those eight seasons, tied for 2nd most all-time. His four seasons with 1,400 receiving yards is also tied for 2nd most all-time.

Owens may have more career receiving yards than Harrison, but Owens played two more seasons and 29 more games than Harrison. On a per game basis, Harrison averaged 76.7 yards per game. Owens averaged 72.8 yards per game. Jerry Rice averaged 75.6 yards per game. Taking out active players, only Torry Holt averaged more receiving yards per game than Harrison.

Harrison also averaged a staggering 1121.5 yards per season. Owens averaged 1062.3 yards per season.

Harrison had 16 career games with 10 receptions. That is 5th all-time, trailing Andre Johnson (22), Brandon Marshall (19), Wes Welker (18), and Jerry Rice (17).

Harrison racked up 59 games with 100 receiving yards, trailing only Jerry Rice (76) and Randy Moss (64). Owens had 51. 

In the prime of Marvin Harrison's career (1999-2006), Harrison led all players with 826 receptions. The next closest player in that span was 114 receptions behind (Torry Holt). In those eight years, Harrison averaged 103.3 receptions per year.

In the prime of Marvin Harrison's career (1999-2006), Harrison led all players with 11,219 yards, 544 yards ahead of the next closest player (Torry Holt) and 1,832 yards ahead of 3rd. In those eight years, Harrison averaged an incredible 1402.4 yards per season.

In the prime of Marvin Harrison's career (1999-2006), Harrison led all players with 101 receiving touchdowns, 13 ahead of the next closest player (Terrell Owens). That's 12.6 touchdowns per season for Harrison over that span.

And for the fantasy football fans, over the course of Marvin Harrison's career (1996-2008), no flex player (RB/WR/TE) scored more in point per reception leagues than Marvin Harrison, averaging 17.52 fantasy points per game. Even in standard scoring, only LaDainian Tomlinson, Terrell Owens, and Marshall Faulk had more fantasy points in that span.

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During his era, no receiver was as consistently prolific as Marvin Harrison. Both Owens and Harrison will be Hall of Famers at some point, but if and when the Hall calls, it will be an honor well earned for Harrison, one that he is deserving of in 2016.

Is it Marvin Harrison's "time"? It's hard to argue it's not.

 

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