Tim Brown is revered among the Raider Nation like few others. It has been taken as truth that he would get the call to ascend to the ranks of the immortal in Canton when he became eligible for the NFL Hall of Fame. However, his time has arrived as he is on the ballot for the first time this year, and his candidacy is not the lock that it would have originally appeared to be.
In a recent article on examiner.com, I posted my hypothetical ballot for the Hall of Fame class of 2010, and when it came to it, his name did not appear on my ballot. It is not that I don't believe that he is a worthy candidate to the Hall of Fame, because he should get in. However, it is highly doubtful that it will be this year.
His teammate from 2001-3 Jerry Rice is an absolute lock, and deservedly so. Rice completely rewrote the record book for his position. Is Brown the second best receiver on the list? In my opinion, he is not even the second best receiver on the list who wore Silver and Black. Cliff Branch is a more worthy candidate than Rice. Brown had superior career numbers to Branch, but the statistics only measure so much. Branch was a key player in the halcyon days of Raider dominance, and his continued absence is an affront to the Hall. Especially when his career numbers stack up favorably to his contemporaries John Stallworth and Lynn Swann who are both in.
For all of Branch's credentials, he is not the most deserving Raider on the list, that would be Ray Guy. Ray Guy is widely considered the best punter in history. He is one of three eligible members of the NFL 75th anniversary team who is not enshrined. (Rice is another one of the three.) He was also a member of the NFL's All 70s team.
The Raider fan would say, great, "Just put all three of them in." The problem is that there area whole plethora of deserving candidates on the ballot at a multiplicity of positions. Besides the combination above, the big thing working against Tim Brown is that he was the model of consistency. That would seem to work in his favor, but in an absurd way it works against him. He also played on mostly mediocre teams, where the joke in the mid 90s was that Brown was proof that there was still professional football in Oakland. He doesn't have the track record of post season greatness. He wasn't know spectacular plays. He just caught every ball thrown in his direction, which is the best attribute a receiver can have.
Tim Brown deserves the call to the Hall of Fame, but due to the flawed system of enshrinement, he will not get in this year. However, he will be there in the next few years.
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