(Photos courtesy of the Green Bay Packers)
Talk of Fame Network
Brett Favre is a slam dunk for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and, in all likelihood, makes it in 2016, his first year of eligibility. But one of Favre’s favorite receivers, Sterling Sharpe, won’t. In fact, Sharpe – who retired in 1995 after seven NFL seasons – has never been a finalist for Canton and seemingly is on nobody’s short list.
But he is on Favre’s.
So when the former quarterback stopped by the Talk of Fame Network he talked up Sharpe, a five-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro in his seven NFL seasons. More than that, Favre offered advice to voters who won’t get behind Sharpe because of his relatively short career.
“He definitely prolonged my stay my first two years on the field,” he said of Sharpe. “I was throwing to him in double and triple coverage, and everyone knew who I was throwing to. If you go back to then or think back to then or if you were watch film, every pass seemed to go to Sterling, regardless of coverage.
“More than anything I was so impressed with his knowledge of the game. He knew all the signals, and this was prior to the headphones being in the helmets. So you had to signal in. But he knew the signal. He couldn’t practice because he had a severe tuff toe, and he had a neck injury which, it turns out, ended his career.
“But he was revolutionary. He broke his own record my first two years. I think he had 108 and like a 115 or something catches. Guys have done that over and over since then, but this was a different time and a different era when you didn’t throw as much. And if you bump and run Sterling Sharpe you paid the price. And I knew that. It didn’t take me long to figure out … like he would say … ‘Im never covered. Even if I’m covered, I’m never covered.’ “
Sharpe led the NFL in receptions four times (1989, 1990, 1992 and 1993) and led the league in receiving touchdowns in 1992 and 1994. In fact, his 90 catches in 1989 marked the first time since Don Hutson in 1945 that a Packer led the NFL in receptions while it broke Hutson’s franchise records for single-season catches and receiving yards.
Hutson is in the Hall of Fame. Sharpe is not, and it’s longevity that keeps him out. With that in mind, Favre offered the Hall’s 46 selectors advice when it comes to considering Sharpe’s candidacy.
“I would say for the voters: Don’t not vote for him because his career was shortened,” he said. “I know that other players have gotten into the Hall of Fame with shortened careers due to injury. (But) had he continued to play there’s no telling what type of numbers he would have continued to put up.
“I just think from an overall complete player standpoint – and not to mention he could not practice – he would’ve been the best receiver by far that I played with. For a two-year span he was by far the best. He was an unbelievable player.”