In the world of football, there are certain players who possess a unique set of skills that make them stand out from the rest. Return men, such as Josh Cribbs and Devin Hester, are prime examples of this. However, despite their undeniable brilliance on the field, they have yet to receive the recognition they truly deserve from the Hall of Fame selection committee.
Josh Cribbs believes that both he and Devin Hester belong in the prestigious Canton, Ohio-based Hall of Fame. Cribbs argues that their abilities as return men were unparalleled, dominating both sides of returns and excelling as gunners. He questions, “Who can you say did both, was like the best returner out there as well the best cover guy?” Cribbs believes that their unique talents set them apart from their peers, not just in the past, but also in the future.
Cribbs does not shy away from calling out the Hall of Fame voters for consistently disregarding the importance of the return game. He challenges the notion that simply being nominated for the Hall of Fame is enough. Cribbs states, “The league is saying that it’s not that important, even though it is. We literally changed games. Coaches literally kicked away from us.” He argues that their impact on the game cannot be ignored.
Let’s take a moment to truly appreciate the numbers that Cribbs and Hester racked up throughout their impressive careers. Cribbs amassed over 11,000 kickoff return yards and found the end zone 8 times in his 10-year tenure. Additionally, he recorded 2,300 yards and scored 3 touchdowns on punt returns. Hester, on the other hand, accumulated over 3,600 punt return yards and an astonishing 14 touchdowns in 11 seasons. He also contributed 7,300 yards and 5 touchdowns on kickoffs. These statistics speak volumes about their incredible contributions to the game.
Above all, Cribbs asserts that he and Hester deserve their rightful places in the history books. Both players were named All-Decade return specialists, a testament to their undeniable impact on the field. Cribbs passionately states, “We actually deserve our place because of the work we put on the field for over a decade.” The time has come for the Hall of Fame selection committee to acknowledge their outstanding contributions and enshrine them in football immortality.
Fortunately, there is hope on the horizon for Cribbs and Hester. Both players are nominees for the Class of 2024. Come February, they will eagerly await their fate, hoping that the Hall of Fame selection committee will finally recognize their extraordinary achievements.
The disrespect towards return men in the NFL Hall of Fame is evident. Players like Josh Cribbs and Devin Hester have left an indelible mark on the game, yet they continue to be overlooked by the selection committee. It is time for a change, for the committee to acknowledge the magnitude of their contributions, and for return men to be rightfully celebrated as football legends in the Hall of Fame.