The concept of professional sports hall of fames is simple enough. It is a place for the game’s greatest players to be remembered. It is a place where the stories of Babe Ruth, Jim Brown and Wilt Chamberlain will still be told 100 years from now.
However, greatest is one of those relative terms. No one is arguing against the greatness of Ruth, Brown and Chamberlain. But where is the cut-off point? Where does greatness end and very good begin?
This is where it gets muddy, because there are far fewer no-doubt hall of famers than there are athletes who blur the line between great and very good. Every year, these players on the fringe are debated by sportswriters and by fans. Each athlete’s resume is thoroughly examined and compared to other players who have or haven’t made the hall.
It is part of the fun, but the process also isn’t entirely fair to the athletes. Often during these debates it is forgotten that any player who even enters this discussion was tremendous in their sport. Even if they fall shy of hall of fame standards, they remain one of the best athletes to ever put on a uniform in that given sport.
Former Missouri Southern and Denver Broncos great Rod Smith is an athlete who will likely be a subject for this debate over the next several years.
Is Smith worthy of induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio?
Smith entered the NFL with the Broncos as a free agent in 1994 and went on to become one of the most successful undrafted players in history. He holds Broncos’ records for career receptions (849), receiving yards (11,389), touchdown catches (68) and overall touchdowns (71). He leads all undrafted players in NFL history in every major career receiving category.