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Should FSU football’s Anquan Boldin be in the NFL Hall of Fame?

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Anquan to Canton?

Georgia v Florida State Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The other day, former Florida State receiver Anquan Boldin announced his retirement from the National Football League after playing 14 seasons in the professional ranks with the Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers, and Detroit Lions. Boldin was 2003’s NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, made a trio of Pro Bowls, won Super Bowl XLVII with Baltimore, and was honored as 2015’s Walter Payton Man of the Year.

Those superlatives aside, voters typically default to statistics when deciding whether or not a player should be enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame. So, how do Boldin’s numbers stack up? Quite well, actually. Boldin finished his career with 1,076 receptions for 13,779 yards and 82 touchdowns.

As far as catches go, only eight players in NFL history have more than Boldin:

  1. Jerry Rice (1,549)
  2. Tony Gonzalez (1,325)
  3. Larry Fitzgerald (1,125)
  4. Marvin Harrison (1,102)
  5. Cris Carter (1,101)
  6. Tim Brown (1,094)
  7. Jason Witten (1,089)
  8. Terrell Owens (1,078)
  9. Anquan Boldin (1,076)

Of those eight, Rice, Harrison, Carter, and Brown are already in the Hall, Gonzalez is not yet eligible, and Fitzgerald and Witten are still active. Oh, and Owens, though eligible, is not yet in the HOF, because people are stupid— which will be further established when checking out the career receiving yards leaders:

  1. Jerry Rice (22,895)
  2. Terrell Owens (15,934)
  3. Randy Moss (15,292)
  4. Isaac Bruce (15,208)
  5. Tony Gonzalez (15,127)
  6. Tim Brown (14,934)
  7. Steve Smith, Jr. (14,731)
  8. Marvin Harrison (14,580)
  9. Larry Fitzgerald (14,389)
  10. Reggie Wayne (14,345)
  11. Andre Johnson (14,185)
  12. James Lofton (14,004)
  13. Cris Carter (13,899)
  14. Anquan Boldin (13,779)

In addition to those already detailed, this list features Hall of Fame inductee Lofton and not-yet-eligible players Moss, Smith, Jr., Wayne, and Johnson. Bruce has not gotten the nod.

Now, to receiving touchdowns, a list on which Boldin is a bit farther down, at a tie for 23rd with Brandon Marshall and Reggie Wayne (82 career TD grabs). In addition to some of the other usual suspects ahead of Boldin in the previously listed categories, others with more scoring receptions include Antonio Gates (111), Steve Largent (100), Don Hutson (99), Don Maynard (88), Andre Reed (87), Lance Alworth (85), Hines Ward (85), Paul Warfield (85), Mark Clayton (84), Irving Fryar (84), Tommy McDonald (84), Andre Rison (84), and Calvin Johnson (83).

Of those recent additions, Largent, Hutson, Maynard, Reed, Alworth, Warfield, and McDonald are in the Hall. Johnson and Wayne are not yet eligible, and Gates and Marshall are still active.

So, what do you think? Does Boldin deserve to join Fred Biletnikoff as the second Florida State receiver in the NFL Hall of Fame?

Note: there are numerous players in the Hall ranked lower than Boldin on all of these lists. But it’s also wise to keep in mind that the game has changed considerably over the years.