In advance of the Hall of Fame Selection Meeting in February, the selectors are provided detailed BIOGRAPHIES on each of the 17 finalist candidates. At the annual meeting, each of the nominees is thoroughly discussed by the committee before a series of reduction votes are taken.
If there is one position that causes a collective brain camp among Hall of Fame selectors, it is wide receiver. More counterintuitive, anti-statistical logic is applied to wide receivers than players at any other position. It is a mind-boggling phenomenon that cannot be done justice in a paragraph, but here is the elevator explanation: the selectors are Paul Warfield damaged. Many of them believe that a great receiver must be Warfield-like: catch one 50-yard bomb per game (in slow motion on 35-millimeter film), win Super Bowls, and possess some kind of magical quality. Show the Hall of Fame committee a player who caught 100-passes per year or was part of an offensive sea-change, and they react like you are a used car salesman offering 0% financing: they will automatically assume that the stats are some kind of shell game.
Brown has the chance to end run Canton’s wide receiver confusion because he has some Warfield qualities: he was a deep threat, with college superstardom to add to his allure. Reed was the kind of player who makes some selector’s hands shake: his numbers were the product of a pass-happy offense that always came up short in the Super Bowl, and he caught too many short passes, which is bad for some reason. Both are solid candidates, and both were better receivers than Michael Irvin, who skated into Canton on the Warfield “less is more, plus rings” path.