Making a case for Wayne, Holt and Bruce to be inducted into the Hall of Fame is one of the easier things I have been asked to do. As Nate Burleson told me;
“You don’t need an elite wide receiver to win a Superbowl but you need one to get you there.”
The 2006 Colts had both Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, the ‘Greatest Show on Turf’ Rams had both Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt. By the rule of Burleson these teams were surely destined for great things already.
The case for Wayne is very simple really, the former Colts’ receiver has 1,070 receptions and is 10th all-time, all five eligible players ahead of him already are in the hall of fame, so he is next up. Reggie Wayne is also 10th all-time in yardage at 14,345 yards, this time five of the six eligible players ahead of him are enshrined, with the only exception being Isaac Bruce.
When it comes to touchdowns however you can tell that Wayne shared the field with another elite receiver in Marvin Harrison. Harrison way clearly more of a red zone favorite of Peyton Manning, Harrison had 128 touchdowns in his career compared to 82 to Reggie Wayne. This puts Reggie Wayne at 25th all time.
Wayne was taken with the 30th selection of the 2001 draft, one of 34 receivers drafted that year, a draft class that included 8 Pro Bowlers.
Reggie Wayne’s talent and records make him a hall of fame worthy receiver, but there are so many great receivers from the time which he played that it will be difficult for him to get in, 2 other such players from the Rams ‘Greatest Show on Turf are also up for the nomination this year.
It was clear right from his college days that Torry Holt was going to be one of the good ones. Holt was an All-American at NC State. Holt’s number 81 was retired by the Wolfpack in 1999. He spoke unassumingly of that day;
“Very humbling. Excited. Glad that my family’s here with me and get an opportunity to take this in. So thankful to represent a fine institution in North Carolina State University … this is just a credit to the work I put in and credit to my teammates and coaches for believing in me and giving me an opportunity.”
Torry Holt was a Rookie when the Rams won the Superbowl in 1999. The Rams also added Marshall Faulk, Trent Green was the starting quarterback and Mike Martz the exciting offensive coordinator. Kurt Warner took over quarterbacking duties mid season after Green was injured for the rest of the year.
Holt was a seven-time Pro Bowler who retired from the League with the 10th most receiving yards including a record six consecutive seasons with 1300 yards. His two 1,600 yard seasons, giving him a feat matched only by Calvin Johnson and Marvin Harrison.
Bruce was selected in the 2nd round (33rd overall pick) of the NFL Draft in 1994, by the Los Angeles Rams. His numbers and records are reason for his enshrinement alone;
15,208 – Career receiving yards, fifth-most in NFL history.
1,781 – Fifth-most in a single season in NFL history.
1,024 –Only 13 other players in league history have caught 1,000 or more passes.
91 – Career receiving touchdowns, 12th-most all-time in NFL history.
Isaac Bruce was a finalist in 2019 too, unfortunate not to be named to the Hall. He said at the time “To be among the 15 finalists to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame with the greatest players to have played this game — some of those guys I grew up watching. It’s humbling. That’s what it is, it’s humbling and you got to experience it that way.”
Bruce’s most notable catch came in Super Bowl XXXIV. With under 2:00 minutes left in the game, he caught a 73-yard pass from QB Kurt Warner, which ultimately would clinch the Rams’ only Super Bowl win.
Last summer I asked Bears receiver Allan Robinson, ‘what is Elite?’
“It’s a lot, their ability to create separation and make the tough catches, it’s a league of making tough catches and that’s where a lot of guys make their money, being able to adjust week to week depending on how defences cover you and still be able to make those big plays”
These players had all of this and more, they were key pieces of their team’s offences for many seasons and helped turn Peyton Manning and Kurt Warner into Hall of Fame quarterbacks, let’s give some love to the receivers that put them there.