NFL Hall of Fame: Rams Wide Receiver Torry Holt Deserves a Gold Jacket

by Blaine Grisak
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Every year during Super Bowl week the NFL Hall of Fame committee votes in a new class into the Hall of Fame. Since 2011, members of the Greatest Show on Turf have slowly worked their way into Canton. In 2011, it was Marshall Faulk who was the first member to be inducted. Five years later, it was left tackle Orlando Pace who protected Kurt Warner’s blindside. The next year, Kurt Warner, the quarterback that made it all work became the third member to get in. Finally, after years of waiting, Isaac Bruce, the player who made arguably the most iconic play during the Greatest Show on Turf era also got in.

Faulk, Pace, Warner, and Bruce were all crucial pieces to the Greatest Show on Turf. However, one more player is missing. That’s wide receiver Torry Holt. Like Bruce, Holt has done his fair share of waiting. After a large class got in last year, the time for Holt to get in is now.

NFL Hall of Fame Finalists

Torry Holt joins 14 other finalists in their pursuits for Canton as well. Here are the other finalists:

DE Jared Allen – 4x first-team All-Pro, 2x sack leader, 100 sack club

S Ronde Barber – 3x first-team All-Pro, 2x second-team All-Pro, 2000s All-Decade Team, NFL INTs leader (2001)

OL Tony Boselli – 3x first-team All-Pro, 1990s All-Decade team

S LeRoy Butler – 4x first-team All-Pro, 1990s All-Decade team

OL Alan Fanaca – 6x first-team All-Pro, 2x second-team All-Pro, 2000’s All-Decade Team

WR Calvin Johnson – 3x first-team All-Pro, second-team All-Pro, 2010’s All-Decade Team, 2x receiving yards leader, Receptions leader (2012), Touchdowns leaders (2008)

S John Lynch – 2x first-team All-Pro, 2x second-team All-Pro

QB Peyton Manning – 5x MVP, 2x OPOY, Comeback Player of the Year, 7x first-team All-Pro, 3x second-team All-Pro, 3x passing yards leader, 4x passing touchdowns leader, 2x completion percentage leader, 3x passer rating leader, 2000’s All-Decade team, NFL’s 100th Anniversary team

LB Clay Matthews Jr.  – Second-team All-Pro

LB Sam Mills – First-team All-Pro, 2x second-team All-Pro

DE Richard Seymour – 3x first-team All-Pro, 2x second-team All-Pro, 2000’s All-Decade team

LB Zach Thomas – 5x first-team All-Pro, 2x second-team All-Pro, 2000s All-Decade team

WR Reggie Wayne – First-team All-Pro, 2x second-team All-Pro, Receiving yards leader (2007)

DB Charles Woodson – 4x first-team All-Pro, 4x second-team All-Pro, DPOY, ROY, 2x INTs leader, 2000s All-Decade team

Who are Locks?

Of the group of 15 only about five of those players will get into the Hall of Fame as voted by a group of writers. However, that list gets even smaller when you consider who the locks are. Of those 15 finalists, Peyton Manning and Charles Woodson are unquestionable first-ballot Hall of Famers.

Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever do it and won not just one Super Bowl, but two with two different teams nonetheless. He either leads or is in the top-3 of every major NFL passing category. Manning was a first-ballot Hall of Fame the second he walked off the football field for the last time.

Woodson should also be considered a lock. He’s a four-time first-team All-Pro, a Defensive Player of the Year and led the NFL in interceptions twice. He played in two Super Bowls, but lost to Tampa Bay as a member of the Raiders in 2000 before finally winning one in 2010 with the Green Pay Packers.

Those are the only true locks, however, it’s likely that one of the linebackers or offensive linemen gets in. That leaves 1-2 spots for a wide receiver, Jared Allen or Richard Seymour, or one of the safeties like Lynch, Butler, or Barber.

Torry Holt’s Resume For the NFL Hall of Fame

When it comes to the Hall of Fame, it seems like it’s become more of a waiting game than about a player’s particular accomplishments – of which Holt has many.

Drafted sixth overall in 1999, Holt made his presence felt right away. In his rookie season he helped lead the then St. Louis Rams to their first ever Super Bowl title. He saved his best game for when it mattered most, leading the Rams in receptions in the Super Bowl with seven and going over 100 yards for the first time in the postseason. His 109 yards set a rookie Super Bowl record. Let’s also not forget that he scored the team’s first touchdown to take a 16-0 lead.

From there, Holt began one of the best runs of any wide receiver in NFL history. In just his second season, he led the NFL in receiving yards. From 2000-2005 he put together six consecutive 1300 yard seasons which is an NFL record. Despite not hitting 1300 again in 2006, he added two more 1,000 yard seasons to make it eight straight.

Holt’s most productive season came in 2003. He set career-highs in both yards and receptions. His 1,672 yards and 117 receptions led the NFL. The Rams made the Super Bowl one more time with Holt in 2001 but fell to the New England Patriots. In 2004, he strung together six receptions for 108 yards and a touchdown as the Rams beat the Seahawks and became the first 8-8 team in NFL history to win a playoff game, which was later matched by the Minnesota Vikings that same year.

The Rams never managed to make the playoffs again with Holt. He finished his career in Jacksonville where his 14.2 yards per reception was his best since 2004.

Holt made seven Pro Bowls in his career and was named first-team and second-team All-Pro one time each. He was named to the NFLs 2000s All-Decade team.

How Does Holt Stack Up Against the Other Wide Receivers?

In all likelihood only one of the three wide receivers will get in.

Torry Holt – 1x first-team All-Pro, 1x second-team All-Pro, 8-1,000 yard seasons, 2000s All-Decade Team, 2x receiving yards leader, receptions leader (2003), 7x Pro Bowler, 1x Super Bowl champion, Most yards for a rookie in a Super Bowl, SB touchdown reception, Retired with 10th most all-time receiving yards, Retired with 11th most all-time receptions, Retired with 20th most all-time receiving touchdowns.

Calvin Johnson – 3x first-team All-Pro, second-team All-Pro, 7-1000 yard seasons, 2010’s All-Decade Team, 2x receiving yards leader, Receptions leader (2012), Touchdowns leaders (2008), 6x Pro Bowler, 7th-most receiving yards in a playoff game, Retired with 27th most all-time receiving yards, Retired with 39th most all-time receptions, Retired with 16th most all-time receiving touchdowns.

Reggie Wayne – First-team All-Pro, 2x second-team All-Pro, 8-1,000 yard seasons, Receiving yards leader (2007), 1x Super Bowl champion, SB touchdown reception, second-most receiving yards in a wild card game, 6x Pro Bowler, Retired with 8th most all-time receiving yards, Retired with 4th most all-time playoff receiving yards, Retired with 2nd most all-time playoff receptions, Retired with 7th most all-time receptions, Retired with 7th most all-time playoff touchdowns, Retired with 15th most receiving touchdowns.

Of these three wide receivers, Calvin Johnson is without question the better player. However, he played on a bad franchise and doesn’t have the postseason team success which voters do value. What he does have going for him is his 211 yards against the Saints.

On the other hand, Johnson is a big ‘what-if’ player. He retired in his prime and after six straight 1,000 yard seasons. He only played 9 seasons which is one less season than Holt and Wayne have 1,000 yard seasons. Johnson was good, but I’m not sure if he is first-ballot Hall of Famer good.

This might come down to Reggie Wayne and Torry Holt who have very similar resumes. Both were considered the number two on their team to start their careers. Both caught a touchdown that helped lead their teams to a Super Bowl. Same number of 1,000 yard seasons. Very similar in their all-time rankings. They are close.

Wayne has a slight edge as he found success after Peyton Manning left the Colts. Holt did have success with both Warner and Marc Bulger, but didn’t have success after leaving St. Louis. Wayne also retired with on more all-pro selection, more yards, receptions, and touchdowns than Holt and is among the all-time playoff leaders in yards, touchdowns, and receptions.

However, Holt’s 8 straight 1,000 yard seasons is unmatched. Unlike Wayne, he is also on the 2000’s All-Decade team. Wayne is not on the All-Decade team despite playing the majority of his career, like Holt, in the 2000s.

When it comes to receivers in the past, this has been a waiting game. Bruce had to wait for guys like Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, and Marvin Harrison. Holt retired in 2009 and has been waiting since 2014 to get into the Hall of Fame. 2014 was when Reggie Wayne retired. This is only his second year of eligibility.

Who Will Make the Hall of Fame?

If I had to pick five modern era finalists right now, Peyton Manning and Charles Woodson are locks. I also tend to think Zach Thomas gets in at linebacker and Jared Allen gets as well. That leaves one more spot. This will come down to Faneca or Boselli and one of the wide receivers.

With that said, while Holt has done his waiting, it’s time that he finally got in. The voters tend to like postseason success. However, at wide receiver it has been a waiting game. At wide receiver, players have had to wait their turns. It’s Torry Holt’s turn. It wouldn’t surprise me if Reggie Wayne passed him just because of the post season accolades and that he finished higher than Holt in the all-time receiving records.

However, their resumes are too similar for Wayne just to outright pass Holt on the “waiting list.” Come Saturday, Torry Holt should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and join his Greatest Show on Turf teammates.





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