Many football insiders believe that Andre Reed will again take a backseat to a fellow receiver for enshrinement this weekend in Hall of Fame voting, with Cris Carter more likely to get the nod. Last year Art Monk outlasted Reed and was inducted. The year before it was Michael Irvin. But for a vote that will likely eliminate one receiver and enshrine another, Reed has an edge over Carter in one key area. The postseason.
Some might see this as a slanted playing field, knowing Reed played in 21 career playoff games as he was part of a Bills team that won four straight AFC Championships. But Carter played in a respectable 14 playoff games himself.
Even though Reed expectedly has superior numbers in terms of receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns in the postseason, he also bests Carter in average yards per reception, speaking to Reed's yards after the catch prowess.
"That was probably Andre Reed's biggest asset," said Bills Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly of Reed. "He was so strong. There were not too many people that could bump him on the line of scrimmage. He could get away from people and once he caught it, his athletic ability and strength enabled him to bust tackles. He was put together pretty well. He knew that if he had to outrun somebody he could do it and he knew if he had to run through somebody he could do it."
Reed stands third all-time in playoff receptions, fourth in receiving yards and fifth in postseason touchdowns. Nevertheless he is criticized for not having enough big playoff performances. Carter had two 100-yard receiving games in his playoff career. Reed had five.
"He was dependable," said Steve Tasker. "Aside from the one year when had the very serious hamstring injury he was there and showed up for work every day. He was one of the guys you wanted to have on your team because you could count on him. When Jim (Kelly) looked for him he was there."
Still the Bills all-time leading receiver is knocked for playing on a team that had other offensive playmakers like Kelly and Thurman Thomas. Perhaps the best indication as to what Reed was truly capable of as a receiver came in the 1992 AFC Wild Card game against Houston when Kelly and Thomas were both sidelined.
Reed, with the help of backup quarterback Frank Reich, led the greatest comeback effort in NFL history as his eight catches for 136 yards and three consecutive touchdowns turned what was an 18-point third quarter deficit into a three-point fourth quarter lead for the Bills in their dramatic 41-38 overtime Wild Card playoff win over Houston.
"Andre Reed on that particular day, he was what he was supposed to be and he wanted to win," said Kelly. "He had a never-say-die attitude."
"He was on a team where there were other guys like James Lofton and Thurman Thomas that were racking up big stats, and maybe, if he hadn't been, his stats would have been even greater," said Levy. "He wasn't a self-promoter, but he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame."