It was close but Jacksonville Jaguars legend Fred Taylor will ultimately have to continue to wait to get inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Having made the finalist round for the first time ever, it looked like he had a strong chance to be part of the 2024 class of inductees.
No running back who will be getting a gold jacket this year. While fellow running backs Ricky Watters, Eddie George, and Tiki Barber reached the semifinalist stage, Taylor was the only one of the bunch who had a chance to get in. Here are the players who will be part of the 2024 Hall-of-Fame class.
- Devin Hester, return specialist
- Dwight Freeney, defensive end
- Julius Peppers, defensive end
- Randy Gradishar, linebacker
- Andre Johnson, wide receiver
- Patrick Willis, linebacker
- Steve McMichael, defensive tackle
A first-round pick by 1999, Taylor spent the majority of his 13-year career in Jacksonville but also played two seasons for the New England Patriots. He appeared in 153 games with 137 starts, toting the rock 2,534 times for 11,695 yards with 66 touchdowns. Taylor would've been the second Jaguar to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Left tackle Tony Boselli became the first and only one last year. Here's Taylor's response to getting snubbed.
Jaguars legend Fred Taylor knows it's not easy to make the Hall of Fame
Taylor must certainly feel frustrated. During Super Bowl weekend, Taylor joined the Stacking the Box podcast and discussed fellow running back Jamal Charles' chances of making the Hall. While discussing his case, Taylor talked about the uphill battle he himself has faced to get in.
"It's tough there. A lot of times, you have to crack that 10,000-yard mark as an all-time rusher," Taylor said. "Maybe even now, a little bit over 11. I myself have been having a hard time getting in since I've been eligible. I finally made finalist this year. I am a fan of a lot of backs that have come along, either during my era or just after my era even now."
"I know one thing, he's an amazing back. If I had a Hall of Fame vote, he would certainly get one of my votes. But it's just in considering the amount of guys that might be deemed worthy. It's tough on the selectors, and it's tough to really make that call."
Taylor went on to say that it's especially challenging to get in when you take into account that the selection process can be subjective. On the other hand, he thinks voters have a hard time making a decision. He's right, for every vote a player gets, someone else will be left out. The fact that only a limited number of players can get in on any given year doesn't make it any easier.
Simply put, including Taylor in 2024 would mean that Dwight Freeney or Patrick Willis were less deserving (for the sake of picking someone). That's not the case.
In Taylor's case, he was one of the top running backs of his generation but didn't have as much name recognition as either Marshall Faulk, Edgarrin James, or LaDainian Tomlinson. While Taylor routinely made big plays, his dearth of accolades has most likely prevented him from getting inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Sadly, Fred Taylor and former Jaguars great Jimmy Smith will have to wait at least another year to get inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It shouldn't have to take this long for either one to get recognized though.