Days ahead of Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas between Kansas City and San Francisco, the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its Class of 2024.
Notable names that made the cut were Chicago Bears sensation Devin Hester, who took the world by storm by taking the opening kickoff of Super Bowl XLI back for a touchdown and is regarded as one of the greatest kick returners in history, and San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis, whose exceptional play had a hand in the 49ers run to Super Bowl XLVII.
Amid the celebrations, however, there were a few sighs of disappointment for those who did not make the cut. For some, the wait continues, and for others who wanted to have the distinction of going in on the first ballot, again, the wait continues.
Being snubbed, as folks would say, stings. Some players shouldn't have to wait, but the process is a process. Let's take a look at some players who missed the cut this season, starting with one that is beyond explanation.
2024 PFHOF Snub No. 1: San Diego Chargers TE Antonio Gates
This had to be a mistake. Considering what Gates was on the field and the heritage he comes from, many have to be wondering what caused the former Kent State basketball star, who had a phenomenal career, to have to wait another year. In an era of pass catchers dominating, including from the tight end spot, Gates was everything and then some.
He racked up 11,841 receiving yards on 955 catches while recording 116 total touchdowns, all during a 15-year career that featured four First-team All-Pro selections,
two Second-team All-Pros, eight trips to the Pro Bowl and a spot on the
NFL 2000s All-Decade Team.
What more could Gates possibly have done to tell the voters that he needs to have a spot in Canton?
When you look at the Chargers in the 2000s, the two names that stand out are LaDanian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates. Phillip Rivers was spectacular and needs to be recognized, but LT and Gates were both the heartbeat of the offense of San Diego, and both had a key role in the Chargers being atop the AFC West for so many seasons, including a berth in the 2007-08 AFC Title Game. It's such a shame Gates has to wait another year.