No drama: Rice takes rightful place in Hall

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Jerry Rice's enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame stood as a formality.

Little -- OK, nothing -- needed to be said about the greatest receiver in 49ers history and arguably in NFL history.

The big question at receiver heading into the Hall of Fame discussion next year is whether Rice's enshrinement clears the way for other receivers to earn a spot in Canton. Former Bills great Andre Reed made the cut from 15 to 10 finalists at the expense of Cris Carter and Tim Brown.

Having so many receivers competing for limited spots could have led some voters to favor other positions on the reduction to 10 and ultimately five finalists. Voters still could have a tough time picking between those three because each produced at a high level for an extended period. But a case can be made that more receivers deserve enshrinement, particularly as passing games become more prominent.

Should the Bills' Super Bowl appearances give Reed the edge over Carter, who caught 43 more touchdowns, and Brown, who also produced as a return specialist? These questions can be tough to resolve. Carter made the cut to 10 in balloting a year ago, but not this time. Reed did not make the cut to 10 a year ago, but he did Saturday.

There were no such complications with Rice, nor should there have been.