Publish date:

Steve Smith Heads Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2022 Nominees

Can the Panthers legendary wide receiver become a first ballot Hall of Famer?

The NFL announced today 122 nominees for the 2022 class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Included in that group is Carolina Panthers legend, Steve Smith Sr.

The list will be reduced to 25 semifinalists in November and to 15 finalists in January before the selection committee discusses and chooses the class of 2022 that will be enshrined in August.

Other Panthers that are included in this group of nominees are LB Sam Mills, DE Jared Allen, QB Jake Delhomme, TE Wesley Walls, WR Muhsin Muhammad, OT Jordan Gross, and K John Kasay.

To reflect on Agent 89's best plays, here are the top five moments of Steve Smith's career:

5. December 8, 2002 vs. Cincinnati Bengals

The Panthers were 4-8 at this point of the 2002 NFL season. Any chance of making the playoffs was doubtful. However, one of the highlights from the 2002 season came from the emergence of Steve Smith. In a December matchup against the Bengals, Smith caught five passes for 144 yards and one touchdown. That's not all, though. He also dominated in special teams with not one, but two punt return touchdowns. Check out his dominant performance below:

The Panthers went on to win 52-31 to improve to a 5-8 record. This was the best performance in Smith's breakout season, and it was only the beginning of his legendary NFL career.

4. October 30, 2005 vs. Minnesota Vikings

Steve Smith broke his leg in the beginning of the 2004 season, which led many to question if he would come back to his explosive form. He responded by having the best season of his career with a total of 1,563 yards and 12 touchdowns. His best game from the 2005 regular season was against the Vikings. Smith was unstoppable with 11 catches for 201 yards. Performances like these confirmed that he would be an all-time great in the NFL.

3. January 15, 2006 vs. Chicago Bears

Steve Smith continued his domination in the 2005 NFL Playoffs. The services of Agent 89 were needed in the divisional round at Soldier Field, and Smith absolutely delivered. Following a ten-catch performance in a Wild Card round victory against the Giants, Smith continued his monster playoff run against the Bears. Most of Jake Delhomme's 319 passing yards came from throwing it to Agent 89. Smith had a total of 12 catches for 218 yards and two touchdowns in a close 29-21 victory.

2. September 28, 2014 vs. Carolina Panthers

This may not have been Smith's best game statistically. However, this was easily one of his most significant games. Following his release from the Panthers after the 2013 season, Agent 89 was looking for revenge. He got exactly what he wanted in a convincing victory against Carolina with seven catches for 139 yards and two touchdowns. The Panthers defense had absolutely nothing for him that day. See more from the revenge game here.

1. January 10, 2004 vs. St. Louis Rams

This had to be the number one spot. Steve Smith's legendary performance in a double-overtime victory against the Rams will be referenced by Panthers fans forever. He recorded a total of six catches for 163 yards and one touchdown. That one touchdown is why this game was the greatest performance of Steve Smith's career. Agent 89's clutch gene was fully activated with his walk-off touchdown. Watch the highlight below and enjoy the goosebumps.

You can follow us for future coverage by clicking "Follow" on the top righthand corner of the page. Also, be sure to like us on Facebook & Twitter:

Facebook - @PanthersOnSI

Twitter - @SI_Panthers and Schuyler Callihan at @Callihan_.