Get your popcorn ready! T.O. ready to rock 2016 Hall vote


Courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Owens

(Photos courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles)

By Clark Judge

Talk of Fame Network

The debates on this year’s Hall-of-Fame candidates were relatively benign. The longest involved former GM Bill Polian (it took 50 minutes), and the shortest was reserved for the dead-bolt cinch, linebacker Junior Seau (just over seven). Talks not only were informative; they were relatively quick and restrained.

But that changes next year — and not because of the class. Because of one of its candidates.

Terrell Owens, come on down.

I’ve heard people say T.O. makes it as a first-ballot choice, and they cite his numbers as proof. He’s second in receiving yards, third in receiving touchdowns and sixth in career receptions. He’s the only player to score against all 32 teams, was a seven-time All-Pro, had nine 1,000-yard seasons and once caught a then-NFL record 20 passes in one game. No question, that’s Hall-of-Fame material, and it should be promoted by his supporters. But look a little closer, and you discover they’re missing the most compelling number of his career.

Zero.

That’s the number of teams that wanted him at the apex of his career. San Francisco got rid of him for next to nothing. The Eagles let him go to Dallas. Dallas let him go to Buffalo. And Buffalo and Cincinnati each let him walk after a season.

So what? So ask yourself this: Do you really want to induct a wide receiver who piled up huge numbers but didn’t win a championship, was suspended twice by his own teams, was called “divisive” by one his own coaches and was so toxic that then-Philadelphia coach Andy Reid didn’t think twice about letting him walk to Dallas — a team within his division?

“I don’t worry about anyone else,” Reid once said. “I only worry about us.”

In other words: Addition by subtraction.

Hall-of-Fame coach Bill Parcells was so underwhelmed by Owens that, when Owens was introduced as the Dallas Cowboys’ newest addition, Parcells didn’t bother to show up at the news conference. His absence spoke volumes, with Parcells making it clear what he thought about the move. He didn’t like it, and he wasn’t behind it. In fact, he was so opposed to it that he never called Owens by his name during his tenure in Dallas … preferring “the player” instead.

Owens almost certainly will be a finalist in 2016, joining Marvin Harrison, who has been there the past two years and, apparently, wasn’t happy that Tim Brown was chosen over him nine days ago. Brown had been waiting six years, had numbers comparable to Harrison and was an all-conference choice as a punt returner and kick returner.

Harrison was not. But Harrison is an early favorite for 2016 … even though Owens and, perhaps, Isaac Bruce or Torrey Holt join him as finalists. Both were eligible this year, but both failed to make the cut after reaching the semifinal list of 26.

Bottom line: There will be plenty of competition for Harrison, with Owens the stiffest. People who believe in him believe his numbers are compelling. But the Hall of Fame is about more than numbers; otherwise, it would hire Deloitte to do more than verify the votes. It would have it cast them, too, picking inductees according to their figures — with those with the highest going in first.

If that were the case, Kevin Greene would have been in long ago. He’s third on the league’s career sack list, behind only Bruce Smith and Reggie White. They’re in Canton. Greene is not … even though he has 60 more sacks than Charles Haley, who was inducted this year.

Nope, the Hall includes the “eye test,” too, and the impact players on their teams and on their opponents. Haley was deserving. Greene is, too. And Owens is deserving of discussion … which, guaranteed, will be long and impassioned.

Owens is a polarizing candidate, with no grey areas. You either love him or loathe him, and now we find out where the Pro Football Hall of Fame stands. Fasten your seat belts, people. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Follow Clark Judge on Twitter at @ClarkJudgeTOF.

 

 

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3 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    February 11, 2015
    Reply

    It’s funny how we just don’t look at the numbers any more, we inside the numbers now at a load of you know what. TO is a HOF

    • February 11, 2015
      Reply

      Got to be more than numbers … and there is with T.O. The question is: If he’s a HOFer, how come teams couldn’t wait to get rid of him at the top of his career?

  2. Jordan
    February 11, 2015
    Reply

    You know, Clark, it’s crazy to me how you can be a supposed “professional writer” and write things that are flat-out untrue. So clearly untrue, in fact, that you have got to be aware that you’re literally lying when you write them.

    For instance, “Zero.

    That’s the number of teams that wanted him at the apex of his career.”

    So the apex of his career was 39? Because I seem to remember him playing for San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Dallas when he was 23-35 years old, then playing for Buffalo and Cincinnati at 36 and 37. When one team didn’t want him, another always did.

    Even after he was out of football for a year, the Seahawks gave him a chance to make their team when he was pushing 39 and coming off surgery from a torn ACL.

    You bring up that he was suspended twice by teams – what you didn’t mention was that one of those suspensions was for a couple of harmless touchdown celebrations. Those touchdown celebrations, by the way, were the entire reason his image became what it did. That fact has been long since buried by “journalists” such as you through revisionist history.

    Here’s a video illustrating that phenomenon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ktz7ZOsPt4

    Before the star celebrations, the media never had a bad word to say about him. After the celebrations, all of the adjectives you guys now use to describe him were being thrown around like confetti.

    And then, whaddaya know – quotes taken completely out of context and columnists attempting to “read between the lines” when he tried to weather inflammatory questions immediately follow. It’s almost as if once the media puts someone in a fishbowl, they can regularly spot things to turn into controversy.

    You claim Andy Reid had no second thoughts about releasing Owens – if that’s the case, why did he personally call Owens after the 2005 suspension, giving him reason to believe it might be lifted?

    If Bill Parcells was so staunchly anti-Owens, why did he go out of his way in an interview after he retired to say, “He’s a pleasant enough kid. He’s not mean-spirited, he’s not vulgar. He’s really OK in that respect. He didn’t have anything to do with [me retiring] at the end of the day.” Parcells was against signing Owens the same way he was once against drafting Terry Glenn and overruled by Bob Kraft. And then years later, Parcells brought Glenn over to Dallas.

    If he was such a bad teammate, why is it that I can find you at least 3 dozen quotes from former teammates saying Owens was a great teammate, and you would struggle to find more than 1 or 2 to disagree with that?

    In other words, the claim that Owens was a team cancer is essentially a conspiracy theory. It is contradicted by all the hard evidence, supported only by “an anonymous source,” “a source who speaks with Owens’s teammates,” etc. If he was anywhere near as bad as you guys say, you would have no shortage of people openly agreeing with you.

    But instead, they openly and vehemently disagree with you.

    But why should we trust what Owens’s actual teammates say? Or what Parcells said, or John Harbaugh (who was there with him in Philadelphia)? Surely you and your fellow sports writers know better.

    I could dismantle every single alleged “incident” you guys have tried to create, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll stop here.

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