Monday, February 6, 2017

Update: Terrell Owens and the Hall of Fame

By John Turney
Terrell Owens, by Dan Tearle
To augment this post I am adding a YouTube clip and a transcript of a common theme among those who feel slighted that Terrell Owens was "snubbed" by not yet being voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. While it does not cover everything, it shows, in my view how sometimes the numbers are not always presented fairly or completely when presenting T.O.'s case.

This is a clip from the Colin Cowherd show with Nick Wright making the case for T.O.

Nick Wright:  "Here is the reality. The relatability is the reason Brett Favre is in the Hall of Fame and Terrell Owens is not.

"They had the same career. And everyone (said) it was a foregone conclusion that Brett Favre was walking into the Hall of Fame and a foregone conclusion that T.O. is going to have to wait and it’s an embarrassment.

"You look at it. T.O. had more First-team All-Pros, they were both on an All-Decade team, they are both top two or three for touchdowns and for yards for their positions. They are the SAME GUY. And ‘oh, by the way’ T.O. was this disaster off-the-field. Brett Favre had pain pill problem, which I don’t begrudge him an addiction, but that happened. Brett Favre sexually harassed a team employee by sending the ‘Dramon Green’ photos. Brett Favre held the Packers hostage three straight years"

Colin Cowherd, “He did”.

Wright:  "He refused to mentor Aaron Rodgers. So this idea that T.O. doing situps in the driveway and making fun of Donovan McNabb keeps him out of the Hall of Fame when Brett Favre gets to walk in is absurd.

"I think they are both Hall of Famers but let me ask you one thing Colin, If you’re ranking quarterbacks how many names do you list before you get to Favre?"

Cowherd: “A lot”

Wright: “At least five, a minimum of five."

Cowherd: “Right … ten”

Wright: “But a minimum of five, right?. You’re ranking wide receivers how many names do you mention before you get to T.O.? The answer is two. Rice and Moss"

Cowherd: "That’s it."

Wright: "That’s it. So T.O. is, in the wide receiver hierarchy, much higher than Favre is in the quarterback hierarchy. They both have jaw-dropping numbers. They both had off-the-field issues. On guy, if Favre didn’t get into the Hall of Fame, Peter King might have burnt the building down."

Cowherd: laughs

Wright “But no one expected T.O. to get in first ballot. That rubs me the wrong way."
Okay, so Wright says that are the "same guy". He is basing that on statistics, All-Pro selections and All-Decade teams. All those are a good start.

I would ask Wright, "Are you forgetting anything?"  He seems to know the subject well, so I can only assume he knows there are more than All-Pros and statistics. He would know about other awards like, maybe the Most Valuable Player award.

Did Terrell Owens win any MVPs? Did Favre? We all know Favre won three and he was an NFC Player of the Year in 2007.

Wright said, "So T.O. is, in the wide receiver hierarchy, much higher than Favre is in the quarterback hierarchy."

Well, that's pretty subjective, but it is a fact that the NFL Alumni used to poll former players for awards and did so from 1982 through 2010. Three times Favre was voted the NFL's top quarterback and never was Owens voted the top receiver.

Favre has a ring. Owens does not.

In overall statistics, Owens led the NFL in various categories six times called "black ink" or bold type and two of them were for longest reception in the NFL that season.

Favre has fifteen in black ink (and three more that are a negative). Owens led NFL in drops once, and was in the top four in drops seven other times and that may be a fair comparable to Favre leading NFL in interceptions.

So, my point to Wright and Cowherd would be that they are NOT the "same guy". And as far as the "hierarchy of wide receivers" I would guess if there were a poll taken of knowledgeable people with some experience (not fantasy football types) Owens might not rank as high as Wright suggests.

The NFL is coming up on its 100th anniversary and there are names out there, when put into context would likely outpoll Owens. Players like a Don Hutson, a Lance Alworth or a Paul Warfield. Maybe even a Larry Fitzgerald or Marvin Harrison or others.

When the NFL's 100th Anniversary Team comes out in a few years we will see if Owens is on it.

So, the point of this follow-up post is not to explain what happens in the Hall of Fame Committee meeting because I am not privy to what goes on in there. From media reports, Owen's off-the-field character is playing a major role. However, last year it was written that the drops were an issue and other things as well.

Owens is certainly qualified for the Hall of Fame but his waiting is not a travesty nor an embarrassment. Maybe it does rub some people the wrong way and that's fine. There have been other great players who waited longer and that is what needs to be understood.

When making the case for Owens, though, be complete and accurate. It's not right to say Favre and Owens were the "same guy" when MVP awards and Super Bowls and "black ink" are omitted. That smacks of either laziness or an agenda or worse.


  1. To be fair about the NFL MVP's, a WR has only won 1 NFL MVP in 60 seasons. A QB has won it 41 times, so you can't hold that bias against Owens.

    And saying Favre was the best QB of the year 3 times and Owens was never the best WR in any year overstates the difference between the two. in 3 seasons, 2000-2002, you can arguably say he was the best WR, but was probably the second best behind Randy Moss or Marvin Harrison. In a fourth season, 2007, he was blown away by Moss's best season, but was probably the second best that season as well.

    These guys were A LOT closer to being the same player (but to the effect than players can be at different positions) than they were different. A few breaks in favor of TO, like maybe having his best seasons NOT occur during the best seasons of other HOF WRs, a different perception by media, and Eagles hurry up offense that is actually in a hurry during the Super Bowl, and we could be having a realistic conversation about him being the 3rd or 4th or 5th best receiver of all time.

    1. Those are fair points, taken in a vacuum. My post was a reply to Nick Wright saying they were the "same guy".

      I think you made a better case for that than Wright and Cowherd. They ignored the MVPs, etc, you, at least addressed them.

      Also, they didn't address$GameType=279588574&SeasonMax=9999&SeasonMin=1990

      It could be a fair conversation, but it could also be, when adjusted for era that he's only a top 10 or top 15 or 20 receiver.

      Reasonable people could make either case. My view, which does not matter since I am not a voter is that he's a HOFer, he will get in, but that him waiting like so many other greats is no travesty.

  2. No, he did not lead the NFL in drops twice. Did you even look at your own stats inc. link? It was once - in 2006 - when he was playing with a broken finger. Remember the overdose ("suicide attempt")? Those pills were prescribed for his broken finger that he had undergone surgery for following the week 2 game vs. the Redskins.

    MVP - no receiver has ever won MVP, so that's not even a fair comparison.

    Lance Alworth - AFL receiver. You can't compare him to NFL greats. The competition wasn't there and the league was different in its inflated offensive numbers. Look at those Oilers receivers from those days...Charley Hennigan. Bill Groman. Look at Art Powell with the Raiders. We're talking big time wide receiver statistical inflation.

    Marvin Harrison - largely a product of Peyton Manning. When Emmanuel Sanders is posting 100 catch, 1400 yard seasons with Manning, and Reggie Wayne replaces Harrison's production after Harrison retires, you should start to reevaluate what is what as far as receiver production in that situation is concerned. Harrison was a technician, and technicians are only as good as their QBs. He was a non-factor after the catch (whereas Owens was one of the greatest runners after the catch of all-time in his prime), he wasn't an elite deep threat (whereas Owens was). He ran his routes and Manning got him the ball a lot...but Manning could get Austin Collie the ball a lot. Owens, on the other hand, could catch a quick hitch or underneath dumpoff and take it 90 yards.

    Charlie Joiner: Product of the Coryell offense. Him even being in the HOF in the first place is a joke. He was a journeyman-caliber player before Coryell got there. This is the same offense that made people think John Jefferson was the best in the game...then he went to GB and suddenly they were looking to trade him and nobody even wanted him because he'd been exposed, with scouts saying, "well, I dunno...he just doesn't have the speed to do much."

    Black ink: There are a lot more categories for QBs to get this "black ink" than there are for WRs. Moreover, you didn't mention 3 of Favre's are for pass ATTEMPTS, which doesn't say anything about the quality of the QB.

    This is all beside the point, because the fact of the matter is, the voters are using these Hall of Fame finalist selections of him to dredge up myths about him to attack his character over and over again. It's one thing to argue about whether or not he's one of the top players on the ballot, when he should get in, etc.

    But that's not what the people refusing to vote for him are doing. They are refusing to EVER vote for him because they believe in the nonsense THEY created about him. They don't even try to hide it.

    1. My post is about Cowherd and Wright calling Favre and Owens "the Same guy". They are not.

      If they didn't want the MVP issue to be used, then they shouldn't have used Favre as their comparison.

      Jerry Rice was the NFL consesnus MVP in 1987, PFWA and NEA. Both were used in the CBA and appear inthe Official books of the NFL. Don Hutson is a 2-time MVP, the Official MVP of the NFL. Lance Alwoth was the UPI MVP in 1963>

      So, WRs can and have won MVPs.

      If you don't want to count AFL stats, that's fine, reasonable people can disagree with you on that, though.

      I will make correction on the drops, you are correctm it was only once. I had bad information for the 2000 season.

      If you want to rop Joiner and Harrison, fine. That's up to you. But neither one of them got in on first- or second-ballot.

      Owens will get it soon. I don't have a vote, but I would vote for him for the HOF, but I do UNDERSTAND the knocks against him and they show he's a HOFer but not a HOFer who deserved first-ballot inclusion.

    2. The 1987 AP MVP, which is the only one that is considered the actual MVP award, was John Elway. If you want to use the others, then Brett Favre didn't win 3, as the others gave it to Barry Sanders in 97.

      You say Owens will get in soon, but the people who were actually in the room seem to be saying otherwise. Clark Judge is on record as saying as long as he is involved, he will NEVER vote for Owens, an he will always make it his mission to keep him out. Players need 80% of the vote to get in, and it seems that might just be unreachable for Owens until most of these guys are replaced. By then, Owens will be old and gray.

    3. Moreover, why is JASON TAYLOR a 1st ballot HOFer? And why did Owens not even make the cut to 10 in either of the last 2 years?

    4. You are in error about what is an "Actual" award. You've fallen for the "AP only" fallacy

      Read the above post after clicking the link.

      Favre won 3, but was consensus only 2.

      One voter or a small faction of voters won't keep Owens out. He will get it. I predict soon, but that is just my prediction. Lots of other voters are saying he will get it, some of them agree with me that it will be sooner, rather than later. I do not think he will be old and gray.

      My contention, and this is just me, is that him noting getting in right away is no crime. Great players have waited longer. I think there was enough on Owens's resume that said "not first-ballot" to justify his wait.

      If he does not get in in short order, I will be surprised and will speak out. But there is no reason to do so now, not that I can see.