Terrell Owens was not voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame for a second consecutive year, despite having 15,934 career receiving yards and 153 career receiving touchdowns, good for second and third all-time, respectively.
He was not inducted despite earning six Pro Bowl selections and five first-team All-Pro selections.
He was not inducted after catching nine passes for 122 yards on an injured leg in Super Bowl XXXIX.
He was not inducted, while Terrell Davis was; Davis had four seasons with over 1,000 rushing yards, all coming in his first four years in the league, while T.O. had nine seasons with over 1,000 yards receiving from 1998-2008.
Not only was Owens not inducted—he also didn’t even make it into the top ten remaining players.
“I think his numbers are very worthy, but again on the other side of it, I think his actions on and off the field, on the sidelines, in the locker room, and the fact he played for so many teams and was such a great player, the question that comes back to me is if he was such a great player, why did so many of those teams get rid of him?” Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts wondered recently.
This is a fair point. It’ll be interesting to see if Randy Moss gets the same treatment next year when his Hall of Fame candidacy is considered. Both Moss and Owens played on five different teams in their careers, and played for the team that drafted them for eight years.
In addition to his reputation with teammates, Owens was infamous for his elaborate touchdown celebrations, including his jumping into the Salvation Army kettle in Dallas. Owens disrespected team ownership in San Francisco, earning him a trade, and has had numerous incidents with players on both sides of the field. In 2006, Owens spat in the face of cornerback DeAngelo Hall. This was two years after a game against the Ravens in which Owens had the audacity to mock Ray Lewis by performing the linebacker’s signature celebration.
Owens’s career numbers put him down as one of the greatest receivers to play the game, but he was a distraction off the field. His behavior worsened his own teammates play, but his on-the-field performance compensated for that.
But when a player lands in the top three of two major categories for his position, he should be considered an all-time great.
Or, at the very least, a top-ten player in Hall of Fame consideration.