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JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 06:  Wide receiver Terrell Owens #81 of the Philadelphia Eagles finishes off a 30 yard run in the first quarter against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX at Alltel Stadium on February 6, 2005 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 06: Wide receiver Terrell Owens #81 of the Philadelphia Eagles finishes off a 30 yard run in the first quarter against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX at Alltel Stadium on February 6, 2005 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Now that Nathan Bedford Forrest is our Attorney General, we need something else to argue about that might take our minds off the horrors of the Slave Power running our nation. This is something else to argue about.

On the face of it, the exclusion of Terrell Owens from the Pro Football Hall of Fame is a joke. He was a completely dominant wide receiver, second only to Jerry Rice in career yards. This shoudl be a clear call. And yet, for a lot of voters it is not and I have to say that I am somewhat sympathetic to the argument. While I am not much of a believer in locker room chemistry as meaning much in evaluating a player, Owens was a such a cancer that there may be a limited exception here. The way he treated Jeff Garcia and Donovan McNabb was atrocious and for a player as amazing as he was, the fact that he kept moving between teams is a really a negative in his evaluations. Dan Fouts, one of the two HOF players who voted this year:

“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?” Fouts said in a visit with The Midday 180 in Nashville. “And I think we all know the answers.”

In his second year of eligibility, the NFL’s second leading all-time receiver with 15,934 yards failed a second time to advance from the field of 15 to 10. Ultimately up to five of the 15 modern era finalists can be selected for induction.

So he’s not even getting that close right now. Not being in the top 10 probably means he’s not getting in for a couple more years. He will get in of course. He was so amazing. But I do think there’s a legitimate argument against him when you are comparing him to other greats.

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  • McAllen

    Let me throw this out there: if Owens was white, would voters allow his behavior to override his skills like this?

    • Downpuppy

      Well, his acting skills were pretty poor.

      • keta

        And yet, he out-acted the purported actress in that vignette.

        • Downpuppy

          The hanging jerseys out-acted Sheridan.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      Well there are examples of white players, at least in other sports, kept out for similar reasons. Baseball great and truly horrible human being Hal Chase leaps to mind. In a career that ran from 1905-1919 — when players moved around mich less — he played for five teams.

      • Incontinentia Buttocks

        Whoops…I see that N__B downthread beat me to the Chase comparison.

      • mikeSchilling

        I know he’s called a great, including by some of his contemporaries, but his stats don’t show anything like that. In particular, while his reputation was as the greatest defensive first baseman ever, the numbers make him look way below average.

        • Manny Kant

          Do we actually have any worthwhile defensive stats from the deadball era?

          • mikeSchilling

            I’d think range factor translates pretty well. You’re making more plays than the average first baseman, or you’re not.

      • priceyeah

        Hal Chase is a different kettle of fish, a genuinely corrupt and evil person etc. The relevant comparison is Dick Allen.

        • Scott Lemieux

          The relevant comparison is Dick Allen.

          Agreed, except that Owens was more durable and consistent.

          • Grumpus

            You’re forgetting Rogers Hornsby, who, during a four-year stretch which included 1 MVP award and 1 third-place finish in MVP voting, played for four different clubs.

            Footnote 116 in the SABR biography stands out:
            Although the assessment seems rather harsh given the competition, Bill James has characterized Hornsby as perhaps the biggest “horse’s ass” in baseball history, ahead of even Ty Cobb.

            Quite an accomplishment.

            Hornsby’s last game was in 1937; he was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1942.

            • EliHawk

              Yeah, two Triple Crowns, the record for highest Single Season Batting Average, and a .358 lifetime average (second only to Cobb) will still get you in the Hall of Fame despite dickitude.

              • mikeSchilling

                And all of that while being a pretty good second baseman.

                My favorite Hornsby story is one Bill James tells. Hornsby and another player were jawing at each other, when without warning the Rajah hauled off and slugged the other guy in the face. Asked about it afterward, he explained, quite seriously “I wasn’t getting anywhere talking to him.”

          • priceyeah

            Allen is the relevant comparison, but TO was a better player, and TO was not quite as destructive. After posting here I recalled a Bill James article in which he stated that he would never advocate voting for Allen for the Hall of Fame, because no player ever did less to help his team win, or something like that. TO’s not as extreme a case, and even if he is, TO gets points on the same gauge that gives extra points to Jack Morris and Curt Schilling for exceptional performance in a championship game despite injury. It’s VERY hard to say that TO placed other priorities ahead of winning, as Super Bowl XXXIX demonstrates.

        • Dennis Orphen

          Wasn’t he fighting against the reserve clause in some respects, and in his own way, much like Curt Flood, or 60’s mod fashion icon, Hawk Harrelson?

      • Scott Lemieux

        I’m sorry, but this comparison is absurd. In addition to the fact that Chase was a mediocre player, he threw dozens of games. That’s not just being a dick; that’s someone trying to destroy the sport.

        • mikeSchilling

          Not just threw dozens of games personally, but persuaded teammates to join him. It does not get worse than that.

    • cpinva

      “if Owens was white, would voters allow his behavior to override his skills like this?”

      there is a level of personal toxicity that transcends everything else. Mr. Owens, his outstanding football skills notwithstanding, managed to reach that level, consistently. so, to answer your question, yes, yes they would have.

    • EliHawk

      I’d throw another hypo: If Owens came around 20 years earlier, when you didn’t have sports talk radio and the early “Embrace Debate” shows serving up hot takes about how bad a teammate he was daily, would he be in? Or would earlier sportswriters have thought he was just as much a locker room cancer, and just get on him in print? It may be the difference between San Francisco Sportswriter X can ruin your reputation vs. Skip Bayless can, but but the media environment definitely influenced perceptions of his career.

  • politicalfootball

    I will always think of TO fondly for his creative celebration of the beating that he and the 49ers put on the Dallas Cowboys.

    • keta

      Just imagine how many seasons TO would be suspended if he did that today. Or how big a load Joe Buck would evacuate into his slacks.

      • rhino

        Fuck Joe Buck.

        • efgoldman

          Fuck Joe Buck.

          He’s not worth the effort.

          • rhino

            Depends on what implement you use. I was thinking caulking gun, then empty it up there, and let it set. He’s so full of shit, it seems an appropriate punishment.

    • witlesschum

      It’s not clear from the video, what was the score at that point?

  • N__B

    Bill James, in his Historical Baseball Abstract, spends quite some time discussing Hal Chase as a gifted player who was a cancer on every team he played on. I don’t know enough about football to discuss Owens, but players like that definitely exist.

    • Breadbaker

      The question is whether the same standard is being applied to him as was applied to others in the Hall. And whether there is subtle (or less than subtle) racism involved in the evaluation (not, obviously, an issue with Chase). Chase also, statistically, was nothing (check his Black Ink, Grey Ink, Hall of Fame monitor, etc., and he’s not close), while TO, love him or hate him, is historically great.

      Also, to answer Fouts, the teams that acquired him wanted him.

      • Ithaqua

        I’ll disagree somewhat with that last sentence. They wanted what they *hoped* they’d get – a TO who was chastened by having been traded and wouldn’t be nearly as much of a cancer in the locker room as he had been – and he was good enough so they were willing to gamble on it.

        • Old No.38

          He usually was that good for the first year.

          • cpinva

            yeah, he would be the teammate everyone wanted, that first year. by the second year, he’d remember who he was, and how great he was, and be traded by the end of the season.

  • RobertL

    The one thing that I always remember about TO was that Super Bowl halftime story of him and his statue. He had a life-sized realistic statue of himself made, naked from the waist up. He explained that he wanted to always remind himself of what he looked like at his peak.

    The clip finished with the real TO posing in jeans and no shirt, beside the statue of him in pants and no shirt.

    Ten minutes later Janet Jackson showed a nipple and the world melted down.

  • Old No.38

    This is a fair thing to hold against the guy – that he was such a PITA to deal with that teams were willing to cast him off, knowing how good he was.

    I still don’t know how I feel about Terrell Owens negotiating a contract with the Eagles while still under contract with San Francisco – who was currently trading him to Baltimore. I admire his ballsiness, and I admire him sticking it to the Owners… but it’s also the sort of selfishness that soured so many locker rooms on him so quickly.

    At some point, he’ll probably get in.

    • efgoldman

      This is a fair thing to hold against the guy – that he was such a PITA to deal with that teams were willing to cast him off, knowing how good he was.

      Well, TO was a PITA and a clubhouse cancer, but as far as I know he never murdered or raped anybody, as some of the guys in the HOF did.
      As a Pats fan, I have to credit the incredible supe he had for the Iggles – with a bad ankle.

  • Old No.38

    On the other hand, I’m still waiting for Joe Jacoby to get in. He was the stalwart of the NFL’s best Offensive line for over a decade.

    I’m not entirely sure if there’s an objective way to measure offensive line play. I can make the case for Jacoby, but it’s not one that can be isolated to his play alone.

  • kped

    I don’t agree…at all. And honestly, Fouts came off close to call him “uppity”.

    He treated his QB’s poorly? Why should I care? He played hard every game. He came back early from ankle surgery and had a hell of a superbowl. He deserves to be there on the merits. His “sins” were all trivial personality bullshit. To say there is even the hint of a case to keep him out is frankly bullshit.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      Donovan McNabb says that TO should absolutely be in the Hall.

      • kped

        McNabb is obviously correct.

        • witlesschum

          McHabb always seems like a good dude publicly.

    • kped

      I also think the “he bounced around to a lot of teams” is way overblown. He played on SF until he was 30. Then Philly and Dallas the next 5 years. Teams not wanting to commit to an older player isn’t a shock. But he played until he was 37 and was always productive. He was great, end of story.

      • priceyeah

        This is very astute. The narrative of TO’s career is decidedly not “teams kept getting rid of him.”

    • Scott P.

      Well, as a 49ers fan, the team had a pretty good year in 2002. Then after a middling year Owens gave ownership an ultimatum, get rid of Jeff Garcia or get rid of me. Given that choice, they got rid of Jeff Garcia, a good but not great QB. Whereupon Owens bolted for Philly, leaving the team with no QB and no star WR. It was 8 more years before they reached the playoffs again.

      • kped

        Yeah…but he was right in a way, Garcia was not a very good QB, and he bounced around thereafter posting ever increasingly mediocre numbers.

        And I even then, i can’t blame him for leaving, because it was clear SF was on the decline. A star WR without a QB is really a commodity that a bad team doesn’t need.

        (also, you fail to mention that their decent 2002 was followed by a 7-9 2003 with the same Garcia as QB…so can’t say Owens ruined a great team. or even a good one.)

        • Domino

          I mean, imagine if Matthew Stafford was a worse QB. Wouldn’t Calvin Johnson have bolted years earlier? I honestly can’t blame WRs for wanting a move if they’re in a situation where they know the QB play is limiting their potential.

          Like – what if AJ Green was on the Browns instead of the Bengals? How many “imagine if he had even a decent QB” articles would be written about the topic.

          Now, how TO handled the move away from SF isn’t something to be proud of, but honestly, I agree with kped – the story of him bouncing around is way overblown.

          • kped

            I look at a guy like Larry Fitzgerald and wonder what he could have been if he played with a good QB for more then 7 years in his career. And 7 years is being generous, because Kurt Warner was there for 5, but was he great all those years? Total yards wise, his best year came with…John Skelton and Kevin Kolb as his QB’s. But even that didn’t last, the next year he had those two champions…plus Brian Hoyer and Ryan Lindley start games.

    • Dennis Orphen

      “Mr. Owens, I played with Chuck Joiner. I knew Chuck Joiner. Chuck Joiner was a friend of mine. Mr. Owens, you’re no Chuck Joiner. You’re John Jefferson, er, um without me, Charlie, Winslow, and Muncie, Thomas and Cappelletti to spread out the defense way too thin.

      Is TO is the new ‘Rock’ on this blog? I think we need one. Or more. Any nominees?

  • Chris Mealy

    Who the fuck cares about the HOF? Awards are just boring off-season PR.

    • Davebo

      Well, there’s fans that care, and players that definitely care.

      Pretty much everyone I guess that follows football. With the possible exception of you.

    • efgoldman

      Who the fuck cares about the HOF?

      Since you posted within the two hour window, you are due a full refund of your entry fee. Maybe you can use it to start your own blog.

    • Dennis Orphen

      Well, fair enough question and hypothesis. As the original post says:

      we need something else to argue about that might take our minds off the horrors of the Slave Power running our nation. This is something else to argue about.

      I think there is a lot of validity to that sentiment. I know this is helping me.

      As for your second claim, professional sports in general is a big business and important to many people, for either entertainment value, economic value, or both. Therefore any discussion of any aspect of pro sports can be relevant to the sport and players themselves, as well as the society at large that participates as fans, spectators, and workers.

    • witlesschum

      It’s a pretty stupid thing, but it’s a blog post to chat about. If Erik tries to organize a letterwriting campaing of a Save TO March, that would be stupid.

  • TO wasn’t the problem player in the Eagles locker room. All the guys he played with (except one) have said it. He was the only wide receiver that carried Donovan McNabb to the Super Bowl and did everything he could to help win that game.

    • kped

      He was a problem for the owners, because he publicly didn’t like his contract, which was heavily backloaded and paid him below average salary in the tail end of his prime, while not guaranteeing that he’d get the “big” money later…and the team released him and didn’t pay him, kind of proving his point.

      But it’s always about the players and how greedy they are, never about the system that takes advantage of them…

      • cpinva

        it sounds to me like he had a shabby agent, who negotiated said contract, and then talked him in to signing it. at some point, all parties to a contract have to take some responsibility for it, especially when they have a union supporting them.

        • kped

          Well, it’s football, and clearly, the Eagles didn’t take much responsibility for it, cutting him after 2 years (and before they paid him the big money). Nor did the Cowboys take responsibility, cutting him after 1 year of his new deal (again…because teams can do this and they don’t want to pay big money to a 35 year old WR).

          It’s only players who get burned for this though. I mean…the owner who gave him that big money deal and then cut him was elected this year! The same owner who drove Jimmy Johnson out of town because Dallas wasn’t big enough for both of them to share the glory. He’s cool, let that guy in!

          • witlesschum

            They put Jerry Jones in the Hall of Fame? Christ on a crutch.

    • econoclast

      To be fair to McNabb, every other year the Eagles’ wide receivers were garbage, to the extent that the centerpiece of the passing attack became the running back, Brian Westbrook.

      • njorl

        Calling them garbage is vastly over-rating them. The best wide-out McNabb had before Owens was James Thrash, who had been the #4 receiver for Washington, and went back to being the #4 at Washington after the stint with the Eagles. None of the other wide-outs McNabb threw to in the first half of his career belonged on the field.

        • econoclast

          I briefly liked Troy Aikman as an announcer because he would relentlessly mock Freddie Mitchell’s showboating, just by repeating his self-assigned nicknames — “The People’s Champion. FredEx. He delivers.”

        • Manny Kant

          Are you insulting the receiving skills of the great Todd Pinkston?

  • shah8

    Bull

    shit.

    If Harvin Marrison is in the Hall, then what’s the fucking excuse?

    This post relies on being clairvoyant into locker rooms…

    • Dennis Orphen

      They call them intangibles for a reason.

      Back to seriousness, I agree with you.

      Back to silliness, in doing some research on the class of ’96 wide receiver draft picks, Keyshawn “Just Give Me the Damn Ball” Johnson (#1 overall) had an A&E show on his post football career as an interior designer. At first I thought it was a joke, his Wikipedia page states it without citations. So I googled it, and sure enough, it’s for real. I had no idea, and I’m not sure if that means I need to be more or less engaged with the world around me. but I do know that I have to check the show out.

    • cpinva

      “This post relies on being clairvoyant into locker rooms…”

      not hardly. it relies on statements made by his teammates on those teams. it’s possible all of them were lying, but what was their incentive to do that? from everything I’ve read and heard, by the time he’d leave a team, few of his teammates were in mourning.

  • mikeSchilling

    Was Owens a cancer? Like my boy tells me: ‘If it looks like a rat and smells like a rat, by golly, it is a rat.”

  • Bill Murray

    1. TO was only traded once, or perhaps twice in quick succession, there was a grievance about the first trade which was rolled into the second trade which got Owens to the Eagles. His leaving the Eagles was pretty acrimonious, and the Cowboys cut him.

    2. Deion Sanders and James Lofton made it to Canton playing for 5 teams; Warren Moon, Brett Favre, Rod Woodson, George Blanda, Kevin Greene and Richard Dent played for 4 teams. So playing for many teams isn’t a complete deal breaker. I guess we’ll see what happens with Randy Moss, who also played for 5 teams with basically the same stats.

    • kped

      As I said above, the Eagles cut him because he was loudly critical of his contract (which paid him below average wages and was heavily back loaded in the years where there was 0 chance the Eagles would have him on the roster).

      They were always going to cut him at some point before the money kicked in (he was an over 30 year old WR), him being public with his dislike of his contract just quickened that to the end of year 2. Dallas did cut him after 3 good season there, but again, he was 35, and they didn’t want to pay him big money until he was 39 under his new 4 year deal. I’m reading all this right now, Honestly seems more a “we don’t want to pay an old guy” issue then anything else.

    • Denverite

      I guess we’ll see what happens with Randy Moss, who also played for 5 teams with basically the same stats.

      Wow, that’s freaky. I always thought that Moss had a much higher peak than Owens, but nope, they’re pretty much identical across the board. And I’d give Moss’s QBs and supporting casts the slight edge of Owens’s too.

      Owens is a top four or five all time NFL receiver. If he’s not in it’s a joke.

      • efgoldman

        Owens is a top four or five all time NFL receiver.

        Now that he’s a broadcaster, Moss is also “one of the guys.” Don’t discount that as one factor.

        • kped

          Will be interesting to see what happens with Ray Lewis. He’s eligible next year. His off field problems…far worse then Mr Owens or Moss (who despite all the talk, were never in legal trouble that I recall). But Lewis is also “one of the guys” since he is in broadcasting now. And he loves him his Jesus.

          • Bill Murray

            Moss was in legal trouble when he ran into a traffic cop trying to stop him from making an illegal turn. Searching his car found less than a gram of marijuana in his ashtray. He paid a fine and did community service, and then paid the cop much more following a civil court judgement against him.

            Moss also had a temporary injunction filed against him for battery, although no criminal charges were filed

  • priceyeah

    I think the TO-as-cancer thing is wildly overstated. I forget details, but 10 years ago he was on Philly I think and for some reason October and November were DOMINATED by talk about how awful TO was, like it was the only subject on the agenda for weeks that season. And I would ask people for concrete actions TO had done that were so awful, and nobody could name any, just that he “disrespected his coach” or whatever. Okay, but what did he DO?? Crickets on that one.

    I don’t know. Clearly the guy had a knack for making people dislike him, but I’d still like to see a list of his misdemeanors that made any goddamn sense before condemning the guy.

    • priceyeah

      (BTW I am not exactly saying TO didn’t do anything bad that season, I’m saying the concrete things he did took a distant back seat to weird, unfocused but very passionate moralizing. Guy was a great player.)

    • Bill Murray

      but 10 years ago he was on Philly I think and for some reason October and November were DOMINATED by talk about how awful TO was, like it was the only subject on the agenda for weeks that season

      that was probably when he wanted to renegotiate his contract, was suspended, then was de facto suspended when he wasn’t activated, filed a grievance against the Eagles tghen was cut at the end of the season

  • Cheap Wino

    This is from an era when I followed the NFL. The idea that TO isn’t a first ballot HOFer is ridiculous. Whatever tortured arguments proffered that he shouldn’t be in are mere background noise at best. He wasn’t just talented, he was a game changing talent. The kind of player who didn’t just make a difference, his talent won super bowls.

    This strikes me as even worse than the criticisms of Deon Sanders. At least with Sanders the critique that he didn’t tackle carried the weight of on-field, productive relevance (though still idiotically misguided). Obviously TO isn’t Jerry Rice but he’s the very next tier down and any posturing otherwise is, frankly, bullshit.

    • Denverite

      Obviously TO isn’t Jerry Rice

      Scott rips into me whenever I say this, but I’m not sure this is true, at least on a per-season basis. Rice obviously has a massive advantage in counting stats, but that’s mostly because he played until he was 42 (and very productively until he was 40). On a per-season basis, I’m not sure that Owens and Moss aren’t every bit Rice’s equals. Yeah, they played more of their careers in a much more offense-friendly environment, but Rice had Montana, Young and a post-Faustian early 00s Rich Gannon as his QBs pretty much his entire career (yes, yes, maybe they were so good because of Rice — or maybe they were just really good).

      • erick

        I put Owens a notch below Rice and Moss because of the drops, to me drops are nearly as bad as turnovers.

        • efgoldman

          I put Owens a notch below Rice

          Putting any other WR a notch below Rice is like putting any other hitter a notch below T Williams. Anybody in that notch is still a great HOF player.

          • erick

            No doubt, I think he is a sure HoFer, I was just responding to the argument that he was as good as Rice.

  • LosGatosCA

    Reading ESPN isn’t that much different than reading EOnline:

    Who likes who,

    Who is on a reality show and who’s been cancelled,

    Who is going to rehab, who just got out of rehab, etc, etc, etc.

    Mostly just a bunch of gossipy bullshit.

    Even the box scores have their equivalent in box office gross, $/per screen, etc.

    • JKTH

      Watching ESPN is even more like that. TO’s career coincided with the time where I would actually watch shit like PTI and it was exactly like your comment.

      • D.N. Nation

        I remember the Worldwide Leader having poor Sal Paolantonio on endless TO beat for about three years, and his reports devolved down to just a series of names.

        Owens TO McNabb Andy Reid Terrell Owens McNabb Reid Eagles McNabb Reid TO Parcells Dallas Jerry Jones Romo Jones Parcells Cowboys Romo TO Terrell Owens Romo Owens Dallas Jones. I’m Sal Paolantonio, ES….PN.

    • nemdam

      Yup, which is why Bill Simmons is so obsessed with pop culture, and his analysis of it is so annoying. Not because he enjoys it for its own sake, but because he gets to brake it down like a sport. In his eyes, there’s almost no separation between whether something or someone is good vs how much buzz it gets. It’s basically how an Hollywood executive looks at pop culture which is not how anyone should unless you are working in the business.

  • medrawt

    Player movement dynamics are different between sports, and I don’t think “he played for a bunch of teams” should be used to build a case against someone being in a Hall of Fame, but I think it’s worth taking a look at. Discounting the very end of career single-season stints with the Bills and Bengals (or maybe I shouldn’t? was he physically washed up or was he wearing out his welcome?) Owens played multiple seasons for three teams. Is that a lot for a wide receiver of his stature? If so, makes sense to ask why.

    Like, Wilt Chamberlain played for three NBA teams when there was no free agency. Wilt Fucking Chamberlain was traded TWICE. This is not true of any other player close to Wilt’s historical stature, and I think you have to assume it says something about what it was like to have Wilt around. (LeBron has moved twice, just like Wilt, but both times as a free agent, and only across two franchises, and he was leaving and returning to his hometown team, and it’s just a really weird scenario to compare anything else to.) In the modern era, Shaq’s need to leave town, again and again, is also one of the things I think about compared to, say, Tim Duncan.

    Does this keep a guy out of the Hall? It shouldn’t – we’re talking about all time greats at their positions. But in trying to make the finer distinctions, it might be worth caring about.

    • Bill Murray

      technically Wilt’s first trade was back to his hometown team, as the Warriors had moved from Philadelphia to San Francisco; and the trade was back to the 76ers, who were in their second year in Philadelphia

  • Dr. Acula

    I don’t care whether or not TO is in the Hall of Fame. I’ve stopped caring about football.

    The only thing I will say in relation to him is, FUCK HIM for his gay-baiting of Jeff Garcia. That was really disgusting, and he deserves to be hounded for it forever.

    • AdamPShort

      Agreed; this is by far the worst thing he ever did and unforgivable.

      I would be in favor of a rule that anyone doing something that bad or worse to another person should not be allowed in the Hall of Fame, but that would shrink the NFL hall of fame considerably.

  • Yes, it’s not fair. But then keeping him out this year meant there could be a place kicker inducted. Hopefully, the Voters next year will feel so guilty about this injustice, that they’ll put him in and decide that Randy Moss will have to wait. Or Randy f%#}ing Moss, as we call him where I’m from.

  • nemdam

    It happened awhile ago, but didn’t TO’s antics basically sabotage the Eagles in 2005? They went from the Super Bowl to bottom of the division, and I remember TO was completely off the rails that season. If you believe he was a prime component of this, then factoring in that he destroyed a Super Bowl caliber team’s season has to be accounted for.

    FWIW, I always found McNabb to be highly overrated. He was an above average QB, not a top 5 QB like he was frequently touted as. The Eagles defense is what carried the team in his prime.

    • AdamPShort

      This is what always gets me about this stuff, though… Yes, Owens was a jerk who didn’t adhere to any reasonable social standards when it came to what he said to the media. But what evidence is there that Owens’ antics had anything to do with the implosion of the 2005 Eagles? Owens played well in 2005 when he was on the field, unlike basically any other Eagles player on either side of the ball.

      Using the team loudmouth as a scapegoat after a bad season is a grand tradition in sports, and there’s nothing wrong with it as a narrative, but the reason TO is not in the Hall yet is because the people voting for the Hall don’t like him. It’s got nothing to do with football or this team chemistry bullshit. It’s personal. Owens is unpopular so he’ll be made to wait. But he’s so good that keeping him out undermines the credibility of the institution and so they will eventually grudgingly let him in.

      In other words it’s complete horseshit.

      • njorl

        “In other words it’s complete horseshit.”

        Really? What you described sounds just right. He deserves to be in, so he’ll get in eventually. He is a jerk, so he’ll be treated like a jerk, and be made to wait. That sounds like a good way to do things to me – not horseshit at all.

        • AdamPShort

          If that’s the standard – jerks have to wait – then fine, i guess, though as someone who is apparently bothered by different personality flaws than NFL HoF voters i would argue wed be better off just keeping it to football.

          What’s horseshit is this pathological need people – even reasonable enough people – seem to have to twist themselves into knots pretending like it has something to do with football when it doesn’t.

          Dickheads don’t make it hard to win. They just make convenient scapegoats when you lose. The only real “locker room cancer” is losing. See: the Cowboys of the early 90s.

    • witlesschum

      That running back they had in that era was really good player, too. Brian Westbrook? Always a threat as a receiver and he’d find every yard. I’d probably put McNabb more in the top 10 than top 5.

      • njorl

        McNabb was underrated in his prime. In a league dominated by passing to wide-outs, the Eagles didn’t have one who could even be a slot receiver for any other team in the NFL.
        He was consistently in the top 10 in passer rating while the most dangerous threat he threw to was Chad Lewis.
        He wasn’t the same after the 2006 torn ACL. He could put up good numbers because he had incredible talent around him then, but I would have loved to have seen a pre-injury McNabb with the rest of the 2009 Eagles roster.

    • Bill Murray

      MacNabb got hurt and didn’t play in the last 7 games. Mike MacMahon QB’d the Eagles to a 2-5 record. Owens was not activated for any of these games. He was suspended for 2 then was not activated for any of the others

      • njorl

        McNabb suffered a hernia in the pre-season, and opted to try to play through the year. He was terrible. He should have just had the surgery right away. TO’s comments about McNabb that year were not very diplomatic.

    • Bitter Scribe

      A lot of wide receivers are neurotic prima donnas. See Keyshawn Johnson, Randy Moss, Brandon Marshall, etc. To play amateur sports psychologist, I think it stems from the demands of the position. You get maybe four or five chances a game, if you’re lucky, to make a play, and there are all kinds of things that could screw that up. Plus, pound for pound, these guys take a greater beating with fewer defenses than practically anyone else on the field.

      • This WR diva thing has gone way down in the last decade.

  • Lord Jesus Perm

    Shah has this right. Harvin Marrison probably murdered someone and still made it in the HOF. Owens is 5th all time in total TDs, 2nd in receving yards, 8th in receptions, and a 5 time First Team All-Pro. There really isn’t a reasonable explanation for him not being voted in the first time.

    Also, given that the voters seem to have developed a conscience concerning Owens, it’s going to be real interesting to see how they treat Randy Moss next year.

    Also, not completely relevant, but McNabb might be the most underrated QB of his generation given that he spent the first half of his career throwing to people named Todd Pinkton, Karl Hankton, James Thrash, and Freddie Mitchell.

    • Bitter Scribe

      McNabb was overrated. Just ask Rush Limbaugh.

  • Bitter Scribe

    My favorite Terrell Owens moment was when he scored against the Ravens and celebrated by doing a step-perfect mockery of Ray Lewis’s dumb pregame dance.

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