Hall of Fame voters definitely blocked T.O. for being “so disruptive”

AP

It was widely believed that the Hall of Fame voters passed over receiver Terrell Owens ostensibly because of his reputation for divisiveness, even if the truth is that they were merely respecting a de facto waiting line that called for Marvin Harrison making it before Owens. On Thursday, one of the Hall of Fame voters admitted that the reason for T.O.’s omission was his inability to work and play well with others.

“I’ll take you inside the room on this, and it was the second longest discussion we had in the room other that Eddie DeBartolo,” Gary Myers of the New York Daily News told The Dan Patrick Show. “The bottom line on T.O. is he was so disruptive. Now with L.T., you don’t count the off-the-field stuff. That’s a mandate from the Hall of Fame. It’s only what you’ve done on the field. The argument that was made in the room, and I agree with this, is what T.O. did in the locker room is part of –”

“That counts?” asked guest host Ross Tucker. “Why don’t you just evaluate what’s inside the white lines?”

“Because I think that the locker room is an extension of that,” Myers said.

“But how do you really know what happened in the locker room?” Tucker said.

“But he tore teams apart.”

“But how do you really know that?”

“He’s a Hall of Fame player that five teams couldn’t wait to get rid of,” Myers said. “So what does that tell you about how disruptive he was?”

Myers then said he believes that Owens will make it in eventually, despite being viewed as a “cancer” by multiple teams.

The biggest problem with this logic is that, if it keeps Owens out once, it should keep him out forever. And Myers admits that it won’t. Instead, it provides the justification for ignoring the possibility that Owens objectively was a better player than Harrison and putting Harrison in before Owens.

The rhetoric used to defend the waiting-line approach separately becomes problematic because it’s overstated. The notion that “five teams couldn’t wait to get rid of” Owens simply isn’t true. In San Francisco, he was traded at a time when he was trying to leave via free agency, but a technicality allowed the 49ers to argue he wasn’t a free agent. In Philadelphia, the Eagles decided to cut him only after Owens decided he was going to force his way out because the Eagles wouldn’t renegotiate his contract following a stellar 2004 season.

Besides, not all voters agree with Myers. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, it’s inaccurate to conclude that the entire room accepted the idea that Owens’ on-field achievements should be ignored because of the fact that Owens played for multiple teams and/or had a reputation for being a pain in the butt.

That’s not to say Owens wasn’t actually a pain in the butt. He may have been. But enough voters apparently felt strongly enough that Owens shouldn’t get in on his first try, and that Harrison (whose own candidacy possibly was delayed once or twice by troubling evidence regarding multiple Philadelphia shootings that never resulted in an arrest or prosecution) deserved to get in now.

And so a sense of order has been preserved, with Harrison getting a bronze bust and a gold jacket now and Owens getting one later. Even if the stated justification for not putting Owens in immediately creates the perception that he should never get in, and unnecessarily (and excessively) characterizes him as a habitually bad teammate.

Why not just say only five modern candidates can get in each year, and with two of the best receivers in NFL history up at the same time, we decided to give the spot to the guy who had been waiting the longest? It’s far closer to the truth, and it can be stated without requiring voters to take shots at a guy who, regardless of his real, embellished, and/or imagined behavior, merits at least some degree of respect for what he accomplished on the field.

57 responses to “Hall of Fame voters definitely blocked T.O. for being “so disruptive”

  1. Act like an ass and that’s what happens…. He still putting the blame on others.. lol Couldn’t stand T.O. but he was a stud!

  2. Don’t act like he was a choir boy in Philly. He divided the locker room and tore the team apart at the seams in 2005. His stats were great but he does lose points when it comes to being a good teammate and helping his team win. He will ultimately get in but he was kept out for football reasons and I think it was justified.

  3. Nothing worse than pencil pushers who have never played the game at a high level getting to decide who gets in the Hall of Fame. What a broken and suspect process.

  4. TO might’ve been the original primadonna but no one can ever question his competitiveness or desire to win. His performance in the Superbowl was courageous and he arguably should’ve won the MVP even though the Eagles lost

    Contrast this to primadonna Cam who is a coward at heart and lost heart in the Superbowl with the outcome still in doubt

  5. TO was not a,free agent in SF. He was traded to Baltimore and somehow managed, through whining, to get the trade cancelled. He was then traded to Philly. The trade came about in the first place because he had worn out his welcome in SF by beinf a pain in eveyones rear.

  6. Sad that the voters would behave like that. It is very much how the NFL offices act. And acting like the NFL in anything is never a compliment. Very childish. I’m no TO fan, but if any player puts up HoF numbers, he deserves a HoF vote. How about integrity. Everyone likes to throw that around. Anyone who doesn’t vote for a HoF worthy player for reasons not related to on field productivity should lose their vote. Sometimes it is a numbers game and a worthy player gets passed over because their are limits on how many can make it, that I get. But simply not voting based on the fact that you didn’t like him, that’s lame.

  7. I agree he was a distraction in San Fran and Philly (who he took to the Super Bowl), but what did he do to other teams? Werder of ESPN one day just came out with a bs report that he was jealous of witten and romo yet everyone on the cowboys staff and players denied it. Espn ran with it and kept pushing that story. Then once his production slid a little and he wasn’t worth that contract/ ESPN’s bs reporting they cut him. The dude loved romo (I mean he cried for the guy). Then in cinci there was nothing saying he was a distraction or anything (even though him in chad were crazy). And when he was in buffalo did anyone even hear from him? I might be missing some things but TO changed (a little) but the media still wanted to hate this guy. My guess is there were probably some hall of fame voters at his house that day he was doing sit ups in the driveway and they got but hurt

  8. phillynac says:
    Feb 11, 2016 12:15 PM

    Don’t act like he was a choir boy in Philly. He divided the locker room and tore the team apart at the seams in 2005.

    ————-

    Except that, in hindsight, thats not what happened. Everything TO said was true. We (fans, media, the team itself) just didn’t want to believe it in 2005. McNabb was the problem, not TO. McNabb couldn’t stand not being the star. He was insecure, passive aggressive and petulant. He’s the reason Jeff Garcia wasn’t resigned. He was willing to go back to being the backup, but the city LOVED Jeff. And McNabb HATED that. He hated that Garcia got the adoration that McNabb felt he never did and thus, he told Andy that he wanted Garcia gone.

  9. What a joke. The Hall of Fame is supposed to represent the best players – T.O.’s sometimes questionable actions do not erase the fact he was an all-time great receiver. Sure, he might not have ever reached the elite level of Cordarrelle Patterson (who is a future Hall-of-Famer himself – nobody questions that, obviously), but he was certainly better than many wide receivers in the Hall – including Harrison.

    It’s the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Good Behavior According to the Double Standards of Dopes Sitting on an Imaginary High Horse. Revoke the voting privileges of those who moronically denied T.O.

    Then, fire Goodell.

  10. jrob23 says:Feb 11, 2016 12:16 PM

    Nothing worse than pencil pushers who have never played the game at a high level getting to decide who gets in the Hall of Fame. What a broken and suspect process.
    ———-
    If we all acted like TO at work , which the NFL is to players, we’d be fired. This is a place where it’s a job for players, but entertainment for fans.

    Stats aren’t the only thing the committee looks at. That is a good thing.

    TO will get in. It’s his fault he’s not a first ballot inductee. Not the committee.

  11. T.O. Never was in trouble outside of football!

    Just because he told the truth Tony Romo sucks and wasn’t pulling his weight doesn’t mean he shouldn’t have been selected into Hall of Fame!

    T.O. Did his job on the field. Just because he told the truth doesn’t mean he should be punished! You are always told to be honest and Owens was!

    When you get paid millions of dollars and don’t perform somebody has to speak up?

  12. Five Points:

    (1) Owens *had* to have been a pain in the butt. The guy, in his day, could ball like no other — yet each team (despite each wanting desperately to compete at the highest level) – would show him the door. It happened time and time and time again.

    (2) A number of T.O.’s troublesome antics actually showed up on the field. Some of his on-field blow-ups are caught on camera, while others were off camera. That’s different than Lawrence Taylor’s situation. Yes, LT was a snowblower and other things, but his play on the field was out of this world (and obviously HOF-worthy) – but he was also not tearing his teams apart to such a degree that the Giants would blow him out the door in his prime. Big difference.

    (3) In fact, the Giants put up with a LOT to keep a great player. LT was a Giant for LIFE. By contrast, T.O. – who was another great player – was constantly shunned, which shows how divisive he must have been for such a talent to be repeatedly pushed away.

    (4) The voters who vote “in/out” are human beings, so there is no consistent application of one universal set of standards. And despite a set of standards/guidelines, the interpretation of the voters and their subjective preferences play a role.

    (5) I can see why some voters sought to “punish” T.O., but I don’t personally agree with it. T.O. worked so hard all season long; always came to camp in absolutely phenomenal shape; produced like an absolute beast; never got tired; hustled his tail off (particularly as a downfield blocker for teammates or even hustling to track down an opposing defender returning a turnover). His block nearly ONE HUNDRED YARDS downfield that sealed the deal for Garrison Hearst’s walk-off 96 yard run against the Jets was AWESOME. Owens took out TWO defenders by himself ≈100 yards downfield. Think about that. Terrell Owens most certainly DOES deserve enshrinement, and baggage or not — he would have been first ballot in my book. Owens was just that freaking good.

  13. Maybe the problem is that you’re limited to 5 modern day players in a sport that has a 45 man game day roster and 32 teams. You have a lot of people who merit serious consideration and don’t even sniff HOF because of space considerations.

  14. Wait, Favre played for Atlanta, Green Bay, New York & the Vikes yet it took them 30 seconds to unanimously decide he was first ballot.
    This after the whole will I won’t I attention seeking to end his Packers career, the photo incident in New York, the addiction.
    Yet Owens is “blacklisted?”

  15. TO may have been hard to deal with, but never got in trouble off the field like so many players seem to today. If he’s not good enough today, why would he be in the future? he’s not adding to his stats obviously.

    Whether he was liked or not, he should be in the HOF. This has more to do with a bunch of people that love the power they have.

  16. Its not like the voters are the only people who have that POV about Owens. Ask every teammate he ever played with and I bet most agree with him having to wait at least a year to get in. Great payer. Team cancer. Undeniable.

  17. So OJ Simpson can still be in the HOF for murdering someone but TO cannot be inducted because he was disruptive in the locker room?

    Look at the numbers people. I HATE the guy but he was a beast on the field and should be in the HOF.

    Only WR ever with 15 consecutive seasons with at least 4 touchdown receptions.

    2nd ALL-TIME receiving yards in NFL HISTORY.

    3rd ALL-TIME receiving TDs in NFL HISTORY.

  18. They’re on crack. Only a fool would take Harrison over TO.

    We give credit to QB’s for being passionate and wanting to win so badly, why not TO?

    Owens had more heart than about anyone you can think of that’s played the game.

  19. The Pro Football Hall of Fame does not have a character clause the way the baseball one does, theoretically meaning that it’s only an athlete’s on-field accomplishments that count. That is as I think it should be too, but it is still a group of humans making the decision–as such, someone who makes themselves widely disliked should expect to engender less support.

  20. Pro Bowl caluver players rarely switch teams, for Hall of Fame caliber players its even rarer, T.O bounced around before being black-balled.. In a league where murderers are forgiven, T.O wasnt worth the headache.. Despite his talent.

  21. T.O. was a good teammate so long as he got a lot of passes thrown his way. When he was unhappy he made sure the team was unhappy too. Regardless of his stats, the issues he created off the field are enough to keep him off the first ballot.

  22. Do I think TO should be in the HOF? Of course I do. His numbers speak for themselves. He came back like five weeks early from an awful leg injury to play in the superbowl and had a great game. This article’s argument is a joke though:
    “Owens decided he was going to force his way out because the Eagles wouldn’t renegotiate his contract following a stellar 2004 season.”
    I am pretty sure that is as disruptive as it comes and sounds like a cancer. Also, he wouldn’t have had the “low contract” to begin with if he wasn’t a cancer to teams and there were more bids for him.

  23. ratsfoiledagain says:
    Feb 11, 2016 12:43 PM
    jrob23 says:Feb 11, 2016 12:16 PM

    Nothing worse than pencil pushers who have never played the game at a high level getting to decide who gets in the Hall of Fame. What a broken and suspect process.
    ———-
    If we all acted like TO at work , which the NFL is to players, we’d be fired. This is a place where it’s a job for players, but entertainment for fans.

    Stats aren’t the only thing the committee looks at. That is a good thing.

    TO will get in. It’s his fault he’s not a first ballot inductee. Not the committee.
    _________
    Seriously? The NFL is nothing like your job. Unless you’re saying that physically fighting on your job would warrant only a 1 game timeout vs immediate firing. Besides NFL players are independent contractors which most jobs are not.

  24. “He’s a Hall of Fame player that five teams couldn’t wait to get rid of,” Myers said. “So what does that tell you about how disruptive he was?”

    That’s it right there, no way in hell LT would have even sniffed going to another team.

  25. In Philadelphia, the Eagles decided to cut him only after Owens decided he was going to force his way out because the Eagles wouldn’t renegotiate his contract following a stellar 2004 season.

    //////////////////////

    How is that different Mike?

    They still got rid of him because of his behavior.

    I agree he will get in eventually but I also agree there is nothing wrong with a guy known for being an asshat to wait a year. What’s wrong with letting a guy know you didn’t care for his BS and not vote for him?

  26. It’s the FOOTBALL Hall of Fame. Not the Hall of “i’m a super swell guy and everybody likes me”. There are several men enshrined in the Hall right now with domestic battery charges, drug charges, prostitution charges, murder charges, but they’re gonna act all high and mighty because TO had an attitude that they don’t like? Give me a break.

    The man was dominant at playing football like very few in the history in the game ever have been. So he rubbed some people the wrong way, so he was a loud mouth sometimes, keeping him out because you simply don’t like him is BOGUS and they’ve basically admitted that’s exactly what happened.

  27. These voters are becoming just as bad as baseball hall of fame voters. The Halls need to start getting rid of certain voters.

    Let this be a lesson to young players. You have to play nice with the media. They have long memories and are quite vindictive.

  28. Wait, Favre played for Atlanta, Green Bay, New York & the Vikes yet it took them 30 seconds to unanimously decide he was first ballot.
    This after the whole will I won’t I attention seeking to end his Packers career, the photo incident in New York, the addiction.
    Yet Owens is “blacklisted?”
    —————————————————
    Don’t forget Favre making a business decision not to run for a first down at the end of the 2009 championship.

  29. Harrison had to wait … now TO has to wait, then who waits next? Please fix this baloney.

    TO was tough to take at times but he always gave 100 percent. Grossly misunderstood from the beginning which made it easy for the media to pile on whenever it became TO versus McNabb, Romo, Coach…, etc.

    No doubt he could ball! I thought he was going to beat the Patriots single handily in the fourth quarter of that Superbowl… with only a leg a half. He was a rare talent, a complete package … a Hall of Famer!!!

  30. It doesn’t really matter. The HOF is a joke anyway. They force a certain number of players in each year if the deserve it or not. IMO half those already in it don’t deserve it i.e. Chris Carter.

  31. Myers is correct:

    – the greatness of a player has a great deal to do with their interactions with their team: motivation, cooperation, trust, reliability… all of it adds up to ‘greatness’

    – regardless of how he left the teams, or how it was reported by media, or if TO or the team pulled the trigger, he still left all those teams.. Something wasn’t right and each time he was unable to continue as a part of a team in spite of those big numbers. It says a lot that he was putting up huge numbers and he and his employers couldn’t find a way to make it work

    – it’s junk to say that ‘if it was enough to keep him out once, it should keep him out forever” as when the voters make someone wait for a few years it sends a message that they are recognizing a given players HOF status, but giving an asterisk that the player for some other factor that figured into his or the teams competitiveness and everyone recognizes that. It’s not just an in or out thing, there are shades of grey to it and it’s always been that way

    TO can bad mouth them for doing it, and continue to say “it’s never my fault” and “they are a bunch of pencil pushers” but that just labels him more a troublemaker that even today affects his, the teams’, and the NFL’s reputations

    TO getting a time out and waiting a few years makes a point to him and all future players that what you do outside the lines definitely matters

  32. i agree with that.. the locker room should be an extension and its more than obvious TO destroyed many teams..that should be considered..

  33. Not to mention Harrison was at the center of things much worse than anything TO ever did, drug dealers getting shot with his guns outside of his bars, allegedly paying his cousin to execute his revenge years later, proof that the murder weapon was a gun that Harrison owned and was found in his own vehicle, yet never arrested. For years, his guns were in connection to shootings in his neighborhood, but they never made charges stick. But hey, at least he was quiet in the locker room right!

    Hypocrites

  34. This is the problem when you let the media be the selectors. The only voters should be former players, coaches, GMs and some highly rated scouts.

  35. Eric Dickerson
    – Finished 2nd in career rushing yards when he retired
    – Colts teammate Brian Baldinger: He was not about the team like Walter Payton
    – Traded from two different teams and played on 4 teams in 11 years (Owens was on 5 teams in 15 years, a lower rate of retention)
    – First Ballot Hall of Famer

    Why is Dickerson in but not Owens?

    Also, Fran Tarkenton’s teammates publicly revealed what a bad, me-first teammate he was. How come he’s in but not Owens?

  36. therealraider says:
    Feb 11, 2016 1:04 PM
    Pro Bowl caluver players rarely switch teams, for Hall of Fame caliber players its even rarer, T.O bounced around before being black-balled.. In a league where murderers are forgiven, T.O wasnt worth the headache.. Despite his talent.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Brett Farve, voted in with only 30 seconds of debate, played for four teams.

    Kevin Greene, also voted in with the same class, played for five.

    What they voters did, plain and simple, was leave out a first ballot hall of famer, because the didn’t like him. Sure, he was a pain in the butt. But he always produced.

    Is Randy Moss going to have to wait a year when he becomes eligible, too?

  37. randomguy9999 says:
    Feb 11, 2016 1:32 PM
    Myers is correct:

    – the greatness of a player has a great deal to do with their interactions with their team: motivation, cooperation, trust, reliability… all of it adds up to ‘greatness’

    – regardless of how he left the teams, or how it was reported by media, or if TO or the team pulled the trigger, he still left all those teams.. Something wasn’t right and each time he was unable to continue as a part of a team in spite of those big numbers. It says a lot that he was putting up huge numbers and he and his employers couldn’t find a way to make it work

    – it’s junk to say that ‘if it was enough to keep him out once, it should keep him out forever” as when the voters make someone wait for a few years it sends a message that they are recognizing a given players HOF status, but giving an asterisk that the player for some other factor that figured into his or the teams competitiveness and everyone recognizes that. It’s not just an in or out thing, there are shades of grey to it and it’s always been that way

    TO can bad mouth them for doing it, and continue to say “it’s never my fault” and “they are a bunch of pencil pushers” but that just labels him more a troublemaker that even today affects his, the teams’, and the NFL’s reputations

    TO getting a time out and waiting a few years makes a point to him and all future players that what you do outside the lines definitely matters
    ——-‘
    First off the rules for hall of fame explicitly says what’s done outside the line should not be taken into account. These writers had to perform logical gymnastics to get TOs locker room antics included.

    Second, PFT is correct. If you logically believe TOs antics when he played didn’t make him a HOFer this year then you can’t logically say he is a HOFer another year. This isn’t a writer saying TO wasn’t one of the 5 best nominees this year but next season he might be. That’s logical.

    Third. It does matter how he left the team. He wanted out in San Francisco and Philly. Those teams still wanted him and refused it so he forced his way out. It wasn’t like these teams were dying to get rid of him.

  38. “He’s a Hall of Fame player that five teams couldn’t wait to get rid of,” Myers said….

    So if you are a Hall of Fame player that a team doesn’t want anymore that makes you a guy that shouldn’t be a 1st ballot HoF’er? Didn’t Jerry Rice get bounce around at the end of his career?

    Terrible argument, and terrible result.

  39. One of the reasons he has those stats is because he demanded the ball and never held his wrath to those who denied him, whether it was the game plan or not! Just like the article yesterday outlining why Lynn Swan made it in having the 222nd best stats for a receiver. It’s not always about the stats. T.O. should miss out because of his persona. Seriously would you vote in O.J. today if he wasn’t already in?

  40. I agree with the writer. I followed owens’ career in S.F. He was a cancer in the locker room & on the field.

    He will get in eventually although I personally don’t believe he should.

  41. HEY CAM, you watching. Sitting on the sidelines and crying will count against you. Rolling around on the field like a kid throwing a temper tantrum will cost you. Sitting in front of the media and starting your press conference blaming missed assignments and dropped passes as the reason for the loss and throwing you teammates under the bus, before you even mention your three turnovers and failure to try to get a fumble as a possible reason for the loss is going to cost you. Wake up crybaby, your distractions and sore losing will cost you later even if you don’t care now. TO did things his way, and a straight up HOF candidate got bypassed. Your career started great but if it goes down like Vick, Randall Cunningham, etc… did (natural thing for running qbs) then you may be a borderline pick and all this will come back to haunt you

  42. The NFL should very clearly outline what constitutes HoF qualifications. Every year we face multiple questionable decisions – both omissions and accepted.

    Is it rings?
    Is it stats?
    Is it records?
    Is it position?
    Is it supporting cast?
    Is it off-field actions?
    Is it character?
    Is it game winning plays?

    If a combination, then what is the percentage? I don’t think rings should be considered because of item 5 – a player doesn’t win championships by themselves. Montana never even got into the playoffs without a top ten defense. Bob Griese shouldn’t even be allowed to walk into the HoF. Bradshaw could barely complete 50% of his passes, same with Namath.

    I think people place far too much emphasis on playoff performance without acknowledging the effort and results during the regular season. Without regular season performance you don’t GET to the playoffs.

  43. Great players make their teams better. Owens made his teams worse. I don’t have a vote, so it doesn’t matter what I think. I will say that I was not one bit upset when I heard he didn’t get in. I like teams like The Golden State Warriors, the San Francisco Giants, and the SF 49ers of the 80s. Those teams win championships with good character type players, and they get rid of the selfish, immature, disruptive guys. That’s why they win.

  44. “Great players make their teams better. Owens made his teams worse”

    Can you seriously say that Owens made the 2004 Eagles WORSE? You can make an argument for the 2005 season, but even then he put up good numbers when he played. The bottom line is that both Harrison and Owens deserve to be in the Hall of Fame, and I have no problem with Harrison getting in first, since he’s been waiting longer.

  45. Back to the question of why do 46 of the biased, jock sniffing sports writers have a voting monopoly on who gets into the Hall Of Fame? Why not give them a percentage along with fans and players?

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