The Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee meets in private and submits secret ballots, so we don’t know the identities of all the voters who voted against Terrell Owens two weeks ago. But one Hall of Famer has published a defense of the decision to keep Owens out, and it boils down to this: He dropped too many passes.
That voter is Ron Borges of the Boston Herald, and in a long column defending the Hall of Fame Selection Committee, the only substantive reason Borges gives for excluding Owens is that he dropped a lot of passes.
“Owens not only led the NFL in drops once, he finished in the top four in drops seven other seasons during his 15-year career,” Borges writes.
Drops are not an official NFL statistic, but Borges is relying on the numbers from Stats, LLC. Are dropped passes really enough to keep Owens out of the Hall of Fame?
They shouldn’t be. It’s counterintuitive, but a receiver who leads the league in drops is often a good receiver. You have to do something good — get open enough for the quarterback to throw the ball to you, then get your hands on the ball — before you can get into position to drop a pass. If you don’t run good routes, you’re not going to lead the league in drops. A receiver who ends his career with 1,078 catches for 15,934 yards and 153 touchdowns is going to drop some.
The rest of Borges’ column is given over to an overly defensive defense of the Hall of Fame Selection Committee combined with criticism of those who criticize the Committee. Or, as Borges puts it, “the Mike Florios of the world.”
Borges also mentions a recent radio interview in which Owens’ former coach, Bill Parcells, endorsed Owens as a Hall of Famer but acknowledged that Owens could be disruptive. Interestingly, Borges only seems to know about that interview because PFT posted about it. Borges included in his Boston Herald column a quote from Parcells from that interview, but he credited neither the radio station (ESPN Radio in Los Angeles) nor PFT for transcribing the interview, even though he obviously just copied and pasted Parcells’ comments from PFT’s post into his Boston Herald column: Not only is every word Borges used from Parcells’ interview exactly the same as the words PFT transcribed, but all the punctuation is in exactly the same place, something that two people transcribing the same interview independently are unlikely to do identically. Borges even included two parentheticals PFT added to clarify something Parcells said.
So thanks, Mr. Borges, for reading PFT. Even if you dropped the ball on this one.