T.O. should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but . . . .

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I’ve been asked several times over the past couple of days whether I think receiver Terrell Owens will make it into the Hall of Fame on his first try, five years after his retirement.

The numbers say he should.  Second all time in receiving yards, tied for second all time in receiving touchdowns, Owens has been one of the most consistently dominant wideouts in league history.

But the process is hardly objective, and the voters often are influenced by matters unrelated to production — even though they’re not supposed to consider off-field issues.  (We think the rules in that regard should be changed, but no one listens to us.)  When it comes to T.O., there have been no off-field issues per se.  He never has gotten in trouble with the law, and no one has ever accused him of any wrongdoing.  But he has been, at times, a passive-aggressive and divisive presence, criticizing quarterbacks and causing trouble to suit his agenda, whether it’s to get more balls thrown his way (as in Dallas) or whether it’s to get more money (as in Philly).  Will that count against him?

One of the Hall of Fame voters raised with us an interesting question last year regarding Owens and Randy Moss, arguing that Moss deserves to wait a year or two because, unlike Owens, Moss has quit on teams and given half-assed efforts on the field.  As to Owens, the voter pointed out that he always gave his all, and that T.O. possibly didn’t enjoy the same kind of protection that other temperamental receivers, um, received, including a P.R. staff that anticipated, for example, a potential rant from Jerry Rice and thus got him out of the locker room before reporters showed up to take down whatever Rice may have been inclined to say in the heat of the moment.

That said, both Owens and Moss should and will get in.  The question becomes whether the voters will support their inclusion the first or second time they are up for consideration.  Limiting their chances could be the fact that they may not have a strong voice in the room on that Saturday before the Super Bowl, given that they played for so many teams — and burned so many bridges in the cities where they played.  Without a zealous and motivated presenter from the ranks of the media, both guys may have to wait a year, or two, before conjuring enough votes.

51 responses to “T.O. should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but . . . .

  1. TO’s probably going to have to wait a year or two.

    While he would likely have been the SB MVP if they had won, they didn’t. And then he absolutely ruined his next season with his mouth.

    It was such a shame. Here was this guy who had a HELL of a SB on top of the injured ankle – and ended up bouncing around the league because he couldn’t shut up and play.

    Also, he lost most of the postseason that year to the ankle injury so he lost the opportunity to pad his postseason stats.

    Moss, should probably go in afterward. But honestly, I don’t care. He’s JUST barely good enough to make me forget about all of his shenanigans.

  2. I don’t really like T.O. but there’s really no question as to whether or not he should be in the Hall of Fame. He’s been a heck of a player (not the greatest person,) and I hope he gets in.

  3. Not to mention, except for Jerry Rice, no wide receiver has gotten in on the first ballot since Steve Largent.

    At the time they retired, WRs like Monk, Irvin, C.Carter, T.Brown and A.Reed appeared to be locks, too.

  4. If voters look past Micheal Irvin and LT’s off the field history and vote them in but not TO… we have to tear down the HOF.

  5. his stats dont matter, his cash dont matter.. what matters is that nobody likes Terrell, nobody respects Terrell, nobody wants Terrell on their team cuz he’s a LOSER

  6. The fact that Cris Carter (#2 in all-time receptions) still isn’t in the Hall after 3 attempts makes it a slam dunk that TO won’t be a first ballot player. Carter served as a mentor for young players like Randy Moss, not as a team destroyer.

    Tearing apart 3 separate locker rooms and throwing 3 Pro Bowl quarterback teammates under the bus insures that TO’s going to have to wait – and perhaps for quite a while as the inflated reception numbers of the modern NFL passing era will stockpile multiple WRs with similar numbers as TO after he retires.

  7. At the time he retired, Cris Carter was second all time in receptions and receiving touchdowns. If he’s still waiting, TO should have to wait a few years. Also, Carter had as many drops in his career as Owens has in a typical game.

  8. No Reason for him NOT to be a 1st Ballot HOFer.

    Now, all the haters….Proceed to give me the Thumbs Down….

  9. The issue with Owens is that it’s _not_ “off the field” behavior. His divisiveness and penchant for throwing his quarterbacks and coaches under the bus absolutely manifests itself on the field.

    Also, Owens has managed to have shortfalls that hurt his teams without necessarily hurting himself statistically. He has frequently been a lazy route runner, will alligator-arm balls, and has never been sure-handed. The incompletions and picks that result from miscommunications and tipped balls then reflect statistically more upon his quarterbacks than on himself, and I would say unfairly.

    Are these factors enough to warrant reconsideration of his Hall of Fame credentials? I don’t know. But they’re real, and they’re not simply a matter of him being unlikable.

  10. yes, first ballot, especially after that super bowl performance & the drama (ankle) surrounding it.

  11. This is the same HOF that has Jim Brown, OJ Simpson, Michael Irvin, and LT in it, right?

    You are who your record says you are. TO’s record says he’s a HOFer.

  12. They’re making Tim Brown and Chris Carter wait along with several other WR’s. And they were both great locker room guys. So I’m guessing they will definitely make Terrell wait at least one year.

  13. Stop being so racist against the black athlete (mainly the darkskinned ones) and let the numbers do the talking. That’s just wrong; I thought that Jackie Robinson broke that barrier, but I guess not. It’s mainly the whites in america who are doing all the nit picking and are trying to teach other ethnic groups to do the same envious acts. This is not good for football, sports period. In concluding of all of this u have to put them in bc without them a lot of quarter back wouldn’t be in the hall of fame.

  14. @ianwhetstone

    You put it about as well as it could have been. His drops were frequently at the worst possible moments for his teams. And after a short while on EVERY team he was part of he turned into a real $h!tthead.

    I would make Randy Moss wait until the last possible moment that he’s eligible for the HOF to consider letting him in. He’s been a complete jerk his entire career.

  15. the criteria for receivers seems to be different than most other players because of the personalities involved with these guys and i personally think it is ridiculous.
    do i like T.O? not in the least bit, but that does not change the fact that he is one of the best receivers ever to play the game and im pretty sure that is what the pro football hall of fame is for.
    the fact that chris carter with his gaudy numbers is not in yet is also a travesty with guys like tim brown and art monk already in there. the guy retired number two ALL TIME in touchdowns and receptions. how does that just sneak past a voter!
    the treatment of CC does lead me to believe that T.O and Moss will both have to wait a few years to be elected which is absolutely absurd for three of the greatest players at their position of all time.
    moss to me is also an absolute no brainer. yeah the guy is a personality, has caused some problems and doesn’t always give it his all but that does not change the fact that he is/was the most dominant receiver this league has ever seen. lets see, not only is he second all time in receiving TD, but he also hold two other impressive records for most TDs by a rookie and most TDs in a single season. and he is in the top ten/five in every other receiving category out there. how do voters overlook these guys?

  16. I have no problem letting ONLY great football players who are also great football on and off the field into the hall of fame the first time around.

    Great players who throw coaches and teammates under the bus, or have a habit of quiting on their teams, can wait a year.

  17. “The fact that Cris Carter (#2 in all-time receptions) still isn’t in the Hall after 3 attempts makes it a slam dunk that TO won’t be a first ballot player. Carter served as a mentor for young players like Randy Moss, not as a team destroyer.”

    Carter had the best hands of all-time, but let’s not go too far on the “mentor” or great guy stuff. Maybe the biggest whiner in NFL history.

    He exchanged his cocaine addiction for an addiction to getting the ball thrown his way every time, otherwise he was in his quarterback’s face. Kinda like I exchanged speedballing coke and heroine for autoerotic asphyxiation 12 times a day. The guy never didn’t come down with a ball without a tearful rant to the officials or his quarterback.

  18. I look at on field behavior as being more important than off field behavior.

    Owens’ on field behavior is as bad as it gets.

  19. Cris Carter needs to get in before Moss and Owens.

  20. There does need to be something done about WR’s and the HOF. In this day in age when mediocre receivers can catch 100 passes a year, the Hall needs to develop other criteria.

  21. Remember Chris Carter was booted from the Eagles for being an alcoholic, so lets not act like Carter is Mr perfect.

  22. jebdamone,

    You do realize that Art Monk retired as the #1 all-time NFL receptions leader, don’t you? The fact that the passing-era receivers retiring after Monk surpassed him doesn’t change that fact.

    The bottom line with Monk is that it took 9 years for the team-leader WR on 3 Lombardi-winning squads whom retired as the NFL’s all-time leading receiver to be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Cris Carter should be in the Hall, but the only travesty that is present is the fact that it took the HOF voters 9 years to get it right with Monk.

    IMO That does not bode well for multiple-team destroyer TO.

  23. In the end its all about winning. This criteria shouldn’t be lost when voting for the HOF. Did this player always make his team better and give them the best chance to win. With T.O. that wasn’t always true. He sometimes tore his team down from the inside. One of the most physically gifted WR of all time if not the most, doesn’t make you the best. I would have never wanted him on my team.

  24. Honestly, it’s ok to be a bad boy as long as you kiss the booty of the media who vote. Probably how Irvin got in so quick. And why Moss will wait longer than TO.

    I disagree with the premise that HOF means good character too. I love when the two dovetail but HOF PERFORMANCE is HOF PERFORMANCE. LT (the real actual one, not the whiny Jets RB) is a trainwreck off the field but imagine for a minute the UTTER INSANITY of not putting that guy in the HOF because of that????? Anyone who watched that man play and could say he shouldn’t be HOF because he is a giant turd off the field is insane. It’s something that pisses me off about Goodell. He is on record as saying character should count in the HOF vote.

  25. HOF term gets thrown around very lightly these days. T.O. may deserve to be in on the merit of his numbers but that is NOT all that is required for a HOF induction.

    Of course they have dropped the ball in recent years and voted in people my Irving who may have the numbers and was a good teamate but off the field problems etc …He should have not been a first ballet HOFamer. I mean he gets in before Art Monk really?

    Anyway, I think to be inducted into the HOF you need to do it on and off the field your entire career. You must be a good teammate and well respected as well as performance. you must bring it day in and day out and you must not be all about YOU.

    All I see in T.O. are the numbers but to me…He falls way short of being a first time ballet HOFamer…Maybe in 20 years…but his impact on the game was not anything we have not seen before…He was a gamer and a baller but did he change the WR position as we know it? Did he carry himself in a professional manner? Was he a good teammate? Was he a good roll model? Has he been a loyal player to anyone but himself?

    These are the questions that must be asked for a first ballet HOFamer.

    There are So many player that have come before him that have everything the HOF requires that paved the way for today players still waiting…players like cliff Branch, Andre Reed, Chris Carter, Drew Pearson, Mark Duper, Gary Clark, Harald Carmichael, Henry Ellard, Otis Taylor, Mark Clayton, Sterling Sharpe, Mel Gray, Wes Chandler,Irving Fryar, Roy Green, Charley Hennigan, Gary Collins, Al Toon, Drew Hill, and Harold Jackson.

    I rest my case.

  26. Stupid Raiders Fan says:
    Jun 29, 2011 12:44 PM
    They’re making Tim Brown and Chris Carter wait along with several other WR’s. And they were both great locker room guys. So I’m guessing they will definitely make Terrell wait at least one year.

    Carter should be in the HOF but he was hardly a great locker room guy. Ask Mike Morris.

  27. T.O. has done nothing as bad a Brett Favre has. And, you can bet Favre will be a first rounder…

    Think about it!

  28. There are plenty of players better than T.O. not in the HOF. I’m not just talking receivers. I’m talking many positions. Personally, I don’t think he belongs.

  29. Why doesn’t anyone mention Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce for the HoF? Both high character guys w/ a SB ring to boot. Holt/Bruce >>>>> “T.O.”

  30. This is exactly why players are made to wait 5 years before they can be voted in. If he had to be voted in the year after he retired, he wouldn’t make it. Feelings are too fresh.

    In 5 years, the bad feelings will have dissipated and he’ll get in on the first ballot. His behavior will be a negative checkmark to an otherwise stellar list of accomplishments. What it won’t be is a proverbial “scarlet letter.”

    I think Randy Moss and T.O. are first ballot hall of famers because they are the prototypical receiver of this generation. Tons of talent, and tons of drama. Like it or not, that’s the way the NFL has been lately.

    If it makes you feel better, I don’t like it, personally. I wish they would act like men, and not divas.

  31. chipwade tim brown is not in. he is still waiting.

    no way to is a first ballot hofer. first of all too many guys still waiting to get in at the wr much less overall

  32. He has messed up every team he has been on. Football is a team sport. maybe the one that depends the most on the idea of “Team”
    His physical skills were impressive enough to keep him in the league. Bu I don’t think a poisonous personality like that deserves to be honored in a team sport.
    He should never get in Canton without an admission ticket as far as I am concerned.

  33. I was going to come in here and rant and yell that there is no way that T.O. should be a first ballot HOFer if Cris Carter wasn’t, but I see many of you have beaten me to the punch. Thank you. My thought has been that they are making Carter and others wait as a way of apologizing to Monk for making him wait. It the only semi-understandable reason I can think of for why Carter hasn’t been voted in yet.

    However, a few of these posts have triggered a pet peeve of mine. Hopefully, you’ll forgive me for mentioning it, but is Cris Carter, not Chris Carter. There’s no H in ‘Cris’. Kinda like there’s no I in ‘team’.

    …but both are in ‘high’.

    …which is what you have to be if you think T.O. is getting in on his first ballot.

  34. Hall of Famer, definitely yes. First ballot hall of famer, probably not.

    My question: Who hasn’t he eventually pissed off that would introduce him at the HOF?

  35. Tim Brown had 9 straight 1000 yard recieving seasons. Thats with some awful QB’s: Jeff George, Jeff Hostetler, and a bunch of other scrubs, he didn’t get Rich Gannon till then end of his career teaming with Jerry Rice. Tim was a national champion at Notre Dame, Hiesman winner, high character, great teamate, hardworker, community involvlement. He never wore gloves (the taped finger joints, retro, love it). He never complained to media, coaches, QB’s and wasn’t dancing when he scored TD’s. No reality shows, no public divorce, no media rants or front yard workouts. Jerry RIce and Tim Brown were great examples of WR’s as great players and great NFL representatives. HOF is not just stats, its the service you give the NFL with your heart as a player and a person. TO is all stats, so is Randy Moss. Both media divas, with horrible attitudes and mocked the game with their self-centered actions on camrea, and took away the team concept of a WR and made it a “ME” positon just like that scrub Keyshawn did too. I will take a Donald Driver over TO, a Rod Smith, a Steve Smith many others. TO was great and everyone will always admit that, but I don’t agreee with his spot in the HOF, he shamed the game at times.

  36. HOFer? Yes. First ballot? No way. First ballot WRs aren’t in the top 5 if not leading the league in drops year in and year out. He’ll get in, and deservedly so, but it’s going to take at least a couple years. He needs to get in line behind Tim Brown, Isaac Bruce, Cris Carter and even Torry Holt.

  37. Since they can only put five guys in a year I can’t say for sure that TO should be first ballot since we don’t know who he will be up against, but he’s one of three receivers from his era, the others being Marvin Harrison and Randy Moss, who should definitely go in.

  38. His success reminds me a little of tom brady, and that is because it came right after fumble that was called a non fumble. Brady and the tuck rule, was clearly a fumble, game should have been over. He gets to keep the ball and goes on to win the game and start his so called legend. In T.O.’s place, he was in the shadow of Rice and pretty much a nobody. Rice fumbles the ball, and it should be game over. It’s reviewed, 9ers keep the ball and T.O. makes a TD grab for the win and cries. Little did we know that that would not be the last time we were to see T.O. cry in public. He then goes on to become a household name. All because of calls that should have gone the other way. That being said, yes, T.O. has the numbers to be a first ballot HOF’er.

  39. If Cris Carter wasn’t a first-ballot HOFer, there’s absolutely no reason that T.O. should be. How many Super Bowls has T.O. won?

  40. Yeah, Terrell Owens is just soooooooo divisive and powerful in the locker room. One man can somehow destroy the “chemistryyy” of 52 other players. They somehow care more about T.O. (a pleasant guy by most accounts) than all the distractions in their own personal lives. Tony Romo’s dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2007. Clearly, though, that was nowhere NEAR as big a concern to Romo as the media asking him questions about T.O.

    Cris Carter? Cris Carter was a pure possession receiver, a coke addict, and has as many rings as Mr. Owens, plus one less Super Bowl appearance. He was not a game breaker.

    Owens is one of the greatest game breakers of all-time.

    First ballot? I guarantee he won’t be. He may not even get in. But that’s an absolute joke. They keep truly outstanding wide receivers out and put in overrated quarterbacks such as Warren Moon without a second thought.

    And yet on game day, everyone makes every excuse in the world for quarterbacks throwing inaccurate passes, blaming the receivers. “I don’t care if the ball is 10 yards in the air, 5 yards behind you, and coming at you 120 miles per hour, if you wanna be a great receiver, you gotta make that catch!!!”

    “It grazed your finger nail, you gotta catch that! If it hits any millimeter of your hand, you must catch it, EVERY TIME. Only receivers who never, ever, ever drop a pass are great receivers!”

  41. TO SHOULD definitely be a first ballot Hall of Famer. The real question is WILL he be.

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