Terrell Owens: I didn’t play the game to get into Hall of Fame

Getty Images

The NFL will welcome the Class of 2015 into the Hall of Fame on August 8 and then it will be time to start thinking about who will be joining them in Canton come 2016.

The top two first-timers on the ballot are Brett Favre and Terrell Owens and there’s little doubt that Favre will sail into the Hall on his first try. There’s also little doubt that Owens’s 1,078 catches, 15,934 yards and 153 touchdowns make him worthy of enshrinement, but there’s a chance that his flair for operatic levels of off-field drama could cause voters to look in other directions before stamping Owens’s ticket. If so, Owens says he won’t be too bothered by their call.

“I understand what I’ve done on the field and it’s probably well deserving of that, but I’m being honest, it really doesn’t bother me whether I get in or not,” Owens said on the Rich Eisen Show. “I know a lot of people have had that conversation and said ‘Dude, stop saying that.’ I guess from a standpoint of a legacy or what my kids can really see what I’ve done, the body of work and appreciate it, then yeah, and my family. But me, personally, it really doesn’t do anything for me because I never played the game for that. I played it because I was competitive. I played it to the point that I realized my talent and I became pretty good at it. That was my motivation. I wanted to win at all costs.”

Owens, who last played for the Bengals in 2010, also said he thought he could still play, something that would restart the clock on his eligibility for the Hall. It seems unlikely anyone will be reaching out to him in that capacity, but that statistical record (if not always his personal one) means it shouldn’t be long before someone is giving him a call to get fitted for a yellow blazer.

63 responses to “Terrell Owens: I didn’t play the game to get into Hall of Fame

  1. The dude was a hot-dog, which seems to be a fairly common trait among WRs now and has been for a long time.

    That being said – he played with flair and he had guts and he was entertaining to lots of people and to old farts like this reporter he was annoying, but that’s no big deal.

    As to his saying it’s no big deal – I don’t believe that for a second.

  2. Haha, you aren’t fooling anyone Terrell we all know you really want to be in the HOF.

    Funny thing is I don’t think there is any doubt. I know he was a pain and a locker room killer but he wouldn’t be the first bad teammate to be enshrined in the HOF.

  3. Owens’ off the field nonsense pales in comparison to Sapp’s. And that dirtbag got in first time. I’m not fan of Terrell, but he was a heck of a player, and should be in the hall.

  4. People have short memories.
    This guy was consistently a cancer to his team.
    Stats usually get you in. But can you honestly say teams of that era wanted him on their team?

  5. This isn’t a popularity contest. What case can a sponsor make for Owens being deserving of HOF recognition on his own merits? Getting tired of inductees making recommendations for their buddies and other people making comparisons as though that means something.

  6. Owens is a no-brainer HOF’er. All I want to say is think how great that talent could have been had he actually been a good teammate, a good leader in the locker room, had less on-field antics and less of a problem off-field. People say you couldn’t find a hard worker but how many plays did he not play in because the coach couldn’t stand him or didn’t think he would run route or would cry if he didn’t get the ball. Or how many QBs didn’t throw the ball his way because of his temper fits or because he just didn’t like him. Think of how many teams didn’t sign him when he was still better than half the receivers in the league. His numbers would have been so much better and would he be in the GOAT conversation had he just had an inkling of common sense?

  7. The voters are instructed to NOT take any off-field issues into account when voting, so they need to do their freaking jobs and vote T.O. in.

    It’s not complicated and there’s zero justification for making him wait. Get him in 1st ballot like his play on the field deserves.

  8. Owens was arguably the best WR of all time. See how successful Dallas has been since he left? The problem is that he was outspoken and you can’t be outspoken in the NFL, even when you’re truthful.

    He’s a first ballot FOH, who was run out of the game, just because they could. It was always about putting him in his place. Shameful and disgusting way for the league to end such a great career.

  9. I never like the way he played the game. He never respected the game of football for giving him a living , a fabulous one at that .

  10. Based on numbers and production he should 100% get in. I believe OJ Simpson is in the HOF so any off field issues shouldnt matter at all haha. This dude was a headache for coaches, but he was crazy good on the field and entertaining to the fans. He should be a first ballot for sure.

  11. In this day and age “off field issues” has more to do with dv cases than being a poor teammate. No question he gets in (and deserves first ballot). Just wonder what fans predominantly go to see the induction

  12. TO deserves the hall!

    Love the choice of image to use! He was truly the most remarkable in red and gold. Even he must know nobody has it better than US.


  13. “Terrell Owens: I didn’t play the game to get into Hall of Fame”-Terrell Owens will get in the Hall of Fame eventually-but that big mouth might very well give him a few road blocks along the way. There’s showmanship and there’s class and Terrell Owens big mouth and attitude showed no class whatsoever…

  14. He should have went down as one of the two or three greatest receivers ever, but I really believed he suffered from some type of personality disorder.

  15. I no longer trust many voters, nor public opinion polls. Heck, we just had a guy who got a boob job get a “courage award”, instead of Lauren Hill, who played a college basketball game while dying of cancer…

  16. Shame hes such an idiot off the field (to be fair often on the field as well). Could have carried on playing after the Bengals but its the baggage he brings with him.

    Great receiver, teams however snubbed him due to the drama he brings. With the Bengals he was looking good but its his own fault his career ended when it did.

  17. As divan22 has already pointed out, the bylaws of the HoF specifically state that what a player accomplished on the field of play is the only consideration for induction. This isn’t Cooperstown where personal vendettas can lock out a great player. His accomplishments on the field demand induction on the first ballot for which he is eligible, anything less would be a dereliction of duty on the part of the selection committee. (I’m not even a fan of TO, I’m just a fan of following the rules as they were written.)

  18. No off the field issues and an absolute beast on it, despite what some say. I’ve never seen a receiver, Rice included, that carried his team like TO did the Eagles the year they lost the Super Bowl, thanks to Donavan Mcnabb.

  19. Second in yards behind Rice, third in TD’s behind Rice and Moss. If he doesn’t get in the first time around it will turn the HOF up to 11 on the “this has become a joke” speaker.

  20. People have short memories.
    This guy was consistently a cancer to his team.
    Stats usually get you in. But can you honestly say teams of that era wanted him on their team?


    Uh yeah, they wanted him. He was a monster on the field. Yes, he was an idiot off the field & said some cringe-worthy things. I didn’t like him at all but for a good stretch of his career he was unstoppable. It’s a sham if he doesn’t get voted in. The dude is a top 10 WR of all time. There are many lesser WRs that are in the hall.

  21. 6th all-time in catches 3rd all-time in touchdown 2nd all-time in yards. Name a player in pro basketball who’s in the top 6 in rebounding, scoring and assist and not a first ballot hall of famer. Name a player in pro baseball who’s in the top 6 in HR’s, RBI’s and Runs and isn’t a first ballot hall of famer. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

  22. Seems like you guys talking as if T.O. doesn’t deserve the hall. That dude in his prime was Jerry Rice level preparation and Randy Moss or Herman Moore ability to reach out and snatch a ball. Issue is you crybabies of the foo foo society of today simply refuse to admit that most folks don’t care about public opinion and only care about what fulfills our own desires and ambitions. Long live T.O. I for one think he is going in first ballot. Also much love T.O. for your spectacular showing in Texas Stadium under the hole in the roof on the star. The disrespect to Dallas was the highlight of the 90$ for me after all those games having to see those chumps laughing as we were defeated by them. That alone is enough to get up in the hall. Plus the catch 2 knocking out those cheese heads in 97. My late teen years in the mid 90$ were lifted by T.O.

  23. Ray Lewis will get in on the first ballot with no question, and all these years he’s been clammed up about the bloody white suit. That one is his deep, dark secret he has refused to address.

  24. To this day, I still don’t know what his “off field issues” were? Never been arrested. I don’t recall a domestic dispute. I remember a guy who battled depression, danced on a star and was a dick to his teammates. Not sure those count as off field issues but whatever… That ship has sailed and he was labeled by media long ago. That label has become accepted and doesn’t seem to be questioned by anyone but me, so so be it. But, personally, I’ll never accept that owens had off field issues (while of course ray lewis doesn’t).

  25. marooncat79 says:
    “TO and Ocho Cinco were both very entertaining and good fball players”
    Chad was indeed very good, but T.O was an All Time great…

    Owens should be a lock for first ballot with the career/resume he has. He’s got the stats/accolades, big game performances/clutch moments, dominance in his era & longevity. His entertainment factor was a bonus, much like Favre’s… (Love both guys)

    I hate that the hall voters have agendas against certain players. They dole out punishment by keeping select players out, while ignoring the indiscretions of others to put them in.

    T.O had problems admittedly keeping his emotions in check, which lead to premature exits from teams & ultimately the league… “Imho” that was punishment enough for not putting in the work to conquer that personal issue. His body was in shape to play, but teams weren’t prepared to gamble on an aging player who potentially could become a distraction.

    Not finishing his career on his terms was his punishment, so there’s no need for hof voters to hold him out as an extra sanction.

    ~~~~Off the top of my head 2016 eligible players:~~~~
    T.O.} – Player who is prone to emotionally overreact, could become a distraction. Nothing of note off the field. (Should be a lock 1st ballot)

    Favre}- Drug Addiction, Sexting/Harassment scandal. (Much worse indiscretions, than T.O, but can be overlooked & will be. He’s a lock 1st ballot)

    M.Harrison}- Linked to multiple shootings & was/still is a person of interest in an unsolved murder investigation. (Should be in the hof already on play/career resume alone, but his connection to these crimes put him in the scumbag category, which is much worse than the distraction category. (This is the type of guy I understand hof voters holding out)

    The point is the hall voters regularly induct scumbags (Sapp the most recent example) so they can surely drop the hypocrisy for one moment & induct a couple of distractions.

    #Favre & T.O. for the HOF 2016, make it happen!!!

  26. The one thing that I hated most about Terrell Owens was his ability to run every route (New York Giants fan). He could burn you on a fly, slant or screen. He was never a one-trick pony. Defenses were always geared towards preventing him from being a factor and primarily failed in their attempt. Owens had his flaws just like every athlete but his ability was second-to-none.

  27. Yeah, ya did OchoUno. And you probably still blame Steve Mariucci for not drafting Tom Brady to the 49ers when you were there. But hey, it’s all good, since you’ve already bought your bus ticket to Canton (wink!). 1st Ballot or whatever: get ready to get ya booty on the bus!

  28. Owens isn’t worried about getting elected, he worried he burned the bridge with so many teams his only option might be to enter the HOF as an “NFL” player, instead of being associated with a franchise.

  29. If there was a locker room cancer HOF he’d be in on the first vite without a doubt

  30. T.O. is all heart and that’s why he had his up’s and downs with drama and the media, but the guy was never in trouble off of the field.

    I’ll never forget that Super Bowl he played in after coming back from injury. He was by far the best player on the field that day and the only reason the Eagles were in the game.

    Guess we know he wasn’t lyin’ about McNabb. Dude was probably hung over! #drunky

  31. What happens if you’re elected to the Hall of Fame and THEN unretire (thinking Brett Favre here)? Do they un-enshrine you and make you wait another 5 years after you retire again?

  32. Oh lord I could not stand that guy, but he should be a first ballot HOFer. All time great. And I would’ve liked to see the look on Parcell’s face when Jerry told him he had signed T.O. I bet that was a good one.

  33. He and McNabb were very good together. Still don’t know why he blew that up.

    Easy 1st ballot Hall of Famer in my book.

  34. He didn’t play the game to win a championship either. Go away Cancer Owens. Nobody cares.

  35. T.O. never let these media sports commentators get any closer to him than he did his coaches or teammates. He was always a private loner who got to the top of his profession by his own sheer effort and focus. He wasn’t even a first stringer in high school or most of college. His personal training and efforts didn’t pay off until after being picked 86th in the third round of the NFL draft.

    This is the sport writers chance for revenge. The truth is, if the election were my his former coaches and teammates T.O. would get in by a landslide. Almost all have already gone on record that T.O. deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. So much for what a team poison he was. As one teammate said, “T.O. hardly talks to me. But he has never done anything to me either. He is a good teammate, we appreciate what he does for us on the field.” This pretty much sums up his relationship to his teammates.

  36. Wait, this dude has kids?

    He’s among the best ever and that’s what the HOF is for. He should get in. It doesn’t matter that he was a locker room cancer wherever he went.

  37. if Ray Lewis makes it to the HOF, TO should too. TO is a first ballot Hall of Famer. its too bad his attitude sucked. hes still my favorite player ever though.

  38. He and Randy Moss should be in. Also, if Hall of Fame Vice President Joe Horrigan says that behavior of any kind cannot be used for or against the player’s candidacy, the teammate argument should not apply to either player.

    After all, all attributes for a good or bad teammate literally involves behavior.

  39. Behind my favorite WR of all time Randy Moss, TO is second. With that being said, come on TO, being abducted into something of like the history books/to forever be enshrined even decades or centuries after you leave this earth, OKAY. That’s like saying, yeah, I don’t go to work everyday in hopes of one day of getting promoted, to make more money, possibly make enough money to be well off even after retirement etc etc.

  40. He doesn’t deserve SQUAT! He was the most childish, selfish, disgrace to ever play in the NFL.

  41. Im no TO fan; he was never a member of my favorite team. I had a great year in 2006 with him on my fantasy team.

    All of that said: Anyne saying hes not a first ballot HOF enshrinee is deluded or driven by personal feelings.

    Been watching like religion since 1987; hes Top5 best WRs during my viewing years. Easily.

  42. It was the best year in Eagles recent memories because of T.O. what a shame it went down after 2004.The man played the Super Bowl with a bad ankle.His career with the 49ers and eagles were great.Somehow the Eagles should have taken care of him,it would have been worth it

  43. If T.O. and Randy Moss could have focused more on football and their team instead of being selfish, both of these guys could have rewritten the history books for a very long time. There’s nobody as dominant in the league right now as these two were in their prime. Megatron is the only closest thing and he’s still a mile away.

  44. T.O. will get in (and rightly so), but don’t be surprised if he waits a couple years. Reasons:

    -Marvin Harrison has been waiting a bit and will probably get in first.

    -the voters tend to be tough on WRs.

    -only 5 WRs have ever been “first ballot” (Berry, Largent, Warfield, Alworth, Rice), and some voters won’t see him as this group’s equal.

    -some voters will hold his antics in general as well as a perception of him being a less-than-model teammate against him.

    -some voters perceive Owens as not having the surest hands.

  45. Alan Faneca is also first-time eligible — and with 6 first-team all-pro selections, 9 pro bowls, and a 00s all-decade team membership, that certainly makes him a top “first timer.” He won’t be first ballot most likely, but he’s a shoo-in to be elected at some point.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.