Gary Myers explains the Terrell Owens snub

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[Editor’s note: Earlier this week, Gary Myers of the New York Daily News contacted me via email to explain his case against putting Terrell Owens in the Hall of Fame. We exchanged several messages on the topic, and I eventually asked Myers whether his views are “on the record.” He said that they were not, but he offered to summarize his position with an express invitation to use any, some, or all of it. In fairness to Gary, I have decided to post his entire approved message below. Subsequent PFT posts may use portions of his message.]

I’ve been reading your posts on the Hall of Fame and the controversy over Terrell Owens not getting elected again this year. Just want you to know I would have absolutely no problem revealing my ballot. I believe in full transparency. Nothing to hide. I usually publish my vote in the Daily News.

I know you don’t agree with the statement I made a year ago on Dan Patrick’s radio show (Ross Tucker was hosting that day) that teams could not wait to get rid of T.O. Once he became a problem or cancer in the locker room, I think it’s clear they could not wait to dump him. It just took longer in S.F. than Philly or Dallas.

I did vote for Owens in the cut from 15 to 10 two years in a row but honestly had not made up my mind if I would vote for him either year if he had made the cut to five. Unfortunately for him, he was eliminated each year in the cut to 10.

There are some very smart journalists in that meeting room. I can only speak for myself: I have opinions. I don’t have an agenda. I’ve been covering the NFL since 1978, longer than just about anybody in the room except maybe four or five people out of the 46 media members. This year, HOFers Dan Fouts and James Lofton were added, increasing the number of voters to 48.

I think I know what a Hall of Famer looks like. T.O. will be in the Hall of Fame. Just because he didn’t get into the HOF the first or second year doesn’t mean the process needs to be overhauled. Michael Irvin didn’t get in the HOF until his third year and I could easily make a case he was a better player than T.O. For sure, if I had a choice of having one of them on my team, I would take Irvin. Not even close in my mind.

Owens signed a seven-year deal with the Eagles after he was acquired from the 49ers. In his second training camp with the Eagles, he wanted a new contract and became a tremendous pain and blew up the defending NFC champs. He had played one year of a seven-year contract. I know contracts are one-way in the NFL,  but even for Owens, that was a bit much, complaining just 14% of the way through the deal for a team he wanted to play for and in a city that embraced him.

First, he was such a problem he got thrown out of camp by Andy Reid and later in the season, he was thrown off the team. The Eagles finished in last place with a 6-10 record. I know a lot is made of his courageous Super Bowl game and it was pretty amazing. But the Eagles won two playoff games without him to get to the Super Bowl that year and then lost the Super Bowl with him.

As far as the comparison to Irvin, just as far as their playing ability, Irvin played on three Super Bowl championship teams. He was a leader and a winner. He had much better hands. Owens dropped an awful lot of passes. Irvin imposed his will on games while Owens was carrying a Sharpie in his sock and eating popcorn with the cheerleaders.

I was not on the committee when Irvin was a candidate, but my guess is his off the field problems are why it took him three years to get in, although the mandate from the HOF is not to consider issues away from the field like arrests and drug use. In the case of Owens and others who were considered distractions, the locker room is considered an extension of the field.

All that being said, I think Owens is a HOFer. There’s some great players who had to exhibit patience before they were elected. In my opinion, the case for Owens being a first or second ballot HOFer would have been strengthened if he played on a Super Bowl championship team.

I know the voting process has become an issue you are passionate about. I would really suggest you contact Joe Horrigan at the HOF and ask to be added to the committee when there is an opening. You would be a valuable voice in the room.

35 responses to “Gary Myers explains the Terrell Owens snub

  1. agreed…good article…Owens, as he said, will be a Hall of Famer, just not on the first two ballots…it is getting to the point where the Hall of Fame is not an honor unless one is elected on the first ballot…phooey, sour grapes and whining…I guess that mirrors the current state of the nation…

  2. Just look at the NFL front page.. Revis legal troubles, Richardson arrested on Domestic Violent charges, Floyd 28 days in jail for massive DUI. And yet Owens doesn’t get your vote because he was a “baby.”

    Compared to most of the NFL Owens is a model citizen.

  3. Keep him out. It’s much more fun seeing TO get a dose of his own medicine. I wonder how he likes it? I bet he’s way more fond of dishing it out than taking it. Just a hunch on my part.

  4. So I take it that you’re going to fill the void between now and the draft with nothing but Terrell Owens victimhood stories? Gonna be a long offseason..

  5. I don’t understand why someone is a hall of famer, just not on the first ballot. After a player retires, what changes? Does that player get better? The only instance I can think of is if there are 5 more worthy hall of famers.
    Also, it seems to be the hall of fame of QBs WRs and RBs.
    There are not enough OL, DL Safeties kickers, etc in the hall.

  6. The NFL needs some steadfast rules about the criteria of being voted in. Not 48 people who have their own rules about who should and shouldn’t be in. Btw, he mentions Michael Irvin. Well Irvin was arrested at least 2 after he retired and before he got in..

    He says he doesn’t have an agenda but surely does.

  7. I agree with Myers 100%. Owens will get there, but there are some warts on his candidacy. He’ll get there, but he’ll wait the same way Michael Irvin did.

  8. It’s a Hall of Fame, not a Hall of Selfishness. To would be a no brainer first ballot Hall of Selfishness enshrinee. He thought of himself and not the team first, which is what people are saying without coming right out and saying it. He’s doing it now.

    He should never enter. The game is more than statistics. It’s about contribution to a team and TO wore out his welcome on more than one. And obviously hasn’t matured yet. That speaks volumes.

  9. I wish everybody would shut up. The vote is in and it’s all said and done. TO and the voters are really starting to look like fools.

  10. T.O. deserves to make the Hall of Fame. The problem is that each year the voters are choosing against many other players that are also deserving. While the arguments against TO might not be enough to say he shouldn’t get in by themselves, they are legitimate enough so that other players edge him out when deciding who’s going to advance to the final 10 and then to the final 5.

    The whole thing with Eagles has been talked about for way too long but I think it overstates things to say that the issue with T.O. dropped them to 6-10(I think it was actually 5-11). Beyond TO, the team had a ton of injuries that year.

  11. “So I take it that you’re going to fill the void between now and the draft with nothing but Terrell Owens victimhood stories?”

    And whatever Tom Brady had to eat that day.

  12. I agree with most of what he said. That last paragraph does not seem to be as well thought through as the rest.

  13. How many stories are you going to write about this? A lot of players don’t get into the HOF in the first few years. Why the obsession with T.O.?

  14. I’m still wondering why former Packer guard Jerry Kramer isn’t a Hall of Famer.

    As a starting guard for Lombardi’s Packers … how many NFL championship rings does that guy have??

  15. None of what I have seen from any of the voters that have been willing to comment on the subject have made the argument that T.O. shouldn’t or won’t ever get in. But the various viewpoints they have expressed make it easy to see that in a room full of strong opinions there were enough differing points of view to set aside his induction for the time being in favor candidates there were more points of agreement on. This is what happens in committee settings. The old saying “A camel is a horse designed by a committee.” comes to mind.

  16. What’s really amazing here is you know both he, and Borges, will vote Ray Lewis first ballot HOF.

    ‘Sure, maybe he is responsible for two people’s deaths, but he was a good teammate. He may have been caught using illegal substances during the season, but it’s cause he was injured and wanted to win so badly….’

  17. One knock against him is that he does not perform well in the playoffs. He caught one pass that beat the Pack in 1 playoff game when he was with the Niners, but that was it. You look at Jerry Rice. He was MVP in one SB. TO also put himself ahead of whatever team he plays for, and that is not going to endear himself with HOF voters.

  18. I don’t have an agenda. I have an opinion.”

    -gary meyers

    nice trolling. he does have an agenda, and it is to validate his skewed opinion.

    someone without an agenda would be able to seperate their “opinion” from reality: T.O. is easily a first balloter, not even close.

    now he trolls (stays relevant) T.O., a man whose life helps pay his bills. pathetic and gutless garbage.

  19. People need to get their heads out of their hind ends, especially Terrell Owens.

    First, NO HOF has a rigid set of standards for the admittance into he said HOF. It’s impossible to do so, every sport changes over time as does society’s acceptance of behavior. It can be easily said that 30-40 years ago, Owens wouldn’t have lasted 5 years with the attitude and behavior he had. But that was then, not when he played. You simply can’t compare the eras or the players with a strict code.

    Second, HOF voters are human and yes, even those with the very best intentions can be swayed, even if they don’t realize it. Owens behavior and antics has cost himself over the years, it most likely ended his career prematurely, as teams simply didn’t want to deal with is stupid antics and behavior as his skills declined. There is no doubt it is keeping him out, temporarily, of the HOF. You can claim “it’s not fair” and have a point. But you reap what you sow, maybe if he could ever be at least a but contrite about being s selfish prick during his playing days, things might be different.

    Third and finally, it is much ado about nothing. ALL this talk is about time, nothing else. Owens will be in the HOF, just not on the 1st or 2nd year of eligibility, BFD. We are not talking about a court of law , a person’s freedom or their life’s money, we are simply talking about a post career honor. An honor he will eventually receive and people will soon pretty much forget. Give Owens a pat on the head, a lollipop and if needed, a high colonic until then.

  20. “But the Eagles won two playoff games without him to get to the Super Bowl that year and then lost the Super Bowl with him.”

    This is what’s known as abuse of statistics.
    TO was the best player on the field in an Eagles’ uniform during the Super Bowl. Pretending correlation is causation is childish.

  21. 1. Owens > Irvin. Even if you disagree, it’s ridiculous to pretend it’s not even close. Shows his bias that he claims not to have.

    2. For every half decent point, he makes another point that shows twisted logic or flat out bias. Owens was the best player in that Super Bowl.

  22. ..and that was just the Eagles. He killed his team in San Francisco too. I don’t care whether or not they vote Owens in, but he made his teams worse, not better. There’s not one other player in the HOF that I can say made their team worse.

  23. I’m sure TO personally disrespected every single HoF voter at some point.

    This is the only way they could exact their petty revenge.

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