Terrell Owens Is a First-Ballot Hall of Famer

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To those who are strictly familiar with Terrell Owens, better known as T.O., and his ability to be a team’s worst nightmare, might think to yourselves “What the heck are you talking about?  Terrell Owens is not a first-ballot Hall of Famer.”  Others who have seen what Owens has done on the gridiron and what he has contributed to the NFL will rightfully say that Owens deserves to be inducted in Canton five years after his career is over.  I am one of those people who believe that Owens and his contributions will get him into the Hall of Fame, first ballot.  Keep this in mind, I am not a Terrell Owens fanatic, but I cannot deny that Terrell Owens is one the best WRs to ever play the game.

I think a very good majority of people who watch, study, and follow the NFL will agree with me that Terrell Owens will be in the Hall of Fame.  The debate is more on how long should it take him to get inducted.  This is based on his overall career statistics and his ability to make the team around him better.  Here are some of the argument points that I have heard PERSONALLY used to argue against Terrell Owens being a first-ballot Hall of Famer:

  1. Terrell Owens is NOT a team player/He’s a team distraction – I will admit, T.O. has been one of the most egotistical football players that has ever embraced the NFL.  T.O. has played for five teams (49ers, Eagles, Cowboys, Bills, and currently the Bengals).  Out of those five teams, T.O. has definitely been caught-up in team controversy with his first three teams.  On the other hand, with the Bills, and even currently with the Bengals, Owens has not been much of a distraction and a nuisance has people have wanted or expected him to be.  Another thing to add to deter this argument is this:  How many times has Terrell Owens been arrested by police?  Been busted for steroids, drugs, or any other illegal substance?  The answer is 0, which means T.O. is not as a distraction to the league that people make him out to be.
  2. Terrell Owens was NOT the best WR during his time in the NFL – From Terrell Owens rookie season of 1996 to present, we have had receivers such as Randy Moss, Torry Holt, Issac Bruce, Marvin Harrison, and Hines Ward make the most impact within that time span.  From those five-listed receivers, and the addition of Owens, its argued that T.O. is somewhere within the middle of the pack; behind Randy Moss, Issac Bruce, and Marvin Harrison (which is a stretch at this point).
  3. Terrell Owens has not won a Super Bowl – This is one of the most used arguing points in determining Hall of Fame placement for a player.  How many Super Bowls has Owens been to?  He’s only been to one, which was in the 2004 season with the Philadelphia Eagles.  As we all know, the Eagles lost to the Patriots in the big dance.  A team that has Terrell Owens has not been back to the Super Bowl since, and many critics claim that he is part of the reason why.  Well, let’s think for a minute.  Randy Moss, who is definitely going to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, doesn’t have a Super Bowl ring either and he is claimed by many as one of the best WRs in NFL history.
  4. There are other Wide Receivers who should be inducted first before T.O. – Issac Bruce, Tim Brown, Marvin Harrison, Cris Carter, Henry Ellard, and Torry Holt.  All of these receivers are currently within the top-10 of all-time receiving yards in the NFL and NONE are in the Hall of Fame.  These receivers will definitely be within the Hall of Fame in the next couple of years.  If T.O. (we’ll say theoretically) was to retire at the end of this season, what will he be up against in five years?  Only time would tell.

In looking at all of these arguing points that are used against Terrell Owens, there is no set of stats that can be argued by anyone:  his overall wide receiver statistics from 1996-present.  The following statistics were obtained from NFL.com and Pro-Football-Reference.com:

  • 15,427 receiving yards (currently second all-time to Jerry Rice, who has 22,895)
  • 1,037 receptions (currently fifth all-time; only seven receivers have 1,000+ career receptions)
  • 146 career receiving touchdowns (currently third-all time behind Randy Moss and Jerry Rice)
  • 149 total touchdowns (currently fifth all-time)
  • Seven years with at least 10+ receiving touchdowns (three times with SF and DAL, once with PHI). Only Marvin Harrison (8), Randy Moss and Jerry Rice (9) have more seasons with at least 10+ receiving touchdowns
  • 50 career games with 100+ yards receiving (currently 4th most all-time)
  • Top-10 in receiving yards for five seasons (2000-02 and 2006-07)

As a wide receiver in the NFL, the above stats are the ones you should be concerned about when debating on whether or not a player is first-ballot material.  I think those numbers speak for itself.  In the years that T.O. was with the 49ers, Jeff Garcia undoubtedly had the best season of his career statistically.  When T.O. went to the Eagles, Donovan McNabb had his best year in this career statistically.  When T.O. went to the Cowboys, Tony Romo had the best season of his career statistically.  If you don’t believe me, look it up yourselves.  The last time I checked, character issues was not a part of the voting requirements when it came to determining who made the Hall of Fame.  It was about the contribution that the individual gave to the game of football and how much of an impact he made out of the field.  I think Terrell Owens has definitely made his presence known, whether people want to admit it or not.

Terrell Owens, in my eyes, is a first-ballot Hall of Fame candidate.  Will the NFL Hall of Fame voting committee think so when the time comes?  We’ll see.