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Terrell Owens: Hall of Fame “should be purely based on stats”

Terrell Owens


If there were a Fantasy Football Hall of Fame, Terrell Owens would definitely be in it already. He thinks the Pro Football Hall of Fame should have the same criteria.

Owens responded to criticism from actual Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison by simply pointing to the statistical differences between them, and saying that should put him in and Harrison out.

During an interview with Maria Menounos on SiriusXM — who admitted to not knowing who Harrison was (I wonder if she thinks T.O. has changed now) — Owens tried to make it as simple as numbers.

“He played a number of years with Peyton Manning, he’s an incredible receiver,” Owens said. “But again, when it comes to what the Hall of Fame is all about in terms of the criteria to get in, it should be purely based on stats and obviously my stats are better than his. . . .

“Of all the gold jackets that were there leading up to the actual day of the induction, everybody for sure was like I was a shoe-in. And at some point, yeah, I feel like I will get in, but I think with the body of work and what I did for the game, I should have been in first ballot.”

For the record, Harrison played in 190 games, caught 1,102 passes (third all-time) for 14,580 yards (seventh) and 128 touchdowns (fifth).

Owens played in 219 games, caught 1,078 passes (sixth) for 15,934 yards (second) and 153 touchdowns (third).

So in three more seasons, Owens caught 24 fewer passes, but had 1,354 more yards and 25 more touchdowns.

But, while we’re looking up numbers, Hall of Famers Lynn Swann and John Stallworth combined for just 873 receptions for 14,185 yards and 114 touchdowns, so maybe they should each give up their jackets so Owens can get in on his schedule.

In the history of the Hall of Fame, only five wide receivers have been chosen in their first year of eligibility — Raymond Berry (1973), Lance Alworth (1978), Paul Warfield (1983), Steve Largent (1995) and Jerry Rice (2010).

Owens has better numbers than all of them but Rice. Then again, so do Isaac Bruce and Reggie Wayne and Andre Johnson and Steve Smith and Henry Ellard and Torry Holt and Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. As rules have made things easier for the modern passing game, modern passing statistics have ballooned. Putting that variable into context is an annual challenge for selectors.

And while Owens seems offended by having to wait, among recent Hall of Famers, Andre Reed waited nine years for induction, Tim Brown and Cris Carter six each and Michael Irvin three.

The point is, times change, and the Hall of Fame has written its guidelines for selectors vaguely for a reason. Choosing a class is an annual blend of art and science, and with a maximum of five slots for modern era candidates to be divided among players at 22 positions (plus special teamers), it can’t be a simple mathematical exercise.