With news coming out in the last few days that TO (Terrell Owens) somehow tore and ACL while filming his reality show, people are assuming he’ll retire considering his 38th birthday is coming up.
Since that news broke, I’ve seen many articles questioning whether TO is Hall of Fame worthy. The consensus among all of the articles I’ve read was, based on his career statistics, that he’s not only Hall of Fame worthy, but a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer.
I disagree entirely. Not only do I think he won’t be in on the first ballot, I don’t think he’ll get in at all. There are currently many receivers with a pedigree equal to Owens’. Chris Carter, Tim Brown, Andre Reed, Irving Fryar, and Henry Ellard are receivers currently eligible for the Hall, but, for some reason, have not gotten in. Sure, Owens has more touchdowns than all of those receivers, but all other statistics are comparable. Wide receivers are also the least represented position in the Hall.
Unfortunately for Owens, it takes more than good stats to get into the Hall. One of the biggest considerations for voters is Superbowl rings, of which, Owens has none. He made the Superbowl only once, with the Eagles. Furthermore, his locker room presence was generally detrimental to every team he was on. His consistent clamoring for the ball aside, Owen’s was a divisive force by (in San Francisco) calling his quarterback (Jeff Garcia) gay, publicly holding out in 2005 only one year after signing a 7 year deal with the Eagles, accusing Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo of purposefully not throwing him the ball (he reportedly slapped Romo in an argument), and publicly condemning the entirety of the Cincinnati Bengals (who hasn’t?) organization.
In addition, when the 49ers traded Owens to the Ravens in 2004, he refused to play for the team forcing the NFLPA and an arbitrator to get involved in the dispute. He insinuated in an interview after his release from the Eagles that Donovan McNabb choked in the Superbowl, throwing up in the huddle while the Eagles were trying to drive down the field for a winning score. He also called the Eagles a “classless’ organization for not recognizing and celebrating his 100th career touchdown reception.
Owens has had a stellar career statistically, and were it not for all of the off-the-field/in-the-locker room incidents he’d be a surefire Hall-of-Famer. However, all the controversial and divisive actions should not be celebrated or memorialized. TO was a dominate player, but not a Hall-of-Famer.