What do the words Hall of Fame mean to you? Do you think of the very best of the best players? Do you think of greatness, hard work, dedication, and endurance? I used to.

Unfortunately, the Hall of Fame has morphed into a popularity contest governed by politics, grudges, and a need to simply operate under perception rather than look at the greatness of a player.

The fact that a receiver as great as Terrell Owens is not in the Hall of Fame, is proof positive that this process is a sham.

Terrell Owens is second all-time in yardage, eighth in receptions, and one of only fourteen players in NFL history to catch 1,000 passes. He was a tireless worker, did not take plays off, was never afraid to go over the middle, and was as dependable of a receiver as nearly anyone in history.

The Hall of Fame process, in a nutshell, goes something like this. Each team’s representative sports writer gathers in a room. A player is nominated for discussion, the representative makes the case for the player like a lawyer advocating for a defendant, drops a few names to make the case stronger, and then they vote when each player’s case is made.

It’s crazy that a player like Terrell Owens has to have a case made for him, but it’s quite telling when after hearing of all his on-field accomplishments, he gets passed by for Jerry Jones and Morten Andersen.

Now I admit that off the field and in the locker room, Owens was not a model citizen. The Hall of Fame should not have anything to do with those things, but solely on his play on the field and accomplishments.

How does this get fixed? Allow for Hall of Fame coaches and players to have a say, like the Heisman Trophy voting. Who better to decide than men that coached and played against him? Sportswriters can facilitate the process and have a vote, but a player’s Hall of Fame fate should rest primarily on Hall of Fame players and coaches.

I guarantee that a player like Ken Stabler would get into the Hall of Fame BEFORE he passes in a system like this and the amount of politics should be drastically minimized with two more groups providing a voice.

It’s time that we start to see players and coaches like Jerry Kramer, Roger Craig, Robert Brazile, Jimmy Johnson, Tom Flores, and Ed White enshrined before the likes of Jerry Jones.

  • David Staines

    As I am a Niner Fan, I watched Terrell Owens, from beginning to end. The Hall of Fame isn’t about team players, but individual stats. He did set many records as well as break teams apart. However, I took issue with one statement “he didn’t take plays off”. That, is a load of BS. I watched Owens, in games that the Niners weren’t in, not show up, not be a difference maker. Also, one play in particular stands out to me, Owens quit on his route, and Garcia got picked because of it. I always thought he was selfish, vain, and for all his talent, a poor teammate. I wouldn’t want this guy on my team, and I was so glad when he left San Francisco.

    • Matt Andruscavage

      Im sure we could find a play here or there where he didnt run through his route 100%, but overall, Owens was one of the hardest workers Ive ever watched. A number of his teammates have said the same thing about his work ethic, but I do agree his personality was destructive to teams.

  • James Boyd

    When you have Team reps that aren’t even fans of the team they’re assigned to’cover, How passionate of a case are we going to get?
    Joe Klecko still isn’t in the HOF yet ask any player who had to go up against this three position all pro and they’ll tell you he should be in.
    Time for change.

    • Matt Andruscavage