I am, was and always will be, one of your biggest fans. When you fought for a new contract, I said, “He deserves it.” When you were yelling at Donovan McNabb on the sideline I said, ” Tell him to throw you the damn ball.” When you got slighted in the Hall of Fame voting year after year, I cried outrage.
But, this time… I can’t defend you.
Tony “Jigsaw “Cutillo
Let’s first look at the facts: Owens was a charismatic wide receiver throughout his 15-year career, but proved his worth week after week. He finished eighth in NFL history with 1,078 receptions, second in receiving yards with 15,934, third in touchdowns among wide receivers with 153, and fought hard for nine seasons of 1,000 or more yards. With six Pro Bowls and five First-Team All-Pro honors, he’s undoubtedly one of the best receivers of all-time.
The consensus by Hall of Fame voters was that he had the numbers, but was a “bad teammate.” We are all very familiar with his past “antics” like standing on the Dallas Cowboys’ star, stuffing his face with popcorn from a fan, shaking pom-poms from a cheerleader, and pulling a Sharpie out of his sock and signing a football. But, why was he judged on this alone?
In my opinion, he should’ve been a first-ballot entry into the Hall of Fame behind only Jerry Rice and Randy Moss. I give you the following observations to debate:
• I firmly believe he played the Super Bowl on 1 Leg because he wanted to win a ring; not because he wanted a new contract.
• While Randy Moss was running fly routes up and down the sideline, T.O. was taking punishing hits across the middle from guys named Lewis and Urlacher.
• Even though he was a pain in the ass on the sideline, how many times did he get caught for substance abuse or domestic violence?
For all of the statements above, I believe his snubs weren’t warranted. Instead, they were the decisions of a few pompous voters who used the only stage they have to be heard, to be relevant. They made their point, but this time around he was offered the prestigious honor of going to Canton. However, he has decided to celebrate on his own and decline the invitation to attend the ceremony.
Sure, some will say this is the ultimate ending to a controversial career that has been filled with Twitter headlines and TMZ spotlights. Some may even go the extra step to say that’s what the committee deserves for holding him out. I, on the other hand, say this decision is tasteless and disrespectful to a shrine that is dedicated to the best players to ever put on a uniform. While the consensus seems to play this off as a predictable move, I still feel it’s the wrong time to prove a point. This was the time to show the voters why they were wrong and to shove this honor right in their face. Instead, T.O. played right into their hands, leaving them to always coin the phrase, “That’s why we snubbed him the first two times.”
Terrell Owens was a special kind of talent whose mouth always got him in trouble. Like I said above, I always had his back, but this time he’s on his own.
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