The Pro Football Hall of Fame will induct Eddie DeBartolo Saturday afternoon, an honor that is long overdue. While DeBartolo and others receive football’s highest honor, Terrell Owens is left waiting for next year’s vote. TO did not get in on the ballot this year, and was none too pleased. He referred to the voters as pencil-pushers, and expressed significant frustration.
There is no denying TO’s numbers. He is ranked No. 2 all-time in receiving yards, and No. 6 in receptions. And he generally avoided trouble outside of football, unlike some Hall of Famers, and plenty of his other peers. However, it was the trouble he caused in the locker room that appears to be the hold-up. It is possible some media members hold a grudge over his behavior towards them, but several are pointing to his locker room behavior as the reason he is not in.
Back in February, HOF voter Gary Myers pointed to the locker room issues. On Friday, Bleacher Report columnist Mike Tanier wrote a feature in which he pointed to a variety of comments from Hall voters about the disruptions. They point to the fact that teams were willing to unload him for pennies on the dollar because of the problems.
When Myers discussed it, Ross Tucker suggested it just be what happens between the white lines. Myers felt the locker room was an extension of that. In Tanier’s feature, they talked about integrity and respect. People suggested TO was lacking in the integrity portion. Hall voters are supposed to ignore off-field stuff, which is why Peter King has said he will consider Darren Sharper’s case while ignoring the rapes he committed. I get wanting to focus on football, but when you start saying integrity is a factor in this, you’re pushing into off-field stuff, aren’t you?
At some point I have to think TO gets in. Even with the locker room stuff, his numbers are ridiculous. He was there as rules changed to benefit the offense, but even still, the numbers are historically good. There are a lot of quality receivers on the ballot, and coming up, so if he does not get into the Hall in 2017 or 2018, it will be interesting to see how long it lasts.