Does Terrell Owens deserve a spot in the NFL Hall of Fame?
This is an interesting question that is not as cut and dry as one would think.
I would like to state for the record that I am not a T.O. fan and think that many of his on-field antics have no place in professional football. I am from the Barry Sanders school of thought when it comes to touchdown celebrations. Barry asked players to "Act like you have been there before."
My feelings on Owens aside, I think that based purely on his statistics he should be a first ballot hall of famer.
However, history has taught us that the Hall of Fame committee takes more than just stats into consideration when judging Hall of Fame talent.
I submit to you another player who, based on his statistics, deserves to be in the Hall of Fame: Ricky Watters. However Watters is not in Canton, and the reasons for his exclusion bear a striking similarity to the career of T.O.
Owens and Watters both boast statistics that are significantly better than players of their position that are already in the Hall of Fame, but both players have been condemned as "me-first" players who seek individual glory over their team’s best interest.
Both Watters and Owens have been at odds with teammates, and both have left promising teams due to off field circumstances. Watters left the 49ers after winning the Superbowl amid a contract dispute. Owens was suspended for conduct detrimental to the team the season after he helped lead the Eagles to the Superbowl. His grievances with the Eagles stemmed from trying to renegotiate his contract with several years left on his current one.
Both Watters and Owens have public persona's that have created enemies within NFL circles. Both have offended writers who vote on the Hall of Fame to the point where certain writers have sworn to leave them out of their HOF ballot as long as they vote on the Hall of Fame Committee.
They are also similar in that their career can not be associated with one franchise. Waters played for the Eagles, Niners, and Seahawks, but are not considered truly a part of any organization.
Owens also gives off the vibe of a hired gun. His stints in San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas, and now Buffalo make not only the question of merit a consideration for the Hall of Fame, but of what team he would be inducted for.
Lastly, both Owens and Watters have spurned the same franchises that are among the most loyal and unforgiving in the NFL. If you can use Watters’ career as an example you don’t burn your bridges with two of the most popular NFL franchises and easily gain entrance to the Hall of Fame.
This is not an excuse to bash Terrell Owens, but to give legitimate questions to his Hall of Fame credentials. When does personal achievement supersede team goals and accomplishments?
If Ricky Watters is an example of the HOF committee’s mindset, Owens’ place in the NFL Hall of Fame may not be as set in stone as most of us would think.