The NFL Honors debuted in 2012 along with inducting new members into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. For the most part, the committee gets the selections right every year, and there are usually no complaints. This was the case until Terrell Owens, who is second all-time in receiving yards and is widely considered one of the best wide receivers of all time, was kept out in his first two years of eligibility.
Terrell Owens and the Blatant Inconsistency of the Pro Football Hall of Fame
Finally, on Saturday night, Owens was inducted into the Hall of Fame after his inexplicable wait. However, there is a huge problem that exists with this decision. It is not the fact that Owens was inducted, but who was inducted with him. Both Randy Moss and Ray Lewis were inducted as first ballot Hall of Famers. Now, there is absolutely no doubt that both Moss and Lewis are deserving of first ballot inductions, but the committee showed its biggest inconsistency.
What Is the Difference?
Owens is notoriously known as a ‘distraction’ and a ‘selfish’ player. His run-ins with Gregg Knapp, Steve Mariucci, Jason Witten, and Jeff Garcia more than tells the story about his NFL career. However, there were times where criticism of him was unjust. Imagine fracturing your fibula, being adamant about playing in the Super Bowl, and being called “selfish.” Regardless, Owens was as polarizing as it gets, and the Hall of Fame committee took that into consideration. By keeping Owens out in his first years of eligibility, it seemed as though the committee was trying to prove a point, trying to put personality over results. With that said, there were rumblings about whether Moss and/or Lewis will get in with the committee cracking down. However, that was not the case.
Moss is considered to be the second-best wide receiver ever behind the great Jerry Rice. He is the true definition of a transcendent talent, and there are not many of them left in the league today. However, Moss was not perfect by any stretch. Marijuana use, his less than desirable stint with the Oakland Raiders, and his alleged domestic battery in 2008 is definitely a black eye on his career. Apparently, those transgressions were not enough to keep Moss from receiving the Owens treatment.
Like Moss, Lewis is looked at as one the greatest of all time at his respective middle linebacker position. He falls in the same category with Lawrence Taylor and fellow 2018 Hall of Fame inductee Brian Urlacher. However, Lewis’ image is not squeaky clean. In 2000, Lewis and two others were indicted on charges of a murder that occurred outside of an Atlanta nightclub. Eventually, the charges were dropped, but the evidence surely was not in Lewis and company’s favor. A settlement was reached in 2004 and is not talked about as much anymore.
As said before, there is absolutely no doubt that Owens, Lewis, and Moss are first-ballot and well deserving of being in the Hall of Fame. Thing is, why hold out on Owens when the others go unscathed? In a situation where a guy was more good than trouble, there is no way the wait for the Hall of Fame should have been this long. Hopefully, football fans will not be deprived of seeing a great player being inducted due to a committee’s feelings being hurt.