Snub of Terrell Owens shows HOF is a popularity contest

Terrell Owens belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

While the Pro Football Hall of Fame professes to have the goal of saluting the all-time greats and voters are asked to not consider the off-the-field stuff, the HOF voters’ continued refusal to select former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Terrell Owens into the Hall of Fame suggests that the process is flawed and based much more on popularity than they would likely admit.

When it comes to receiving statistics, it’s almost impossible to argue that Terrell Owens is not one of the all time greats. We have previously discussed how Marvin Harrison’s induction while T.O. was denied was questionable, but the fact that Terrell Owens has now been denied again with numbers that are comparable and, at times, superior to Harrison’s strongly suggests that perceived character flaws or some voters’ personal issues with the former wide receiver are coming into play, and this contradicts the professed integrity of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection process. Terrell Owens agrees:

Here is Stephen A. Smith’s opinion on Owens snub:

The reason why many are very frustrated with Terrell Owens snub is the inconsistency and variability of the selection process that allows for voters to choose with their ego instead of objectivity.

In other words, Lawrence Taylor can have criminal convictions and other significant character issues, but if he was nice or not mean to media, than the voters can say that they are told to overlook off-field issues and focus only on his football greatness when justifying selection.

So what happened in T.O.’s case if we are focusing only on football greatness? HOF selection process apologists might say that it is harder for a WR to make it in immediately due to inflated statistics, but this is a rationalization for a flawed process and inconsistent.

Bottom line, if Terrell Owens was better liked by voters or if voters were less butt-hurt by their perceived experiences with him, he would likely be in the HOF by virtue of his football accomplishments. But the reality is that the voters are humans and humans created a process that allows for enough variability to allow for popularity to weigh heavily in the selection. It’s not unreasonable for the Pro Football Hall of Fame to be a popularity contest at times, but let’s just stop pretending otherwise.




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