The NFL announced the Class of 2017 for the Hall of Fame on Saturday night and one of the five greatest receivers of all time, once again, was left off of the list. Terrell Owens announced on Twitter before the official announcement that for the second straight year he was not selected.
I don’t normally get too worked up over Hall of Fame announcements, but keeping Owens out of the Hall is absurd and it’s impossible to justify not voting for Owens based on the numbers he put up during his career. He’s second in career receiving yards (15,934), third in career touchdowns (153) and eighth in career receptions (1,078). His 14.8 yards per reception average is the exact same as Jerry Rice. His 72.8 yards per game is the 16th most all-time (seventh among non-active players).
Every player around him on these lists eligible for the Hall of Fame made it in, but like Owens, many of them took a long time to get in. Owens is now 0-for-2 in Hall of Fame voting, and if history teaches us anything it’s that it might take longer for him to get that gold jacket. Football Perspective highlighted the plight of great receivers in getting into the Hall of Fame early in their eligibility.
Owens not being selected to the Hall in his first two years of eligibility is arguably more egregious than any of these other waits, but all of them point to something being wrong with how voters view receivers. The voters keeping Owens out seems to be mostly about his persona as one of the all-time great diva receivers.
Old voters didn’t like the antics or the celebrations, because Jerry Rice just handed the ball to the ref and TO dumped popcorn on his face.