The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2018 will be announced on Saturday and, maybe, we’ll see two of the greatest wide receivers of all-time go into the Hall together.
Randy Moss hit the ballot for the first time this year, and considering he’s widely considered the second-best receiver of all-time behind Jerry Rice, he should be a shoo-in. However, all he has to do is talk to Terrell Owens, who has the third-best statistical resume of any receiver ever, to know that nothing is assured when it comes to receivers and the Hall.
Owens is second in NFL history with 15,934 career yards, third with 153 career touchdowns and eighth in receptions with 1,078, however he’s still waiting to get a gold jacket despite it now being his third year on the ballot. Owens’ resume is Hall of Fame worthy and it’s a matter of when not if he gets in, but there is a problem with the voting process that keeps worthy players out simply due to voters not wanting to let someone in “too early” because other greats had to wait around as well.
This week, we talked to Owens on behalf of Febreze about that issue and why that line of thinking frustrates him, as well as the upcoming Super Bowl, why he wishes he could’ve done more in his lone Super Bowl appearance, what impresses him about Brady and Belichick, the biggest misconception people have about him, his Febreze campaign and favorite Super Bowl party foods.
You were in this same position with the Eagles 13 years ago, going into your first Super Bowl against Belichick, Brady and the Pats. What advice would you give to these Eagles going into this game if you could talk to them?
I don’t know. I don’t think much advice is needed, other than just take advantage of this opportunity, because again, you may never get it again throughout your playing career. So just as for some people this is a one time deal, it’s a one shot deal, unless your name is Tom Brady. But other than that, you just got to go out there and just play your hardest. And I think from a team standpoint, I think they realize, from every coach from the head coach down, they know that in order to win this game, they got to keep, obviously, points off the board, but they got to keep Tom Brady off the field. So if they can do that, and minimize, and kind of, harass him a little bit, and get him uncomfortable, then that’s going to bode well, and hopefully toward the end of the game.
What do you feel is most impressive about the Patriots run and the fact that Belichick and Brady are still making Super Bowls this deep into their tenure in New England, despite how many changes the NFL has gone through since that first Super Bowl they went to in about 2001?
Well, I think what’s different about them is that obviously they’re doing something different than everybody else is doing, and I think a big key to all of their success, really, is the quarterback play. But outside of that, you think about the number of players and carousel of players that come, go in and out of there, but they’re still able to, fortunately able just to win games and get to the Super Bowl. So that’s a big testament to really, kind of, their management, staff, and Bill Belichick in the fact that he’s able to make adjustments, not just half time adjustments. This is a guy that’s constantly playing and coaching the game every quarter, so he’s making adjustments as the game unfolds.
When you think back to your lone Super Bowl appearance and obviously it’s something that’s kind of gone down lore with the injury with everything that you had going on with you. What are your memories of that experience and how do you look back on it now that you’re removed from your career?
I wish I could’ve done more. Again, with the passes that came my way, I did my best to catch them. I tried to make a play. Clearly, I wasn’t 100 percent, but I think, just my will to win and just be out there, considering the injury that I had sustained, that I was able to do what I could. So, I wish I could’ve gotten a couple more catches and maybe that would’ve been a deciding factor but, like I said, I think everybody saw the performance that I put on and, you know, I said it was unfortunate that we ended up three points short.
The game has changed over the years to being a more spread out, passing friendly league? What do you think prime T.O. could’ve been able to do if you had been in your prime today, when this kind of offense was being played around the league?
I mean, you think, just with the inflation of the, over the last five years, I mean, there’s no telling what my numbers may have been. But just by the way that I played the game, in terms of just how fast and physical that I was, and again, I probably would’ve averaged at least 15 plus touchdowns a year. That’s just how I feel like I would’ve been able to perform, based on how the rules are and how the changing of the game has really kind of been immersed.
Who are your favorite receivers to watch in the league today?
I don’t watch a lot of games, but I do keep up with a lot of the highlights, which is what people want to see anyway. You know, you think about what Antonio Brown is doing, Julio Jones, I think everybody gets excited about the acrobatic catches and you think of that, you think spectacular catches, you think of Julio Jones, you think of Odell Beckham Jr. With Antonio Brown, I mean, these guys are pretty good. I mean, he’s a pretty consistent receiver, and I think what has enabled him to play as long and as efficient as he has, is just the ability to stay healthy. Obviously, he had an injury right before the playoffs, but just the consistency of his play and him being durable is what is allowed him to play so well.
What do you think the biggest misconception people have about you is?
The biggest misconception about me is, well, probably that my bleep don’t stink. And I say that in reference to the partnership that I have with Febreze so I’m sure a lot of people that watched me play, I’m pretty sure they probably thought that that’s how I thought of myself, that my bleep didn’t stink. But I was very, very competitive. Again, like I said, I know I was a team player, I know I was a great teammate, just because you have the opinions of certain people, whether it’s coaches, players or what have you, that didn’t like you, they don’t and they shouldn’t speak for the majority of the locker room. I don’t think that there’s one person in this world that 100 percent of the people like, so, like I’ve constantly said, that the narrative has been created that I was a bad teammate, but again, I can also say that narrative could’ve been said that I was a good teammate, based on other information and things that people said about me.
So, I understand how media works, and that’s the raw deal that I’ve gotten, so everybody thinks that I’m just a malcontent, I’m an arrogant, selfish person, but again, on the football field I’m one way and then off the field I’m pretty quiet, reserved, laid back, which is obviously a shock to a lot of people. But when I’m in between the lines, I think you think about some of the greats that have played the game in their respective sports, they all have something that makes them great and I think with me, my passion also got misconstrued as being arrogant and cocky.
Speaking of that, you’re now, this is now your third time as a Hall of Fame finalist, knowing where your numbers stack up at the top of most receiving lists and all of that, how frustrating has it been not getting that call the past two years and what would you say to voters that may, for some reason, be on the fence voting for you?
It’s not a popularity contest, so I mean, other than that, I don’t have anything to say to the voters. Again, like I said, I think a lot of people, even Hall of Famers, current Hall of Famers, I think there a lot of people, they want to know who these voters are. I mean, make themselves visible, because a lot of people have a lot of questions that need a lot of answers as to why I haven’t. So other than that, it is what it is at this point.
You’re not the first receiver to go through this with the Hall. Why do you think it is that they tend to make receivers wait?
Well, I think in terms of the ones that have had to wait, I mean, I don’t know who they are. I know Cris Carter’s one of those guys, but you think about some of the comments that he’s said about me, particularly last year, then we’re not even on the same level. He’s not the receiver that I was, and, you know, it is what it is. You look at his stats versus my stats, considering I guess his passion and love for the game, I’m sure he wanted to play that position as a youngster. I’m an athlete, that’s how I was able to be so successful, because I don’t really consider myself a football player. I’m an athlete that really learned the position of receiver. I came very competitive and passionate about winning and that’s how I was able to propel and excel to be the receiver that I was. So other than that, I don’t know about the other receivers.
I can’t really speak on that, because, when you think about some of the top two or three receivers in the game, then, like I said, there’s only maybe one or two that I feel like that are on our level, that’s myself, Jerry Rice, and you think about Randy Moss and what he’s done. So all these other people, just because they had to wait, that doesn’t mean somebody else has to wait, because again, there’s stats. It’s all about stats. It has to do anything about, which, in my case, has to be about character being, there’s some of these guys shouldn’t even be in the Hall of Fame.
Right, to shift back to this weekend. You are hosting a Super Bowl party. What’s your setup at the house, and kind of, what’s your process for getting ready for a big group of folks coming over to watch the game?
Oh yeah, so you know, I have game nights that I host at my house and with the Super Bowl coming up I’ve already kind of prepared, made some preparations. Obviously, the food, the refreshments, and things of that nature, some nachos, chips, the pizza, all that’s going to be on hand. But before all that’s in place, my bathroom is already prepared. I have Febreze everywhere. So, you know, everybody, if you’re going to be watching the Super Bowl game, obviously Dave is the guy that you need to be on the lookout for. He’s going to be making an appearance somewhere in the second quarter and again, in reference to the campaign behind Febreze bleep don’t stink, you’re going to see this guy, you’re going to understand why his bleep don’t stink.
Finally, what is the food spread at your party and what’s your go-to party food?
I mean, I know it sounds crazy, I’m not like a, I try to eat relatively healthy, and I think, obviously I’ve talked about health and nutrition throughout the course of my career. That’s what’s enabled me to do a lot of the things that I did, is, you know, obviously the hard work that goes into it, but nutrition plays a big part in it. But again, people think that I don’t eat pizza, they think I don’t eat candy bars and all that good stuff, but again, I just don’t eat it on an everyday basis. So, my go to is obviously pizza. I mean, you know, my Pizza Hut pizza will be on hand.