Does Terrell Owens deserve a place in the Hall of Fame? It’s been an oft debated topic and the discussion now includes Bill Parcells.
Parcells, who coached Owens with the Dallas Cowboys and is himself in the Hall of Fame, was asked if he’d vote for Owens.
“I think I would. I think I would,” Parcells said, appearing on ESPN Radio (H/T Pro Football Talk). “He certainly was highly productive. He was highly productive and did some very remarkable things on the field. He also came with some other things that you had to deal with. And sometimes they weren’t always pleasant for some of the places that he was. But that being said, it’s a production business and he did produce at an extremely high level.”
Parcells, like Dallas owner Jerry Jones, could not be more on the money.
There’s no question that Owens had his issues. He had them everywhere he went, making it very hard to blame the other guy. That was the basic argument against Owens by Dan Fouts, which you can read more about here.
Honestly, if Owens had borderline on-field credentials, his off-field issues would work stronger against him. Fouts’ argument would be more credible.
But Owens’ credentials don’t make him a fringe Hall of Famer. Owens is eighth in career receptions, second in receiving yards and third in touchdown receptions. Those are not borderline statistics. He’s a slam dunk.
If character issues are going to be problematic, then the voters have to be consistent? Did Brett Favre’s neverending retirement false starts hurt his cause? He didn’t leave his teams on the best of terms. Will Randy Moss be punished for his numerous off field issues, or does his status as a media member now give him a pass? What about Ray Lewis. Owens was never accused of anything as heinous as Lewis. And while Lewis’ case was resolved, he was far from vindicated.
If Owens is going to be kept out of the Hall of Fame because of his character issues, then the enforcement needs to be consistent. It hasn’t been so far. Smart money says it won’t be in the future.
Owens may not win many admirers. He probably won’t be on the receiving end of many video tributes and moving standing ovations when he goes back to cities. That’s fine. But he was one of the most dominant players of his era and one of the most dominant receivers in the history of the game. Voters may not want Owens on their Christmas Card lists, but he is a Hall of Famer.