NFL Talk of Fame analyst Clark Judge dropped by CBS Sports Radio on Tuesday and was asked a seemingly innocuous question about the Hall of Fame candidacy of Terrell Owens, whom Brandon Tierney considers an “absolute shoe-in” for Canton.
“Well, let me stop you (there),” Judge said on Tiki and Tierney. “Absolute shoe-in? He’s not an absolute shoe-in. Not at all. He’s the most controversial guy we got on the board. I can almost guarantee you he won’t make it this year.”
Neither Tierney nor Tiki Barber understood why. After all, Owens ranks in the top three all-time in both receiving yards (15,934) and receiving touchdowns (153) and is sixth in catches (1,078). Why would he not be a shoe-in?
“Because for all the numbers people want to throw at you,” Judge said, “I’ll give you this number: the number of teams that wanted him at the top of his career – and that’s zero.”
But Owens was dominant for so many years.
“He was dominant,” Judge said, “but no one wanted him. When Andy Reid had him in Philadelphia, they went to the Super Bowl and people say he took them to the Super Bowl. Actually, he didn’t. He had a good year – he had a very good year – but he got hurt at the end of that year. The most valuable player in the playoffs for them was Brian Westbrook, and then Owens comes back in the Super Bowl, has a great Super Bowl, could have made his career there and then of course does that sit-up thing in the driveway with his agent.”
But who cares about that? Is the Hall of Fame about production or personality?
“This has nothing to do with personality,” Judge said. “This has everything to do with does the team want to keep him? Listen, Lawrence Taylor wasn’t the greatest guy in the world. The Giants wanted him and couldn’t live without him. Andy Reid said, ‘I’m a better team without this guy.’ When (Owens) went to Dallas, Bill Parcells didn’t even show up at the press conference. He made it clear, ‘I’m not in favor of this guy,’ and when he was there, he never called him by his name.
“I talked about numbers,” Judge continued, “and another number I think is applicable (is) two: the number of times he was suspended – by his own team. Andy Reid suspended him for half the season and said get him out of town. Listen, if you’re doing it solely by the basis of numbers, get Pricewaterhouse or some kind of accounting firm to get in there – because they’ll put those guys in and they’ll put guys like Wes Welker in there, too. Look at his numbers.”
Tiki and Tierney both disagreed with Judge, suggesting a voter crusade against Owens would be personal and petty.
“It’s not personal at all,” Judge said. “We’re talking about going a little bit deeper than the numbers. I know several coaches who coached this guy, one of whom said, ‘He’s the most divisive guy I’ve never been around. We couldn’t wait to get rid of him.’ You want to put that guy in the Hall of Fame? If he was so dominant, why didn’t those teams want to keep him? Because he was so divisive they wanted to get rid of him. You want to put that guy in the Hall of Fame? I don’t.”
Tierney asked Judge if he will make a passionate case to voters against putting Owens in Canton.
“That’s correct, (I will),” Judge said. “I think he probably does (get in eventually), but he’s not going to get in this year. We’ve got Marvin Harrison, who’s been waiting. And then you’re going to have Randy Moss next year and you got Isaac Bruce waiting there and Torry Holt waiting there. There’s going to be (a lot) of receivers with big numbers coming along, and it’s going to make it more difficult. But these arguments are going to be passionate for years.”