The stats say Terrell Owens is a Hall of Famer, but for the second consecutive year the polarizing wide receiver was passed over by Hall of Fame voters - leading Owens and a number of NFL players to criticize the entire process.
On a special Super Bowl Sunday edition of Undisputed, Shannon Sharpe detailed why he adamantly believes Owens should have been a first-ballot Hall of Famer, while Skip Bayless argued that Owens was rightfully kept out.
Shannon: T.O.'s absence from the Hall of Fame is an injustice
“I’m so disappointed. He absolutely deserved to be into the Hall of Fame.He has the second-most receiving yards in the 97 year history of the NFL. He has the third-most receiving touchdowns in the 97 year history of the NFL. He’s also a top-10 receiver as far as receptions.
The problem that I have is that T.O. is a five-time first-team All-Pro. Now a lot of these voters who are voting for the Hall of Fame, they’re also voters for the Pro Bowl. When you vote for the All-Pro team, it’s not AFC, it’s not NFC. You combine the two conferences. Those voters said, five times, that Terrell Owens is one of the two best receivers in all of football."
Shannon: Owens deserves validation
"They knew his history then, but they still said he’s one of the two best receivers in football. Now when it comes time for them to give him his ultimate validation - because there’s nothing else he can do - they turn him down because of on-field issues. They turn him down because he didn’t get along with teammates or didn’t get along with coaches.
I look at it like this. If I’m a college [student], if I get all As, and it comes time after my four years for me to get my degree, don’t tell me I was disrespectful to the teachers. Don’t tell me I was disrespectful to my classmates. Give me my degree, because I’ve earned it. Give this man his validation."
Shannon: The Hall of Fame is about stats
"And these numbers… they don’t take the team. They take T.O.’s numbers. Norm Van Brocklin’s jersey - the jersey that he threw for and 554 yards, which is still the record - is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I don’t think if he got a speeding ticket or a parking citation, that’s in there.
So what are we talking about? We’re talking about stats. Skip, if it was for sainthood, I would agree, but let me tell you something interesting.
The Pro Football Hall of Famers who went to historically black universities and colleges are getting honored today before the game. We also got honored last night. I was on the bus. Skip, I was the youngest guy on the bus. A lot of the guys that were riding back on the bus, they were done playing football [before] T.O. was born. Every last one of them said ‘this is a shame.’"
Shannon: Owens is the second-best receiver to ever play
"This is not a knock on anybody that went in because all those guys that went in deserved to get in.
First of all, T.O. should have been a first ballot Hall of Famer. The guy that was presenting his case, he should have stood up and said ‘he had the second-most receiving yards, third-most touchdowns, fifth-most catches.’ And sit down and not have to say anything, like the guy did for Dan Marino, like the guy did for Emmitt Smith and John Elway.
Take all the personal stuff aside. In my estimation, I have a gold jacket, I have three [Super Bowl rings]. I know a Hall of Famer when I see him. Terrell Owens was the second-greatest receiver to ever put on cleats and play in the National Football League."
Skip: Terrell Owens always points fingers and deflects blame
“The process is not flawed, as Terrell says. This is nothing personal. This is about what he did in the locker room and in the huddle and on the football field. To not one, or two, or three teams - all three were teams with Super Bowl potentialthat he wrecked.
I was there for the first one, which was in San Francisco. And, to me, what Terrell continues to do via Twitter and social media is exactly the kind of behavior that hurt him when he was a player.
It’s always about ‘my resume is fine, it’s your fault. You’ve made it personal.’ He’s always pointing fingers because, trust me on this, Terrell always led the league in dropped passes - which he did many times - in blame deflecting, and in finger pointing. He’s doing it again now with the Hall of Fame, and it might continue to damage his chances to get in.”
Shannon: I warned T.O. not to lash out at voters
“I’ve talked to T.O. on several occasions, and I talked to him last year and said ’T.O., I believe, it is my estimation that you are a first-ballot Hall of Famer. But if you don’t get in, don’t lash out.’ and I said ‘because if you lash out, the women and men that you’re lashing out at… guess what they do? They vote again next year, and they vote again the following year. So if you do this, this is going to hurt you.’”
John David MercerJohn David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Skip: I watched T.O. tear apart football teams
“I was there covering the team in San Francisco. I was, early on, a proponent, in public, of Terrell Owens. And player after player pulled me aside in the locker room and said ‘you have no idea how he’s tearing apart our football team.’
Then he subsequently went after his head coach Steve Mariucci … then he went after his quarterback who had made three straight Pro Bowls. Attacked him publicly and campaigned for the backup Tim Rattay, some sixth-round draft pick, to replace Jeff Garcia. It was incident after incident in which we went after Greg Knapp, the coordinator, on the field.
Then he goes to Philly with his soulmate Donovan McNabb. Turned on him. Ripped him publicly. Then he turned on the coach who wanted him in Philly, Andy Reid. Then he went after Brad Childress and they had a big clash, and then he had a clash in the locker room that led to a near-fight with Hugh Douglas. They sent him home! They suspended him, and then they cut him for the rest of the season without pay for seven games because he was wrecking the football team."
Skip: He doesn't belong
“Bill Parcells, Hall of Fame football coach, said ‘I don’t want him in Dallas.’ Jerry [Jones] said ‘I need him for box office, because we’re struggling at the gate, we want bigger TV numbers.’ And what happened? He immediately turned, did Terrell, on Bill Parcells, then he had a big incident with the receivers coach Todd Haley, which led to a near-fight with the team leader, Jason Witten, before a practice.
I said the day he retired: ‘I’m sorry, the numbers say Hall of Fame, but the behavior that hurt those teams say no, he doesn’t belong.’ I’m sorry.”