5 reasons why Terrell Owens should’ve been a first-ballot Hall of Famer

Terrell Owens played in the NFL for 15 seasons.

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Terrell Owens wasn’t one of the names voted into the 2016 class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he announced on Saturday night.

Owens, 42, was a dominant wide receiver for 15 years in the league, but was bypassed for unknown reasons. 

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"The Hall of Fame is based on some criteria, based on a lot of journalists, and they weigh in on why I should be in and why I shouldn’t be in," Owens told TMZ Sports earlier this week. "I guess the main reason they would say I shouldn’t be in is because of, I guess, the issues I’ve had — in their eyes — with my teammates. I’ve been on five teams and caused some little issues here and there. …

"I know for a fact there are guys in the Hall of Fame that have had off-the-field issues with law enforcement, DUIs, domestic violence and all types of things. If you want to factor character into that, those guys should have been questioned. So in terms of that, why shouldn’t I be in?"

Owens makes a point and here are five reasons why he should’ve been a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

Only Jerry Rice has more receiving yards: That stat says it all. Owens logged 15,934 yards, which is good for second all-time. Owens was a playmaker and people who produce at that level deserve to be enshrined.

Transcended the game: Can you tell the story of the NFL without Terrell Owens? Possibly. But the early 2000s wouldn’t have been nearly as entertaining. Sure, Owens was a polarizing player, but he played the game with passion and was productive on the field. 

Ranks sixth all-time in receptions: Owens is in some rarified air on this list. Along with names like Rice, Tony Gonzalez, Marvin Harrison, Cris Carter and Tim Brown, Owens ranks just below with 1,078 receptions. That’s stunning in an era when pass-friendly offenses weren’t necessarily the trend.

Third in TD receptions: "Get your popcorn ready," Owens would notably say. The veteran wide receiver found the end zone more than every other wide receiver to play the game other than Rice and Randy Moss. Think about that.

An all-time great performance: For nearly a decade, Owens’ 20-reception game against the Chicago Bears set an NFL record at the time. In 2009, Brandon Marshall eclipsed Owens’ mark by catching 21 balls. It was an impressive performance and one for the record books. 

Owens, who was widely regarded as one of the best players, will have to wait another year to see his bust in Canton. And that’s a shame.