Now that Terrell Owens has 1,000 catches, is he a Hall of Famer?

Four Corners

December 30, 2009

It's more than a feeling
Nick Fierro, The Morning Call

When deciding on Hall of Fame qualifications, sometimes you go on instant feel, sometimes on sheer statistics and sometimes both. In Terrell Owens' case, it's both.

From a performance standpoint, the numbers don't lie - 1,002 catches, 14,886 yards and a staggering 143 touchdowns. The TD total is more than recent electees Art Monk and Michael Irvin combined.

From a feel standpoint, it's also overwhelming.

We in Philadelphia were only exposed to him up close for a season and a half, but it was enough to know this guy is a Hall of Fame receiver, based on what he's done on the field.

Off the field? That's a different subject altogether. For that answer, order up another round of beers, because the argument has just begun. But to me, he's in.

nfierro@tribune.com

Unquestionably dominant
Dan Pompei, Chicago Tribune

Terrell Owens has his detractors. In fact, he has created many of his detractors. But he is unquestionably one of the most dominant wide receivers of his era, and that should qualify him to be a prime candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

I just voted for him as one of the two starting receivers on my all-decade team, and his statistical body of work argues he deserves that and more.

He averaged 82.8 receiving yards per game during the decade - best in the league. He had 117 catches of 25 yards or more - also best in the league.

Only Randy Moss had more receiving touchdowns, and only Moss had a better average per catch than Owens' 14.9 yards.

With T.O., you have to look past the sideshow and look at the player.

dpompei@tribune.com

Stands the test of time
Ken Murray, Baltimore Sun

No question Terrell Owens deserves to go in. Until they build halls of fame for only athletes without personality or social flaws, there can be no keeping him out. Owens has done it over time, with big numbers and on very good teams. If his self-serving act has worn out in some places, that's the way sports has gone in his generation.

He ranks third in NFL history with 143 touchdown catches - behind Jerry Rice and Randy Moss - and fourth with 14,886 receiving yards. But the number that jumps out at me is his 26 touchdown catches of 50 or more yards. That also ranks fourth all-time, but it tells you all you need to know about his place among NFL greats.

A year in Buffalo - his punishment for playing with Tony Romo's head - has lowered his profile. And yes, he is self-absorbed. Still, there is no valid argument to keep him out of Canton.

kmurray@tribune.com

It's not just about him
Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times

Terrell Owens is a rare athlete who has put up some very good career numbers. But remember, we're talking about the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Very Good. The big question with him is, does he make the people around him better? That's highly debatable.

If he elevated the play of his teammates, why would the 49ers, Eagles and Cowboys eventually get rid of him? You don't show Hall of Fame players the door.

He played in a Super Bowl, yes, and was very impressive in bouncing back from an injury to do so. But the Eagles got there without him and ultimately grew to view him as a distraction and a detriment.

Because we live in an era of fantasy football, we're infatuated with statistics. With Owens, you have to look deeper. And when you do, it's clear he doesn't belong in Canton.

sfarmer@tribune.com

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