The Hall of Fame selection committee is sending a message loud and clear to future Hall of Famer Terrell Owens, but ESPN’s Bill Polian is sending a much stronger message: Get in line or be kept out!
It appears the former Indianapolis Colts general manager and I disagree on more than just athletes visiting the White House.
We have officially reached the height of Polian’s absurdity with his latest “my way or the highway” response regarding whether he would vote for Owens and Randy Moss to be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
While speaking to Clark Judge of Talk of Fame Sports Network, Polian had this to say:
“I take neither,” Polian said. “First of all, here’s my position: [I want players who] contribute both individually and to the team. T.O.’s situation, T.O.’s temperament, his ability to contribute to the team was well-known up front. He was going to be a problem. We did not want to deal with problem children. Others may. We didn’t. That’s number one. Number two, every year in Indianapolis we said the following: ‘The price of admission is 100% effort all the time in everything we do.’ Well, how can we take Randy Moss when we make that statement? It’s that simple.”
Whenever we have discussions such as this, we’re quick to highlight how Polian is a resident expert when it comes to the NFL, and we begin to run off a list of his Hall of Fame credentials. I’ll let other articles do that.
This isn’t about his resume or qualifications that made him successful as a general manager. This is a common sense issue. Anyone can see that Owens and Moss should unequivocally be in the Hall of Fame.
Now this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Hall of Fame snubs or a discussion about athletes who should undeniably be voted in, and it certainly won’t be the last time.
But to the selection committee and specifically Polian, what exactly are your criteria for eligibility and acceptance?
If there’s any hesitation as to whether someone should be voted in take a second to ask these series of questions: Did their talent match their production? Did they perform at an elite level for an extended period of time? When we bring up their respective position, are we forced to mention to their name? Was their talent must-see?
Check. Check. Check. Check.
Moss and Owens undoubtedly answered those questions with their body of work.
Polian made mention of how Owens was renowned for dropping passes and led the league in drops a few times. Is Polian aware that Brett Favre threw a plethora of interceptions, some in the biggest of in-game moments, and subsequently led the NFL in interceptions on several occasions?
Being such an NFL historian, I’m sure Polian is.
But Favre, with his storied career, made it into the Hall of Fame.
It’s because at the end of his playing career his dominance in every statistical category imaginable to quarterbacks was so irrefutable that his numbers warranted his nomination and eventual enshrinement.
Same argument goes for Owens and Moss.
Both had stellar careers indelibly stained with controversy on or off the field, drama, and several teams ultimately parting ways with both multiple times. Up goes the cry if they were so great, then why did so many teams release them? My retort to that is very simple: Why did other teams keep giving them another chance?
It’s because their talent and on-field productivity warranted they get another opportunity.
What kind of message are we sending if we totally ignore statistics, the eye test, talent and the acknowledgement from their very own peers that Owens and Moss are two of the best wide receivers to lace up a pair of cleats?
If two of the most successful coaches in NFL lore, Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick, both acknowledge that Owens and Moss should be in the Hall of fame, who is Polian to argue that?
Owens will be up for enshrinement for the third time next year, while Moss will be in his first year of eligibility. Much to his chagrin, Polian ultimately thinks Moss and Owens will eventually end up in Canton, Ohio, with him one day.
Owens and Moss being denied entry into the Hall of Fame would be more of a disgrace than actually letting them in.
Just maybe, one day, the voters will see it that way.
Marcus Lamar is a Washington D.C.-based sports journalist. You can check out his podcast “Marc My Words” on Soundcloud, YouTube and coming to iTunes soon. Follow him on Twitter @iam_marcuslamar.