Cory's Corner: What is a Hall of Famer?

The Terrell Owens chatter got me thinking, what exactly is a Hall of Famer?

Different sports have a sliding definition. Major League Baseball is doing its best to currently blackball performance enhancing drug users and the National Basketball Association doesn’t have a problem letting in players that have a cloudy off-court image as long as they solidified their career as a Hall of Famer.

The National Football League is trickier. Lawrence Taylor had his fair share of off-field troubles and Warren Sapp had plenty of on-field problems — and both have a bust in Canton. 

Which brings me to Owens. He’s easily a top 5 receiver of all-time. Yet, the voters decided to keep him out because he was a disruptive teammate in the locker room, which makes no sense. If Taylor and Sapp had the numbers, why doesn’t it work the same way?

And when did a locker room become an extension of the playing field? I’m willing to bet that the majority of Hall of Famers weren’t warm and fuzzy in the locker room. That’s why they are Hall of Famers, because they have been so obsessed with their craft — oftentimes to the point that relationships crumble around them.

Randy Moss is in the same boat. He becomes Hall of Fame eligible for the first time in 2018. Just like Owens, Moss is a top 5 wideout and has had a history of driving his teammates bananas.

Former Colts general manager Bill Polian felt the same way about both. “I take neither,” said Polian in an interview with Clark Judge on Monday. “First of all, here’s my position: 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 percent effort all the time in everything we do.’ Well, how can we take Randy Moss when we make that statement? It’s that simple.”

I understand what Polian is saying, but you can’t have a sliding scale for some by being generous and then slam the door shut for others. It would be a lot easier to say no to both if they didn’t have as much of an impact on the game and their respective positions, but they both did.

Owens is second in career receiving yards and Moss is third and Moss is second in career receiving touchdowns and Owens is third. You cannot tell the story of how the NFL had a passing revolution without explaining who did the majority of the receiving.

Was Owens over the top? Heck yes. He didn’t have to mock the Dallas Cowboys’ star or do sit-ups in front of a media contingent while he was suspended four games by the Eagles. And Moss didn’t have to the fake mooning at Lambeau Field or hit a traffic cop with his Lexus.

If these guys don’t deserve to be enshrined in Canton, then how credible can that place really be? Unlike Pete Rose, who gambled on the game, these guys had bad attitudes — and still had legendary careers.

The moment you try to get subjective about a sticky topic like the Hall of Fame is when it turns into a good ‘ole boys club that doesn’t house the best of the best. Just the best-acting of the rest.

 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (5)

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Handsback's picture

February 28, 2017 at 07:32 am

I'm not sure who said it but I relate the following statement to the NFL HOF..."I can't define porn, but you know it when you see it."
The same goes for a HOF member. I know he's a HOF, because I have seen his career. To me Moss was maybe the most talented WR that I ever saw play. My problem is he wasn't the best WR I ever saw play. In fact there were many WRs that played better than Moss and aren't in the HOF (at least I don't think they are) Gary Clark, Wes Chandler, Mark Clayton, Otis Taylor, and Cliff Branch. I say they played better because at the time they played, they were dominant receivers while not playing in these new pass friendly offenses.
As far as TO...my response is you have to be kidding.

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Since'61's picture

February 28, 2017 at 08:44 am

A Hall of Famer is a player who was dominant at his position while he was in the league. There are no brainers like Joe Montana, John Unitas, Tom Brady, Walter Payton, Lawrence Taylor, Vince Lombardi, Jerry Rice, etc. It becomes a little trickier when you get to players like Moss and Owens, especially Owens because of his antics on and off the field. IMO, Moss is in and Owens is a question mark. Moss was a dominant player during his time in the league. Owens was also a dominant player but his poor attitude and antics reflected poorly on the league. Therefore he is not a first ballot HOF. He will probably get in on a future ballot but time will tell. Thanks, Since '61

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NickPerry's picture

February 28, 2017 at 08:56 am

After watching Jerry Kramer get screwed year after year and Sterling Sharpe not even being recognized as a viable candidate, I don't really know "What is a Hall of Famer".

Kramer is a HOF player without a doubt in my mind. I mean the guy was a 5 time 1st team All NFL player and is considered by most to be one of the best Guards ever to play the game yet he's not in the HOF.

Sterling Sharpe is another player who put up the numbers to qualify IMO. He was only able to play for 7 seasons but if you compare his numbers to any other players FIRST 7 seasons he's as good as it gets. He even compares to Jerry Rice when you compare both players first 7 seasons. Sharpe only was able to play under Mike Holmgren for 3 years. Had he been able to continue his career I think Holmgren wins at least one more Lombardi, maybe 2 and Sharpe puts up numbers that are Top 5 all time. Yet because Sharpe only played 7 seasons he probably won't ever be in Canton. It's BS!

Moss and Owens will be in the HOF one day and they deserve it I suppose. But I'd rather see guys like Sharpe or Kramer get in, guys who didn't embarrass themselves or teammates along the way.

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marpag1's picture

February 28, 2017 at 12:57 pm

Yet another BS article from this little "Corner" or the internet.

Yeah, TO had catches and yards. He was also a flat-out DETRIMENT to all five teams he played for. None of them could stand him. Every single one decided that his production wasn't worth the circus and the locker room bad blood. In other words, all of them came to the conclusion that T.O HURT THE TEAM, and damn right that should be considered in HOF voting.

TO played eight seasons with the Niners, and he was fairly tame during his first few years in the league. And then it happened. During that time he averaged more than 1070 yards per season. Yet the Niners were thrilled to dump him for a second round pick, mostly because the entire team hated his guts, especially Jeff Garcia whom TO publicly asserted was gay. Recall TO as a smirking, juvenile middle schooler, doing public interviews and saying, "I don't know if Jeff is gay or not, but if it looks like a rat and smells like a rat..." (tee-hee, tee-hee!!). Team management specifically said that his antics were detrimental to the team and that they wanted to get rid of him.

He went to Philly. One season after signing for 7 years, 49 million, he demanded a new contract and threatened to hold out. His blatantly public, pissy disses of the front office, D. McNabb and Andy Reid simply could not be tolerated without losing the team. Any thinking person could see that TO and the Philedelphia Eagles could not coexist. After seven games in his second season, the Eagles suspended him without pay for four games, then deactivated him for the rest of the season. In other words, the Eagles believed that it was better to pay Owens NOT TO PLAY than it was to have him on the field. So they cut him at the end of the year and got nothing in return. Did TO help Philly or did he hurt them?

Jerry "I'll sign Jack the Ripper" Jones was the next fool to step up to the plate. He signed TO to a three year 25 million deal. In his first year, TO promptly overdosed on pain meds in what was almost certainly a suicide attempt. Then it was Philadelphia all over again, except that instead of McNabb, is was Romo and Witten. Bill Parcells couldn't even bear to say TO's name, but referred to him as "the player." Despite the fact that Owens averaged 1200 per season, even Jerry Jones decided he didn't want him back. Well publicized reports all agreed that Jones finally admitted that TO was a cancer. In the end the Cowboys took a $9M cap hit to release him.

Enter the even stupider Buffalo Bills, who could only manage one year with Owens, followed by the very stupidest of all, the Cincinnati Bengals, who thought that having TO and Ocho Cinco on the same team was a good idea.

After no NFL teams would take him anymore, TO signed with the Allen Wranglers of the Indoor Football league. Shortly after that he was cut. Team officials said he was released because of "the player's lack of effort both on and off the field. We need to do what is best for this team, our fans and this community.”

WHICH TEAM DID T.O. MAKE BETTER?

He dang near destroyed all of them, and hell yes, that should matter in HOF voting.

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Point-Packer's picture

February 28, 2017 at 07:23 pm

Terrel Owens is a massive piece of shit.

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