Hall Of Fame: The Argument For Terrell Owens Leapfrogging Holt And Bruce
Hall of Fame debates are one notch below politics and abortion in terms of topics that can never be argued without bias. If you come down on one side of the argument in a player's eligibility into the Hall of Fame, the likelihood that a spirited debate will change your mind is slim to none. But no one tell Mike Martz that.
Martz was the offensive coordinator for the Rams during their Super Bowl-winning "Greatest Show on Turf" season in 1999. The next season, he was promoted to head coach upon Dick Vermeil's retirement and went 53-32 before being fired during the 2005 regular season. He then went on to become the offensive coordinator for some astoundingly shitty offenses including the Lions, the 49ers and the Bears.
So of course, he fancies himself an offensive genius because he happened to fall into a job that put him in charge of Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce, Marshall Faulk and Kurt Warner; which is presumably why he felt justified in his outrage that Terrell Owens is an NFL Hall of Fame finalist in his first year of eligibility while fellow wide receivers Holt and Bruce have been overlooked again.
" 'Surprised' isn't the word," Martz said per the St. Louis Dispatch. "You can't print how I felt when T.O. leapfrogged those two. That's just plain out-and-out ridiculous."
Martz went on to argue that because Owens' more favoreable consideration can be attributed to his flashy, controversial personality.
"Had they promoted themselves, which was contrary to everything we were about, they'd probably get in without an issue," continued Martz. "That's just not who we were."
"If they big-timed it and did all that dumb stuff, they'd probably get in earlier. I think they'll eventually get in. I don't think that's an issue, but it's tragic that people think of them like that. If Marvin Harrison gets in, how could they not get in?"
First of all, the whole "we didn't strut our stuff because we were humble and did our jobs" argument is moot on so many levels it's hardly worth discussing.
Here's a look at the three players' career stats side-by-side.
Despite having nearly identical career numbers to Bruce in every other category, Owens blows him out of the water in terms of career touchdown numbers. The fact of the matter is that T.O. is a finalist in his first year of eligibility because he was inarguably one of the greatest end zone receiving threats of all time. Only Jerry Rice (197) and Randy Moss (156) have more career receiving TDs.
And sure, Holt and Bruce each have a Super Bowl ring and Owens does not. But if Super Bowl rings indicated first-ballot worthiness, special teams linebacker extraordinaire - and one of my personal favorite NFL players of all time, Larry Izzo - would make it in ahead of all three of these guys.
Regardless of his locker room antics, people can't possibly believe that that it's Terrell Owens' fault that he was only on one team that made it to a Super Bowl. Let's be honest, while in his prime he was one of - if not the best - players on his team.
A more appropriate comparison between Owens, Holt and Bruce is how they performed in similar scenarios in the Super Bowl. For example, all three of these players lost a Super Bowl to the early-2000's New England Patriots dynasty. But guess which receiver was the only of the three to have a dominant performance for their team in said Super Bowl loss?
Super Bowl XXXVI
Patriots 20, Rams 17
- Torry Holt: 5 receptions, 49 yards
- Isaac Bruce: 5 receptions, 56 yards
Super Bowl XXXIX
Patriots 24, Eagles 21
- Terrell Owens: 9 receptions, 122 yards
Holt and Bruce had mediocre performances in a very close Super Bowl against the Patriots that came down to a field goal. Owens was superb in a very close Super Bowl against the same Patriots that came down to a field goal. And don't even try to say that it's because Holt and Bruce were splitting targets from Kurt Warner while Donovan McNabb gave all his big shots to Owens, because that would be categorically incorrect. Brian Westbrook had 60 yards on 7 catches, Todd Pinkston had 4 catches for 82 yards and Greg Lewis had 4 receptions for 53 yards.
At the end of the day, all three of these receivers belong in the Hall of Fame. But if Owens does make it in ahead of the other two, it will be because he earned it in the end zone. It's as simple as that.
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