by STEVEN GEHEGAN//Sports Editor
The National Football League recently released this year’s Hall of Fame class, with one notable exclusion and one questionable inclusion.
The 2017 class consists of: LaDainian Tomlinson, running back for the San Diego Chargers and New York Jets; Morten Andersen, a kicker who played most of his career for the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons; Terrell Davis, a running back who played for the Denver Broncos; Jason Taylor, a defensive end who played most of his career with the Maimi Dolphins; Kurt Warner, a quarterback who played most of his career with the Saint Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals; Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys; and Kenny Easley, a safety who played for the Seattle Seahawks.
The major exclusion was Terrell Owens, a wide receiver who played for the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals. During his great career, Owens racked up 1,078 receptions, 15,934 receiving yards and 153 receiving touchdowns, which rank among the top in those statistical categories in the history of the NFL. With stats like those, it would seem that Owens would be able to get into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. But for some reason, the voters would not let him in on his second year. Maybe it was because some people thought he was a bad teammate.
For some strange reason, people want to take the off-the-field actions and use them to justify keeping him out of the Hall of Fame. This is wrong. For one thing, for all of Owens’ faults, he never got into any legal trouble that some of the others in the Hall have.
The only thing that people can hold against this man is the fact that he caused drama everywhere he went. But these things did not stop him from producing better than almost every other wide receivers in NFL history. There should be zero reason why this man should not be in the Hall of Fame right now. But because some voters want to pretend that Owens was a real bad person, it seems like it could be awhile before Owens is in the Hall of Fame.
The one questionable inclusion, to me, is the fact that Jerry Jones will be in the Hall of Fame. Jones has owned the Cowboys since 1989, and I am aware of the fact that the Cowboys have won three Super Bowls when he was the owner, and how he has helped expand the NFL brand. I also know that the reason that the Cowboys have not won more than three Super Bowls, or any in the past 20 years, is that it seems that he cares more about getting attention and credit than actually having a stable football organization.
I am not a big fan of owners, especially more modern owners, of being worthy of being in the Hall of Fame. As much credit as Jones get for expanding the NFL brand, there are also other owners who have contributed from all of the other teams. If there was any owner who actually deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, it would be the Bob Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots. The Patriots were not a good franchise, and he took them to one of the best in NFL history. The Cowboys were a good franchise before Jones was the owner.
This inclusion would make more sense to me if the Cowboys were Super Bowl winners in recent history. Since I have been alive, Jones has used his questionable football knowledge to lead the Cowboys right out of the playoffs. Jones might have some winning history with the Cowboys, but the person who deserves the credit for the success of the Cowboys would be Jimmy Johnson. He was the man who got fired after winning two Super Bowls because Jones was not getting enough credit. And now Jones is getting into the Hall of Fame and Johnson is not. That does not seem right to me.