With the recent vote for Canton omitting Terrell Owens for induction, Owens and the sports media has been fixated on the slight. He’s got the stats obviously, but his character issues that plagued his career is keeping him out of the Hall of Fame. His recent slights of more former players isn’t doing himself any favors and not endearing himself to voters. What it’s also doing is distracting everyone from really wondering how did Terrell Davis and Kurt Warner get in?
The case for Terrell Davis is a compelling 3 really great regular seasons, two out of this world playoff runs where he averaged around 150 yards a game rushing, and overall likability factor (he’s been on the NFL Network, soup commercials). There are other running backs that could have been voted in instead. How about the case for Priest Holmes who hasn’t really gotten any consideration? He also had 3 really great regular seasons (62 rushing touchdowns in that span!), was a much bigger factor in the passing game than Davis, and one memorable playoff game with KC (over 200 yard rushing/receiving). What about Ricky Watters (seven 1,000 yard seasons) and one memorable Super Bowl dominating performance. If you say, “well Terrell Davis dominated in the playoffs when it counted”, then how about Roger Craig (9 playoff rushing/receiving touchdowns) and unfortunately one crushing fumble? Edgerrin James was a finalist this year and he just had seven 1,000 yard seasons (including leading the NFL twice) and was a model of consistency.
The vote for Warner is a little easier to understand in the sense he was the only QB among the finalists and the only strong QB contender among the 94 nominees. Should he be in? Warner had 6 great seasons (3 with the Rams, 3 with the Cardinals). Nobody will deny his great story of perseverance (we all remember the story about grocery bagging) and then taking two previously dormant teams to the Super Bowl (winning one, losing two). What you can’t also deny is that he had 5 very poor seasons sandwiched in-between and you bet some players who were models of consistency like Derrick Mason, Hines Ward, and Isaac Bruce are probably thinking why that’s not being appreciated more considering how violent the sport is.
Overall it was good year for the Hall of Fame, a long-time glaring mistake was finally fixed with the induction of Kenny Easley and the writers made a point in picking Warner and Davis, clearly choosing two players with stats AND high character. Point well taken.