Mike Martz is not happy at the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s selection committee.
Martz pulled no punches in describing how he felt when it was discovered Terrell Owens became a Hall of Fame finalist in his first year of eligibility while fellow Rams players Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt remained semifinalists in their second year of eligibility.
“Surprised’ isn’t the word. You can’t print how I felt when T.O. leapfrogged those two. That’s just plain out-and-out ridiculous.”
Martz, Bruce and Holt were all part of the St. Louis Rams (now Los Angeles Rams) magical Super Bowl XXXIV run, known as “The Greatest Show on Turf.” Martz was offensive coordinator under Dick Vermeil and was head coach when the Rams lost Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002. Holt and Bruce were the Rams’ main wide receivers during this time and caught the majority of the Rams passes in this period.
A reason Martz believes Owens became a finalist before Bruce and Holt was because of Owens’ showboating antics and off the field attention throughout his career.
“Had they promoted themselves, which was contrary to everything we were about, they’d probably get in without an issue. Had they pulled a T.O., they’re probably get in without an issue. 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?”
There aren’t too many people who had a closer look at Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt playing in the best years of their career than their head coach, so I can understand why Martz would be upset that they appear to be overlooked. On the other hand, many can see this as Martz just wanting his players in the Hall of Fame and is just being biased toward the players he coached.
Let’s look at the stats and see if Martz has a case.
223 games, 9 playoff games
1,024 receptions, 44 playoff receptions
15,208 receiving yards, 759 playoff receiving yards
91 TD’s, 4 TD’s
1-1 in Super Bowls, 11 receptions, 218 receiving yards, 1 TD
173 games, 10 playoff games
920 receptions, 47 playoff receptions
13,382 receiving yards, 630 playoff receiving yards
74 TD’s, 4 TD’s
1-1 in Super Bowls, 12 receptions, 158 receiving yards, 1 TD
219 games, 12 playoff games
1,078 receptions, 54 playoff receptions
15,934 receiving yards, 751 playoff receiving yards
153 TD’s, 5 TD’s
0-1 in Super Bowls, 9 receptions, 122 receiving yards, 0 TD’s
There is more to compare these three players on but my point is that all three of these players have had similar careers and all three deserve to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Yes, Owens may not have won a Super Bowl but he scored over 50 more touchdowns. Yes, Owens got more media attention than Bruce and Holt and that was sometimes for things other than Owens’ play but Owens was also a talented receiver who didn’t need to share the receiving spotlight on his teams, unlike Bruce and Holt. And that perception of one sharing the spotlight with the other may hurt Bruce and Holt’s case.
Either way, all three deserve to be in the Hall of Fame and all three will get in at some point. And when that happens, it won’t matter who got in first or who got in over the other. We’re just going to celebrate some great careers.