In the 1970s, few receivers were better than Dallas Cowboys legend Drew Pearson. For 10 seasons, Pearson put up excellent numbers. He made three Pro Bowls, was named to three All-Pro teams and won a Super Bowl over that period.
Pearson’s production was enough to get him named to the NFL’s All-Decade team for the 1970s. Despite that, Pearson, now 69, was one of the few players from that team to not make it into the Hall of Fame.
Pearson believed that call would come Wednesday. He was both sad and angry when he didn’t get it.
— Newy Scruggs (@newyscruggs) January 15, 2020
Drew Pearson: “This hurts. They broke my heart. They broke my heart. And they did it like this. They strung it out like this.” https://t.co/KJUR5wjk4r
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) January 15, 2020
The snub makes Pearson the only offensive player on the NFL’s 1970 All-Decade first team to not be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Every single player from the first-team defense is also in the Hall, and many players from the second team are enshrined in Canton.
At least one other Cowboys legend believes Pearson’s snub is a huge mistake.
— Tony Dorsett (@Tony_Dorsett) January 15, 2020
Putting Pearson on the All-Decade team wasn’t a mistake. From 1973 to 1983, he was one of the best receivers in the game. Over that period, Pearson ranked third in receptions, fourth in yardage, fifth in touchdowns and sixth in yards per game among receivers.
His numbers don’t look as impressive today, but that’s less about Pearson’s production and more a sign of how much football has changed since the ‘70s. The game relies far more on the pass now. Multiple receivers break 1,000 yards every year. Pearson led the NFL in receiving in 1977 with 870 yards.
It’s unclear whether Pearson will have another opportunity at making the Hall of Fame. This was the first time Pearson was a finalist for the honor, and it came in a year where the NFL was going to induct a much larger class than normal.
Once the NFL goes back to its normal Hall of Fame procedure, Pearson could get relegated to the back burner again. That makes watching the video of Pearson’s reaction even harder to swallow. He knew what was at stake this year.
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