Pearson's epic draft moment could spur renewed Hall of Fame push

Drew Pearson's epic draft day troll of Philadelphia fans has made the Cowboys great relevant again.And it could lead to renewed interest in his Hall of Fame candidacy.

Dallas -- When Drew Pearson's epic troll of Philadelphia fans at the NFL Draft went viral, it was a refresher course in what the Cowboys great is all about.

Pearson reminding us all of the passion and tenacity it takes to make the trek from undrafted former quarterback out of Tulsa to becoming the original 88, one of the best receivers the Cowboys and the NFL have ever seen.

As the moment went worldwide, with social media traction across the globe, Pearson got an immediate taste of his renewed relevancy. He had already left the venue, but the NFL Network hustled him back to be on the set.

Without knowing it, Pearson had put himself front and center in the eyes of the NFL.  And perhaps he was also re-opening the door for a Hall of Fame candidacy overlooked for far too long.

"Hopefully it'll open their eyes and revisit that and hopefully it will make a difference going down the road," said Pearson, reached at a charity golf outing a couple of days after his all-time draft moment.

"You know he was off the radar until the draft," said Hall of Fame voter Rick Gosselin, "and now people are saying, 'so that's Drew Pearson.' The visibility will help him. The stats don't change. I don't think his candidacy changes, but the visibility of his candidacy helps."

The NFL's 1970's all-decade team first team recognizes 22 of the best players the league has ever seen. Pearson competed against, and in nearly all cases, beat them, more often than not. All but 2 members of this elite group are already enshrined. The only duo on that list not in Canton - Pearson and his teammate Cliff Harris.

"There are some terrible holes in this process, too many good players over the years have just fallen through the cracks and Drew among them," said Gosselin

Gosselin has been a member of the Hall of Fame's senior committee since 2005, and says there are far too many veteran candidates vying for far too few veteran spots, but Pearson's case different

"In the last 7 decades, there have been 15 first team all-decade wide receivers. Drew is the only one of the 15 not in, and he's the only one that's never been discussed."

It's a stunning statement that's not only hard to believe. It's hard to even fathom. How could this happen? And why won't Hall of Fame voters right the wrong?

Among the factors, there is a bias among some hall voters against Pearson's era. He led the league in receiving with 870 yards in 1977.Younger voters have a hard time putting that in perspective when Julio Jones was the NFL's leading receiver with more than double that total.

Pearson notched 489 career catches, while modern era receivers with more than a thousand catches can't get in.

"You've got a lot of people on this committee who started covering football in the 90's and even the 2-thousands, and if you're talking the 70's Steelers, 70's Cowboys, 80's 49ers, it's pig-latin," said Gosselin.

Then there's Steelers issue. Pittsburgh won all four Super Bowls in which they played in the 70's. Lynn Swann, and fellow receiver John Stallworth, along with a host of their teammates have been enshrined.

The Cowboys went to five Super Bowls in the 70's, winning two, but lost twice to Pittsburgh. Pearson among of a handful of Cowboys who would probably already be in, if the outcome of either of those games were different.
Lynn Swann is the best comparison. For their careers, Pearson has 153 more catches and 23-hundred more yards. Are those two games, albeit the biggest on the planet, enough to make up that difference???

"This is a guy who made the big plays when the games mattered most.  That's your selling card. he was 'Mr. Clutch,' said Gosselin of Pearson.

Given the evidence, it's clear. Drew Pearson should be in. Now that he's back on the radar, perhaps voters will reconsider.
"I hope this will open their eyes and start looking at the resume and seeing the things that I accomplished not only the stats but the play as captain, 11 years for Tom Landry, and doing it the right way," said Pearson.

For now, Gosselin holds out hope, saying, "I truly believe, as flawed as this process is if you truly belong in Canton one day you're going to get to Canton."

For Pearson, that day can't come soon enough. And after this refresher course in who Drew Pearson is, perhaps voters will provide the right answer this time.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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