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Eatman: No Reason To Leave Drew Pearson Out


I'm just going to start this off with an apology.  In our position, with this space, we're supposed to be able to provide answers, perhaps some clarity to sometimes cloudy situations.

But I've got nothing for you on this one.

For the life of me, I can't tell you why Drew Pearson is still on the outside of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

When I started working here in 1999, I remember thinking it was a travesty that he wasn't in the Hall of Fame or the Ring of Honor. While it took some time on the latter, he finally got it.

The Cowboys eventually fixed that problem. And I was convinced the Hall of Fame voters would finally fix this one, especially this year.

I mean, seriously? They had 15 extra members in this year's class and not one of them can go to Drew Pearson?

It's a shame. That's really the only way you can describe it.

Before I go too much further, let me say that I'm extremely excited for Cliff Harris. I kind of hate that the focus shifts from just one great player getting in to the huge oversight, and I'm guilty of doing such as thing with this article. Happy for Cliff, but I should be saying "Happy for Cliff & Drew."

I understand that every team in the league has about 5-6 players deserving of being a Hall of Famer. In reality, there's probably only or two guys that realistically should be there.

And I'm all about making it exclusive. If everyone got in, it wouldn't be anything worthy of covering on TV. We wouldn't need a guy knocking on hotel room doors or cutting into the halftime show broadcast to announce it.

There's something really special about being in the Hall of Fame, and the exclusivity of it has to be protected.

But all that being said, the door has already been opened rather wide. If you're an All-Decade player, I just can't imagine that you wouldn't be good enough to be in the Hall of Fame.

Pearson was clearly one of the best players from his era, especially at wide receiver. On the All-Decade team, he is the only skill player that isn't going to Canton. The Hall of Fame voters just put in Harold Carmichael, a second-team All-Decade player who was really good for the Eagles.

Now granted, the Eagles didn't have the same success as the Cowboys (nobody did other than Pittsburgh and they've got 10 guys from that era now in the Hall), but he still had a remarkable career. His numbers are actually better than Pearson in catches, yards and touchdowns.

But wait, I didn't think it was about numbers alone. Correct me if I'm wrong but Lynn Swann is in the Hall of Fame mainly because of his two acrobatic Super Bowl catches that earned him MVP of Super Bowl X.

Other than that, he's got 336 catches. I understand that was a different era, but Peerless Price and Mohammad Sanu both have over 400. Michael Thomas got in the league the same year as Dak and Zeke and has 470.

I've never understood why Swann got in. If it's the Super Bowl plays alone, then cool, let's get David Tyree in next year.

I have nothing against Swann, or Carmichael or really any of those guys from that era. But if you're going out of your way to leave out one guy from that group, why Pearson?

I've said this case over and over, but you simply cannot deny the stamp Pearson put on the Cowboys' brand.

This is a franchise rich in history. Back in the 1970s and early 1980s when the Cowboys were becoming America's Team, there were so many iconic moments that made the Cowboys either the most likable or most hated team in the league. Several of those moments involved Pearson.

Obviously, he caught a pass that now has a universal name attached to it. You can't think of the Hail Mary without mentioning Drew Pearson.

Remember the game when Clint Longley came off the bench to beat the Redskins on Thanksgiving Day in 1974? Yeah, he threw that pass to Pearson.

What about the 1980 NFC Playoffs in Atlanta. Down by two scores in the final five minutes, Danny White threw two touchdowns to stun the Falcons. Yep, both to Pearson.

The Cowboys were down against the Rams in the playoffs at Texas Stadium and needed a big play. Of course, Pearson caught the 83-yard touchdown, the third-longest playoff reception in team history.

Don't forget it was Pearson throwing needed blocks for Tony Dorsett on his 99-yard touchdown run. No way, Tony D gets that record if Pearson isn't hustling down there and throwing his body around.

What's funny is that the No. 88 is an iconic number in Cowboys history for wide receivers. Yet, it never would've been that way without Pearson.

He's one of the greatest players in Cowboys history. The Cowboys are one of the greatest franchises in all of sports.

Drew Pearson deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. This was the year they could've finally righted the wrong.

But somehow he got passed over again. I wish I knew the reason why.