The NFL, in celebration of its centennial, inducted 15 senior (retired for 25 years or more) members into the NFL Hall of Fame 2020 Class.
Drew Pearson, ex-NFL wide receiver was named as a finalist for the accolade. Pearson played for the Dallas Cowboys from 1973 to 1983 and earned a Super Bowl ring in 1977; he is considered to be one of the greats. He invited friends and family to his home, three days after his 69th birthday, in anticipation of hearing his name called — it was not.
“This was the most thorough vetting of candidates in the Hall’s history and it needed to be. Our charge was to scour 100 years of professional football and find the most deserving candidates who have slipped through the cracks,” veteran Hall of Fame selection committee member Rick Gosselin said when discussing the centennial blue ribbon slate panel on the Hall of Fame website.
Pearson, whose 2017 trolling of Philadelphia Eagles fans went viral, was certain the aforementioned criterion described his legacy.
Additionally, Pearson was part of the 1970s All-Decade Team. During the Hall of Fame ceremony, family and friends dressed in jerseys, hats and t-shirts adorning the famed number “88” joined him to celebrate but ended up consoling him as he wept in disappointment.
“It hurts. They broke my heart. And they did it like this. They strung it out like this.” Pearson said to reporters that were also invited to the party.
“I said it would happen now because it’s God’s time. God has another plan for me. This is not what he wanted for me. Maybe he’s testing me. But I’ll do it the right way, he knows that.”
Dez Bryant, who now wears Pearson’s No. 88, tweeted apologetically to his elder in a show of support.
What they did to Drew Pearson is not Right... Original 88... you deserve to be in the hall of fame no if and buts about it.. I’m sorry how they are doing you man...— Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) January 15, 2020
Other Pearson fans tweeted encouraging messages.
One is considered an all time great and one can’t get in the Hall of Fame. pic.twitter.com/2EGdUICq7w— R.C. (@rcshorter42) January 15, 2020
Drew Pearson not being HOF is JOKE! A member of ALL 70s DECADE TEM. The standard: Did U dominate your era? Did U dominate nearly decade? Were U dominate on dominate team? YES! YES! and YES! Today’s stats are 100% absolutely not comparable. NFL HOF voters got it wrong wrong wrong!— FOOTBALL FOR AMERICA (FFA) (@FOOTBALL4MERICA) January 16, 2020
“It’s real, this life. Life is real. Sometimes we don’t get everything we want but that don’t mean we have to give up, OK. That’s the message. Keep fighting, keep churning and when God says it’s the right time, it’ll be the right time.” Pearson said to WFAA reporters. “But God, I’m 69.” He says as the room breaks out in laughter.
Good to see that even while feeling down and out, the legend remains classy.