It's a bittersweet start to the 2020 calendar year for legends of the Dallas Cowboys franchise. Every January, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announces its short list of those who'll be inducted into the halls of Canton, Ohio, in August, and this time around former head coach Jimmy Johnson was able to escape the snub. The two-time Super Bowl winner received a surprise announcement during his broadcast coverage of the NFL playoffs, from Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith.
While Johnson readies himself for gold jacket and bust measurements, the harsh reality of just how fickle the Hall of Fame can be was again heaped onto a separate Cowboys legend in Drew Pearson -- who got news on Wednesday that he would have to wait yet another year for a chance at immortality. No longer eligible for "modern era" induction after suffering annual snubs to the point wherein he aged out, and must now be viewed as a "senior," the 69-year-old again found himself just one step from the promised land -- only to fall short yet again.
It was all he could do to beat back tears in a silent yet powerful emotional reaction that seemed to pose the question:
Pearson, the receiver of the original "Hail Mary" pass thrown by Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach against the Minnesota Vikings, went on to finish his NFL career having amassed 7,822 receiving yards in his 11 seasons as a Cowboy, and while that may not seem like much by today's pass-happy standards, it's key to note Pearson played in an era dominated by running backs. Despite that having been the case, his yardage tally was the most in franchise history at the time, since bested by only Tony Hill, Michael Irvin and Jason Witten.
His 48 career touchdowns is also seventh-most in Cowboys history, and only three shy of being top 5.
With the induction of former defensive back Cliff Harris this year, Pearson is now the only member of the NFL's 1970s All-Decade first team who hasn't been granted admission to Canton. Given what he meant to the franchise and the game of football itself, no one can blame the Ring of Honor inductee for reacting the way he did when his name again went uncalled.
At this point, a whole 32 years after he first qualified for induction, Pearson is tired of hearing "maybe next time".