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OPINION

WILDER'S WHOLE WORLD: An open letter to the HOF committee members

By Dwayne Wilder
Special to the Herald Democrat

As you get ready to discharge your duty to the pro football Hall of Fame this month, I put aside my daily activities to humbly ask you to fix a glaring hole and right a wrong in considering membership to the Hall.

Drew Pearson is being considered for the upcoming class; and I would be remiss if I didn’t contact you. As a fan of the 1970s Dallas Cowboys, I am biased, of course, but it goes somewhat deeper as I ask you to elect Drew to the Hall. Not only was I a fan, but it was my first fandom AND I came of age during this wonderful time of professional football.

You probably have heard that Drew Pearson is the only player from the 1970s All-Decade Team that is not in the HOF. I'm told that he’s also the only one not in the Hall if you include the 1960s, 1980s and 1990s teams, too. Wow! That’s a gaping hole if I’ve ever seen one – like the ones Duane Thomas and Tony Dorsett used to run through!

I’ve heard that the player being considered has to have done something ‘special’ to be included; he has to have changed the sport (such as Bob Hayes with his speed) or have incredible statistics (such as Emmitt Smith and his All-Time Rushing Yards). Or have an iconic moment on the field—such as an incredible catch in an incredible situation.

Before Drew Pearson, there was no such thing in the NFL as a ‘Hail Mary’ pass – a throw at the end of a game (usually) that only has a prayer of being completed to win said game or a championship. Drew Pearson caught the very first ‘Hail Mary’ in NFL history. He will forever be half of that iconic moment. Putting Drew in the Hall would right an incredible wrong that has existed for too many years.

If you are still reading this letter, which I hope you are – you are probably thinking that you already know this information. And you surely don’t need some random fan – just a boy who locked himself in the bathroom for hours in the aftermath of Super Bowl V – telling you what you already know. I understand; and I still needed to write because of what you may not know.

This young fan, who grew up in north Texas and still lives here, had the privilege of meeting and working with Drew Pearson. About 10 years ago, I had a fan-boy moment when I met a childhood hero as Drew came to the Lake Texoma area for a celebrity charity event.

Drew was incredible as he listened to my fawning recollections of growing up watching; and believing in the Cowboys and in my favorite receiver. He never interrupted or brushed me off. He genuinely treated me with respect and kindness. It made the experience that much more special as I put the pieces of my life in perspective while meeting Drew.

 Of the three events he did, I worked at two. Drew remembered me; he was friendly and never treated me as ‘just another fan’ to deal with. He was ‘greatness’ in all those personal dealings with me; and I got the impression that he is always this way.

Drew Pearson deserves to be a Hall of Famer, not just because of his exploits on the field or his iconic moments, but also because of the type of person he is. Drew is everything any fan – from that inconsolable boy crying and screaming at his parents to the most dedicated devotee – could ever hope for in a professional athlete and football player; and more importantly, a person or friend.

Best wishes in your deliberations as you consider candidates. To me, Drew Pearson is an easy choice; in all he has done and said, Drew has made this catch last.

Dwayne Wilder

Dwayne Wilder is a Sherman native who currently lives in Denison. Wilder’s Whole World is his commentary about life in Texoma and the world. Wilder can be reached at cmandad17@gmail.com. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Texoma Marketing and Media Group.