DALLAS -- Labor Day has come and gone. So has Halloween. As we approach Thanksgiving, there is still plenty of football to be played in the NFL -- but not by Randy Moss and Terrell Owens.
The two aging, high-profile, high-maintenance wide receivers are either unwanted or unneeded, and it appears their careers may be over.
Owens, 37, conducted a personal workout last month to show the league that his surgically repaired knee was again ready for the rigor of Sunday afternoons. But none of the 32 teams bothered to show up for it.
So the two wide receivers are officially on the clock. There's a five-year waiting period upon the conclusion of a career before a player can be considered for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
If Moss and Owens remain out of the game this fall, both would become eligible for Canton in 2016. But that Hall of Fame wait may be longer than either expects.
There's no guarantee either Moss or Owens will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Frankly, there's no guarantee either will ever have a bust in Canton. Moss and Owens both have the statistics -- but there is no longer any magic in the numbers.
Cris Carter believed he was a first-ballot Hall of Famer with his 1,101 career catches. So did Tim Brown with his 1,094 catches. They retired as the second and third all-time receivers in NFL history.
But Carter has been a finalist for the Hall of Fame four times and has been passed over by the selection committee each time. Brown has been a finalist twice and is 0-for-2.
The committee is trying to get a grasp on the concept of 1,000 catches. Is that statistic a result of the ability of a player -- or the style of the game today?
Paul Warfield caught only 427 passes in his 13-year Hall of Fame career with the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins. But he played in a different era (1964-77), when defensive backs were allowed to bump, jostle and maul receivers during every step of a pass pattern. Warfield had to earn each inch of space in his routes back then.
Now defensive backs get one touch on receivers at the line of scrimmage. Pass catchers essentially have the freedom to run routes against air. Under those circumstances, the better receivers should catch 100 passes in a season and 1,000 in a career.
Marvin Harrison has since passed Carter and Brown on the all-time receiving list with 1,102 career catches. There are now seven receivers with 1,000 career catches, and both Hines Ward and Derrick Mason are looking to join the fraternity this season.
Andre Johnson had 673 receptions in his first eight seasons with the Houston Texans. If he plays 16 years like Carter, his catch count projects to 1,346. Larry Fitzgerald had 613 receptions in his first seven years with the Arizona Cardinals. If he plays 16 seasons, that projects to 1,401 receptions. So what's the magic in any number?
Owens ranks sixth all-time with 1,078 catches and Moss ninth with 954. Owens ranks second in career yardage, Moss fifth. Owens and Moss rank 4-5 in career touchdowns. But when the numbers start to blur, you must look at the impact of a player.
In his final 12 seasons, Owens participated in one playoff victory. All five of his teams -- San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas, Buffalo and Cincinnati -- couldn't wait to rid themselves of him. Does that sound like a Hall of Fame player?
Moss, 34, played in one losing Super Bowl with New England. In the five years Moss played together with Carter at Minnesota, forming arguably the most prolific receiving tandem in NFL history, the Vikings managed to win just three playoff games.
Like Owens, each of his five teams -- Minnesota, Oakland, New England, Minnesota again and Tennessee -- couldn't wait to unload Moss.
Football remains the ultimate team game with 22 moving parts on the field every snap. But Owens and Moss weren't the ultimate team players. Too much "me," not enough "we." If statistics can no longer get a player into Canton, what's left?