Drew Pearson’s reaction to not being selected as a senior member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s centennial class went viral on Wednesday, as Pearson did not hide his frustration after watching 10 other former players receive induction in this year’s centennial class. While his frustration is understandable, many felt that the attention Pearson’s reaction/recording of his reaction received took away from the 10 former players and three contributors who will be included in this year’s induction class. 

Tony Boselli, a former NFL offensive lineman with the Jacksonville Jaguars, understands what Pearson is going through, as he is a modern-era finalist for a fourth consecutive year. Boselli, who will find out whether or not his Hall of Fame wait will come to end on the eve of Super Bowl LIV, was recently asked about Pearson’s reaction — and the attention his reaction received — during an interview with Damon Amendolara on “The DA Show” on CBS Sports Radio.

“I think it was an honest reaction and I was fine with it,” Boselli said of Pearson. “I’m disappointed (with) whoever video (recorded) it and put it out, unless he did it and he was OK with it. I wouldn’t want that because I will say in the three years I’ve been a finalist leading up to this year when I did not get in, there was emotion and there was probably some anger, but it was with just with my family, those people closest to me. You say things, you share things out of frustration and disappointment and everything else, and that’s OK. That tells us how important it is. It’s important to Drew Pearson. He was a great player, and when you’re a player of his caliber, you feel like you’re being snubbed and not being recognized for what you did and what you poured your life into. The Hall of Fame isn’t trying to do that.”

Boselli also praised the resume of Pearson, a former All-Pro and Super Bowl champion with the Cowboys from 1973-83.

“The process is the process,” Boselli continued. “I don’t know if there is any perfect way to go through these things and to tell people who’s in and who’s out. So, I think it’s a natural reaction, and I was fine with it. I understand that feeling, and hopefully Drew Pearson gets in. He’s an All-Decade player from the ’70s, he’s the only player left from that All-Decade team that’s not in. Hopefully next year or the coming years, he’ll be one of the senior players that makes it into the Hall of Fame.” 

Despite the Hall of Fame’s decision to make this year’s class the largest induction class in history, it was inevitable that several deserving finalists were not going to hear their names called as a member of this year’s class. Pearson, whose career is certainly deserving of Hall of Fame inclusion, is just one of several finalists who were included as one of this year’s biggest Hall of Fame snubs. Cliff Branch, a former Raiders receiver who played in the same era as Pearson, was also not included in this year’s induction class. Branch, who passed away in 2019, led the NFL in receiving yards once and in touchdown receptions on two different occasions. Arguably the best big-play receiver of his era, Branch won three Super Bowls with the Raiders while helping revolutionize the passing game. 

On Wednesday, a family member who runs the “Cliff to Canton” Twitter page posted the following message after Branch was not included in this year’s induction class.

Boselli, one of the greatest lineman of his generation, would probably already have been enshrined in Canton if injuries hadn’t ended his career after seven seasons and 91 career games. The first draft pick in Jaguars history, Boselli earned five Pro Bowl selections and three All-Pro nods from 1996-2000 while helping spearhead the team’s improbable run to the AFC Championship Game in 1996, in just the franchise’s second year of existence. And while he is a member of the “Pride of the Jaguars” (the team’s ring of honor), Boselli is still waiting to join the NFL’s most elite group of players, a wait that he surely hopes ends next month.

“This is the fourth year I’ve been a finalist, so I understand the emotions of not getting in the three other years, so hopefully I get to experience the other emotion this year,” Boselli said. “Listen, being considered for the Hall of Fame, being a finalist, is a huge honor by itself when you start looking at the players you’re mentioned with and how great those individuals were. Of the modern-day players, there’s 15 of us left, and the other 14 guys were amazing football players. So that part of it is humbling and it’s a huge honor. But at the same time, you’re competitive, and you want to be considered the best, and you understand that, come Super Bowl weekend, there’s only going to be five of the 15 (finalists) making it to the Hall of Fame.

“It’s a mixed bag a little bit. While it’s exciting to be a part of the process and to be this far and you look around and the group you’re a part of is really cool, but if you don’t make it, there are those emotions of being disappointed and … I don’t wanna say angry, but just disappointment is the best way to describe how you feel emotionally.”