Following the Dallas Cowboys' 26-24 loss last Sunday to the Washington Redskins, Wide Receiver Terrell Owens displayed his apparent discontent at the direction of the offense in terms of getting him the ball. Catfish and I discussed this issue and found we have diverging views. While I contend that this is just another selfish act by a player notorious for this kind of behavior, Catfish says T.O. is actually putting team first and protecting his quarterback and his team following a tough loss. Once again we sqaure off our opposing views in Point-Counterpoint.
Point: Business as usual for Owens
I have 25 million reasons to make this argument. Should anybody really be surprised that only a week after Terrell put on the good teammate show following the win in Green Bay he would turn 180 after the Cowboys lost? Owens said he had no problem with how much he was involved as long as Dallas was winning, but now after a 2 point loss to a solid team he is crying about getting the ball. The person who should be throwing a fit if anyone is Marion Barber. Barber only carried the balls 8 times in the game, only 7 more than Owens. Terrell was thrown to on a third of Dallas' offensive plays, ending with 7 catches for 71 yards and a TD. Romo put the ball up 47 times, way too much for the Cowboys. This is what got them into trouble last year when they lost, they lose their balance and begin dropping Romo back over and over again. Jason Campbell, the winning QB, only threw the ball 31 times as the Redskins controlled the ball and kept their defense fresh.
Owens' demand for more balls thrown his way is just another reaction after a loss by a man who has the physical prowess of superman, but the mental faculties of a 9 year-old. Haven't we seen this act before? The 49ers, T.O. isolates himself from Mariucchi and Jeff Garcia and takes off to Philly. The Eagles have success even with T.O. blasting his offensive coordinators on the sidelines and drawing all the attention to himself, but after losing the Super Bowl, Owens throws Donavan McNabb under the bus after McNabb was the backbone of the NFC Champion team. Granted, Owens and Romo have a better relationship(for now) than Owens had with Garcia or McNabb, but how long will it last? If the Cowboys stumble more this season, T.O. could again become the focus of all the media in Dallas; Ed Werder will again take up residence in Valley Ranch and Pedro Gomez might even be flown in. I think Terrell has found he can push on Wade Phillips, Tony Romo, and Jason Garrett, but if he continues to whine after every loss, he might get the boss involved, and I think Jimmy Johnson will tell you that when you get into it with Jerry Jones, Jerry has no qualms about establishing his dominance by getting rid of you.
It is not completely that Owens is just so selfish he values his catch total more than winning a game, it's that he truly believes he is the most important person on the field at any given time. His actions would never be tolerated were not for his talent and that is a big part of the problem. No matter how ridiculous T.O. has acted, there has been a team that has paid for his services. Remember this Cowboy fans?
At that point you probably blustered that T.O. would never be welcome in Big D. What a horrible teammate right? Who would want a guy that cares more about his own glory than the team he is paying for? But yet, when he became available and the Cowboys signed him, it was popcorn time in Dallas. That is the problem, teams and fans keep enabling this sort of behavior from Owens, so why would he ever think it was not ok? He and his entourage have made money doing it so why be surprised when he talks and acts like this when things do not go his way.
Catfish may argue that Owens is finally in a good situation and has turned the corner and wants to be a team player and help his quarterback. But I see the same sad play unfolding; like T.O. once said, "if it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck...".
Counterpoint: I am the Target
Cleet is confused, but maybe this picture will help. Contrary to my colleague's assertion TO is not one of the nine year-olds being lectured by a random NFL player who out of the kindness of his heart is giving of his time and money to make a difference in the lives of America's youth. There is no doubt that TO has had some "incidents" in the past, but TO respects Jerry Jones and Tony Romo and I do not see this latest outburst as the unfolding of a story we've seen before.
Exhibit A: In 2006, Terrell wrote a children's book in which he espouses the importance of sharing. "Little T Learns to Share." Tiki Barber was critical of the book which, in my mind, gives my argument even more credibility. With everyone agreeing that TO now appears faster by fine tuning his body, why can people not accept that he has fine tuned his mental approach as well? TO plays on emotion, it's a part of what make him an impact player. He wants to win, and sometimes he has post game outbursts of frustration, but that does not mean that he is looking to tear down Tony Romo.
Exhibit B: In 2006, TO was fined $35,000 for spitting in the face of then Falcons cornerback DeAngelo Hall. Wait, Catfish, did you forget what side of the argument you're on? Nay nay, my friends. The only reason he was fined was because he admitted it. The officials had not seen it and it had not been caught on tape, like previous spitting incidents. TO was forthright about the situation even though it risked a fine and a suspension.
Exhibit C: Also in 2006, TO vented following a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, unleashing a tirade and asking why the Cowboys even signed him. Despite the outburst occurring behind closed doors (gotta love rats), again TO acknowledged it.
But Catfish, what about that disingenuous apology to the Eagles and Donovan McNabb?
Exhibit D: In his autobiography Owens admitted that he was strongly urged to make the statement, but that it was nto sincere.
So members of the jury, I ask you: Why should we not believe TO when he says he didn't demand a meeting with his QB about his role in the offense, as the Four Letter reported? Why should we not accept his explanation that he was frustrated by the loss and venting? Why should we believe that he's trying to tear down his QB, when he never said "he" or "Tony Romo?" The lazy sports media thirst for every TO soundbyte and perceived outburst. On ESPN his game film was being broken down and he was being criticized by Keyshawn Johnson. The same Keyshawn Johnson that TO was brought in to replace in Dallas. Is it a leap in logic at all to see that Keyshawn may have an axe to grind? No, it isn't. TO is not perfect, but he states his opinions clearly and owns up to his mistakes, so why would he suddenly start vaguely ripping Tony Romo if that was his objective? Quite simply, because it was not his motivation. TO has put himself between the media and his team once again, but this time it was to shield a young quarterback from controversy. Terrell Owens is on the field to be a target, and he protected his quarterback and his team by once again making himself the target. Jurors I beg of you, do not fall for the trap that ESPN and others have set for you. See past it, to the truth. TO wants to be a Cowboy and he wants to win with Tony Romo as his quarterback. I beg of you, don't be asses, TO enjoys catching Romo TD passes.
The defense rests.