At the time, Terrell Owens was an afterthought in the offense while working on goat-of-the-month honors while dropping pass after pass.
It was the 1998 Wildcard Playoff round and the San Francisco 49ers were hosting the Green Bay Packers. In the game, 49ers’ quarterback Steve Young was trying not to lose his mind after his young receiver could not hold on to the ball. It seemed the Packers were going to roll out yet another playoff victory against San Fran.
With less than two minutes to play in the game and the 49ers down by four, Young led his team on a 76-yard jaunt from San Francisco’s own 24-yard line, completely staying away from Owens. On a third down and three play at the Packers 25, Young stumbled, regained his footing and through a bullet into the end zone for a 49ers’ touchdown with three seconds remaining on the clock.
The receiver on the play was Owens, who hung on to the pass despite being hit by two Packers’ defenders and a tumbling crash to the ground. His catch would win the game for the 49ers and advanced them to another round in the playoffs. After the game, an emotional Owens thanked his teammates, coaches and Young for believing in him despite playing so poorly before the catch. The catch played as foreshadow into his amazing NFL career.
His playing career, however, might be overshadowed by the way he carries himself both on and off the field.
Fast-forward to the ‘00 season and the first time fans started to get a glimpse of the real Owens. In a match up with the Dallas Cowboys on September 24th, Owens showed off his excitement after two touchdown catches by celebrating on the Cowboys’ famous star logo.
The second time Owens made a trip to the star, Cowboys’ safety George Teague tackled him during the celebration, sending him sprawling to the turf. Owens was suspended a week for his actions by his head coach at the time, Steve Mariucci, and had a week's pay docked as well. Owens would eventually sever his relationship with Mariucci in ’02, with reports stating that he would not even communicate with the head coach.
During a Monday Night Football game against the Seattle Seahawks on October 14, 2002, Owens pulled a Sharpie marker out of his sock to sign a football he caught for a touchdown, and then gave the ball to his financial planner who was in the stands. Later in the ’02 season, Owens scored on a 45-yard touchdown run against the Packers and then decided to celebrate by waving pom-poms in the air that he borrowed for a 49ers’ cheerleader.
The 49ers finally had enough of Owens’ antics and in the ‘04 offseason, set out to trade the very talented, but flamboyant troublemaker. After a complicated situation involving the Ravens, Eagles and 49ers, Owens eventually wound up in Philadelphia.
Once an Eagle, Owens caught 14 touchdowns and wound up making his first Super Bowl appearance despite remarkably coming back after breaking his leg in one of the regular season games.
After the ’04 season, however, T.O. complained that his contract with the Eagles was unfair. He claimed that he would holdout as long as it took for the Eagles to pay him, but the team did not budge and called his bluff. He went on to criticize head coach Andy Reid and teammate Donovan McNabb and after a long, drawn out, and public debate with his quarterback, Owens would eventually show up for work, apologizing for his antics.
His apology didn’t hold much water, however, and just three games into the ’05 season, Owens was shown the door after more complaining. The Eagles eventually cut T.O. in the ’06 offseason after just one and a half seasons in Philadelphia.
Owens is the only receiver besides Jerry Rice to have five or more years with 13-pus receiving touchdowns in a regular season. He has a total of 116 touchdowns and has had seven 1,000-yard seasons including seven consecutive from ‘00-‘06.
He also holds the NFL record for 20 receptions in a single game and is tied for second all-time in receiving touchdowns on Monday Night Football. Owens has also led the league in receiving touchdowns three times (’01, ’02, ’06).
Even with all of his controversy and character issues, Owens was still able to sign with another team after destroying the Eagles organization. He suited up for the Dallas Cowboys in ’06, proving that even with all of his troubles, his talent far out weighs his character issues. He had an excellent season too, playing in all 16 regular season games, catching 85 passes for 1,180 yards and 13 touchdowns. Those numbers didn’t come without some controversy, however, as Owens drove head coach Bill Parcels nuts with his injury antics in the offseason, plus a weird situation where he overdosed on health pills.Imagine would have happened if Young never threw Owens that pass in the postseason in ’98. Would there ever have been a T.O.?
Dallas Cowboys Official Player Bio: Terrell Owens
Career notes, photos and stats on Terrell Owens can be found at the Official Website of the Dallas Cowboys.
NFL.com Player Profile: Terrell Owens
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Rotoworld Player Page: Terrell Owens
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Terrell Owens Wikipedia Page
Find a comprehensive background on Terrell Owens’ life and football career at Wikipedia.com.
The official website of Terrell Owens brings you a multimedia section, discussion board as well as a newsletter filled with current stories on T.O.
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Owens had a monster season, hauling in 81 receptions for 1,355 yards and 15 touchdowns. After winning the NFC East, however, the Cowboys were bounced in the Divisional Round Playoffs, losing to the eventual Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. Owens did catch four passes for 49 yards and a touchdown in the game.
News and Commentary
Terrell Owens: ‘There Was No Suicide Attempt’
Was it really an accidental overdose or was Terrell Owens really trying to kill himself in September of ’06?
The Catch II: Owens’ TD sends 49ers on to Atlanta
The amazing catch that started T.O.’s career came in the 49ers’ 1998 playoff victory against Green Bay.
Love him or not, Owens always leaves a mark
This is an article from ESPN.com back when T.O. played with the 49ers. This was the infamous Sharpie incident.
From shy country boy to T.O.
Terrell Owens a shy country boy? Believe it, and this is how he transformed into T.O.
The Top 5
Don Banks of SI.com ranks his Top 5 most outrageous T.O. stunts.
Eagles suspend T.O. indefinitely for comments
After all of his rants and raves, the Eagles had no choice but to finally kick Owens to the curb in the middle of the 2005 season. (ESPN.com Insider subscription required).
On a match up against fellow wide receiver Randy Moss:
“Get your popcorn ready, 'cause I'm gonna put on a show.”
“I love me, some me.”
On his contract:
“Like I always said, if I'm one of the top players in the game, pay me like I'm one of the top players in the game.”
On the media:
”This is God's world this is not the media's world.”
On right and wrong:
“Right is right and wrong is wrong.”
“I wanted a NBA basketball gym at my house and that's what I worked hard for and I was able to achieve that.”