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How the Buffalo Bills can make Terrell Owens happy

My latest for the Beeville Bee-Picayune

From A to Zowie

How the Buffalo Bills can make Terrell Owens happy

By Richard Zowie

I’ve always sympathized for the Buffalo Bills, that team that lost four straight Super Bowls, including two to the Dallas Cowboys. I see Buffalo as a team that did what no other team in history has done: play in four straight Super Bowls. To me, that’s more of an accomplishment than winning a single Super Bowl.
Cowboys fans recall that a few months ago, Jerry Jones finally came to his senses—perhaps kicking and screaming—and cut talented-but-troubled wide receiver Terrell Owens. Owens’ productivity didn’t outweigh the drama he caused, or maybe Jones was tired of having nightmares where he’d endlessly hear the phrase, “Getcha popcorn ready!”

I figured the 35-year-old Owens’ career wasn’t over yet but wondered who would roll the dice this time. He began his NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers. The late 49ers team president Bill Walsh, one of the smartest football guys ever, finally gave up on Owens, reportedly telling team officials the receiver was uncoachable. T.O. trashed quarterback Jeff Garcia by openly questioning Garcia’s sexuality—always a brilliant thing to do in the very liberal, gay-friendly San Francisco. And, Cowboys fans no doubt remember how B.O. (no, that’s not a typo) celebrated a Texas Stadium touchdown by standing on the star at midfield.
So, the 49ers traded him to the Baltimore Ravens. Not so fast, said T.O., as he fought to veto the trade and to force the Gold Prospectors to instead trade him to the Philadelphia Eagles. B.O. insisted he was misunderstood. Things seemed to go pretty well until he began quarreling with Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb. After Super Bowl XXXIX, which our Nation’s Official Birds lost to the New England Patriots, Owens accused McNabb of puking Campbell’s Chunky Soup in the huddle near the end of the game and not having a grasp of the offense.

After complaining of not being in the offense enough, Owens then pulled the most common tactic in the Era of Spoiled Millionaire Athlete and demanded the Eagles renegotiate his contract. The Eagles management, much to its credit, stood its ground and refused. Our team policy, Terrell, is to not renegotiate contracts, the team told him, so get back to work. Owens refused, the team suspended him indefinitely and cut him in the off season.

That off season, I kept thinking Jones would take a chance on B.O., and I was right. Other teams were interested, but Owens ended up in a Dallas uniform. There were times when it seemed like a great idea: Owens arrived to Dallas in excellent shape, made great plays in games and when Tony Romo took over as starting quarterback, Owens really started to click with Romo. Number Nine’s laid-back personality seemed perfect to handle Owens’ nitro glycerin ego. Heck, Owens even put on sunglasses and cried for Romo after the Cowboys were eliminated from the playoffs two seasons ago. And, best of all, Owens is one of those rare modern athletes who not only has no criminal record, but neighbors talk about nice a guy he is.

And then there were the other times when Dallas started realizing why two well-respected football guys in Walsh and Eagles head coach Andy Reid gave up on Owens. Much to the consternation of then-head coach Bill Parcells, Owens always had some sort of injury that excused him from practice. Parcells never seemed to refer to T.O. by name, instead calling him “That Player”. Early this past season, Owens made a trip to the hospital for what officially has been called an “accidental” overdose. Owens began griping about how he wasn’t getting enough passes thrown his way, never mind Dallas threw him more passes than tight end Jason Witten while Witten caught more passes than T.O. And, yes, while Owens made great catches and once deposited a touchdown pass into a giant Salvation Army collection kettle, he dropped passes. Sometimes they were ones on third-and-long and other times they were would’ve-been touchdowns. Before long, there was talk all over Valley Ranch about how other receivers were upset Romo relied on Witten too much. Owens also started criticizing the play calling of offensive coordinator Jason Garrett.

I don’t know the intimate details, but I imagine Jones and company realized Romo needed to have as few distractions as possible to become the franchise’s next great quarterback. He needed receivers who would run their routes and catch passes instead of bickering about how many passes they were catching. In short, a catcher of passes instead of a cancer in the locker room. Bye bye, B.O.

Enter Buffalo, who rolled the dice and gambled on T.O. The Bills played it safe, signing him to a one-year contract. They must’ve felt it was preferable to do a one-year deal and risk a bidding war with higher-market teams if T.O. thrived and proved his former employers wrong rather than signing him to lucrative, long-term deal. Why invest a lot of years and money into a player and risk him proving why the other teams couldn’t wait to get rid of him?

With that, Buffalo fans, here are the top nine ways you and your team can do to make Terrell Owens happy:

Nine: Encourage him to do endorsements. I can see it now: “With Axe sports spray, there’s no B.O. on T.O.!”

Eight: Create a locker room dart board. This board would come with posters of Garcia, McNabb and Romo for T.O. to throw at.

Seven: Write songs of praise to Owens and have opera singer Placido Domingo sing them over the P.A. system during games. Such as, “When you throw the ball to Terrell Owens/The Buffalo Bills football team wins!”

Six: Have a Terrell Owens Day this season where all Bills players wear Number 81 jerseys with OWENS on the back of them.

Five: Name your children after him. Terrell for the boys and Terrella for the girls.

Four: Lobby the Bills to let Owens become the head coach.

Three: Let him call all the plays, even those on defense.

Two: Throw him the ball. All the time. On every single play. Even on punts, field goals and kickoffs. And in practice.

One: A new catch phrase for Bills fans: Getcha Buffalo Wings Ready!

Best of luck, Bills, you will most certainly need it.
Richard Zowie grew up in Beeville and works in Michigan as a writer. He’s been a Dallas Cowboys fan for 30 years and also sports blogs at www.bleacherreport.com. Send comments to richardzowie@gmail.com.

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