With the year coming to an end, I thought I would look back on 2005 in terms of Philly sports and pick a sportsman of the year. It was a year that had its highs and mostly lows, but through it all we always had Terrell to talk about. In Philly, with the lack of championships to celebrate, we often thrive on controversy - giving us something to be passionate about. The high drama of Owens returning and performing at a tremendous level, even in a losing effort, gave him instant legendary status in Philadelphia. I've never seen an athlete ruin such a good thing, then again, I've never seen anyone like Terrell Owens. I loved the guy for his ability, work ethic, and panache both on and off the field, I even waited in line for two hours in the fall of 2004 to meet him and get an autographed copy of his book. I often dismissed his personality flaws in hopes of him and Donovan bringing us the parade we all crave. In the end, almost sadly, it may have been his personality flaws and ego that brought him out of favor with the Philly faithful. It was a wild ride while it lasted. Without T.O. we are left with Donovan's say-the-right-thing attitude and Andy's say-nothing-at-all attitude. I'll stop missing T.O. the day we get a championship in this town. We all know how that story goes.
Let's take a look back at what T.O. gave us to talk about in 2005:
Jan 06: In an interview with Stephen A. Smith, Owens gives Eagles fans hopes that he will miraculously return and be ready to play in the Superbowl. Owens starts complaining about the lack of touches he got all season. The guy is always frustrated.
Jan 07: ESPN Page2 says Eagles fans gave up on a ring when T.O. went down, I disagreed.
Jan 12: Donovan McNabb is beaming with confidence that the Birds can win without T.O. Meanwhile, T.O. is taking notes on reasons why McNabb and the Eagles didn't appreciate him. Owens also never received a Christmas card from McNabb.
Jan 13: I heard from a guy who knew a guy that heard Eskin say T.O. was walking around the locker room barefoot looking great.
Jan 16: Eagles beat Vikings without Owens, setting up a meeting with Mike Vick. FredEx gives the greatest press conference in Philly history with the exception of "Practice?"
Jan 18: Owens calls up Falcons coach telling him that he is going to play against Atlanta.
Jan 19: T.O. confident: "We are going to the Super Bowl, so don't even doubt it," injured Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens said yesterday. "I've never felt so confident in my entire career than how I felt this past Sunday. When I walked into that locker room and saw those guys - saw that as happy as they were that they knew they still had business to take care of - that let me know right there we'll be in Jacksonville come Feb. 6. There is no doubt in my mind."
Jan 24: Eagles beat Falcons in NFCC game and I wrote about the experience of seeing the birds clinch in person. T.O., Donovan, Freddie, BWest all head to the Sixers game and get a standing ovation. "Spiritually I've been healed and I believe that I'll be out there on that field Sunday, regardless of what anyone says," Owens said.
Jan 26: Owens Doc says T.O. will not be cleared to play in the big game. Pat Croce thinks Owens will play, Boston's thoughts and a picture of Eva Longoria. Eagles trainer Rick Burkholder says T.O. status still undecided.
Jan 27: ESPN says Owens is the third most valuable player in the NFL behind Peyton and Donovan. T.O. runs and cuts on the ankle is quoted as saying by Sal Pal and Eskin, "Everybody said I couldn't do it, Rick (trainer). But it's going down!"
Jesus, do any of you remember how exciting the build up to that Superbowl was? By far the most anticipated sporting event I have ever been a part of. Oh how the Eagles have fallen.
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Jan 28: Terrell posts on his website's message board "DO U BELIEVE N MIRACLES OR BETTER YET DO U BELIEVE N GOD? I'M PLAYIN, SO STAY TUNED" Also lots of other great notes, including Ray Diddy's take on the Superbowl. Def check out this post.
Jan 29: Eagles coaches say T.O. will definitely play. Just for kicks, Randall Gay.. I mean, Tom Brady.
Feb 03: Remember the Tee Oh song? T.O. wears tee shirt that says "The (insert Eagle logo) have landed." The guy always had some style.
Feb 04: In my prediction of the Eagles winning the Superbowl, I do get one thing right: T.O. will make a big impact when he is on the field.
Feb 05: T.O. on the cover of the Daily News, headline reads: Time T.O. be Super. (picture)
Feb 06: T.O. performs incredible in the Superbowl but the Eagles fall to the Patriot Dynasty. My mother yells at me for swearing.
Feb 08: Owens talks about Brett Favre and how Favre would have been considered a warrior while T.O. was viewed as selfish. I was also drinking the T.O. koolaid at this point. Playboy bunnies to cheer you up.
Feb 14: T.O. hits on Suzie Kolber at the Pro Bowl in my Live-blogging of the Pro Bowl and Grammys.
Mar 11: Owens goes to Vegas to hang out with the Coors light twins.
Mar 16: One year anniversary of T.O. joining the Iggles.
Apr 06: The beginning of the end: Owens hires Drew Rosenhaus to be his new agent in hopes of redoing his contract.
Apr 12: I start to come to my senses: "We were all surprised by the lack of problems T.O. caused last year as an Eagle. Fans across the country were just waiting and hoping for him to blow up in our faces. All of this T.O. hoopla with his new agent and wanting a new contract has really tarnished all he did on the field last year."
Apr 14: Rosenhaus goes all Michael Corleone, "It's business, not personal."
Apr 19: T.O. asks Michael Jordan for some free gear because he doesn't have enough money to take care of his family.
Apr 27: I seemed to have not posted specifically about T.O. lashing out at McNabb, but with ESPN naming the Eagles the early favorite to win the Superbowl, I questioned whether McNabb would fire back at Owens.
Apr 29: Donovan is all class in press conference regarding T.O.: "I don't play games with the media"-#5 about T.O.'s comments.
May 11: Lurie says no to T.O.: The Eagles owner said that Owens will just have to honor his contract. Lurie blamed T.O.'s new agent, Drew Rosenhaus, for giving the WR "self-destructive" advice.
May 12: Donovan starts to hurt Owens' fragile ego by saying the Eagles can win without Owens: "I feel that if he plays or not, we definitely have a chance of making it to the Super Bowl and winning it," McNabb said Wednesday, one day after owner Jeffery Lurie said the team won't redo Owens' contract. "That's nothing against T.O. and it's nothing against anybody else. I just feel confident in the guys that we have. With T.O., I think we can do a lot of great things. Without him, I still think we can do a lot of good things."
May 16: I state my current feelings on the T.O. situation which contrast with ESPN's take. My take was: "Terrell Owens can ask for more money all he wants, but the way he is handling things is horrible. He publicly "throws Donovan under the bus" and is threatening sitting out until he gets his cash. Granted Terrell signed a bad contract, but whose fault is that?" The bottom line: "There is no good solution to the Terrell issue."
June 14: Terrell Owens thinking follows no logic. He ominously predicts his departure from the Eagles: "They won't care about me. At the end of the day, these are the people that I love. These are the people that are going to be there for me. So it doesn't really matter. I don't have to play for the Eagles."
July 18: Owens compares himself to Jesus while at the ESPYs and we all wonder, What Would Terrell Owens Do? Days later Phil Sheridan steals my headlines.
July 21: Dave Spadaro proves that the Eagles stubbornness will come back to bite them in the loss column. Spadaro said "this is my opinion and maybe I get fired over saying this -- but I truly believe this: The Eagles would rather go 0-16 than yield to Owens in this situation."
July 29: Sid gathers a list of bonehead things Owens has said in the past. The Words of God.
Aug 01: Owens shows up to camp in military garb and headphones in place. Rosenhaus resembles Beelzebub. Some of my better photoshop work.
Aug 02: T.O. is said to be ignoring teammates, eerily similar to how first graders act.
Aug 10: T.O. has words with Andy Reid and leaves camp to do some situps on his lawn while half naked.
Aug 11: Perhaps my most accurate post of T.O. complete with apropos graphic: "What is there to say about Terrell Owens? The guy is an enigma. He does and says things no other athlete would. He makes claims that the Eagles made him sign a waiver to play in the Superbowl which the Eagles say is a complete lie. He goes on every news outlet ESPN has from PTI to halftime shows with Chris Berman. He claims he isn't one of Andy Reid's children. He tells offensive coordinator Brad Childress he can't speak to him unless spoken to. He wears tee shirts with pictures of himself with his mother on them. He calls Donovan McNabb a hypocrite. He has been disrespected. He is an idiot."
Aug 15: Owens was spotted at a Falcons preseason game in Atlanta (picture) and even Stephen A. Smith is ragging on Owens.
Aug 17: Award for the best usage of a quote from Entourage coupled with a picture of a Terrell Owens in camp goes to this post.
Aug 19: I get sick of the T.O. bullshit.
Aug 26: T.O. is set to make his preseason debut and I ask the timeless Philadelphia question: To boo or not to boo?
Aug 28: I'm at the Linc to see.. er, hear T.O. catch a TD pass from Donovan on the first play from scrimmage.
Sep 02: T.O. and Entourage collide at ESPN's Page 2: Johnny Drama is Terrell Owens.
Sep 07: Owens says "I love Donovan."
Sep 07: The saga continues. Terrell decides he no longer wants his NFCC ring anymore and feels like a good way to raise money for the hurricane Katrina relief fund would be to auction off his ring on ebay.
Sep 10: Donovan thinks T.O. keeps talking about him because
Donovan is a sexy name. Owens gets radio show.
Sep 13: In the Monday night season opener the Eagles get beat by the Falcons and T.O. gets held in check by smack talking Deangelo Hall.
Sep 17: In the ass beating of the Niners, T.O. gets into the end zone twice, but his celebration is weak.
Sep 21: Oh, how things change. Sports Illustrated featured Donovan and T.O. on the cover (picture) which read Brotherly Love?
Sep 23: T.O. goes up against Randy Moss.
Sep 24: T.O. loves him some T.O. "Sometimes I wish I had some special power that could allow me to get outside my body and watch ME play."
Sep 26: The Onion does a pretty funny piece on titled "TO pre-emptively Disparages Next Contract."
Sep 29: Oh how Eagles fans forget so quickly. Donovan was the NFC player of the month in September.
Oct 05: He appears on Letterman. T.O. puts on his jersey and goes outside with Letterman throws him some fake passes, then T.O. gets hit by a cab. Pretty cheesy shit.
Oct 06: Did Skip Bayless actually make a good point for once?
Oct 09: The Eagles will make Dallas look silly at Dallas.. I mean, the Cowboys will kick the shit out of the Eagles.
Oct 10: Terrell stirs up some controversy by wearing a Michael Irvin jersey on the plane ride home from Dallas.
Oct 18: Not Owens related, but only one person appreciated my Uggie Urbina Machete artwork.
Oct 28: Remember T.O. used to do fun TD celebrations like Chad Johnson does now? He thought people enjoyed his "serving the chargers" act.
Oct 30: In response to being criticized for wearing an Irvin jersey the previous weak.. T.O. tries even harder to comply with dress code by wearing a Pink Tuxedo on this trip.
Nov 02: Owens may or may not have really hurt his ankle again.
Nov 04: The Owens situation comes to a braking point with T.O. saying the Eagles would be better off with Brett Favre running things in Philly. Hollis Thomas on the situation: "If i was Don, I'd probably want to sock him in his chops." Lots of good stuff in this post. Which leads to..
Nov 05: T.O. is suspended indefinitely.
Nov 06: News breaks of T.O. and Hugh Douglas throwing down in the locker room, reportedly while T.O. may have been wearing sneakers.. and ONLY sneakers.
Nov 07: When his football career is in shambles, at least he will have an attractive girlfriend. Felisha Terrell Picture.
Nov 08: I get all sentimental and write up a long post looking back on the career of T.O. as an Eagle. The good, the bad, and the ugly. We'll always have Dallas.: "There were good memories: thousands of Eagles faithful swarming Lehigh just to see T.O. smiling at training camp, Owens going deep on his first play ever in Eagles green in the preseason, T.O. owning Ray Lewis, skating in the endzone, T.O. and Donovan chasing each other on the sidelines like goofballs, and Owens standing on the star in Dallas. The Eagles were on their way to their first trip to the Superbowl in decades. Philadelphians had a love affair with Terrell; he was going to bring us exactly what we wanted and make others look foolish along the way."
Nov 11: Ralph Nader gets involved and nobody cares what he thinks.
Nov 16: T.O. decides to sell his house in NJ and his house in Atlanta to help feed his family.
Nov 17: Eagles cartoon featuring Owens in a diaper. Rosenhaus mock article by Penn student.
Nov 23: Owens suspension is upheld cementing what we already knew: T.O. is done playing for the Eagles.
Dec 08: T.O. gets creative with yellow penalty flags as invitations to his birthday bash in Atlantic City. I still wonder how the invites got into the locker room.
Dec 13: Owens party goes down at Jay Z's 40-40 club. No famous non-sports celebrities show up, but FredEx does! with a gaggle of Hooters girls in tow. I'm serious, they were all Hooters girls. T.O. and Clinton Portis.
Dec 14: The Onion loves T.O.
Dec 19: Owens appears in GQ magazine with photos online, but more importantly his gf Felisha Terrell is also pictured.
Dec 20: T.O. beat out the lesbian cheerleaders as ESPN's number one search term in 2005.
T.O.'s antics will be missed here at the700level, but if he is in the news, I'll be sure to let you know about it.
Other people considered for the 2005 Sportsman of year included Chase Utley and Andy Reid.
Utley didn't even start 2005 out as an everyday player, but after Placido Polanco's departure Utley became a fan favorite. Chase has the just-one-of-the-guys appeal who hustles while putting up nice stats and coming through in the clutch. He will surely be a Philly favorite for years to come.
Andy Reid took the Eagles to the Superbowl for the first time in 25 years. He also allowed the Terrell Owens situation to blow up. Andy's 2005 was a roller coaster of a ride much due to the rise and fall of the Eagles team he puts together (GM) and coaches. He simply isn't entertaining enough, but his mystique is intriguing.
Was there someone you would have chosen over T.O.? Share your thoughts.
Commenter of the year award was a tie between our favorite Phillies fan Sid and our favorite Mets fan Bryan. The only way I can think of breaking this tie is to judge them on their acceptance speeches.. which they should now post in the comment section.. Okay go.