Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Eyes Closed in College Football

The Black Coaches Association has reported its results from its annual study of college sports. The numbers in college football are just flat out troubling.

There are currently only 3 head coaches in the 119 Division I-A football schools. Only UCLA's Karl Dorrell, Mississippi's Sylvester Croom and Washington's Tyron Willingham.

And in Division I-AA only one. Indiana State's Lou West.

If you don't think there is a problem ... you've also got your eyes closed.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

T.O. Given a Time Out For Remainder of the Season

It finally happened. The Philadelphia Eagles took all they could from Terrell Owens and told him he wasn’t welcome on their team anymore.

I’m not surprised. In fact, as a fan of the Eagles, I’m happy he won’t be playing with them any longer. T.O. is without question one of the top playmakers in football, but he has quickly rotted the framework of a very good sports franchise.

The coincidental part of this mess is that Terrell forced a trade to the Eagles last year after playing eight seasons with San Francisco. Originally, he was being sent to Baltimore but he refused to play for the Ravens so the Eagles jumped in and ‘rescued’ him. Immediately he rejuvenated the Philly offense and made them the team to beat. He had 77 receptions for 1,200 yards and 14 Touch Downs in just 14 games, giving Donovan McNabb the receiver he always wanted and the duo led the Eagles to a 13-1 start and the best record in the NFC.

Then everything changed…for the worse. In Week 15 at Dallas T.O. went down with a severely sprained ankle and broken leg. The bad blood started to simmer between Terrell and Donovan when McNabb and other Eagles’ players told the media that they could go on without him and that they could still win the Super Bowl, even if Owens wasn’t able to play.

The Eagles did win both of their home playoff games against the Vikings and Falcons and finally got to the Super Bowl after three straight seasons of failure in the NFC Championship Game. Amazingly, T.O. defying doctors and the predictions of so many came back to play just 6 ½ weeks after having his ankle operated on. In the Super Bowl, T.O. played great in the 24-21 loss to New England. He had nine receptions for 122 yards and had the Eagles pulled out the victory would surely have been the games Most Valuable Player.

Soon after the tough loss to the Patriots, Owens took his first jab at Donovan, making a suggestion that McNabb was tired in the fourth quarter. McNabb didn’t take well to the comments and while at the Pro-Bowl responded and the two didn't speak for months. Then T.O., with his new agent Drew Rosenhaus, started taking shots at everybody in the Eagles organization through the media in training camp. Owens quarreled with team management over contract issues and earned a one-week dismissal from training camp after an argument with Head Coach Andy Reid that followed words T.O. had with offensive coordinator Brad Childress. In that back-and-forth T.O. told Childress, “Don’t speak to me unless I speak to you.”

I’m still trying to figure out what was wrong with his current contract? He is making over $3.25 million this season and was set to earn base salaries of $770,000 in 2006, $5.5 million in 2007, $6.5 million in 2008, $7.5 million in 2009, and $8.5 million in 2010. He was also due to receive a $5 million roster bonus in March of 2006.

It wasn’t good enough for him – why? Because he believes that he is better than all. The notion of “No I’s in Team” – it doesn’t exist in T.O.’s convoluted mind.

The Eagles and McNabb eventually reconciled their relationship with the problematic receiver and performed well together on the field. Terrell has 47 receptions for 763 yards and six Touch Downs this season, in just seven games. But he kept running his mouth. He continued to take verbal shots at McNabb on his weekly radio show or whenever he was doing interviews, like the one that aired last week with ESPN.

The straw was being bent so far. Those remarks that insinuated that the Eagles organization had no class and that the team would be much better off if Brett Favre was the quarterback instead of McNabb most likely broke the straw. The fist-fight with former Eagles Defensive End and teammate Hugh Douglas had to also contribute to his suspension.

Of course we all remember that this is the second time T.O. has been suspended during his 10 seasons in the NFL. In 2000, he was suspended one game by San Francisco coach Steve Mariucci following his infamous touchdown celebrations on the Dallas Cowboys’ star logo at the center of Texas Stadium.

Let’s remember there are three more weeks of suspension each of which is going to cost the money hungry Owens $191,176 of his $3.25 million base salary. That still leaves five more weeks of the season remaining. And what then? I’m going with the guess that the Eagles will do what the Buccaneers did to Keyshawn Johnson in 2003 – Pay him, but not play him.
The Eagles are a much better team on the field with Owens, you can’t argue that. The guy is one of the best play makers in the NFL – but they are not better in the locker room or in the huddle. He’s a cancer that needed to be sent away, for the good of the team and organization. They’ll be fine without him…it might take some time, but they’ll be just fine.

Now you have to wonder what team will take him. Whoever does will have to speculate what it will take to make Owens happy, because the seven-year, $48.97 million deal he got from the Eagles last year obviously wasn't good enough. This is a guy who has feuded with two good coaches that most people like, Mariucci and Reid. He called former 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia ‘Gay’ and now is feuding with McNabb. I doubt that there are many (if any) teams that would give this kind of person a big signing bonus or a long-term deal. He’ll always be a player that puts himself before the team.

Good riddance T.O., and good luck to whoever signs him this offseason.