Dirty Words: What if Terrell Owens Was Still a Philadelphia Eagle?
I kept trying to delete this article, but time and again, it appeared in the writing box. So I'll finish it.
I had planned on talking about the good things and the bad things, what was said and what wasn't.
I'm not going to go there. I will confess, I wish T.O. was still an Eagle, and despite his rhetoric and braggadocios mannerisms, I love me some T.O. I'm going to get it for that, I know.
The guy can play football, and he made this team better when he was here.
I don't want to talk about his intangibles, the negatives, his relationship with his teammates, or how the whole mess went down.
I'm going to pretend he would be happy to be an Eagle, whether true or false.
I am moreover going to paint a picture of what the Eagles would have been like with T.O. from 2005 to 2008.
For the record, I also enjoyed chanting, "Teee-OOOH-T-O-T-O-T-OOOOOH-Teee-OOOOOH-Teee-OOOOOH" at the season finale against the Cowboys (to the tune of ole-ole-ole-ole-we are the champs, we are the champs - if you didn't know).
Owens was the only Cowboy that played well in that game.
How Terrell Owens Positively Affects His Team
With Owens, Donovan McNabb easily would have manufactured at least one 4,000-yard passing season and 30 or more touchdown passes per season as he did with Owens in 2004. It would have remediated all Donovan McNabb doubters.
I'm sure the Eagles would have reigned in at least one Superbowl title with Owens as well.
In 2004, Todd Pinkston started 16 games opposite of Owens and averaged a career-best 18.8 yards per reception, which is 3.5 yards better than his career average. Freddie Mitchell averaged 17.1 yards per reception, which is three yards better than his career average.
Those guys weren't the worst receivers of all time, but they were never that effective before T.O.
So I'm going to say that he makes the players around him better, too, not just by drawing additional coverage, but even more so by elevating the practice levels and providing inspirational production on the game field.
What if Terrell Owens was an Eagle for all of 2005?
Well, he had more than 750 yards in seven games with six touchdowns. I'll do the math for us here:
Average per Game: 107 YARDS, .86 TD
For 16 Games: 1712 YARDS, 14 TD
It hurts to think about what could have been.
Of course, McNabb struggled and eventually succumbed to a sports hernia that season. He may have battled through it if there was an opportunity to make the playoffs.
The Eagles were 4-2 that year before falling to a 6-10 fate without Owens or McNabb down the stretch—basically out of ammo even though Westbrook was emerging.
If Owens was an Eagle in 2005, emerging youngsters L.J Smith, Reggie Brown, and Greg Lewis would probably have been able to pull their load and get the Eagles into the playoffs with either a physically struggling Donovan McNabb or a plain old struggling Mike McMahon.
What if Terrell Owens was an Eagle in 2006?
In reality, it would have ultimately been some kind of disaster with McNabb and Jeff Garcia throwing the ball to T.O., but I'll not get hung up on that fact here.
Despite the franchise quarterback going down, Jeff Garcia led the Eagles into the playoffs with an NFC East-best 10-6 record. Throw T.O. in the mix, and who knows.
Reggie Brown averaged 17.7 yards per catch and had 816 receiving yards; Donte Stallworth averaged 19.1 yards per catch and had 725 yards; and rookie Hank Baskett averaged 21.1 yards per catch. smith was in his prime, hauling in 50 catches for 611 yards.
Westbrook averaged 5.1 yards per carry and caught 77 passes for 1,916 total yards from scrimmage. Correll Buckhalter and Ryan Moats were also on the depth chart at running back.
In 2006, Terrell Owens on the Eagles equals championship—NFC championship at least. McNabb or Garcia throwing the ball would not have mattered as much as having T.O. to get the Eagles past the Saints and the Bears.
The Colts in the Superbowl would have been a challenge, but I would have enjoyed watching that game.
What if Terrell Owens was an Eagle in 2007?
This was the end of the McNabb injury plague. Westbrook carried the work load in 2007, and the receivers played well. But McNabb was shaking off the rust and didn't have the weapons he was looking for to win games.
The Eagles finished 8-8 in 2007.
Stallworth was replaced by Kevin Curtis, but Smith was struggling, and although Brian Westbrook posted over 2,100 yards from scrimmage and Kevin Curtis went over 1,100 yards receiving, the Eagles could not establish a consistently effective passing attack.
Sprinkle some T.O. in the mix, and McNabb could have led the Eagles to victory in at least two or three of the five games they lost by four or fewer points during the regular season.
If my assumption is correct, the Eagles go 11-5—or to be conservative, I'll say 10-6.
That's a playoff-bound record, and the NFC was not as stacked as it is heading into 2009.
The Giants were hitting their stride as the season wound down, but so was McNabb. McNabb looked really good at the end of the season, showing the return of his mobility and toughness.
The Eagles won the last three games, but fell short of the playoffs.
In 2007, If Owens was a Philadelphia Eagle, they would have made the playoffs. The Eagles would have challenged the Giants and Cowboys for the NFC crown and possibly defeated the allegedly undefeatable New England Patriots in the big show.
What if Terrell Owens was an Eagle in 2008?
The 2008 season was so full of ups, downs, and drama, I think T.O.'s head would have exploded.
To be fair, it would have been a different kind of drama with Owens because the Eagles would have won more regular-season games—like the Bengals game.
Without considering stats, Owens, Desean Jackson, and McNabb—playing as well he did—would have been explosion enough to get the Eagles ahead against the Cardinals and never look back.
The Eagles also were looking at a great match-up with the Steelers in the Super Bowl.
Put T.O. on this team, and the Eagles win three and a half more games easily and go 13-3 to win the Super Bowl, hands-down.
Then again, that's what the Cowboys thought.
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