A few nights before the NFL Hall of Fame game, they had a commercial for it on television. Terrell Owens looked into the camera and said, “Getcha popcorn ready!”
I imagine the commercial was solely to promote first game of the NFL exhibition season, but one has to wonder if some tuned in hoping to see Owens work some of his magic for his new team, the Buffalo Bills.
Well, not really. T.O. (or B.O., as his detractors no doubt call him) had two catches for 27 yards as the Bills lost to the Tennessee Titans 21-18. Granted, Owens played only one series (as is very common for starters to do this early in the pre-season).
I caught a few glimpses of the game and found the only noteworthy thing to be the teams’ throwback uniforms. The Bills looked great in their old uniforms from when a certain disgraced former star NFL running back (O.J. Simpson for those of you born after 1994) played for the team while the Titans broke out the baby blue jerseys and helmets from the early Houston Oiler era.
Such a shame the Bills don’t return to those royal blue and scarlet red threads while the Titans don’t let the Houston Texans have access to the Oiler name, but that’s for another column.
Considering the Bills haven’t exactly had a great passing game lately. According to their website, atop their quarterback depth chart is Trent Edwards, who’s in his third year in the NFL. He has 18 career touchdown passes and 18 career interceptions, a quarterback rating of 85.4 last year and a career completion percentage of 61 percent. I wonder how Edwards will handle the ego of T.O.
Let’s see…the Bills are now Owens’ fourth team—fifth if you count his very brief time as a Baltimore Raven before he successfully lobbied the NFL to veto that trade. Will the Bills succeed where the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys have failed and get Owens to do more catching of passes and less griping?
That’s a tough one, especially when you consider the brilliant coaching minds that gave up on Owens:
Bill Walsh, who built the 49ers Dynasty, coached three Super Bowl-winning teams and was the architect behind the other two Super Bowl-winning teams. Yes, I dislike the 49ers and cringe at The Catch, but I view Walsh as having had one of the best football minds ever. Mr. Walsh, you may be gone, but you definitely are not forgotten.
Andy Reid, who coached the Philadelphia Eagles to one Super Bowl. Yes, the Eagles lost that one, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Eagles end up with a Super Bowl championship or two in the next 10 years.
Donovan McNabb is the Rocky Balboa of NFL quarterbacks: Every time you think he’s done and should be traded, he goes out and has a great game. Is it just me, or have the Eagles offense improved with the departure of Owens and the addition of low-profile receivers?
Bill Parcells, who won two Super Bowls as New York Giants head coach, took the New England Patriots to a Super Bowl and deserves some credit for the team’s dynasty. Columnist Skip Bayless correctly predicted that the Cowboys would part ways with Parcells before Owens, and that came true when Parcells resigned.
You’ll notice that Parcells almost always referred to Owens as “That Player”. A friend who covers the Cowboys for one Texas daily metro tells me you could tell by Parcells’ facial expressions when talking about Owens that signing the controversial receiver was done against Parcells’ fervent advice.
Buffalo, if you want to keep Owens happy, I suggest throwing the ball to him on every play. Even when you’re running the ball. Even when you’re playing defense. Or punting. Or kicking off.
Getcha Buffalo Wings ready, Bills fans.
The Bills were smart to sign Owens to a one-year contract. No doubt feeling it was better to make Owens prove he has plenty of gas left in his tank, and deal with the higher-market teams, than to sign him to a lucrative, long-term deal and risk getting burned.
Owens will turn 36 in December, and many argue he’s not the receiver he once was. He’d better hope he has something left, because it’s up to him to prove he’s misunderstood. He's slowly running out of opportunities to prove his former employers wrong.
Otherwise, Owens’ new catchphrase might become, “Getcha Retirement Papers Ready!”