…from me, at least.
If you are like me, you are sick of hearing/reading about it, regardless if you were against or for his release. In the beginning, I was against it. I didn't like his mouth. I didn't like his me first attitude. But I was willing to put up with it considering his production. Shame on me…especially considering I was also against him joining the team in the first place.
But truth be told, if we only look at 2008, his performance hinged on several different contingencies to be effective. First, he had to have a free release off the line in most cases to get open. Second, while his top end speed was still impressive, the amount of time he took to get to that speed had deteriorated from years past. And lastly, his ability to catch, in my mind, suffered as a result of over-self-improvement. We hear and read the term “soft hands” quite a bit, but rarely consider what that truly means. But if you envisage his overall physique, chances are his hands followed suit with the rest of his body: Hard. Add to that his age of 35 and one could come to the conclusion just based on performance alone, minus all the drama that is a big part of T.O.'s entourage, that perhaps the Cowboy's made the right decision in moving on and further grooming the youthful WR's currently on the roster.
Now, let's add the drama back.
The latest news has T.O. running a camp at Duncanville Highschool and the distinguished guest of honor at a going away party Thursday night. In short, he made the comment that everyone knew Romo was the quarterback and thus the leader of the team; Romo simply failed to rise to the occasion. But, in the end, everyone blamed T.O. and he accepts the role of scapegoat, especially considering he is no longer a part of the team (paraphrased). Just so we are clear, if anyone made T.O. a scapegoat, it was the media.
Admittedly, the media did play a huge role in the drama filled 2008 season. The media is a monster. But like all monsters, the media must be fed. And since T.O. seems to be the one that continually feed's said monster, from a legal point of view, the monster was T.O.'s pet. As the owner of that pet, T.O. is responsible for whatever damage it causes, as well.
Nevertheless, despite his annoying and poorly-behaved pet, T.O.'s problem is and always has been T.O. His philosophy is to be honest no matter what, which is admirable. But the problem with his so-called honesty is that filter that discludes him from accountability. When you are a member of a team, and a member of your team makes a mistake, who made the mistake, the individual or the team? The correct answer is the team. Doesn't matter if it's a professional sports team, a research team, or a military team, as a whole you are only as strong as your weakest man, which means everyone on the team is responsible for the team's success and failures. Now let's flash back to where T.O.'s problem's really began in Philadelphia.
On April 2005, Owens announced that he had hired a new agent, Drew Rosenhaus, and indicated that he would seek to have his contract with the Eagles renegotiated. Owens made $9 million in 2004 (most of which being bonus money as his base salary was only $660,000), and was slated to make $4.5 million in 2005. This two year amount did not place Owens in the top 10 paid wide receivers playing. He also made a comment to the effect that he “wasn't the guy who got tired in the Super Bowl“; the remark, thought by most to be directed at quarterback Donovan McNabb, caused a controversy between them to heat up (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrell_Owens).
It really doesn't matter who T.O. was referring to, because if an individual on that team “got tired” then the team as a whole “got tired.” Furthermore, to use the performance of another as ammunition to get a raise is despicable. Imagine if your co-worker were to throw you under the bus as ammunition for getting an increase in pay. Beyond his ignominious display of narcissism, one has to wonder if he truly believed this comment in regards to another player helped his cause. If anything, that comment in the end meant millions of lost dollars. That loss would make most introspective in hind-sight, but because of his overall wealth and the lack of pain truly experienced as a result of his actions, he will likely never change.
T.O.'s team concept is skewed, which is why he is a cancer. When he can openly question other players, coaches, and management, this open's the door for younger player's who look up to T.O. as someone they want to emulate to also question others. When everyone is questioning everyone, execution will suffer team-wide. It happens quick. And once the damage is done, there is no fixing it until the cancer and all those who were effected by the cancer are removed. Plain and simple.
Here's looking forward to 2009's Chemotherapied Cowboys!!!