If your popcorn’s not ready, then there must be something wrong with your microwave. In case you haven’t heard, Terrell Owens has arrived to help circle the wagons in Buffalo. Wow factor? Check. Shock and awe? Check. Ending a playoff drought going on 10 years? Stay tuned.
We’re all aware that the U.S.S. Owens leaves quite a wake behind, just ask anyone in San Francisco, Philadelphia and Dallas. It’s no rubix cube when it comes to Owens. He’s flashy and high maintenance. He craves attention and demands the football. And he’s been a disruptive, combustible force, whether it be with quarterbacks or coaches, in each of his previous three stops.
Indeed, this seems to be an odd match. Buffalo and T.O. together? It’s an odd couple that would give Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon a run for their money. Football experts and pundits alike will tell you this is a disastrous move, maybe for both parties. The TO bashers will have you to believe that leopards don’t lose their spots, and since Owens have never been a team player before, don’t expect him to be one this time, either.
And then there’s that whole culture clash thing. Buffalo is a no nonsense, blue collar town where high priced, prima donnas are scarce and snow is not. The naysayers point, laugh, and ask why; I say why not?
If nothing else, the Bills must be applauded for throwing caution to the wind and taking a chance on Owens. The franchise is languishing, longing for an excitement factor to rival the old K-Gun days. The signing signals that the Bills brass acknowledges the fact that not only were the old ways not working, but they were extremely unproductive.
From the draft busts (Mike Williams, JP Losman) to the players that were brought in and never panned out (Derrick Dockery, Takeo Spikes, Drew Bledsoe), it’s been a deflating decade: the Bills have managed to win only 6.6 games per season and they’ve lost to the New England Patriots in 16 of the last 17 meetings. And then there’s that whole no playoff appearances thing to boot.
Landing Terrell Owens is a brash statement that the Bills have pushed all their chips to the center of the table in 2009, and they’re all in. This appears to be head coach Dick Jauron’s last stand, and after three consecutive 7-9 seasons, if the Bills fail to reach the playoffs Jauron will probably be shown the door and he won’t be the only one. On offense, Buffalo finally has someone to take the heat off wideout Lee Evans.
Last season Evans faced constant double coverages, and despite fellow receivers Josh Reed, Roscoe Parrish and rookies James Hardy and Steve Johnson, none of them are in a class with Owens. With T.O. lined up across the field, now Evans is free to do what he does best and that’s make big plays down the field. At the very least, the days of Evans facing constant double coverage for 16 games are over.
Regardless of what you think of Owens, in just a few short days since his signing, Owens has made Buffalo a hot topic, if not the topic around the NFL. The Bills have become a headline story and not because of a super bowl loss or a last second playoff loss in Tennessee.
The fans have grown frustrated and tiresome over the lengthy playoff drought and they’ve been aching for anything to be excited about. Sure Owens will attract plenty of media attention and he’ll generate merchandise and tickets sales. But he just might be the one guy that’s capable of re-energizing the city and the fans. After all,it’s only March and I’m willing to bet there’s not one Buffalo Bills fan out there who wishes it were Week 1 of the NFL season.
If you want big rewards, you have to take big risks. This is a move truly out of the ordinary for the Bills, but the old ways bred mediocrity and losing. Out with the old, and in with the new.