The T.O. Circus Lands In Buffalo

Terrell Owens with media in tow in Buffalo should come as a welcome sight for Dallas fans

Terrell Owens will, in all likelihood, go down in history as one of the best receivers in history. His career stats and his deft playmaking ability will be touted as he is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But there will undoubtedly be a caveat in rehashing the life and times of number 81: “troubled,” perhaps, or “controversial.”
This caveat’s presence will be as easily felt as that of Owens’ on any given sideline in the NFL. Anyone who watches football on Sundays and certainly anyone who announces it will invariably use one of these words when describing Owens.
The fact that Owens will never be able to shed this image is vaguely tragic, in the truest since of the word, but it is certain that he won’t.
So far in 2009, an average of four NFL players have been arrested a month; actually, the number is slightly higher than that, and we are still only in the middle of May.
Terrell Owens is not on that list, nor, probably, will he ever be.
Owens has never been arrested in his time in the league, a league in which you’d think being arrested at least once was a prerequisite. “The player,” as Bill Parcells called him, is only guilty of being extremely outspoken, a shameless self-promoter and having an ugly contract dispute in Philadelphia.
Is he an easily despicable character? Absolutely. Particularly if he is, I don’t know, dancing on the vaunted emblem of your favorite team.
But Owens’ villainy is within the confines of the rules, and there’s certainly something to be said for that these days.
Owens is a shameless self-promoter, which could be viewed as fanning the flames of his notoriety, but he is also a professional athlete and self-promotion is increasingly par for the course.
Kobe Bryant: Doin’ Work” is the most obvious example of this, and a study in extensive, careful shaping of one’s legacy. As Kobe slapped his teammates on the back and tried a little too hard to show that he was ‘just one of the guys,’ it struck me as incessantly narcissistic.
Because if Narcissus lived today, he wouldn’t stare at himself in a pond; he would have a documentary made, deconstructing just why he is so awesome and voice it over with great care.
This phenomenon is particularly notable in the NFL and the NBA; it is why Owens is probably vilified more than he deserves. But it is also the reason any Cowboys fans should be glad Owens is in Buffalo.
The T.O. show debuted in Buffalo recently, with cameras following Owens’ every move. It’s only mid-May, and the cameras are not going anywhere in the foreseeable future. Owens wouldn’t have it any other way; nor would ESPN.
But any Dallas fan that suffered the disappointing circus of 2008 must be watching in relieved detachment. The degree to which Terrell Owens is responsible for the circus that follows him is of little consequence.
Because Terrell Owens and his circus are thankfully out of town. Perhaps, now, we can get back to football, and maybe, I don’t know, a playoff win or two.

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