This was written on March 25, 2009
As one of perhaps three (maximum) Buffalo Bills fans on campus, I have been pressed a lot recently for my opinion on the signing of Buffalo’s signing of Terrell Owens. The first couple days after the signing, I really wasn’t sure. More than anything, I was just in shock that the Bills had actually put together the guts and the money to make such a move. On top of that, I was sure there had to be some strings attached – I mean, why would Owens want to move to Buffalo? It’s a very blue-collar, drink your domestic beer and whiskey city. Owens is the kind of guy who grabs a bottle of Patrón and Greygoose and goes to have fun with a limo.
(Actually, Owens doesn’t drink at all. But the analogy is still a solid one).
Obviously, Buffalo was not Owens’s first choice. It was not his fifth choice. It probably wasn’t even his fifteenth. But in the end, it seems as if it came down to Buffalo or Oakland. And if you’re going to choose between two really, really old owners, it’s probably better to choose the one that doesn’t look like a beached whale.
As a couple weeks have passed, I can say that I am truly excited about the possibilities that Terrell Owens presents for the Bills. Some reasons why:
He’s talented – Let’s not forget this. He’s a six-time Pro Bowler. He averages 82 receptions a year, with 1221 yards and 12 touchdowns. Ego aside, he’s still a top ten receiver in the league today.
He takes the pressure off of Lee Evans – Evans is a fabulous deep threat. But without a solid possession receiver that has the ability to go over the middle and take a hit, teams have been able to shade their safeties over to Evans’s side and double him. Plus, Trent Edwards isn’t exactly proficient at throwing the deep ball. Owens is a great route runner and will be able to open up some room for Evans.
He’s only in Buffalo for one year – A look at his numbers during his first season with any team:
San Francisco (his rookie year) – 35 receptions, 520 yards, 4 TDs
Philadelphia – 77 receptions, 1200 yards, 14 TDs
Dallas – 85 receptions, 1180 yards, 13 TDs
Those are very solid numbers. This pretty much proves that Owens does not wreck locker rooms in his first year. He actually gathers friends due to his competitiveness. For one year and $6.5 million (a STEAL), we get his services. Plus, the one-year contract means one other thing…
He will be motivated – Don’t think he didn’t take it as insult that no high-profile team wanted him. Owens knows he only has one year to prove that he’s both still a very capable receiver, and, probably more importantly, a capable teammate. If he starts having issues in Buffalo, no one is going to want to touch him next year when his contract expires (except Oakland, I imagine). So he’s going to try as hard as possible to avoid these issues. He knows he’s on his last straw.
Buffalo has nothing to lose – How long has it been since the Bills last made the playoffs? Well, my friends, it’s been nine seasons. NINE. It’s the longest streak in the AFC, and tied for the longest streak in the NFL. Tied with whom, you ask? The Detroit Lions. That is some great company to hang out with, eh? The last time I watched the Bills in the playoffs, I ended up crying uncontrollably in my bed for an hour after the game due to the Music City Miracle.
1999. I was in 5th grade. America had yet to be introduced to the concept of “hanging chads.” We were concerned with Michael Jordan’s retirement, not Brett Farve’s. And the St. Louis Rams operating the Greatest Show on Turf. My point is that we Bill fans are desperate. What’s the worst that can happen with Owens – we miss the playoffs? Oh, wait. That’s whats happened every season this decade! There is nothing to lose and everything to gain with Owens coming to Buffalo.
Sure, Buffalo still needs to address their offensive and defensive line issues. And yes, Marshawn Lynch may be going to jail. But Owens is a spark. He’s given the franchise a little hope. And excuse my cautious optimism, but I think this move will make all the difference in finally getting Buffalo back to playing January football.