Friday, December 12, 2008

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Owens? Ask Deion Sanders

Someone needs to tell Deion Sanders that he no longer works for the Dallas Cowboys. More specifically, he is not Terrell Owens’ public relations representative. And, if he is and I’m the last to know, he’s doing a damn terrible job.

I’m under the impression Neon Deion’s supposed to work for the National Football League Network, which implicitly requires some attention be given to the other 31 teams. Furthermore, being Terrell Owens’ mouthpiece isn’t helping anyone involved.

For instance, the NFL Network’s pregame crew is narrowing the gap between it and ESPN’s version while continuing to the rest of the field farther in its rearview mirror.

Warren Sapp is inexplicably insightful and honest. He’s still a blow-hard and makes a jackass of himself at times, but I thoroughly enjoy him when he’s on. Marshall Faulk is the freakin’ man. I disliked him as a player because he torched my San Francisco 49ers on a regular basis, but he was a warrior. And he still is a warrior.

It’s nice to have those two old-school attitudes behind the desk to counter Neon and Cris Collinsworth (who actually knows the game, but who I just don’t like).

Steve Mariucci and Rich Eisen are unspectacular if effective contrasts to the former players.

Last night’s three-hour pregame show for a rather blasĂ© game could have been a recipe for disaster. But the crew navigated it impressively. It would have been almost flawless except that Sanders kept trying to do T.O.’s dirty work for him.

That first bump was the Dallas Cowboys’ bus running over Patrick Crayton. The second was Roy Williams.

But the biggest, as usual, was the quarterback.

The national media is starting to turn on its once-favorite son, Tony Romo.

That means it’s becoming safer for the “reformed” Terrell Owens to start sniping at him. Only he can’t do it publicly yet, he’s gotta wait for some more momentum to gather before he can join jump in with both feet. So he’s sending his equally credible apostle out.

In a truly astounding bit of transparency (even by today’s standards), Sanders begins with the preface that he likes Romo, but has to be critical because it’s his job. I guess his job doesn’t require the same objective analysis of T.O.

I digress.

According to Deion, there’s no reason to believe the unnamed player inside the Cowboys’ locker room who says T.O. is up to his usual tricks. There’s no reason to believe he’s not jealous of Romo and his favorite (cough, best) receiver, Jason Witten. There’s no reason to believe a pattern, that started in San Francisco and continued in Philadelphia, is rearing its ugly head in Dallas.

It’s actually the other receivers, not that innocent lamb wearing 81 on his back.

Furthermore, Sanders says there is always a problem with Terrell (remember though, Owens isn’t the one with a problem...wait, what?). See, he’s a great player who always wants the ball because it’s PROVEN that great things happen when he gets it.

I always thought greatness on a football field was proven via wins.

Thus far, the Great Crybaby (figuratively and literally) has destroyed more football teams than he has trips to the Super Bowl.

Despite that, he’s proven great things happen when he’s on your team.


The really mind-bottling part was that, when Steve Mariucci (a far more reliable expert on Owens than Sanders, in my opinion) pressed Neon for Owens’ assessment of Dallas, Sanders revealed that it’s everyone else’s fault.

Jason Garrett apparently hasn’t designed the offense correctly. Romo’s missing Owens when he’s wide open, he’s making the wrong reads.

Once again, these are Owens’ words. Owens who has no problem.

The best part of the three-hour evening, though, was the ensuing discussion.

After Owens got through shredding the Dallas offense via his proxy, Marshall called his bluff. He pointed out that the first interception Romo threw was because Owens broke off his route prematurely. Faulk accurately explained that T.O. saw Troy Polamalu coming and pulled up rather than accept the wood Troy was about to deliver.

That’s right, 6’3” and 225 pounds pulled up. He was scared to a stop by 5’10” and 205 pounds. A hard-hitter to be sure, but this is PRO FOOTBALL.

And Faulk polished his insight by saying, if he’s the QB, he’s probably not going back to that option in a big moment. He’s gonna go to the guy who will be where he’s supposed to be or will own up to it when he’s not i.e. Jason Witten.

Deion tried to defend Owens by saying that Terrell pointed Polamalu out before the play. I guess he was warning Romo, “Hey, I don’t want no part of that bad man so don’t throw it my way.”

Meanwhile, big ol’ Warren is sitting on the far right, just laaaughin’ away. He was having a grand time watching Deion try to dig Owens out by piling more dirt on top of him.

I found it quite hilarious myself, but I’m not a Dallas Cowboy fan.

If I were, I definitely wouldn’t be laughing. Dallas needs everything to be working to make the playoffs. They face a brutal home stretch and don’t need internal stress as well.

Unfortunately, that’s Terrell Owens’ specialty. And, now, he’s got Deion Sanders’ help.

Someone remind me. How did it work out the last time Neon Deion teamed up with a high-profile, outspoken Dallas wide receiver?

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