Philadelphia Eagles: This could have been T.O.’s town

(Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)
(Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images) /

In 21 games of action, Terrell Owens certainly marked his place in Philadelphia Eagles history, but in hindsight, he could have been an all-time great.

In the NFL, more so than maybe any other sport, one position reigns supreme above all others: the quarterback.

Now granted, some could argue that goalies are the most important player in hockey, or a point guard is the most important player in basketball, but I don’t recall Wayne Gretzky ever standing in-goal, and I believe Michael Jordan played shooting guard, so that argument really has to be taken with a grain of salt.

No, for the most part, teams in the NFL live or die by their quarterback, and finding a franchise signal caller can often times be the difference between multiple Super Bowl victories, and a seemingly endless carousel of coaches cycling through the city looking for that “missing piece”.

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So, for a non-quarterback to rise above the rest and become a face-of-the-franchise-level talent, they would have to be a pretty transcendent talent.

For one magical season, Terrell Owens was that player for the Philadelphia  Eagles.

Expertly snatched away from the San Francisco 49ers as the seeming missing piece for Andy Reid’s squad to finally overcome the hurdle that was the NFC Championship Game, Owens was by far the best pass-catcher Donovan McNabb ever had in his tenure in Philadelphia, regardless of what Freddie Mitchell would like you to believe.

Owens was so popular in fact that he literally changed how people in the City of Brotherly Love read the word TO (you totally read it T.O.).

From his enigmatic touchdown celebration dances to his willingness to play in the Super Bowl on effectively one leg, Owens was so popular in the City of Brotherly Love he even had his own touchdown song, an accomplishment that very few players in league history can confidently say.

To put it simply, this could have been Owens’ town.

Had the immensely talented, yet never truly satisfied receiver simply swallowed his pride and accepted that he needed Reid and McNabb to succeed, instead of throwing an impromptu shirtless press conference in his front yard essentially demanding a trade, we may not have been able to celebrate a Doug Pederson helmed Super Bowl victory earlier this year, because, in all likelihood, Reid may have never been fired in the first place.

Though the Eagles remained incredibly competitive over their post T.O. tenure, the team never quite regained their form and were unable to return to a Super Bowl with Reid calling the shots. This gap in talent between the Eagles and the league’s elite teams, or mental roadblock created by such a devastating loss (you decide), when coupled with a declining McNabb and the untimely death of Garrett Reid while at training camp in 2012 ultimately lead to the demise of the Andy Reid-era in Philly, effectively leaving the team’s all-time greatest coach without a title.

Well it’s unclear how things would have shaken out had T.O. been able to remain in Philly long-term, whether that be more Super Bowl appearances or an extended tenure for Reid as the team’s head coach, it’s worth wondering what the state of Philadelphia sports would be like now had he remained with the team.

Would Carson Wentz be preparing for his third season as a member of the Cleveland Browns? And what about the Kansas City Chiefs, Reid’s current franchise? After going 2-14 in 2012, Reid has effectively reshaped their roster and rebuilt the team into a legitimate playoff contender year after year. Without him, would they still be in the NFL’s basement for the last half-decade? Or worse, would Alex Smith be the Eagles’ current quarterback?

One thing’s for sure, Chip Kelly certainly wouldn’t have had a chance to dismantle Reid’s legacy, and roster, over a disastrous three-year tenure in the City of Brotherly Love.

Next. Terrell Owens, Brian Dawkins forever linked after Hall of Fame. dark

Now granted, we could try to extrapolate for hours about the state of Philly sports had Owens decided to retire an Eagle and join his Hall of Fame classmate Brian Dawkins as one of the franchise’s most storied players, but one thing is clear: had Owens simply remained in Philly, put his ego aside and accepted that he needed a strong team around him to ultimately win a Super Bowl, he could have owned the City of Brotherly Love in a way no other position player had done before him.