2001 Bears game

Remember when the media accused Owens of accusing Mariucci of “throwing” the 2001 Bears game to help his friend, Dick Jauron?

It turns out that wasn’t true at all.


Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service

November 1, 2001 | Georgatos, Dennis

AddThis Button BEGIN





AddThis Button END

  • Permalink

Terrell Owens says 49ers Coach Steve Mariucci is taking football diplomacy too far.

Owens on Wednesday took the blame for muffing the pass that was intercepted and returned for the winning touchdown in overtime Sunday. But he said the game never should have come down to that play.

Owens said the 49ers, ahead by 19 points in the third quarter, didn’t press their advantage, and the wide receiver suggested part of the reason was that Mariucci didn’t want to offend his longtime friend, Chicago Bears Coach Dick Jauron.

Owens said he was not criticizing the play-calling but insisted the 49ers should have made more of an effort to keep scoring in the second half.

“I’m a person who doesn’t like to lose, and that was a game we shouldn’t have lost,” Owens said. “It’s frustrating for me when you put in such hard work and you’ve got a good thing going and we just let one slip away from us.

“Hopefully the coach will change his mentality about us just destroying teams now. It’s funny. His buddy system with all the coaches around the league, I think he tries to spare them sometimes. He doesn’t want to embarrass a team. But you’ve got to understand if you’re trying to win a championship, sometimes you can’t spare feelings.

“As a team, we lost all the way around the board, on the offense, defense, special teams and coaches. I know they’re probably beating themselves over the head as well.”

Mariucci has been sensitive to the unwritten rules of piling on. Indeed, he apologized to Jauron last December after he continued passing in the final minutes of a 17-0 victory over the Bears. He had been trying to help Owens reach his 20-reception record and get Jerry Rice a few more receptions in his final 49ers home game.

But Mariucci said it was wrong for Owens to suggest he pursued niceties at the expense of winning.

“He knows that a lot of coaches in this league are connected,” Mariucci said. “He knows we have a respect for the game and for each other. And he knows we play to win. He’s probably saying some things tongue in cheek. Obviously, I value my job, just like Dick Jauron values his. I play to win.”

Owens said Mariucci‘s mistake was innocent and an easy one to make, because just about everyone _ including some of the Bears players _ believed the game was over after Zack Bronson’s 97-yard interception return in the third quarter put the 49ers up 28-9.

“This was a game I think where even as the head coach, you’re still learning, and this obviously was an eye-opening and learning situation for all of us,” Owens said. “But with this league, anything can happen. No lead is safe. Guys are professionals and they can go out there and make a play at any time.

“This is something that came back to haunt us. It really did. It hurts, man. It’s just sickening to know that everybody is raving about the Bears and we’re 4-2 and could well be 5-1.”

Of his drop _ which Chicago safety Mike Brown plucked out of the air and returned for a touchdown _ Owens said he reviewed the film and determined it wasn’t a flat-out drop but nevertheless a “mess-up by T.O.” for which he should take responsibility.

“I caught the ball and it hit my knee and for whatever reason it just popped out of my hand,” said Owens, who took the blame for the 49ers’ only other loss, to the St. Louis Rams on Sept. 23. (He had four drops.) “I beat myself up over it, but at the same time looking at the big picture we shouldn’t have been in that situation anyway.

“But there’s a situation where I’m relied on to make a big play. If I’m going to consider myself a big-play player in that type of environment, then I need to make that play.”


Visit Mercury Center, the World Wide Web site of the Mercury News, at http://www0.mercurycenter.com/

Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

(c) 2001, San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.).

Visit Mercury Center, the World Wide Web site of the Mercury News, at http://www0.mercurycenter.com/

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s