Sideline Tantrums

Here’s a quick list of some sideline tantrums throughout history that made the news. Of course, none of these were 1% as publicized as Terrell Owens’s alleged “tantrums,” but these were vivid enough to at least deserve mention in the press.

Jerry Rice, 1998: 49ers @ Redskins, 04 Raiders/Bills, 00 49ers @ Cowboys, 1992 49ers @ Falcons
Kordell Stewart, 1998 : Steelers @ Bucs
Shaun Alexander, 2004 Falcons @ Seahawks
Braylon Edwards, 2006 Bengals @ Browns (30-0)
Muhsin Muhammad, Bears vs. Falcons, 2005
Cris Carter, Vikings @ Bears, 2001 (17-10), Vikings @ Saints, 2001
Albert Connell, Redskins @ Eagles, 2000 (17-14)
Curtis Enis, Bears vs. Browns, 2000 preseason
Ricky Watters, Bucs @ Eagles, 1995
Barry Richardson, Chiefs vs. Broncos, 2010 (10-6)
Antonio Bryant, 49ers vs. Rams 2006
Rich Gannon, Raiders @ Broncos, 2003 (31-10)
Anquan Boldin, Cardinals, 2008 NFC Championship Game vs. Eagles
Steve Young, 49ers vs. Eagles, 1994
Jeff George, 1996, Falcons vs. Eagles, 1996
Tom Brady, Patriots @ Redskins, 2011
Torry Holt, Rams vs. Steelers, 2007
Matt Cassel, Chiefs vs. Vikings, 2011
Kevin Greene, Panthers vs. Redskins 1998
Renaldo Turnbull, Saints vs. 49ers 1996
Sam Madison, Dolphins @ Bengals, 2004
Philip Rivers, Chargers vs. Chiefs, 2009 (20-9)
Brandon Jacobs, Giants @ Colts, 2010
Keyshawn Johnson, Bucs MNF (Youtube)
Cullen Jenkins, Eagles/Patriots preseason, 2012
Gary Clark, Redskins @ Vikings wildcard playoff, 1992-93
Stan Thomas, Bears vs. Steelers, 1992
Tarvaris Jackson, Vikings @ Cowboys, 2007
Terence Newman, Cowboys vs. Redskins (7-6), 2009
Reggie Wayne/Peyton Manning, Colts vs. Jaguars (24-27), 2004
DeAngelo Hall, Falcons vs. Panthers, 2007
Chris Doleman, Vikings @ Packers, 1993
Bryan Cox, Bears @ Packers, 1997
Ken Payne, Packers 1977
Albert Haynesworth, Patriots vs Giants, 2011
Eric Moulds, Bills @ Dolphins, 2005
Dan Marino/Mark Ingram, Dolphins/Bears 1994
Daunte Culpepper, Panthers/Vikings 2002

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McNabb Tired in Super Bowl Response

In response to being criticized as “selfish” for returning to play in the Super Bowl:

As always, there is a lot being written and [reported] without anyone talking to me. I mean, I can’t do right and I can’t do wrong. It’s getting, in some ways, like it was for me in San Francisco. But the one thing that won’t change is that I’m going to show up to play to win. No one can ever [debate] that…

No one can ever accuse me of not being in great shape. Andy knows that. My teammates know that, when I show up, I’m ready to go. The biggest concern should be winning a Super Bowl. That’s what I show up to do. I’ve never been out of shape. I mean, this is my [livelihood]….

[Regarding the Super Bowl], I was trying to inspire myself. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. But why did I want to do it? To win a Super Bowl for the team, for the fans, for the city. I did everything they asked me to do. I played every snap they allowed me to play. I wasn’t even running until, like, two weeks before the game. But I made sure I was in the best shape possible. I wasn’t the guy who got tired in the Super Bowl.”

Owens’s response was a shot at the media; he was pointing out the irony in them questioning what kind of shape he would be in coming off the injury, and how that might hurt the team, and then the major story on ESPN and everywhere else at the time was about the other star’s physical conditioning, thanks to what Hank Fraley and Freddie Mitchell had told the media.

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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

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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.”


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

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Couldn’t Wait to Get Rid Of Him

1996: 49ers draft Owens

1999: 49ers sign Owens to 7 year contract with NFL record $7.5 million signing bonus.

2000: Owens celebrates on star, Steve Mariucci suspends him, and relationship becomes strained.

Summer 2002: Mariucci flies out to Atlanta to meet with Owens and then-agent David Joseph in an effort to improve relationship with Owens.

Summer 2003: With void clause in 1999 contract coming up in 2004, GM Terry Donahue meets with Joseph to discuss a contract extension, but decides the sides are too far apart. Star linebacker Julian Peterson was also scheduled to be a UFA, and was represented by the Postons, with rumors they could ask for a $30 million signing bonus. Cap-strained 49ers would end up franchising Peterson, but never did agree to a long-term deal with him.

Early 2004: Joseph files for free agency after Owens gets acquainted with McNabb at Pro Bowl. Misses deadline, remains under contract 49ers. 49ers have already cut QB Jeff Garcia. Joseph/Owens request a trade and Donahue agrees. 49ers were already in rebuilding mode.

Early 2004: Donahue sends Owens to Ravens in exchange for 2nd round pick.

Early 2004: Owens/Joseph file a grievance, since Owens thought they had a deal in place to send him to his desired destination, Philadelphia.

Early 2004: 49ers/Ravens/Eagles reach a settlement to send Owens to Philadelphia.

Early 2005: Owens seeks to renegotiate contract he signed under duress with Eagles while trying to beat the ruling on the grievance hearing. Eagles’ front office refuses.

August 2005: Owens ends holdout and comes to camp, but is still upset over contract and is suspended for a week for insubordination (skipped autograph signings, and when Reid went to confront him about it, they got in a heated argument). Media sensationalism is indescribable. You had to be there. Stalked him home, flew helicopters over his house, leading to him trying to make light of the situation by doing situps on his driveway. During this time, Owens was sent three notices warning him about his “insubordination,” telling him that any further actions would result in a suspension.

Fall 2005: At 4-3, 7 games into the season, with McNabb struggling with a sports hernia injury, Michael Irvin says Eagles would be undefeated with Brett Favre as their starting QB. In an interview later that week with Graham Bensinger, Bensinger asks Owens why the Eagles are struggling, and Owens says that if McNabb were healthy, their record would be better. As a follow up question, Bensinger asked Owens what he thought of Irvin’s assessment, and Owens said, “that’s a good assessment, I would agree with that,” and goes on to praise Favre. Media meltdown ensues, and Reid stipulates Owens apologize publicly to the organization, privately to McNabb, and stand in front of the team and apologize for the interview. Owens does the first but refuses the latter two parts, and is suspended and deactivated, ending his Eagles career.

2006: Cowboys sign Owens to a 3 year contract, with an option after the very first season that they could decline to pick up.

Early 2007: Cowboys pick up Owens’s option.

2008: Cowboys sign Owens to a contract extension.

2009: Cowboys release Owens at age 35, coming off his worst statistical season since 1999. During the 2008 season, with Owens in a statistical slump, the Cowboys had traded a 1st and 3rd round pick for Lions receiver Roy Williams and paid him #1 wide receiver money. Owens tells me he was sent a performance evaluation form after his release, and on said sheet it has different boxes that can be checked as to the reason for said release. On Owens’s release form, the box that was checked was for “performance.” None of the conduct boxes were checked.

2009: Bills sign Owens to a 1 year contract.

2010: Bengals sign Owens to a 1 year contract.

2011: Owens tears ACL. With lack of NFL interest for a 37-year-old coming off major reconstructive knee surgery, signs a deal with Arena League team to play only their home games, including 30% ownership cut (team cut him after he had played his last home game to save money).

2012: Seahawks sign Owens, 38-going-on-39, to 1 year contract. Drops balls in preseason and is cut.

End of career.



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What About the fight with Hugh Douglas?

What about it? 

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The Myth of Terrell Owens Bashing McNabb

Forget everything you think you know. You don’t.

You think he accused McNabb of getting tired/throwing up in the Super Bowl. He did not. That was Hank Fraley and Freddie Mitchell.

You think he said the Eagles would be better off with Brett Favre at quarterback than McNabb. Not quite.

First of all, Michael Irvin was the one who came up with the assessment in question while babbling on ESPN.

But secondly, and more importantly, when Owens said that Irvin’s comment was “a good assessment,” he was responding in a context that completely changes the meaning of what he said.

The very question before, when interviewer Graham Bensinger asked him why he thought the Eagles had a disappointing 4-3 record, Owens said that McNabb’s injury (sports hernia he suffered in week 1) was a big part of that, and that if McNabb were healthy, the Eagles would have a better record. Bensinger’s question about Irvin’s comments about Favre as the Eagles quarterback were a follow up to what Owens had just said, and Owens, still thinking in terms of the Eagles struggling because of McNabb’s injury, answered by agreeing that Favre at quarterback would also have the Eagles in a better situation. In other words, what Owens was attempting to express was that the Eagles would be better with a healthy McNabb and they would also be better with a healthy Favre. He did not intend for his response to be a criticism of McNabb.

Watch for yourself, starting at 8:00 in Part 2 and continuing into Part 3:

But the media made everyone think otherwise, including McNabb himself, which is what led to the Eagles’ demand that Owens apologize to him. Owens refused, and his Eagles career was over.

Here’s how and why it all went down.

Coming from San Francisco in a highly publicized trade, Owens brought with him a media-created reputation for conflict with his quarterback; that quarterback being Jeff Garcia. If you read my post The Myth of Terrell Owens Calling Jeff Garcia Gay In Playboy, you now understand how the media created that situation and then revised history to further bolster the narrative.

During the 2004 off-season, Owens publicly expressed his enthusiasm for playing with McNabb, who was also a high profile player, and ESPN and co.’s wet dream was a reality.

Their mission: Use the same tactics they used when Owens was in San Francisco to create real conflict with McNabb.

Step 1: Ask one or both inflammatory questions and then completely misrepresent the answer to make it look like one just criticized the other.

Step 2: One or both of them fall for the false headline.

Step 3: Conflict

Step 4:Ratings.

Step 5: $$$$.

But in 2004, there was one slight problem. The Eagles just kept winning. Owens was on a tear.

And it’s hard to ask an inflammatory question when things are going well for those being questioned.

It wasn’t until the Eagles lost their first game against the Steelers that the media finally had a scenario in which they could go to work. And what do you know…that’s exactly what they did.

One of the 47 “T.O. Cams” caught Owens following McNabb around on the sidelines and yelling something at him. While football players yell on the sidelines every single week, this was an opportunity to do what the media does any time one of their “villains” engages in normal football etiquette: feign ignorance and pretend football is a country club.

It was a desperation move, but it was all they had. Sadly for them, the Eagles revealed that Owens was merely shouting words of encouragement to McNabb. False alarm.

And unfortunately for the media, the Eagles did not lose another game the rest of that regular season before Owens broke his leg.

He returned to play in the Super Bowl, and while the Eagles lost, he posted 9 catches for 122 yards and the winning story seemed to be the “hero” portrayal.

But fortune soon struck when Owens’s teammates, Hank Fraley and Freddie Mitchell, revealed on national television that McNabb was tired on the Eagles’ last drive of the game, and may have even vomited.

ESPN, masters of the sensationalism, ran this story into the ground.

And then Len Pasquarelli sat down with Owens to discuss his “heroic” performance in the Super Bowl.

This was when they got the perfect comment to take out of context. Owens was addressing the criticism he had received from some for playing in the game and talked about how hard he worked to make sure his physical conditioning was good enough before noting the irony of ESPN’s stories being about McNabb being the one who got tired, saying, “I wasn’t the guy who got tired in the Super Bowl.” Owens never said McNabb’s name, but people understood it to be a reference to the story, as first broken by Fraley and Mitchell.

Owens’s comment was meant as a shot at the media, not McNabb. All these people were saying before the game that he was selfish for trying to play, questioning his physical conditioning…and then it turns out that the one they ended up reporting on getting tired was the other star player, who was healthy.

The problem for Owens was this quote was only shown in text, out of context. It was a print interview with no cameras around. Perfect. Now Sportscenter’s anchors can read the quote in an insulting tone and McNabb can hear about it and be pissed off.

Breaking news…here’s a quote from Terrell Owens…”IIIIIIIiiiii wasn’t the guy who got tired in the Super Bowl…(sideways glance).”

And it worked. People assumed Owens meant his comment as an insult, not realizing he was merely pointing out how surprising it was that after all the concern over how Owens would recover from his injury and how many snaps he could play without getting tired, their huge story on a player on the Eagles getting tired in the Super Bowl was not about him.

And as it turns out, Owens does not consider getting tired in a football game to necessarily be anything to be ashamed of. Football players in general don’t. It happens to everyone at some point. That’s why Fraley and Mitchell mentioned it on national television; they were actually praising McNabb’s effort in the game, underscoring that he left everything he had on the field.

When Owens heard the reaction to this, he denied that he was taking a shot at McNabb, and he has never relented from that position. But nobody ever actually listens to him. It’s never about what he says, it’s only about what he says that they can make into something else and refuse to acknowledge any clarifications.

McNabb carried resentment from thinking Owens took a shot at him into the 2005 season, where he would be further enraged when he heard the media’s false interpretation of Owens’s infamous answer in the Bensinger interview.

Since the two of them merely had a business relationship at that point, and no longer a friendship, Owens and McNabb were not willing to talk to each other about what had happened. Combine that with Owens’s contract dispute and it was a recipe for the end.

As upset as Owens was over the dissolution of their friendship in late 2004 after McNabb told him to “shut the fuck up” in the huddle and blew him off after the game, only to call Owens a few days later and make it clear from his tone that from then on, their relationship would be strictly professional, he was not looking to insult McNabb in the media. The media wanted him to do this, and as it turns out, that was all it took for them to convince people that he did.

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The Myth of Terrell Owens Calling Garcia Gay In Playboy

When people refer to Terrell Owens having problems with Jeff Garcia in San Francisco, the vast majority of the time they will claim that Owens “called Jeff Garcia gay.” They use this as one of their examples of Owens being a “bad teammate.”

They are, of course, referring to an Owens interview with Playboy magazine.

The problem is…are you ready for this? Terrell Owens and Jeff Garcia were no longer teammates at the time of this interview.

The interview people are referring to came out in the summer of 2004 when Owens was a member of the Philadelphia Eagles and Garcia was on the Cleveland Browns. Owens’s time as Garcia’s teammate was officially over months earlier, when the 49ers released Garcia on March 2nd, and he knew they had played their last game as teammates as far back as December 21st of 2003, when he learned he had suffered a broken collarbone against the Philadelphia Eagles. Owens knew he was not returning to the 49ers for the 2004 season before it even began, when his agent at the time, David Joseph, met with General Manager Terry Donahue during the summer of 2003 and could not come to an agreement on a contract extension.

So even before we analyze everything else about this myth, anything Owens said about Garcia at the time of this interview is irrelevant. You can not claim that Owens is a bad teammate because he says something “bad” about someone who isn’t his teammate.

Nonetheless, people still probably think that was a lousy thing to do to someone. The problem is, he didn’t do anything of the sort.

In the interview in question, Owens was specifically asked if he “thought” Jeff Garcia was gay; a question emanating from the rumors about Garcia’s sexual preference that had been around for years. It may come as a shock to you that Garcia, who talked with a noticeable lisp, was single at age 34, and was quarterbacking the San Francisco 49ers, was fending off “gay” rumors for years.

And Owens answered by implying that he thought he was. “Like my boy tells me – if it looks like a rat, smells like a rat, by golly, it’s a rat.”

In the same interview, Owens was asked how he would feel about having a gay teammate, and he made it known that he personally wouldn’t have a problem if one of his teammates was gay. “He can do whatever he wants in his personal life.” In other words, Owens was not even looking to take the opportunity to insult an ex-teammate, but merely implying he thought the same thing many others did at the time.

Immediately after it hit the fan, Owens clarified in his press conference from Eagles camp the next day that he was not intending to say that Garcia was gay and that he did not know whether Garcia was gay or not.

Owens backed off his comment to Playboy after the Eagles’
practice Tuesday, saying, “My thing was I didn’t say that he was
gay. Like I said, the conversation and interview was loose and from
my knowledge I’m not sure if Jeff is gay or not.”

This doesn’t count, though, because when it comes to Owens, only the first and worst interpretation of something matters through the passage of time.

So did Owens and Garcia have any conflict during their time as teammates? The answer is yes, but it was very brief – for about one week during their last year together – and it was entirely media-created.

What do I mean mean by “media-created?”

During a blowout loss to the Minnesota Vikings in week 4, a struggling Garcia was benched for Tim Rattay, who played well in relief. Owens, who was a perpetual media target because of his controversial touchdown celebrations in Dallas 3 years earlier, was asked if he thought it was time for a quarterback change. He gave a politically correct answer:

Who knows? That’s not my position to say we need a QB change, but Rat (Rattay) did a good job when he was in there. Whoever is in there, I’m going to catch the ball. Even if it’s (Ken) Dorsey, I’m going to catch the ball. All the quarterbacks can throw deep. It’s all about timing.

The problem was, the media had other ideas. Armed with the power to make up headlines and completely misrepresent what Owens said, they claimed Owens had “suggested”or “hinted at” a quarterback change and told Jeff Garcia that was what he had said. Garcia responded with the cryptic remark, “we can not allow this sickness to spread,” which then made its way back to Owens.

For much of the next week leading up to the Lions game, the two of them weren’t speaking to each other. Finally, at some point before game day, Garcia went up to Owens’s hotel room and they apologized and moved on.

The rest of the year was uneventful, but once Owens’s time in San Francisco had ended and the Playboy interview came out, the revisionist historians known as the sports media blurred the timeline and made you unaware of the fact that “it looks like a rat” had absolutely nothing to do with Owens and Garcia during their time as teammates. It worked perfectly as a lead-in for their next pet project – creating conflict between McNabb and Owens in Philadelphia.

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