is Tremendously Offensive
no question that TO is a great offensive football player but he
unquestionably has no place on a football team because of his offensive
behavior. As parents and coaches we spend a lot of time working with kids
about being good people, family members and teammates. While we generally
hope our role models can be positive influences, we can certainly use TO as
an example of how not to act. As coaches, we have a responsibility when we
work with young people to head off this type of behavior as early as
Terrell Owens Saga
Owens has put up great numbers and may well be on his way to a Hall of Fame
career; during his 10 years he has caught 716 passes for 10,556 yards and
101 touchdowns. However, TO finds himself in the news too often for negative
behavior. It’s been a long saga of events that started with TO calling out
his first quarterback, Jeff Garcia. Football is the supreme team sport and a
game which demands individuals are sublimated for the common good.
Unfortunately, TO has consistently shown that he’s all about TO and not at
all about his team.
– Drafted in the 3rd round from Chattanooga Tennessee, it took TO
only a few seasons before he started on Jeff Garcia. Upset because he felt
that the ball wasn’t thrown to him enough or where he wanted it, TO on
several occasions called him gay, weak armed and ineffective. While he
ultimately got out of San Francisco to play with the man he considered at
the time to be the best NFL QB, Donovan McNabb, TO soon started to criticize
McNabb for the Eagles’ Super Bowl loss and failing to play through injuries.
He also stated that the 2005 Eagles would be undefeated if they had a better
quarterback like Brett Favre.
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Coach’s Corner, Continued
– Over the years, TO has played for two of the most storied franchises in
football: the Eagles and 49ers. He’s turned on both organizations calling
them, among other things, classless.
– While football is a game of emotion, there have been several instances
where TO has gone “too far”. In addition to the constant arm flapping after
a touchdown, the most infamous events are the “Sharpie Incident”, where he
took a Sharpie from his pocket to autograph the touchdown ball, and the
“Cowboys Logo” pose, where he celebrated two touchdowns narcissistically at
midfield. 49ers Coach Steve Mariucci suspended him for a week for that one.
– It has been rumored that TO has had several fights with his teammates.
Hugh Douglas, an ex-Eagle recently threw punches with TO who had challenged
everybody on the team to a fight.
and Trade Demands
– After his prior agent improperly filed papers in 2004 to declare TO a free
agent, he got a trade to the Ravens cancelled. He then ended going where he
wanted: the Eagles. During the process, he alienated San Francisco and
Baltimore. After miraculously coming back from a broken leg to play a
fantastic Super Bowl, TO reverted and threatened to holdout if the 48.97
Million Dollar contract he signed earlier in the year wasn’t renegotiated.
This was followed up by the series of events that have led the Eagles to
suspend him indefinitely for “conduct detrimental to the team”.
TO has a
long history of Terribly Offensive behavior that makes it impossible to have
a positive team environment. The Eagles organization did a great thing by
getting rid of TO. It would be amazing if nobody ever signed him to play
again based on his history of destructive team behavior, but it’s likely
somebody will make the same mistake the Eagles did and think they can
control TO and give him another chance. He really is that good a football
player, but that shouldn’t matter. He is totally uncontrollable and to think
that his “apology” means in any way that he’s changed is foolhardy. After he
was finally slapped and suspended to come forth and read a prepared
statement is not nearly enough to atone for his team-destructive behavior.
The Eagles have clearly stated that no player, no matter how talented, is
more important than the team. This is a crucial lesson that we need to
reinforce at every level of sports.
the past few years, it’s been shown that teams, not individuals, win
championships. The Pistons and Spurs have been winning in the NBA. The
Patriots have taken home the Lombardi Trophy in three of the past four
seasons. The White Sox, without a single star, won the World Series over the
star-studded Yankees, Cardinals, Angels and Red Sox. Michael Jordan didn’t
win until he was with Scottie Pippen and Wilt Chamberlain, perhaps the most
dominant player of all-time, lost every year to the better team, the Boston
Celtics. As coaches and parents, this is a positive example that we can
build upon with our kids.
recent apology to the Eagles, and the rants of his agent Drew Rosenhaus,
there should be no place in football for TO. No other sport demands that
every player sacrifice for the benefit of the team like football does. Even
though great players do make plays, since every game may turn on any play,
the result of each game must be a complete team effort, including special
teams. A top receiver cannot catch a pass, despite his skill, if the QB
didn’t make the right read and throw,
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Coach’s Corner, Continued
the line didn’t
block, and the other receivers didn’t take some of the coverage.
Unlike basketball, where teams can play one-on-one isolation, or baseball,
where a pitcher or hitter can dominate a single contest, football is the
ultimate team game. Especially in football, there is no room for a player
teamwork is so important, how can we emphasize becoming a good teammate? In
youth sports, where one superstar player can potentially win a championship
for any team, it is even more important for a coach to teach the life lesson
of being a solid member of a team. This is especially true in recreational
leagues where there are “must-play” rules and limitations on how much time
the star is allowed to play.
my first practice for any sport, we’ll spend the first few minutes passing
the ball around between the kids learning each other’s name. This begins the
team concept. I’ve heard of other coaches not allowing kids to play in
practices or games if they don’t know everybody’s name on the team. There
are two keys to being a team: accepting everybody on the team as a member
and to get everybody to contribute to the best of their ability.
accomplish this, we start the year by explaining that on a team, every team
member is your “best friend”. It would be nice if we could say to treat
everybody on the team as your brother, but that may not work as well so we
go with best friend. How would you treat your best friend when they make a
mistake or when they do succeed? During times when the team is together,
practices and games, regardless of what happens at school or off the field,
a team member is your best friend. I’ve had times where kids start to snipe
at each other for making errors, mental and physical, including fights in
huddles among kids. There is no place for this on a team or among best
friends. When things break down, I simply remind them that they’re all best
other thing we try to do is teach that success as a team results from the
entire team. When things go well during the season, we’ll point to certain
events and show how the whole team contributed. We’ll play a little game
with the kids: “when Johnny scored a touchdown, who scored”. The first time,
everybody things that Johnny scored the touchdown. However, after explaining
that Johnny had blocking, there was a good pass, there was pressure put on
the QB that caused an interception or other factors, the kids begin to
realize that Johnny didn’t score the touchdown alone – the team scored!
We’ll also focus on things that all the kids can do regardless of skill:
hustle, try their best, think, be in the right position and being a great
especially youth sports, are about teaching life lessons. As coaches we need
to teach these lessons as much as we teach man-to-man defense or how to
properly throw a pass. Great athletes may often be recognized very early in
their lives and they tend to get special treatment from their friends, their
parents, teachers at school and especially their coaches. However, we can
put a stop to this by treating everybody as a member of a team. To teach
team concepts, the role of every player and the unique contributions made by
each kid, is paramount to helping a star understand that no matter how
talented they are individually it takes a team to win championships. There
is no place for TO in the NFL and there is no place for TO’s Terribly
Offensive behavior in youth sports either. As coaches, let’s do our part in
eliminating negative team behavior. In addition to teaching proper
fundamentals, we need to also coach kids on teamwork and sports real life
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