Column: T.O. the Scapegoat

By Dan Berrigan

Eagles fans buried Terrell Owens on Monday night before the game, then the Cowboys buried their playoff chances.

When McNabb threw away the Eagles’ season to Dallas safety Roy Williams, he lost his ability to use Owens as a scapegoat for a mediocrity.

McNabb’s quarterback rating of 85.0 might be good enough for the New Orleans Saints, but it’s not good enough for a team that went to the Super Bowl last season. Mix in Reid’s pass-happy play calling and you’ll find the root of the Eagles’ problem.

McNabb’s biggest weakness is his inept play calling in the two-minute drill.

In the Super Bowl, the Eagles’ two-minute drill was about as drawn out as a “Lord of the Rings” movie.

Eagles lose 24-21.

Then last week, McNabb decides to run a fake spike with 28 seconds to go in the half. It might have worked if he weren’t the only one who knew about it. Later in the game he would end a possible game-winning drive with an interception.

Eagles lose again 17-10.

All Philadelphia’s NFC Championship game losses under McNabb have ended with an interception. The ghosts of Ricky Manning Jr. and Rhonde Barber running down the sidelines still haunt fans’ dreams.

Maybe it’s the sports hernia, maybe his wide receivers couldn’t get open, maybe it’s the Madden jinx. Whatever McNabb’s excuse, he has been the one absent every week on the field, not T.O.

They needed No. 81 happy this season, but the management blew it.

It’s true T.O. is a pompous jackass. Dennis Rodman was a jackass too, but Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson made it work for the sake of winning.

McNabb and Reid couldn’t keep Owens happy even after going to the Super Bowl.

Without Owens the Eagles average eight points less per game.

How can anyone say this team is better off now that the “cancer” is removed?

Next question.

Who’s going to give them that extra punch now?

Tight end L.J. Smith? Rookie wide receiver Reggie Brown? Greg Lewis?

Lewis might be the only familiar name in the bunch simply because he’s an Illinois grad. He’s been forced into the No. 1 slot with Owens gone, and keep in mind he was only the fourth-best reciever on the 2001 Sugar Bowl team.

The name of the game is to win, and like him or not, Owens helped the Birds.

The Eagles haven’t won a championship since they beat the Packers in 1960. In fact, the last time any Philadelphia team won a title was in 1983 with Dr. J and Moses Malone.

So what if the guy parks in handicap spaces, challenges teammates to fights and gave an apology that had 13 I’s in the first 51 seconds?

Vince Lombardi said, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”

If the Eagles followed that philosophy from the beginning and found a way to make it work, they’d be Detroit bound.

Winners and Weasels of the Week

Winner: Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Garnett announced that he donated $1.2 million to victims of Hurricane Katrina to build homes in the New Orleans area and throughout the Gulf Coast region. Garnett continues to be one of the few players drafted out of high school with a brain.

Weasel: ESPN Analyst Michael Irvin. Another in a long line of jerks who played for the Dallas Cowboys. He’s been Owen’s ESPN mouthpiece through the entire dispute and never failed to stir the pot against the Eagles every chance he gets. Perhaps he is still upset that Eagles fans cheered when his career ended at Veteran’s Stadium.

Dan Berrigan is a senior in Engineering and can be reached at [email protected]