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T.O. And Donovan McNabb’s Bittersweet Super Bowl Experience Festers

Terrell Owens is one of the finalists for The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018. The winners will be announced on the air the night before Philadelphia and New England square off in Super Bowl 52 on Feb. 3. 

The game will be a rematch of Super Bowl XXXIX played in February of 2005 at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville. It is a game that Owens – then at the height of his fame and productivity, forming a potent combination with QB Donovan McNabb – remembers all too well. 

Seven weeks prior to the game, Owens broke his leg and tore a critical ligament in his right ankle. He needed to get surgery and his surgeon wouldnt clear him to play in the Super Bowl against the Pats. Owens ignored the doctors and played  62 of 72 offensive snaps, catching nine passes for 122 yards.

It might have been the bravest performance in Super Bowl history. It should have been his shining moment in a glorious career. 

I did whatever I could to win that game. Whatever ounce I had in my body I put it on the line, Owens said in a radio interview. 

Instead, the media highlighted his feud with McNabb, choosing to paint T.O. as the selfish, prima donna villain. It has haunted him ever since. 

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Unfathomably, Owens has been eligible since 2016, but apparently, his flamboyance, obsession with the camera, innovative TD celebrations and locker-room riffs with teammates at several NFL stops are the things about him that Hall of Fame voters choose to focus on when clicking in their ballots rather than his lit body of statistics. 

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In a Wednesday pow wow with Chris Carlin, Bart Scott and Maggie Gray on WFAN sports radio in New York, T.O. spoke about the way McNabb has also dissed him publicly over the years. 

He was real vague and not so complimentary of me and what I brought to the team, T.O. said. Anybody who knows me, Im not going to fake the funk. Im not a phony or fake person. I respected him as a man, even when we were going through our situation. I didnt allow that to deter what I had to do on the football field. I knew what my job is.

Donovan McNabb & Terrell Owens Fued

This Video is about the McNabb vs T.O. Fued

The harbored animosity came into full light when T.O. said he wasnt surprised about the sexual harassment allegations levied against McNabb. His Twitter finger has found McNabb a few times too. 

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To true football heads, his decision to risk further injury and financial reward by playing in that Super Bowl is legendary and respected because it’s old school and totally against the grain of todays thinking.   

T.O. spoke about his warriors mindset entering that Super Bowl. 

What I did prior to the Super Bowl…I exercised my faith in God,” he said. “A lot of people dont like to put that out there but other than obviously putting the team at the forefront of my decision, thats what I did. I knew that I would never get that opportunity again and I couldn’t put myself in harms way if I wasn’t ready but…doctors across the country said it was no way possible I would be walking in 6.5 to 7 weeks let alone do what I did on Super Bowl Sunday. Thats a testament to what I am and who I am as a person.

But nobody gives T.O. the credit he deserves because Philly lost the game 24-21. It went down as another close Super Bowl win for New England…yaaaawn.  

Even after that game, there were analysts who said I was selfish for wanting to play, T.O. said. “So that should put things into perspective as to how the (media) views me as a person.

Since that Super Bowl, T.O.s  rocky relationship with McNabb and in his time in San Francisco has been the focus when discussing his undeniable Hall of Fame credentials. People continue to paint him as the bad guy in a situation when T.O. told FS1s Undisputed back in March of 2017 that McNabb sparked the drama by telling T.O. to Shut the f–k up in a huddle during a game against the Giants. Owens felt disrespected and addressed McNabb in the locker room. 

Instead of receiving his jacket, T.O. continues to defend his character and the perception that he’s a bad teammate, while being perplexed by the Hall of Fame voting process. He cant help but think its personal. 

After the first two years it has really messed up what my idea of the reputation and credibility of what the Hall of Fame stands for, T.O. told the afternoon drive team. So honestly, I haven’t given it any thought. 

At the time, McNabb was the star QB and a media darling. T.O. was seen as the ultimate diva. A drama king. The guy who really got the ball rolling on the I love me some me wide receiver mentality that is pervasive in todays NFL. Look no further than Odell Beckham. Before T.O. made scoring TDs a 24-hour marketing circus, the wide receiver could never compete with the QB on a star power level. 

He elevated the NFLs popularity and pockets in the process and in a way, he blames McNabb for the way he is perceived. 

Terrell Owens Top 10 Moments

all rights remain with the nfl

Im a product of my environment, T.O. said. When I grew up with my grandmother I didn’t have a lot of people who communicated so I always was to myself. Growing up now and understanding the business aspect of it, maybe I could have taken an extra step to do that (work on relationship with McNabb) , but neither one of us was willing to step up to do that.

In his opinion, hes a saint as a person compared to McNabb, who was fired by ESPN in early January after an investigation into sexual harassment claims during his time at the NFL Network. McNabb was willing to let it go a long time ago. He had moved on. Owens keeps licking shots. 

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I have no regrets. The way that my grandma raised me…she would be proud of who I am. You have no rap sheet on Terrell Owens. If you want to say that I divided some locker rooms and had some disagreements or a few arguments with some coaches here and there, what great player hasnt? If thats your only knock on Terrell Owens so be it. One thing you wont find is any DUIs, domestic violence or criminal records,” Owens said hinting at some of McNabb’s past transgressions. 

And 14 Super Bowls later the T.O.-McNabb feud lives on. 

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