Monday, March 20, 2006

Let the T.O. debate begin!

Are the Cowboys better off with T.O. on the roster? The debate is raging on....

First, here is a timeline of T.O.'s troublemaking.

Most local reports think that Jerry Jones is making a mistake:

Jim Reeves of the Star Telegram thinks that Jerry has sold his soul to the devil...

The day after The Prince of Darkness arrived in town, I went to church.

I hope you did the same. If I were Catholic, I'd be tempted to bathe in holy water on a daily basis, as long as Terrell Owens is a Cowboy.

The first guy I see Sunday morning puts it to me square.

"The Cowboys just sold their soul," he said, and his glare would have curdled fresh milk.

This is what the Cowboys' owner doesn't seem to understand, for all his claims of being "sensitive" to how the fans and media feel about the signing of T.O.

He doesn't understand that being able to feel good about themselves and about their team matters to most fans. It matters a great deal. And it's not just about winning. It's about winning the right way.

Jones made the classic Faustian trade-off. For one more chance at glory, for another go-round at the brass ring, he sold his soul to the devil.

The devil, in this case, just happens to be named Terrell Owens, who also brought along his personal butt-kisser, a rodent named Drew Rosenhaus. Rosenhaus is to Owens what the bug-eating Renfield was to Dracula.

Randy Galloway at the Star Telegram thinks that T.O. is a snake...

A beaming Jerry Jones pulled the string, unleashing Saturday afternoon the biggest snake in the NFL's sack.

Terrell Owens, the football reptile from hell, slithered into Valley Ranch, beginning for the Cowboys what amounts to an initial $10 million experiment in behavioral rehabilitation.

Try not to be shocked, but Owens never uttered a hiss, or flashed fangs, as he was introduced to the far-flung Silver Star Nation.

He attempted to position himself as a real nice fellow, misunderstood by many, but a guy who had learned his lessons and didn't want to dwell on the past.

Terrell wanted it known that this time he had come to embrace the star instead of slam dancing on it.

And to emphasize the point, Owens turned to Jones at the media conference and said, "I know what is expected, and I won't let you down."

And, of course, if anyone around here is tempted to believe any of that bunk, remember that Andy Reid has a cracked head in Philadelphia that matches the city's cracked bell.

And Tim Cowlishaw at the Dallas Morning News thinks that the only sure winner in this deal is T.O.

So the locals guys aren't too hot on the deal...yet most of the national media likes the deal. For instance, here's Peter King's latest column. The title? "Don't Worry Dallas":

I chortle at those who think Terrell Owens and Bill Parcells will go to war. It won't happen. At least not in 2006 it won't. Beyond 2006? Who cares? Smart money says Parcells will take the gold watch and the golden parachute. For now, this is a one-year, live-for-today deal and a good one for the Cowboys.

Before we analyze the football side of this, let's look at the potential team-wrecking part. Nineteen years ago, I was a Giants beat man for Newsday in New York, covering the Lawrence Taylor-era Jints. Parcells had his way of dealing with Taylor's divisiveness. As Phil Simms told me Sunday, "He'd say, 'Simms, lose a few battles. Win the war.'" Parcells figured out how to get the most out of the curfew-abusing, drug-doing, meeting-sleeping, totally irreverent Taylor, who might well have flamed out under many other coaches. Parcells challenged him, he coddled him, he made some of the responsible guys on the team -- Joe Morris, Robbie Jones -- absolutely mad with anger over LT's preferential treatment. But as Parcells would say, "I'm not interested in being fair. I'm interested in being right.'' That's why he's the right coach at the right time for Owens.

My opinion? I like the deal for 2006. I think the Cowboys are a playoff team with T.O. What will be interesting is 2007, or if the Cowboys struggle. Then it may get ugly.

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