Terrell OwensThe NFL is often said to stand for the “No Fun League” rather than the National Football League. The restriction on player celebration and having a good time is something commonly criticized by players, fans, and the press.
However, there are always those in the world who laugh in the face of authority for the sake of self-expression. While Terrell Owens may not be the country’s most prominent social activist, he will most certainly do things his own way when it comes to football.
Starting in 2000 when he decided to dance on the midfi eld star of the Dallas Cowboys after two separate touchdowns, Owens has continued to grace us with a large arsenal of off the wall celebrations. Whether it’s his most notable gimmicks such as pulling out a Sharpie and autographing the ball, or something as small as doing one sit-up for every touchdown scored in the season, T.O. never ceases to amaze us. After an unforgettable week at Cleveland in which Owens went on a full blown assault against negative fan paraphernalia, throwing the ball at one sign and tearing down another, he certainly knew he had to come up big last Sunday against the Ravens. With all of the controversy surrounding his short lived stay with them before landing on the Eagles this offseason, Owens was quick to make quite a few enemies in Baltimore. The most heated battle has been with defensive juggernaut Ray Lewis. The two of them have been trading insults back and forth through the media for months, and on Halloween the stage was fi nally set.
Owens brought the big guns as usual on the fi eld, but also delivered one of his top performances to date after a late touchdown in the 15-10 victory. In what appeared to be a well rehearsed and practiced performance, T.O. blatantly and brilliantly mocked the pre-game antics of Ray Lewis. Including everything from picking up the dirt off of the field to busting into convulsions, Owens nailed it. For fi ghting to keep professional sports fun and entertaining, aiding the Eagles to their fi rst 7-0 start in franchise history, and leaving Ray Lewis with his jaw at his feet — Terrell Owens,you are the hero of the week.
It seems as though everything with an up side has a down side. For every incredible break dancer out there amazing us while spinning on his head, there is still always that middleaged businessman in the back of the club trying diligently to impress the ladies with his latest “robot” technique. In sticking with the theme for this week, it looks like things are clearly no different when it comes to celebrations in the NFL. For all of the T.O.’s out there who have their post-scoring antics down to a science, there re just as many players on the other end of the spectrum allowing us to laugh at them instead of with them. If you think back to Superbowl XXVII, you might remember a premature celebration by the Cowboys’ Leon Lett that resulted in an embarrassing fumble at the goal line rather than a touchdown.
These are the sort of cocky blunders that stay with athletes for the rest of their careers, regardless of previous or future success. Last week against Jacksonville, Houston wide receiver Jabar Gaffney decided it was his turn to etch his name into the stone of football’s comical bloopers. On his way to an easy score, Gaffney pulled the ball out for an early celebration and ended up losing control of the ball on the 1-yard line. This gesture caused him to fumble the ball out of the end zone and instead of giving the Texans six points, it handed the ball to the Jaguars on the 20-yard line for a touchback.
The best part of this hilarious scenario was still yet to come. In what looked like an obvious attempt to cover up his mistake, Gaffney continued to celebrate as if he had actually scored the touchdown by jumping wildly into the fi rst row of Houston fans. It wasn’t until he came back down from his false state of acclaim that he had to face the humiliation of what he had just done. For giving all of us sinister football fans something to talk about, pathetically attempting to pretend your slip-up didn’t happen, and allowing working class citizens another opportunity to laugh at a fi lthy rich athlete, Jabar Gaffney — you are the zero of the week.