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Myth of Owens is strong in Philly

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It's always interesting how the element of time distorts the past. The further away from something you get with the passage of time, the more the myth becomes reality and the facts tend to fade. Take, for instance, the 6-10 Philadelphia Eagles of last year. As time has passed, the myth is that Terrell Owens made them a bad team last year because he split the locker room. But is that really what happened? Not according to this article from a Philly newspaper.

No one wants to recognize the reality. No one wants to see that an injured quarterback and an anemic pass rush turned 2005 into a disaster. That is why the Eagles failed. T.O. provided the background music - calliope music, mostly, loud and annoying - but the collapse really occurred elsewhere. In many ways, Owens was as much of a spectator as the rest of us.

This was a 4-3 team before T.O. was banished to the land of misfit wideouts, and it was a 4-3 team on merit. This was a team that had already been smoked in a game in Dallas (33-10) and embarrassed in a game at Denver (49-21) before any of the fuses had been ignited. Owens was playing fine. The team was not.

Ouch. I've always thought the reason the Eagles had a bad season last year was that McNabb was injured. Even when he played in the beginning of the season, he was doing it with injuries, and he didn't look very good. When Bradie James laid him out while blocking for Roy Williams' interception return, that was a mercy killing. Putting an old dog out of its misery, so to speak.

McNabb deteriorated, and then as McMahon panicked. On the other side of the ball, all season, they couldn't stop anybody when it mattered. This was not about a few unlucky bounces of the ball, either - especially on the defensive side. This was fundamental stinkitude. (Or is that stinkitation?)

The Eagles saw that and spent the offseason trying to fix it - signing Darren Howard and drafting Brodrick Bunkley on the defensive line, and working with McNabb as he healed up and got himself into great shape. If the Eagles are going to be better this season, that is the reason. The T.O.-ectomy was cosmetic surgery, nothing more.

Myth takes prominence as time passes, and the Philly fans love to blame Owens. But the facts say it was something else.