It's no secret that Buffalo Bills WR Terrell Owens loves the spotlight. What better way to bring in another off season than the promise of sports news circuits across the U.S. buzzing over where Owens should go and why. I think there will be a bit of time passing before he actually commits to a team, whether its his desire to make a couple more bucks on last minute jersey sales or his love of the media hype, we're going to be waiting a while to hear the decision that will inevitably come. With all that hype it appears that Owens casts a negative shadow on the sport. Listening to my daily doses of talk radio all you hear is people ranting about how tired they are of hearing Owens' name over and over again, or how they don't want their team to have him because of the possible negative impact he may have in the locker room chemistry. I believe, however, that it is people like Owens that the NFL needs more of if it wants to maintain its popularity as one of the most watched sports programs in the States. So here is my idea of what positive influences Terrell Owens brings to a city and its people:
With the recent success of his television show "The T.O. Show" on VH1 it is easy to see that Owens loves the lime light and plenty of it. Few would probably have guessed that his show would be successful enough to receive offers for a second season, but it has. This means that whatever city acquires Terrell Owens will enjoy a boost of national sports media attention but they will also be gifted the benefits of exposure to an audience that may not be fans of the NFL itself. That being the reality television viewers. Its probably safe to say the majority of the viewers for his show are either fans of Owens or the NFL, but by creating a reality show about his life he brings the fragrance of what life is like for a flamboyant sports star, a drama that few ever get to see. Undoubtedly , this makes his name, the NFL and the a little more recognized by viewers whom otherwise may know little about the area. Its hard to say if this will cause an increase of travel or vacationing to that area, but there is a chance that a viewer may see a landmark they may like to visit, or learn a little culture about a city they knew little about. And, with 1.5 million viewers weekly there is a chance for growing interest in that city or its life.
Terrell Owens brings something to a team that few other players in the game can command; respect. I'm not talking about the locker room or on the field, but media respect. It has happened that every team that Owens has visited since leaving San Francisco has become an instant playoff contender in the media's eye. Whether it's his towering stature or ability to make plays after the catch there is no doubt that whatever team ends up with Owens will be the talk of ESPN, FOX Sports, and every other outlet as they make weekly playoff picks.
Youth in age
Owens may be showing signs of slowing down, but there isn't one football fan out there that can say they haven't heard of a routine he has performed in the end zone. Despite Owens' age he keeps the youth interested in the sport by his often elaborate touchdown celebrations. This helps create fans with child viewers and hatred by the adult fans of any opposing team. To give an example of this idea from my youth I present to you Deion Sanders. Going to school I couldn't go a NFL week without hearing over and over again what spectacular play Sanders made. Along with those recounts would often include a rendition of the "Prime Time" touchdown shuffle, granted never performed as well as Sanders himself. He was everything to our age group and we ate it up, and the merchandise to go with it; Starter jackets, player jerseys, shoes, we couldn't get enough. To me Deion Sanders showed that you can be great at something and have fun doing it. Even when Sanders came back from retirement to play for the Baltimore Ravens, I would anticipate an interception in hopes to see that dance one more time. He kept my childlike youth while I was well into my 20's, and I'm pretty sure he's responsible for me gaining a few pounds thanks to his Burger King commercial.
It is this torch that must be passed from Superstar to Superstar, the ability to give the fans what they want and keep them wanting more. Owens understands this. Sure, when you're on the other side of the ball and Owens scores on your team you want to drive down to the stadium and meet him in a dark alley after the game, but its the playfulness of this type of player that will keep kids dreaming to be great and us adults remembering the youthfulness of our past.