TO meets the gridiron Ginsu

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Nov 08, 2005



Like you, we're sick of hearing about Terrell Owens. He is the most overhyped, overinflated and overexposed fraud in football history, and his media-friendly antics create a false sense of superiority in the minds of football fans.
 
Hey, if he's on TV so much, he must be something great, right?
 
Well, the truth is that he's a good ballplayer, but he's simply not as good as the avalanche of media exposure would lead you to believe.
 
We should ignore the TO "story" altogether. Apparently, though, we're tools just like everyone else in the media and can't help but weigh in on the topic. Instead of bitching, moaning and opinionating, however, we're simply going to do what we do best: carve up this football fraud with a razor-sharp gridiron Ginsu knife called the Cold, Hard Football Facts.
 
Basically, we want to debunk two persistent Owens myths:
 
Myth One: Owens sacrificed his health for the team to play in Super Bowl XXXIX.
Cold, Hard Football Fact: Owens sacrificed shit.
 
The Super Bowl is the biggest sporting event in North America and one of the biggest in the world. It is the central moment in the life of any player who's ever participated in it. Most players – not to mention millions of football-loving fans – would cut off their left testicle and render themselves impotent for the opportunity to step out into that Super Bowl spotlight just once in their lives.
 
This is just a guess, but there are maybe a half a dozen guys in every Super Bowl who probably shouldn't be out on the field. But they suck it up. Hell, Rams defensive lineman Jack Youngblood played in Super Bowl XIV on a broken leg. Guys are supposed to do that. They're friggin' FOOTBALL PLAYERS for chrissakes.
 
Any given year, in high school football stadiums all over this country, there are kids who hobble out onto the field for their finale, whether it's on Thanksgiving morning against their town's 100-year-old rival (a New England tradition) or in the state playoff games. These kids know they'll never play ball again. So they overlook injuries, possibly even risking further bodily damage, simply for the thrill of strapping the cleats on one final time in a meaningful football game.
 
It happens over and over again in every single regular-season college and pro football game, and in every barroom rugby or soccer league. Guys risk injury any time they step on the field to smash heads with other guys, whether they're playing for TinyTown High, Big State U., the Philadelphia Eagles or Gary's Old Towne Tavern flag football team.
 
So Owens limped into the Super Bowl. Big, f'in, hairy deal.
 
Myth Two: Owens is the best receiver in football.
Cold, Hard Football Fact: Owens is not the best receiver in football.
 
Granted, our answer to the first myth was something of a rare rant for us, but this second myth here is easily shattered with our bludgeoning tool of choice, the Cold, Hard Football Facts.
 
The best receiver in football is Torry Holt. Owens is not even close. 
 
Why is Holt better? Well, he holds three all-time NFL receiving records. Owens owns one.
 
Single-game receiving average. Holt caught three passes for 189 yards in a game against Atlanta on Sept. 24, 2000, setting an all-time NFL record with an average of 63.0 yards per catch. Owens' best average-per-game performance came last Oct. 17 against Carolina when he caught four passes for 123 yards (30.8 yard average). For the record, the last time, before Holt, that a player averaged more than 60 yards per catch in a game was 1965 (the NFL requires a minimum of three catches to qualify for this record).
 
Most consecutive 1,300-yard seasons. Holt entered 2005 as the first receiver in NFL history to post five straight 1,300-yard seasons. Halfway through 2005, he's a threat to pad his record with a sixth straight 1,300-yard season. Owens put together three consecutive 1,300-yard receiving seasons from 2000 to 2002.
 
Per game receiving average. As of Week Nine of the 2005 season, Holt boasts 8,794 receiving yards in 102 career games. His career average of 86.2 receiving yards per game is No. 1 in NFL history. Holt, in other words, is the most productive receiver ever, at least on a per-game basis. Owens, meanwhile, averages a mere 74.2 receiving yards per game (142 games, 10,535 yards).
 
Most catches in a game. This is Owens' lone NFL record, and it is quite an impressive one. On Dec. 17, 2000, while playing for San Francisco in a game against Chicago, Owens caught 20 passes (for 283 yards), surpassing the NFL single-game record of 18 receptions set by Tom Fears of the L.A. Rams back in 1950.
 
Here's how the two receivers stack up, both in terms of average season and average game. Clearly, Holt is the more productive receiver.
 
Average Season (through end of 2004)
Player
Seasons
Catches
Yards
Avg. Per Catch
TDs
Holt
6
86.2
1,359
15.8
7.5
Owens
9
74.3
1,086
14.6
10.6
 
 
Average Game (through Week Nine, 2005)
Player
Games
Catches
Yards
Avg. Per Catch
TDs
Holt
102
5.5
86.2
15.7
0.48
Owens
142
5.0
74.2
14.7
0.71
 
There is one area where Owens outshines Holt: He has been more effective at getting into the end zone. Otherwise, though, Holt has been better by every conceivable statistical measure.
 
But while the NFL records and sheer volume of production should speak for themselves, they don't tell the whole story about Holt's superiority over Owens. Here's a little more:
 
The top man on the top offense
Holt was the leading receiver (215 catches for 3,786 yards) on the first offense in NFL history to score 500 points three straight seasons (St. Louis, 1999-2001). These were Holt's first three years in the NFL, and he put up his amazing numbers sharing the ball with future Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk and perennial Pro Bowl receiver Isaac Bruce. Owens has been the top receiver on his team for much of his career, but his teams have never boasted the league's top offense for a single season. Holt led the most explosive passing attack in NFL history.
 
Durability
Holt is the most durable receiver in the NFL. In his first six years in the league, heading into this season, he had never missed a game. His Iron Man streak reached 102 games by Week Six of the 2005 season but came to an end with a mild knee injury that has kept him out of the last two games for St. Louis. He is expected to return soon. Owens, meanwhile, has played just one full season since 1998.
 
A team player
The 2005 offseason in St. Louis was filled with rumors that Holt was on his way out of town. Instead, he restructured his deal in March to free up $1.8 million in cap space for the Rams. Soon after Holt quietly helped his team as it attempts to return to Super Bowl glory, Owens tried to hijack his team's season, and created a media circus in the process, by demanding that the Eagles rip up his $49 million contract just one year into a seven-year deal.
 
One reason why Owens said he needed a new deal? Well, don't forget, he gutted out an injury to play in the biggest game of his life ... kind of like any second-string high school football player with half a set of balls would have done.

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