In the end, T.O. was taken out by Dick Bloch.
That sure does sound about right, doesn't it? I mean, a perfectly comical ending to a perfectly absurd sports mini-drama.
By pulling the plug on the wideout and his ill-fated attempt to whine his way out of a legally binding contract, Bloch has cut short the all-time sportstalk/sports media motherload of material.
And I'm sad.
Because once everybody stopped yelling about it for a minute, you just had to bust a gut laughing. This guy and his agent were great! They filled our summer with things to talk about. They took the term "diva" and pumped it full of steroids. They didn't just cross the line, they crossed it and then "dropped trou" for good measure.
What Owens and his "agent" Drew Rosenpoodle did for the notion of spoiled athletes may never be duplicated. They set the bar to an entirely new level.
Surely, you can at least respect that. Right?
(Note: I think newspaper editors should issue an edict that anytime Rosenhaus is mentioned as an agent, it must include "quotes" around it. It would drive the clown nuts I bet. But I digress...)
I mean come on, you didn't pee yourself watching Owens do interviews while doing shirtless sit-ups in his driveway!? I did. Right there in the crush of microphones and camera crews, is a kid. Whose kid? I have no idea. But a kid! Must have been like 12 years old. How the hell did he get there? Was he a neighborhood brat from the McMansion area of Jersey where Owens went home to rattle around as a single man in his castle?
It made no sense. Which was perfect.
And the look on the kid's face was priceless. It was this wide eyed wonder of "Oh my God, I am watching this amazing pro athlete just torpedo his own football team! This is the coolest thing ever! Maybe mom will take me and my brother to Pizza Hut tonight! That would be cool, too!"
He went on the "Big Idea" with Donny Deutch and somehow managed to squeeze a tear out of his eye when talking about his single parent childhood. But you know he had to have coached himself to produce that tear by thinking of something else.
Like the time he caught 20 passes on "Jerry Rice Retirement Day" in San Francisco. Good times, T.O. Good times. When else will we ever see the NFL's All-Time Jerk, happily upstage the NFL's All-Time Receiver on a day set aside for him! Never!
Owens has always been hilarious to me. Mostly because he wasn't taking my team down in a ball of narcissistic glory. I thought "The Star" routine in Dallas was great. What other wideout ever had the sheer balls to run 50 yards in full view of everyone and stand on the Cowboys vaunted logo under the hole in that God-awful roof?
Long before hack imitators like Joe Horn and Chad Johnson were getting into the act, Owens was setting the bar on tomfoolery. Creative for Randy Moss was pretending to take a dump and wiping himself on the goal post. Disgusting or not, it was grade school funny, at best.
But think back to when Owens took out that Sharpie and autographed a touchdown football while still hot and fresh out of the end zone! That, my friends, rocked the sports world. I remember it vividly. My buddy Glenn called me as I was driving home from work and said, "Oh my God, did you just see that!"
And that's what everybody said. "Did ... you ... see ... that?" Like a spaceship had just hovered over the White House and turned it into melted plastic. It filled like two weeks of radio shows!
You can hate him if you want, but it was certified genius. You can't deny that.
And how spectacular was the way it all ended in Philly this fall with Owens' attempted "mulligan" apology on the steps of his mansion? For a moment there, you were suckered in, and said ,"Hmm. Sounds like maybe the guy DOES have a conscience deep down inside after all."
Then came the "agent."
In a barrage of "next question" dismissals, and shrill non-sequitors about just what a great player and teammate the poodle's client really was, the delicate card house of T.O.'s apology got kicked over and stomped into the mud.
Vince McMahon must have shed a tear somewhere, because it had all the hallmarks of a classic wrestling "swerve" that just toys with the audience.
Look. We're never, ever, ever, ever gonna see this again people. I'm trying to get you to appreciate it. This was not just career suicide, it was career suicide done to the beat of bad amateur dinner theater.
For a few days after the ruling, I was legitimately concerned that it was going to be the flashpoint event that winds up causing the first NFL labor stoppage since 1987. Like the murder of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria starting World War I, there was a sinking feeling that I would be sitting in front of a blank tube in 2008 muttering, "I'm gonna strangle that mofo Rosenhaus myself if I ever find him!"
But then I quickly realized I was in the "Serious T.O. Moralizing Zone" of thought. You know, the one that wants to draw grand conclusions about the state of the modern athlete, the meaning of a contract, the right of teams to administer discipline, blah, blah, blah. I had been reading too many high-minded columns, and let too many talking heads on ESPN yell at me about why this was either the best decision ever, or the downfall of pro sports as we know it.
Geezus. Shut up everybody and let's laugh!
None of this is gonna mean anything. What we saw was merely a nut. A nut who flushed his team's season, flushed almost $7 million in salary, and did so while giving us hilarity and absurdity.
It won't be replicated and can't be replicated. The stars won't ever align so precisely again.
My only regret: I should have set the VCR.
Steve is a native Washingtonian and has worked in sports talk radio for the last 11 years. He worked at WTEM in 1993 anchoring Team Tickers before he took a full time job with national radio network One-on-One Sports.
A graduate of UC Santa Barbara, Steve has worked for WFNZ in Charlotte where his afternoon show was named "Best Radio Show." Steve continues to serve as a sports personality for WLZR in Milwaukee and does fill-in hosting for Fox Sports Radio.