The common belief among Eagles fans is that Terrell Owens (T.O.) is the reason that the Eagles played in the Super Bowl after the 2004 season.
Terrell Owens did not take the Eagles to the Super Bowl in 2004. He was not the Difference Maker. I think that Eagles fans then and Eagles fans now forget just how good the Eagles team was at that time.
2001 – McNabb’s 2nd full year as starter, an 11-5 record, won the division, lost the NFC Championship to the Rams
2002 – 12-4 record, won the division, lost the NFC Championship to the Buccaneers
2003 – 12-4 record, won the division, reached the NFC Championship Game for the third straight year. This time, it was the lowly Carolina Panthers that would knock the Eagles out and advance to the Super Bowl, while the Eagles went on vacation. Three straight years, three straight losses in the NFC Championship.
The best team in the NFC saw three different teams step over them on the way to the Super Bowl. If only there was a way to get them over that hump, so the Eagles could reach the Promised Land.
Enter Terrell Owens, a controversial pick-up.
Donovan McNabb may have lobbied Andy Reid to pick up T.O. (likely lobbied Andy Reid), but regardless, it was done. T.O. came to the Eagles, and the 2004 Eagles got off to an incredible start. Seven straight victories before losing in Pittsburgh, followed by five more wins before hosting Dallas at the Linc. Terrell Owens was injured in that Cowboys game (the Eagles won anyway), and would miss the rest of the season and the entire playoffs. The Eagles were 13-1 at that point.
In the last two games against the Rams and Bengals, the Eagles rested some starters. Had they not, they could easily have ended up 15-1. It was enough that they had already won home field advantage through the playoffs.
Amazingly, all three of the other NFC East teams – the Redskins, the Giants, the Cowboys – ended the 2004 season at 6-10. It is a GIVEN that the Eagles would have won the division, with or without Owens.
It is extremely likely that the Eagles would have won 12 or 13 games, with or without Owens. They may not have earned home field advantage, but that would have made little difference in the playoffs. And, remember, the Eagles DID have home field advantage in 2002 and in 2003, having learned their lesson in St. Louis in 2001.
As it is, the Eagles had a bye, followed by impressive wins against the Vikings and then Falcons. And, of course, the Eagles won these two playoff games WITHOUT OWENS.
T.O. rushed back from his injury so that he could play in the Super Bowl. A less-than-100% Owens may actually have HURT the Eagles during that game, but his presence certainly did not win that game!
So I ask the question: how, exactly, is Terrell Owens responsible for the Eagles being in the Super Bowl in 2004?
(Answer: He’s not. It’s a myth.)
2004 NFC CHAMPIONS
Record: 13-3 1st in NFC East
Head Coach: Andy Reid
|9/12||NY Giants||W 31-17|
|9/20||Minnesota Vikings||W 27-16|
|9/26||@ Detroit Lions||W 30-13|
|10/3||@ Chicago Bears||W 19-9|
|10/17||Carolina Panthers||W 30-8|
|10/24||@ Cleveland Browns||W 34-31|
|10/31||Baltimore Ravens||W 15-10|
|11/7||@ Pittsburgh Steelers||L 3-27|
|11/15||@ Dallas Cowboys||W 49-21|
|11/21||Washington Redskins||W 28-6|
|11/28||@ New York Giants||W 27-6|
|12/5||Green Bay Packers||W 47-17|
|12/12||@ Washington Redskins||W 17-14|
|12/19||Dallas Cowboys||W 12-7 (Owens injured)|
|12/27||@ St. Louis Rams||L 7-20|
|1/2||Cincinnati Bengals||L 10-38|
|NFC DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF|
|1/16||Minnesota Vikings||W 27-14|
|1/23||Atlanta Falcons||W 27-10|
|SUPER BOWL 39 (at Jacksonville)|
|2/6||New England Patriots||L 21-24|