As time marches on, history will look back at the early years of the new millennium and see an entire herd of goats. Mark McGwire crippled his Hall of Fame chances by telling Congress to mind their own business. Sammy Sosa is an embarrassing shadow of himself that never seems to go away. Barry Bonds is...well...Barry Bonds.
If it appears I am steering towards a particular national pastime to select the biggest goat in sports history, allow me to throw you off your path. The biggest goat in sports history may very well prove to be the diva; the player; the man-Terrell Owens.
At one time considered the biggest receiving star in the NFL, Owens' career will prove him to be the biggest train wreck in sports. As a young standout receiver with the 49ers, Owens' career looked promising-until he began a highly publicized feud with his quarterback, Jeff Garcia. This feud escalated to the point of Owens calling Garcia's sexuality into question and demanding a trade.
The 49ers were more than happy to comply at this point. They engineered a trade that would have sent T.O. to the Baltimore Ravens, where he would've fit in quite well with Ray Lewis, Jamal Lewis, and Deion Sanders.
Simple, right? Not so fast. T.O. didn't want to go to Baltimore and drop passes from Kyle Boller. Who could blame him? Boller proved to stink as an NFL quarterback. T.O. blocked that deal by simply refusing to go. Baltimore, in a bit of a bite, and with the pressure of the NFLPA, sent T.O. to Philadelphia.
Perfect. The game's most prolific receiver would join one of the game's top quarterbacks in Donovan McNabb to lead the Eagles past their hump and win a Super Bowl-or so everyone thought.
Instead, T.O. alienated McNabb and the city of Philadelphia. By the time the Eagles cut T.O., he was the most hated man in town. That's pretty serious for a town that boasts the Phillies.
Last year, T.O. determined to reinvent himself as a team player. He went to Dallas, joining veteran quarterback Drew Bledsoe and noted disciplinarian coach, Bill Parcells. He would shape up, prove to be the top receiver he claimed he was, and lead the Cowboys back to prominence.
Well, almost. He joined the Cowboys. That's about it. He dropped more passes than anyone else in the NFL, might or might not have tried to kill himself, fired his publicist, caused a stir in training camp with his phantom injuries, and, recently, commented that the departure of Parcells was a good thing because Parcells was too old-school, ala his grandmother.
Regardless of whomever else history examines for the title of its 'biggest goat in history', it'll be hard not to support Owens for that dubious claim.