There is no doubt that Terell Owens, more commonly known by his nickname T.O, is one of the legends of the NFL, and is highly regarded as one of the greatest players of the era he played in. 

But alongside his great playing career came an off-pitch life that was plagued with controversy, so much so that many people refuse to acknowledge his on-pitch performances and instead seem to remember Owens purely for his antics and tendency to be rather toxic in the press. 

We look back at the legacy that Terell Owens left behind throughout his journey through the NFL.


Owens began his NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers and stayed there until 2004 when he was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles after a long dispute about the 49ers holding his rights. 

Then he ended up missing much of the first season due to an injury after a bad tackle, playing only in the Super Bowl final. 

He then signed with the Dallas Cowboys just two years later, remaining there for three seasons before concluding his NFL career by spending a season each at both the Buffalo Bills, as well as Cincinnati Bengals.

Throughout his career, Owens was selected six times for the Pro-Bowl team, as well as being a five-time first-team All-Pro too. He also made the NFL’s 2000s All-Decade Team, as well as being inducted into the San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

By the end of his career, Owens ranked third in career receiving yards, and in receiving touchdowns. Terell Owens was known for his incredible ability as a wide receiver and set numerous records throughout his career that has ensured that he will go down in NFL history.


One aspect that often polarized fans on Owens was his rather obnoxious celebrations. Some loved it, others hated it, but it was a part of his game that helped to define him. 

Notable celebrations include celebrating on Dallas Cowboys star and the “Bird Dance” which became a T.O staple during his time at the Eagles. 

If you like to celebrate like T.O, then check out these NFL Odds, and maybe you’ll end up doing the Bird Dance too!


The problem that many people tend to have with Owens is that despite his amazing playing career, the controversy and toxicity that followed him from organization to organization completely overshadows any of his achievements on the pitch. 

One of Owens’ first controversies came when he was interviewed by Playboy and was asked about former teammate Jeff Garcia and the rumors that were surrounding him regarding his sexuality, to which Owens in his answer implied that there was a possibility that the rumors were true. 

His next outlandish comment came during his time for the Philadelphia Eagles after he had played Super Bowl XXXIX still recovering from his sprained ankle and fractured fibula, stating that the media would view him as selfish for insisting to play, whereas they would have heralded Brett Favre as a warrior.

In fact, controversy is what let Terell Owens define himself during his time at the Eagles, with multiple incidents occurring throughout his time there. 

Including fist fights, suspensions, accusations of teammates faking injuries, and comments about the quality of his teammates. Ultimately, the Philadelphia Eagles released Owens in 2006. 

Another notable controversy includes the Desperate Housewives skit, which was featured on an episode of a Monday Night Football telecast, which was deemed sexually suggestive to some observers, although it was not deemed so by the Federal Communications Commission. 

In 2006, the media reported that Owens had tried to kill himself by overdosing on Hydrocodone, with the police report agreeing, however both Owens’ publicist and himself denied that this was true, instead calling it an allergic reaction to the medication. 

Owens’ publicist later went on to say that the police had taken advantage of Owens, and was later demanded to make an apology to the Dallas police department for attempting to damage the reputation of the police officers involved. 

Another incident in 2006 occurred after a game against the Atlanta Falcons, where one of the Falcon’s cornerbacks, DeAngelo Hall, accused Owens of spitting in his face during a confrontation. 

This was something that Owens was asked about by the media and later confirmed, although he apologized, stating that it happened as a result of anger. The NFL then fined Owens $35,000 as a result. 

The final controversy to finish his career came as he was due to be introduced to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018, to which he stated that he wouldn’t be attending the ceremony, and instead hosted his own celebrations elsewhere, namely at his alma mater at McKenzie Arena, situated on the campus of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. 


In conclusion, Terell Owens’ flair and playing ability is undeniable and is the reason why he is so highly regarded by many fans of the NFL, however, most see it as a shame that this incredible talent was often overshadowed by the controversy and disruption he managed to cause at every turn.


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