Having built a reputation as an alienating presence so repellent that his still-stellar talent and Hall of Fame resume is deemed not worth the trouble, a superstar receiver could only find one team willing to give him yet another shot at success and possibly an elusive championship.
Granted, that Owens was made to twist in the wind for months before the Cincinnati Bengals finally broke down and signed him in late July is a testament to how badly he's ruined his image in the league with his antics throughout the years, but there's no denying that T.O. has made the most of the latest of his many chances. Through seven games, T.O.is on pace to put up stats in 2010 that would rank among his best seasons in the NFL. Moss, either by result of a restive attitude or diminished talent, is having one of his worst statistical seasons.
Still, who would you be more excited about your team getting at this point in their career. Moss, almost certainly. But why? Sure, Moss is three years younger, but aren't the two of them at this point just as likely to fail loudly and spectacularly rather than succeed?
Owens and Moss, who will in all likelihood finish their careers at second and third on the NFL's all-time receiving yards list (in some order) are also probably fated to be forever known as two of the best receivers to never win a Super Bowl. Moss still has a decent chance this season now having arrived with the Tennessee Titans, who may not be Super Bowl favorites even with Moss, but stand a better than average chance of playing in the postseason. Owens figured he was joining a contender when he signed with the Bengals in the summer, but it hasn't quite shaken out the way he or the Bengals envisioned. The odds aren't really in the favor of either of them.
Recent abrasive behavior toward post-practice caterers notwithstanding, Moss, perceived as more genuine, more emotionally stable and less brazenly desirous of attention, will always be more beloved by the public than Owens. But there's no denying that the two have had remarkably similar careers, statistically and personally.
Terrell Owens is now with his fifth team (sixth if you count the two weeks he was with the Ravens, for whom he refused to play, before being dealt to the Eagles in March of 2004) and third in the last three years. Randy Moss now joins his fourth team and third this season - a first for any player in NFL history, by the way.
Each had their one shot in the Super Bowl and performed admirably in defeat. Owens was spectacular despite the lingering effects of an ankle injury in a loss in Super Bowl XXXIX. Had the Eagles won, Owens would have deserved MVP, having posted nine catches for 122 yards. Of course, he still hasn't quite forgiven Donovan McNabb for the team coming up short. While it's now overshadowed by the fact that the undefeated Patriots lost and Moss just missed catching a long desperation throw by Tom Brady on the Patriots' last gasp in the game, many have forgotten that Moss did catch a touchdown to give New England the lead late in the 4th quarter in Super Bowl XLII.
Barring the Titans beating the odds and winning the franchise's first Super Bowl title, Moss and Owens will be seen as the two most supremely talented wideouts of their generation, but also the two most uncoachable. As with all legendary players, it's a shame that they will be judged by the lack of ultimate success by the teams for which they played. Although the knock that they couldn't find a team willing to put up with their drama for long? For that they will have no one to blame but themselves.