[size=18px]Packers helped birth legend of T.O.[/size]

Posted: July 8, 2006
Bob Wolfley

For you Green Bay Packers fans who believe that Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens is the pastor of the Wonder of Me Church where many contemporary athletes worship, you're going to be disappointed about what he says in his new book, "T.O.," written with Jason Rosenhaus.

Owens writes that if it wasn't for one particular game, one moment in one particular game, he would not have become T.O., the irresistible football force, the immovable cultural icon he is today.

Without this moment, he'd be plain old Terrell trying to eke out a shabby existence somewhere, instead of the magnificent specimen of achievement in the National Football League he has come to represent.

This moment freed him to become the colossus he was destined to become. Without this moment, there would be no book.

Yes, Packers fans, your team is the one that caused T.O. to become all that he has become.

Who is to blame for giving birth to T.O.? Say it ain't so, T.O.

The Green Bay Packers.

"That game changed my career," Owens writes about the San Francisco 49ers' victory over the Packers on Jan. 3, 1999. "That one play turned me into a hero set on a path toward stardom. One play can really mean that much. This game is very unforgiving, and all it takes is one play to haunt a player for the remainder of his career. At the same time, one catch can make a player into a hero forever."

Owens is referring to the playoff game at 3Com Park in his third season, when he caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Steve Young with 3 seconds left in the game to beat the Packers, 30-27.

"I gained a tremendous amount of confidence in myself and knew deep down now that I was a winner!" Owens writes.

The play that resulted in the touchdown was called the "all go double comeback" play, which "was designed for two receivers on the outside to run straight into the end zone by the sidelines and for two other receivers to slant inside toward the middle of the end zone," Owens writes.

Young had called the same play earlier, he says, and thrown to J.J. Stokes.

Young called it again.

Owens was having a terrible day with four dropped passes and a fumble. He had sprouted horns as the game's goat and was slouching to oblivion.

"When I got to the huddle, Steve looked at me when he called the play and I knew what he was thinking," Owens writes.

He ran the route to the inside.

"I wanted that ball like I never wanted anything in my life," Owens writes. "No one was going to stop me. As I jumped for it, I could see nothing but the ball, while the two defenders were coming to take my head off from both sides. They could have been armed with baseball bats and I was still going to get that ball.

"I made the catch! I scored! We won! Game over!"

For the record, the Packers defenders were safeties Darren Sharper and Pat Terrell. After the game, Sharper acknowledged he should have been in position to make a play on the ball.

Packers fans, if they are so inclined, can also blame the referees for creating the phenomenon now known as T.O.

Jerry Rice's only catch of the game, a 6-yarder with 46 seconds left, was really a fumble that Packers linebacker Bernardo Harris recovered. But there was no fumble call.

Maybe that's the best way out of this, green and gold nation.

Yeah, the refs.

The Packers didn't create the blight known as T.O., the refs did.

Yeah, that's it.

The refs.

Packers helped birth legend of T.O.