Herculean Owens is walking a thin line
January 09, 2003
Still making us snap to attention
RANDOM COLLIDING particles of thought on The Game That Won't Go Away:
-- You can't blame the officials for not calling pass interference on Chike Okeafor on that final play. They were stunned to see a 49er actually covering a Giants receiver.
-- Mike Pereira, NFL head of officials, says, "Everyone feels bad about this." Yo, Mike: Have you checked west of the Mississippi?
Paul Tagliabue says the officiating bungle was "totally unacceptable."
Hey, Mike and Tags, I don't want to go all Dr. Phil on you, but: Get over it. Send the Giants a Hallmark card. Look in the section right next to the "Sorry I ran over your dog" Snoopy cards.
-- The 49ers are victims of the league's new policy of openly accepting responsibility for ref goofs. You might call it a policy of glasnost mea culpa.
Until recently, the league didn't feel the need to respond to every officiating error by launching a "we feel your pain, because we caused it" campaign. I bet when Alan Ameche scored that touchdown in the famous '58 NFL Championship Game, Art Donovan was holding. Yet life went on.
-- Tags knows the 49ers and Giants can't replay the game or the last play. So what can he do to make it up to the Giants? I smell an asterisk.
-- Too bad Bud Selig wasn't in charge. He would have declared it a tie, made everyone happy.
-- Everything that happens to a New York City team becomes instantly immortalized in book or film. The story of the Giants' snapper, holder and kicker would be a great movie, but who would play 'em? The Three Stooges are dead.
-- Derek Jeter woulda figured out what to do with that ball.
-- There's a fine line between team leader and out-of-control time bomb, and I'm not sure which side of the line Terrell Owens is on. It's the line between spunk and punk.
T.O.'s out-of-bounds personal foul on Will Allen late in the game was the kind of blow that sends a message -- "In spite of what you may have heard, we're not all about finesse." But it's also the kind of play that shows you may have lost your composure, and you care more about payback than about winning.
But, man, it was a beauty of a hit. I was on the sidelines and practically caught Allen when Owens came sailing in from hell at about 200 mph and sledgehammered the Giant from behind.
Earlier in the game, Jeremy Shockey had tossed water on a young fan, and the Giants, probably hoping to avoid a lawsuit, gave the kid a football. As Allen sailed toward me, I wondered what prize I might be given if I got flattened into a cartoon slab. Maybe T.O. would take out a Sharpie and autograph my carcass.
-- Add Owens: The guy, size and physique-wise, is a new mutant strain of wide receiver. Has there ever been a more imposing wideout? (OK, David Boston is close.) Before games, Owens jogs around the field in a black skin suit, looking like the Warriors' mascot, ThunderBolt. It's a great bit of theater.
-- I hear Owens has decided to finish out the season with the 49ers, even if it means missing part of basketball training camp.
-- Shockey bungled an easy touchdown pass that would have given the Giants an insurmountable lead, but he did pick up an endorsement contract from Maxwell House Coffee. You know, "Good to the last drop."
-- I'm no defensive backs coach, but shouldn't the 49ers' DBs, when they see their receiver looking up for the pass, turn around and play the ball? Unless they're hoping to bat down the ball with the back of their helmet.
-- I noticed there was a new seating plan at this game. Candlestick Park ushers seated the fans wedding-style: "Friends of the Mooch" were ushered to the west grandstands, behind the 49ers' bench, while those who want Mariucci fired were seated on the east side.
-- Jeff Garcia's old CFL fans have been checking in. They say that's the Jeff Garcia they remember, scrambling and rambling and creating on the fly. Says Gary Mroz, "Good luck next game to the San Francisco Stampeders."
-- Overlooked stat of the day: Shockey, six catches for 68 yards. Eric Johnson, seven for 78.
-- Best scary-crazy face in sports: Jim Fassel.
-- Amani Toomer's excellent game analysis: "We exploited them throughout the game."
Abso-damn-lutely! Except maybe for the final 20 minutes, for whatever that might be worth.
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