He had NOTHING to do with the Eagles finally winning the NFC title,yet his status for the Super Bowl will be THE hottest topic of discussion until then. QUICKIE LIVE! 9-10 a.m.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
Will he or won't he play?
TO's status is the biggest question -- and biggest X-factor --
of the Super Bowl.
His ankle sure looked healthy as he danced on the Eagles
sidelines, cheer-leading the fans.
Bring iT On?
Willis Reed comparisons don't give TO enough credit; Owens
playing would be a way bigger emotional lift than Reed's famous limp
(that was the NBA, 30 years ago; this is the Super Bowl,
And it's just TO's style to milk the drama all the way up to
the game's player intros.
(Remember how the Pats entering Super Bowl XXXVI as a team set the
tone for their upset of the Rams? These symbolic gestures have
Speculation runs rampant:
"I have a feeling he will," Andy Reid blurted on national TV.
He later softened that to "We'll see." (If only his DBs can back-pedal
that hard in two weeks.)
"You ask him, he's going to be back," McNabb said. "That's the only
thing we can go on right now."
Ironically, TO has nothing to say.
Yes, getting there is enough.
That's the short answer to another big question: Should Philly
fans feel satisfied?
Yes, just getting to the Super Bowl should feel like accomplishment
enough for McNabb, Reid, T.O., Philly the city and Eagles Nation
They didn't fold. They defied their history. They accepted the
pressure and shook it off, along with the notion that they're
It's a lot like the Red Sox, when they finally made the World Series;
most of (honest) Red Sox Nation would tell you that winning the thing
wasn't nearly as important as getting there.
Don't be greedy, Eagles fans. Enjoy the next two weeks for the
rare and special thing you've learned so bitterly that they
Win or lose in two weeks, just getting to the Super Bowl is a step in
the right direction. It's progress.
It's enough to quiet critics -- and maybe even Philly's
perpetually bitter fans. At least for now.
Pats Roll On
Bandwagoneers can say 3 rings in 4 seasons would be a
dynasty, but I've argued since last January that 2-in-3
already is a dynasty.
3-in-4 would be nothing less than the NFL's most impressive run
of all time. That's an irony of the Pats' winning this AFC
title in Pittsburgh, whose team from the 1970s is being
||CHECK OUT THE QUICKIE EVERY WEEKDAY MORNING!
|WHO'S GOT THE MOMENTUM ...|
Eagles WR/ Greg, TE Chad Lewis: The REAL People's Champs|
Jaworski/Paolantonio: ESPN's resident Phila-philes rule
Game Faces: Nike "Warriors" ad is jaw-dropping, must-see
|... AND WHO'S GOT NO MO'|
Bill Cowher: Should have gone for the TD, not kicked a FG|
Falcons DVD offense: 103 yards total rushing (3.8/carry)
Pittsburgh fans: Has to be said -- the "new Philadelphia?"
And Tom Brady isn't just the best postseason QB of our
generation; he's the best postseason QB of any generation; Joe
Montana? Please: Joe had more around him, with more continuity,
against inferior comp.
14-21, 207 yds, 2 TDs/0 INTs: I'll take Brady's continued
unblemished playoff record over a single spectacular game every
Storylines guaranteed to beat us all down over the next 13 days:
Pressure: Pats have nothing left to prove; Eagles cleared
biggest hurdle simply by getting here.
The QBs: Two-time MVP Brady vs. first-time Bowler McNabb.
Legacy: How many of these Pats players (particularly the LBs)
will end up in the Hall of Fame?
Swan Songs: For Pats O guru Charlie Weis and D honcho Romeo
Crennel, likely headed to Cleveland.
Clutch Kickers: Pats' Adam Vinatieri is the biggest Hall of
Fame lock on the roster; Philly's David Akers has
WR X-Factors: Who's TO? PHI WR Greg Lewis and NE WR Deion
Branch are two of the most under-the-radar players headed to
Jacksonville. On the opposite side of the radar...
24/7 Yap TV: Will there be enough microphones to handle BOTH
T.O. and the People's Champ?
Early poll results: 68 percent of ESPN.com users are picking
the Pats to win, evenly split whether it'll be by more or less than 10
See Big 5, right, for more.
(And Clayton has a must-read early SB preview in Q It Up.)
Falcons: What's Next?
Vick: ZERO 2nd-half rush yds: What was THAT all about?
Playing from behind? The Eagles D? Or conservative play-calling that
finally caught up with Jim Mora? Maybe next year, they'll let Vick be
Steelers: What's Next?
Call it the "Barkley Theory" (Or "Mailman." Or "Glove."): All
coulda-woulda-shoulda been NBA champs, if not for having the
unfortunate timing of playing during the Bulls dynasty.
The 2004 Steelers had the misfortune of being a contender during the
Pats dynasty. Like the Raiders a few years ago. Or Peyton Manning
Home-field? Rumbling Bus? Dominating D? Mojo QB? Pittsburgh will never
have a better shot; used Towels make nice hankies as fans wipe tears
and ponder their "league-best" D giving up 41 points.
Early SB Pick
Maybe I'm caught up in the euphoria emanating from
Philly (hey, it beats the usual smells), so I say: Hey, why NOT the
Picture TO's emotional return and a perfect game from the
physical Eagles D, inspired Donovan McNabb and versatile Brian
Oh, wait: Here's why NOT: Too much Pats experience, too
much Belichick genius, too much Tom Brady:
Pats 36, Eagles 19.
Gloves, no gloves: Not nearly as relevant as "Hey, he better watch out for those 3 INTs." Being a rookie finally caught up with suddenly Not-So-Big Ben.
|Today on ESPN.com|
|Pasquarelli: Steelers encore denied|
|Clayton: Early look at the Super Bowl|
|Super Bowl Storylines:|
|Pulling a Willis Reed?|
|3-in-4 ends debate|
|Bill B: Best ever?|
|Yes, if he wins|
|Brady vs. PHI D|
|How to stop Mr. SB-MVP?|
|Paul McControversy? Nah.|
And in non-NFL playoff news:|
Phil Jackson to Knicks? Speculation runs wild after he tells ESPN that
he'd "have to listen to them if they came and talked"...
Moss Watch: Predictions running "60/40" that Randy Moss will be
traded. Funny split. I think he's as good as gone (to
Oh my trouncing: Who else watched with at leas a little glee as
Villanova trounced WAY overrated Kansas (Midseason Final Four?
Tiger's back: Classic "Sunday win" in Buick is his first in PGA
stroke-play since 2003 Western, foreshadowing a huge year...
A-Rod vs. Schill is the new embodiment of the Yanks-Sox rivalry; Alex
yapped the trash-talk, and Curt retorted with a version of
Delgado Watch: Rangers, Mets have reportedly pulled out, leaving O's
and Marlins to battle it out for his price (but watch New