Fat Fish Fallacy

In his last two stops, Terrell Owens has driven quarterbacks, coaches and fans crazy. After exactly two days of Dallas Cowboys training camp here in Oxnard, California, there's evidence his presence is already pushing coach Bill Parcells to the brink of insanity.

In a fascinating, frustrating 10-minute span on a shaded tennis court at the team's Marriott Residence Inn complex, Parcells:

1. Feigned ignorance over T.O.'s background and faked confusion over how his new receiver would co-exist with his new quarterback.

2. Claimed he'd known Owens since his college days and did detailed due diligence on T.O. through a former player.

3. Professed to be so uninterested in T.O. that he hadn't read his book and didn't even know its name.

As is often the case with the coach formerly known as The Big Tuna, this is all condescending bullshit. Of course Parcells knows Owens' best-selling autobiography is called T.O. Betcha $1 he's read it, at least some of it. But that didn't stop him from rambling recklessly about his star player.

So, Fat Fish, how well exactly do you know T.O.?

"I don't know anything about him other people don't know," says Parcells one minute. "Are he and Drew compatible? I don't know. But seriously, do you think I'm worried about that?"

So, Fat Fish, how well exactly do you know T.O.?

"Look, I've known the kid since he was [in college] at Chattanooga," says Parcells the next minute. "His position coach at Philly was an ex-player of mine [Parcells helped recruit Eagles receivers coach David Culley to Vanderbilt in 1973], so I get it."

Truth is, Parcells is just covering his ass and protecting his options. He knows everything and nothing about T.O., depending on the bottom line. If T.O. leads the Cowboys to the Super Bowl, he can boast of being the coach who finally harnessed the talented troublemaker. "I knew," he'll say. If T.O. implodes another locker room and another quarterback as in San Francisco and Philadelphia, Parcells will simply shrug his shoulders and claim he was never fully on board with the acquisition in the first place. "I didn't know," he'll say.

The most telling sign Parcells is completely wacko concerning T.O.? "Fellas, you don't get it," he directed at us media folk. "No one else is talking about him. You're the only ones."

Yep, we're the only ones. To be exact, the "only ones" club boasts 17 national media outlets including USA Today, Dateline NBC and Tokyo's Sports Nippon. Oh yeah, and the 5,500 fans who showed up for the team's first practice, most ever for the Cowboys in Oxnard. Says Drew Bledsoe, "I've never played with anybody that draws as much attention as [T.O.] does."

For now at least, the quarterback remains sane.

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Patrick Williams is editor-in-chief of the Dallas Observer.
Contact: Patrick Williams