What if . . .
- . . . Alex Rodriguez had been traded to Boston?
- . . . The '94 MLB strike never happened?
- . . . Babe Ruth was sold elsewhere?
- . . . Williams and Dimaggio didn't go to war?
- . . . Michael Jordan had continued playing baseball?
- . . . N.C. State hadn't pulled off its miracle?
- . . . The Blazers had better injury luck?
- . . . Big Ben was drafted by the Giants?
- . . . Donald Trump had made the Bills great?
- . . . Drew Brees had passed his Dolphins physical?
- . . . These field goal attempts had been good?
- . . . George Halas had died in a boat wreck?
- . . . Jim Harbaugh had stuck with Alex Smith as 49ers quarterback?
- . . . The NFL map looked like this?
- . . . Peyton Manning went to San Diego?
- . . . Teddy Roosevelt hadn't revolutionized football?
- . . . Terrell Owens was elected to the NFL Hall of Fame?
- . . . LeBron James had chosen soccer over basketball?
- . . . U.S. soccer got the right call in the '02 World Cup?
- . . . Cleveland had been saved by George Steinbrenner?
- . . . These draft moments had happened differently?
- . . . Injuries had never altered these five careers?
- . . . Lance Armstrong had been whipped by cancer?
- . . . Muhammad Ali had never met Malcolm X?
- . . . PEDs had been legal all along?
- . . . Steve Bartman had never gone to Wrigley?
- . . . Things had happened differently for these four illustrious coaches?
- . . . Tiger Woods had pursued a career as a Navy Seal?
- . . . These trades had actually happened?
- . . . Wayne Gretzky hadn't been traded to the Kings?
What If ... the Eagles won Super Bowl 39 and Terrell Owens was inducted into the HOF?
by Jacob Feldman
Journeyman wideout Terrell Owens wasn't given a chance to speak at the Hall of Fame this year, finishing as a finalist for a second straight year. But what if had made it thanks to a career-altering tweak to Super Bowl 39?
Here is what the transcript might look like.
PRESENTER DONOVAN MCNABB: Man, that was an excellent video, wasn’t it?
Let me tell you, it is such an honor to be here with everyone today, and to be given the opportunity to introduce one of the best teammates I ever played with and one of my greatest friends: T.O.
I still remember my first game with this man, against the Giants back in ’04. Honest to god, he had a tear in his eye when he took the field. We high-fived and said, ‘Let's do this!’ I bet a bunch of you remember how that one ended—him catching three touchdowns and us winning easy.
You might also remember that he nearly showed up late to the game. That’s T, man. And we definitely had our disagreements that first year. But how mad can you be at a guy when you are 13–1 with him. And then what he did in that Super Bowl?!
Sorry, hold on, just give me a second here. I promised myself I wouldn’t cry.
Alright, where was I? Oh yeah, Super Bowl 39 down in Jacksonville. Well, you all know the story, but for you young fans out there...
Terrell went down with an ankle injury—against Dallas no less—and doctors said he’d need 10 weeks to recover. The only problem was the Super Bowl, if we even made it there without him, was seven weeks away. Of course we did manage to beat Minnesota and Atlanta to get to Jacksonville, and then, at media day, Terrell declares that he’s going to play. For some reason, people called him selfish for ignoring the doctor’s orders, but he just wanted to be out on the field with us. He was incredible. I still remember him coming over to calm me down when we fell behind, 24–14, and then he told Coach Reid that we had to speed up on that second-to-last drive—that we were taking too long between plays.
Had it not been for that, we definitely wouldn’t have had time to kick the tying field in the final seconds of the next drive, and then he never would have gotten to make that Super Bowl-winning catch-and-run on the first drive of overtime. The first Super Bowl touchdown in OT, by T.O.? It was only right. I’ll tell you what, there really is no other word for what he did that night than miraculous. I really do think it changed the way some of the guys in our locker room—and maybe theirs too—thought about God. It was just something else.
And then after that victo—well, actually, you know what, let me just stop right there. Because if I keep going about this guy, I’m definitely going to break that promise I made to myself.
Plus, we know how much my man loves a microphone. I’m just playing—get over here, T-bone.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
TERRELL OWENS: Hello, Canton! Hello, Eagles nation! Hello, America! Is this not the most beautiful day on God’s Green—on God’s Kelly Green—Earth!? It's such a blessing to be here with you all, so I have to start by thanking God for this wonderful honor, and this amazing life he’s given me.
And I know sitting right next to Him right now is my grandma, Alice. She was tough on me growing up, and I really think her not letting me watch TV or movies as a kid probably contributed to my desire to go into the entertainment business after I accomplished everything I wanted to on the field. So thanks, Grandma, because if it wasn't for you, I never would have starred in the new Rocky series.
They were tough alright, but my grandma—and my mom—always encouraged me, even when I considered quitting. And my coaches helped me too—paying me to cut grass in high school so I could stay on the team rather than get an after-school job, and teaching me what it meant to be an adult while I was at Chattanooga. Go Mocs!
And I really do have to thank Steve Mariucci and everyone from my San Francisco days. I know we didn't end things on the best of terms, but looking back, I see now that everything happens for a reason, and if it wasn't for you all, I never would have ended up where I belonged—in Philadelphia.
I was laughing back there listening to D recount that first year. Yeah, we had our bumps. But it was all worth it to bring Philly its first trophy in 22 years. The titles we won in 2007 and '09 were sweet, too, watching Donovan outduel Peyton on that rainy night in Miami and then beating our in-state rivals on a pick-six, but nothing matched that first one.
And in that offseason, when D helped convince the Eagles to restructure my contract, that's when I knew I had a brother for life. I finally felt wanted; and from then on, I knew I had found home.
All the records we set together were special, but it's the off-field memories I'll cherish most. Walking around town with Donovan and Mama McNabb handing out soup for a Campbell's ad. Hanging out with Hugh Douglas and so many of my other teammates when Rihanna and I got married. Seeing Andy Reid walk up to the facility in nothing but skin-tight leggings after he promised me he'd that if I caught 15 touchdowns. Well, that's one I couldn't forget even if I wanted to.
But seriously, I loved playing for Coach Reid, and I'm so happy to see him continuing to lead the Eagles. He's also let me coach him a little bit in the acting sphere, which has been a blast. Coach, that last Casio ad was incredible!
And I think I've made my feelings clear about Donovan over the years. It's hard to believe it's been almost 10 years since our dissapointing end to the '08 season that left me a little teary afterwards, and I still feel the same away about the man. Say it with me now. That's! My! Quarterback!
Haha, nice job.
And how about Philadelphia? That's! My! City!
The number of tattoos I've seen this weekend on y'all's calves and backs and shoulders of me catching cheesesteaks, or me with Eagle wings, it's just awesome! I love seeing those. And to think there's a statue of me, surrounded by a reflecting pool, outside the stadium. That's just so touching. Yeah, yeah, I heard those chuckles. I know some people from New York joke that I demanded it be built that way so that I could look at my bronzen self forever, but, you know what, they can think whatever they want to. I don't care anymore. I'm in the Hall of Fame!
Now, those who really know me know I actually like being the quiet guy, at least when I'm not on the field or on set. After all, even if I'm a 3-time champ, I'm still just a country boy from Alabama. So I'm going to keep this speech short. But still, I'll always love a good show, so keep your popcorn ready, and Fly Eagles Fly! And Roger, try to fine me now!
With that, Owens pulled a sharpie out of his left dress sock and signed the forehead of his Canton bust before embracing McNabb. Then he turned to the crowd, flapping his arms in response to their chants. T! O! T! O! And all was right.