Former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens is no stranger to the Super Bowl, or the New England Patriots. Owens played two seasons for the Eagles and was a key member of Philadelphia’s 2004 Super Bowl team that lost in heartbreaking fashion to the Pats. Now 13 years later, Owens’ former team has another chance to dethrone the defending champs.
Super Bowl XXXIX was played February 6, 2005 in Jacksonville. The Eagles fell just short as the Patriots held on late to win the game 24-21. Despite the loss, T.O. played a spectacular game, catching 9 passes for 122 yards. In the days leading up to the game, there was uncertainty that Owens would even play after suffering a serious ankle injury just weeks before.
T.O’s memorable performance was one of the biggest storylines of Super Bowl week.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Owens Played Super Bowl XXXIX With a Broken Bone and Partially Torn Ligament in His Foot
Just seven weeks prior the Super Bowl, Owens suffered a sprained ankle during a regular season game against the Dallas Cowboys. The injury occurred early in the second half when Owens was dragged down from behind by Cowboys safety Roy Williams. According to the Washington Post, Owens had surgery three days after the injury on December 22nd.
One day before the Super Bowl, the L.A. Times reported Owens was risking his NFL career if he plays in the game. The story cited Dr. Neil S. ElAttrache, the sports medicine fellowship director at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles, who said Owens was at least six weeks away from being able to play football without serious risk for re-injury.
Owens’ rehab from the injury was publicized during the Super Bowl XXXIX Pregame Show on Fox where it was reported he used a HydroWorx hydro-therapy pool to help speed up the healing process.
Owens admitted to taking a pain-killing injection prior to the game and he wasted no time making an impact on the field. On the Eagles’ second drive, Owens caught a short pass on a crossing route and glided past the defender up the sideline for a 30-yard gain.
Owens finished the game with 9 catches for 122 yards and played in all but 10 of his team’s offensive snaps. ESPN NFL Columnist John Clayton called it one of the most courageous performances in Super Bowl history. In February 2017, Owens spoke more about the injury during an interview with reporter Graham Bensinger. T.O. admitted to putting “everything on the line” by accelerating his rehab process and playing in the Super Bowl.
2. The Night Before Super Bowl LII, T.O. Was Selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
In one of the youngest classes in Pro Football Hall of Fame history, Owens was one of 8 men who will be enshrined into football immortality this summer, the selection committee announced on Super Bowl eve in Minneapolis. Owens joins wide receiver Randy Moss, linebackers Brian Urlacher, Ray Lewis and Robert Brazile, safety Brian Dawkins, guard Jerry Kramer and contributor Bobby Beathard.
T.O. was a third-round draft pick of the San Francisco 49ers in 1996. He ranks second all time in career receiving yards (15,934), eighth all time in receptions (1,078) and third in receiving touchdowns (153). Owens played for five different teams during his 15-year NFL career including the 49ers, Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals. He is the only player in NFL history to score a touchdown against all 32 teams. Owens had been a finalist for the Hall of Fame for the past three seasons.
“Terrell Owens gave our organization eight great seasons of service and some terrific memories that will live on in 49ers lore,” said 49ers CEO Jed York. “He is one of the most accomplished wide receivers in the history of the NFL, and very deserving of this selection to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The 49ers organization would like to congratulate him for this great honor.”
Owens acknowledged his selection by posting an instagram photo of a Hall of Fame hat.
3. Owens Will Make Another Appearance During This Year’s Super Bowl, in a Pizza Hut Commercial
According to the ad, Owens is touted as a “Pro Boaster” and is making his case for Pizza Hut’s “Hut Rewards” Program. The program is a loyalty campaign launched by Pizza Hut last year which allows frequent customers to earn points towards free pizza.
T.O. will also spend Super Bowl week as a brand ambassador for Proctor & Gamble, the company announced. The Cincinnati-based consumer goods company said Owens, who spent the final year of his career with the Bengals, will encourage people to get their homes and bathrooms ready for the game by using the popular air freshener Febreze.
Owens recently tweeted out Febreze’s Super Bowl commercial using the company’s #BleepDontStink hashtag.
4. After His Football Career Ended, Owens Remained in the Spotlight
Even in his final year on the field, Owens began filming a reality TV show called The T.O. Show which lasted three seasons from 2009-11 and aired on VH1. The show followed Owens, friend Monique Jackson and publicist Kita Williams as they tackled the everyday problems T.O. faced as his football career was coming to an end. During one episode, T.O. shared his financial problems, which would continue to be an issue in Owens’ post-football life.
According to Celebrity Net Worth, T.O. made approximately $80 million in salary and endorsements over the course of his 15-year NFL career. However in 2011, Owens told a judge he was completely broke and had no monthly income along with very expensive monthly expenses. According to the Celebrity Net Worth website, Owens current net worth is $100,000.
Owens’ reality TV career continued in 2015 when he appeared on the show Celebrity Apprentice . He was fired off the show by Donald Trump for not raising enough money during a wedding dress fundraiser.
In 2017, Owens appeared on season 25 of the popular ABC show Dancing With the Stars. T.O. was eliminated on the show’s Trio Night after performing the Charleston with partner Cheryl Burke in addition to the Rumba with season 1 winner Kelly Monaco.
5. Owens is a Philanthropist and Strong Supporter of the Alzheimer’s Association
In 2009 while playing for the Buffalo Bills, Owens attended the sixth annual National Alzheimer’s Gala in Washington D.C. and received the Alzheimer’s Association’s first ever Young Champions Award for raising awareness in the fight against the disease. Owens’ grandmother, Alice Black, died from Alzheimer’s three years later. T.O. informed his followers via twitter about his grandmother’s passing.
In 2014, two years after his grandmother’s death, Owens opened up about his fight to help cure the disease and his relationship with his grandmother in an exclusive interview with TV host Larry King.
Owens’ unique family upbringing was thrust into the spotlight in 2006 when he released an autobiography titled T.O.. Owens continued to share stories about his grandmother and family situation years later. In an exclusive interview with Entertainment Tonight in 2017, T.O. spoke more about his childhood and how his grandmother was an integral part of his youth.
“My grandmother, she served – she was put in a position to be not only my grandmother, but my dad and my mom in a lot of ways,” Owens said. “I think me not having a dad in the household and understanding how it affected me has really made me a better dad and a better person. I’m definitely not going to put my kids in a situation where they say that their dad wasn’t there for them.”
Owens wouldn’t learn the truth about his biological father until he was 11-year-old when he found out his mother had an affair with a next-door neighbor, L.C. Russell. In 2013, Owens and his biological father were reunited on the show Iyanla: Fix My Life which airs on the Oprah Network. The show is hosted by life coach and motivational speaker Iyanla Vanzant.
During a 2017 interview with Graham Bensinger, Owens also shared the story about how he found out who his real father was.