No die hard Dallas Cowboys fan will ever forget the events that took place at Texas Stadium on September 24, 2000. This was the infamous day San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Terrell Owens twice sprinted to the Cowboys midfield star logo and danced on it after scoring a touchdown. The result was a 17 point loss to the longtime rival and one with salt rubbed into the wound by their classless receiver.
It was such a despicable act that his own coach levied a fine of $25,000 and a one game suspension. This was also the day Cowboys safety George Teague earned his place in Cowboys lore. The second time Owens sprinted to dance on the sacred logo, Teague chased furiously and plowed over the classless clown.
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There were mixed emotions in Cowboys Nation when the team hired Owens to help revive their lackluster receiving corps in 2006. Dallas became the third NFL stop for the highly talented yet known locker room cancer. Terrell produced well on the field for three years, but as expected his selfish, locker room dividing antics poisoned the well.
Regardless of behavior in Dallas and his history trashing the field logo, Owens stamped his mark in Cowboys history as the most productive wide receiver in the 2000’s. He set the Dallas single-season receiving touchdown record with 15 scores in 2007 and clearly held the most productive 3-year span after the turn of the century.
This past Sunday in Washington, top wide receiver Dez Bryant bounced Owens off the sacred Cowboys star just as Teague did 14 years ago. Bryant’s 16 total touchdowns in 2014 ripped away the single season record from Owens. His bragging rights as the most productive Cowboys wide receiver in the 21st century dissolved as well.
To be fair to Owens when comparing his stats to Bryant, we must take into account Terrell only played three seasons in Dallas, while Dez is finishing off his fifth. The most accurate way to compare the two is match Bryant’s best three seasons to Owens only three. Dez recorded his top seasons from 2012-2014, which makes this ideal.
For the record, no other Dallas pass catcher in the 2000’s had as many yards over his best three seasons as Bryant and Owens. No one even came within the ballpark of their touchdown totals, including legendary tight end Jason Witten.
So without further ado, let’s inspect how Bryant dethroned the comic book, now reality star T.O. in 2014. For accuracy sake, below also lists the five most productive 3-year spans in Cowboys team history for wide receivers.
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Bryant’s last three seasons have eclipsed Owens’ three years in Dallas in every major category besides fewest receptions per touchdown. The official title of the Cowboys most productive wide receiver in the 2000’s now proudly belongs to Dez. He also leads all past Cowboys receivers in most TD’s (41) over their best three seasons.
“The Playmaker” Michael Irvin hands down won the title of most productive in receptions (292), total yards (4,522), and yards per game (94.2). While the leader in touchdowns per game (0.88) and fewest number of receptions before reaching the end zone (4.54) rests with 60’s Cowboys legend “Bullet” Bob Hayes.
With Bryant’s magnificent 2014 season, Owens has been wiped out as the leader of all Cowboys major receiving categories over the best three seasons of a career. The star has again been protected from T.O., just as Teague did so boldly in 2000. Owens popcorn was ready and Bryant just ate it. Congratulations and thank you “X Man”.