the good has completely outweighed the bad, without question.
Let's just look at the stats.
In 11 games, Owens has 61 receptions - on pace for about 85 to 90 catches this season. The last time a Cowboys wide receiver had more than 80 occurred in 1995 when Michael Irvin had 111 receptions. And yes, we all remember what happened that year.
But scanning back just a few more pages in the media guide, I noticed a Cowboys receiver has registered more than 80 catches only three times - all by Irvin, who had 93 grabs in 1991, 88 catches in 1993 and then 111 in 1995. (Oh, and the Cowboys happened to win the Super Bowl two of those three seasons.)
But that's it. And now here's Mr. Bad Guy Owens, who surprises people when he catches any pass, yet he's on a pace to record one of the top five receiving seasons in Cowboys history. And remember this, while Owens is averaging 5.55 catches per game this season, he is averaging 6.6 since Tony Romo took over as the starting quarterback.
If he stays on that pace, Owens is looking at about 90 catches this season, which would rank third in team history behind a pair of Irvin's seasons.
And that's just receptions.
Shall we go to receiving yards, too? OK, well Owens currently has 831, good for sixth in the NFC. But 554 of those yards have come since that first Giants game when Romo was inserted at halftime. He's averaging 92.3 yards with Romo leading the way. So taking that all into consideration, Owens is on pace for about 1,250 yards, possibly even up to 1,300 with a spectacular performance or two.
Normally, you would have to factor the weather conditions into your passing game projections, but Sunday's game is the only remaining game where the wind could be a factor. The Cowboys have three more home games and play indoors at Atlanta.
So it's not a stretch to assume Owens could flirt with about 1,300 yards, which would just make the top five in club history. From 1991-95, Irvin has the five-highest single-season totals, including a club-record 1,603 yards in 1995.
Yeah, Owens isn't going to surpass Irvin with most of his records. But that's fine. He's a Ring of Honor guy and someone who should've been a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer. Let's hope justice prevails in January and Irvin finally gets into the Hall.
One category in which Owens might surpass Irvin is receiving touchdowns. The most Irvin had was 10 back in 1995 (man, makes me want to go back and watch some film of that year. Emmitt broke the NFL record with 25 touchdowns, but it certainly sounds like Irvin was all-world, too.)
Owens has eight receiving touchdowns already - only Seattle's Darrell Jackson (nine) has more this season.
So T.O. probably could get to double digits, maybe around 11 or 12, which would also be a top-five statistic in club history. Frank Clarke has the record with 14 in 1962, Bob Hayes had 13 in 1966 and Hayes and Lance Rentzel had 12 each in 1965 and 1969, respectively.
With five games to go, and Owens starting to look every bit like Romo's go-to guy, it's safe to assume T.O. will find the end zone a few more times.
So, say what you want about Owens, the person. Yeah, he's loud and controversial and he has a history of causing problems in the locker room.
You certainly don't have to like Owens the person, but unless you've got a completely different objective, it's pretty hard to dislike Owens the player.
Although that doesn't stop people from trying.