That Shameful Day

feelings. No respect. 

Traitors? 

"The fans are terrible," Hambrick would go on to say. 

Aikman, though, class to the bitter end. He would soft-shoe the entire ugly scene, saying that came with the territory. In fact, he said he had mentally prepared for such reactions before the game. Hey, he knew the Cowboys had won the last game under Cunningham's guidance and had nearly won the previous game. 

Yet, that's how you treat the team's Hall of Fame quarterback. 

So pardon me, but give me a break on the Owens thing, on how he can't be forgiven for raising his arms to the sky after scoring those two touchdowns and racing to the midfield star. On how it's an insult to lifetime Cowboys fans for bringing him into the fold. 

Come on. 

Yeah, yeah, what he did that day, rubbing it in with his all-about-me celebration, was rather self-absorbing and classless. Probably even childish, especially the second time when the all of one-yard touchdown grab gave San Francisco a 41-17 lead with just 4:05 remaining in an already-decided game. 

And he paid for his actions, 49ers head coach Steve Mariucci suspending him one game, which cost T. O. $24,294, then admonishing him by saying, "It disturbs me when the integrity of the game is compromised." 

But you know what, the integrity of the game already had been compromised. Emmitt Smith had already returned to the star of a little get-back celebration right before halftime. Darren Woodson, miffed at a non-call, got himself tossed from the game in the fourth quarter and then set the land-record for helmet toss before he left. Then George Teague, heralded as a hero, belted Owens after the second celebration, touching off a near brawl at midfield. 

And before the field was cleared of all this debris, there were Campo and Mariucci at midfield apologizing to each other for the actions of their teams. 

In fact, afterward former Cowboys special teams coach Joe Avezzano, who was then in his 11th season with the Cowboys, shook his head in the locker room, saying, "It was embarrassing that a Dallas-San Francisco game would display so many inappropriate actions." 

He meant T.O. 

He meant Teague. 

He meant Emmitt. 

He meant Woody. 

He probably meant the Cowboys' defense allowing Charlie Garner, about in his rocking chair, to rush for 201 yards. 

And you know what? I know for a fact he meant the booing of Troy Freakin' Aikman by the Cowboys fans. 

Ya'll booed, those of you who were at the game. Booed Aikman as if that were Ryan Leaf out on the field. You wanted the guy who had been laying tile for a year to quarterback your team, and when they needed him at the end, he feigned some silly injury, forcing Campo to play Anthony Wright, not only to mop up the Washington game when Aikman was drilled the final time in the NFL, but to start his first two NFL games in the final two against Washington and then on Christmas night at Tennessee. That's who you wanted instead of your quarterback. 

So give me a break. 

If you want to distance yourself from the Cowboys for signing Owens because of how he acted in Philadelphia, fine. If you want to quit buying tickets to the games at Texas Stadium because you refuse to watch Owens play, fine. If you want to throw away all your Cowboys memorabilia because Owens has been a bad teammate and disruptive force in both San Francisco and Philadelphia, be my guest. 

But don't come in here with this weak stuff about the star incident. Please. That was 5½ years ago. Owens wasn't the first guy to rub-it-in and he won't be the last. Man, good thing there wasn't free agency back in the 70's. You guys might have torpedoed a Redskin had Tom Landry had the audacity to sign one here. 

Guys, this is football, not a civil war. This is big, big bidness, not some petty Hatfields and McCoys struggle. If the guy who owns that midfield star can forgive and forget, then what's your problem? 

Just be careful labeling Jerry Jones a win-at-all-costs owner. On this day, Sept. 24, 2000, a whole bunch of you were as bad, if not worse. No allegiance. No regard for feelings. Short memories. Just win for me. 

Ya'll booed Troy

MICK SHOTS

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