Seeing 'fire' in his Eagles, Owens blazes with confidence they'll win


GIVE TERRELL OWENS a little credit. If he was the selfish player so many people think he is, he wouldn't be sticking his neck out for a team that has been known to feel a little tightness between the head and the shoulders at this time of year.

Owens has all but guaranteed that the Philadelphia Eagles will shed their reputation for treating the NFC championship game like kryptonite, even without the help of the best receiver in the league - who is out at least until Super Bowl Sunday with an ankle injury.

"We're going to the Super Bowl, don't even doubt it," he told the Philadelphia Inquirer on Tuesday. "I've never felt so confident in my entire career than how I felt this past Sunday. When I walked into that locker room and saw those guys - saw that as happy as they were that they knew they still had business to take care of - that let me know right there we'll be in Jacksonville come Feb. 6. There is no doubt in my mind.

"You could see it in guys' eyes. They weren't satisfied with just reaching the NFC championship game. I can't explain it. You had to be in that locker room to see what I'm talking about. Like I said, it's going down. Philadelphia, don't you doubt this for one second."

I never doubt T.O., though the last time I saw him do anything significant in the Eagles' locker room was when he filmed that Desperate Housewives spoof for Monday Night Football. The guy is liable to say anything at any time (just ask former teammate Jeff Garcia), but whatever he can do to chase the angst out of The City of Brotherly Love is probably appreciated.

"We know they'll be ready," Owens said of the Falcons. "But this city needs to know this team will be ready. I'm loving what I'm seeing. I believe in my boys. They've got that look, that fire I was talking about. They understand. It's not where you're from ... it's where you're at. So get ready."

It should come as no surprise that I get some hate mail from Philadelphia Eagles fans, but you might be surprised at the number of Philadelphians (and former Philadelphians now living in the Baltimore area) who write to express the same fatalism that I have made a staple of my recent coverage.

Believe it or not, I sympathize with the "Iggles," who have a tremendous monkey on their back with three straight losses in the NFC championship game, but they're getting no quarter from some of their own fans.

"It's gotten to be so much like the movie Groundhog Day," offered one apprehensive reader, "they ought to invite Bill Murray to toss the coin."

I'm not sure what Roger Clemens is trying to tell everybody with his demand for a one-year contract worth $22 million in salary arbitration. It's almost like he's giving the Astros a chance to determine whether he'll come back for one more year by the way they respond ... either that or he's going to let the arbitrator decide whether he retires.

It's a ridiculous number, but Clemens can make the case that he was more valuable to the Astros than $25-million-per-year third baseman Alex Rodriguez was to the Yankees.

News item: The new Airbus A380 - the largest passenger jet ever built - has a price tag of $280 million per plane, which is about what the Maryland Stadium Authority paid to build Orioles Park at Camden Yards.

My take: Wow, that really puts things in perspective. I guess we should be thankful that the French don't build baseball stadiums.

Congratulations to diminutive basketball star Earl Boykins, who set an NBA record when he scored 15 points in overtime on Tuesday night. It just goes to show that people can do wondrous things regardless of height, unless they own the Washington Redskins.

Final thought: That new psychic detective show on Monday nights - Medium - is doing great ratings, which is making me wonder if I made the wrong decision when I turned down the starring role in the project. Of course, when I was offered the script, the working title of the show was XX-Large.

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