*Miami, FL – NFL Hall of Famer Terrell Owens returns for another episode of I AM ATHLETE podcast (S2, E11), joining IAA founder, Brandon Marshall, Mr. “55/50” Fred Taylor, Channing Crowder and Chad Ochocinco to chew on a number of NFL related topics including, end zone celebrations, the fine line between entertainment and distraction, Hall of Fame criteria as well as the NFL’s handling of COVID-19.
The topic of trendsetting opens the show. Marshall points out that recently Pittsburgh Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster attempted to recreate Terrell Owens, then a San Francisco 49er, and his 20-year old celebration where the Hall of Fame receiver ran to the center of the Dallas Cowboys star and held his arms in the air.
Although praised as trendsetters, Marshall and Crowder argue that, at the time, Owens and Ochocinco were regarded as distractions to their teams. Criticism that would be debunked by both.
“They were celebrating before me and Chad got in the league,” retorted Owens, who has no regrets for his celebrations and felt they were harmless. “But what we did was have more fun than everybody else. I always tried to be creative. I was in competition with myself. The only thing that I feel maybe I straddled the fence a little bit, was when I went to the star. But even when I went to the star, that had nothing to do with me taunting the Cowboys. I didn’t mess with the integrity of the game. Everything I did was fun. I didn’t make obscene gestures.”
“They didn’t have the vision,” said Ochocinco, who felt the league lacked vision and it was solely up to the players as individuals to capitalize on the small window of opportunity to maximize their exposure. “It’s all about thinking long-term. The NFL controls and markets who they want to. In a sense, we took it in our own hands.”
Marshall believes the NFL is finally catching up to something that the receiver duo was early on in the league.
“It’s entertainment and business, and now the NFL is finally catching up to letting guys entertain,” said Marshall, pointing out the league’s new “Celebration Camera.” “The days of the NFL being deemed as the ‘No Fun League’ are over. You guys wrote the template for these guys. At the time it was deemed deviant behavior and that’s why I say you guys were a distraction on the field because people didn’t get it then. But honestly, you two were ahead of your time,”
Sticking to the subject of the league’s obsession with control, Fred Taylor questioned the league’s handling of COVID-19 in terms of how they are dealing with the mask mandate.
“Coaches being fined $100,000 for (not wearing) a $2 mask,” said Taylor. “My biggest problem is the fine amount. $250,000 for the organization, $100,000 for coaches for a piece of cloth?”
Marshall agrees, and feels the heavy fines are more for optics and not safety, stating, “If we’re going to do it, let’s make sure we’re doing it… not because of optics and that’s what it feels like.”
Owens feels it’s a way for the NFL to recoup money not brought in from ticket sales due to the lowered number of fan attendance because of the pandemic.
“They are trying to make up for that money that they lost, or that they are losing,” said Owens. “The NBA tried to set the blueprint and set the stage. With football, there are just too many people.”
Ochocinco and Crowder lean towards a more serious angle of why things are the way they are within the league.
“I feel that all eyes are on the NFL and the example they set is trickled down to other levels of football,” stating Crowder. “The NFL sets the standards, and then college follows, high school, and then pop warner. The NFL sets the standards. That’s the highest level of football.”
“We gotta understand how serious the pandemic is,” said Ochocinco, who is keen on safety and doing whatever it takes to keep it that way. “A lot of lives have been lost. So, rules and mandates have been put in place. It’s for a reason, because the NFL is at the elite level of standards and they have to lead by example. People are watching.”
Having taken care of those topics, egos definitely were not checked at the door as Hall of Fame talk, GOAT talk, and best receiver in the room is debated, while stats are thrown out and race bets take center stage as the alpha males stake their claims of greatness. Marshall takes advantage of having the Hall of Famer Owens joining the crew, he gets T.O.’S top five receivers list, his best end zone celebration and even rubs the fact that he broke Owens’ single-game receptions record in his face a little bit.
The podcast gets even more heated when Owens reminds B Marsh of their $100,000 bet for a foot race between them came to light. Although Marshall seemed to want to renege on the dollar amount and needed more time.
“I’m going to be honest with you,” said Marshall, maybe second-guessing the whole challenge after-all. “I humbly would like to do $50,000, and I need another month.”
Crowder chimed in, “Ya’ll are crazy. Ya’ll still got that competitiveness in ya’ll? That ain’t never gonna go nowhere.”
Athletes rehashing their glory days while out to prove they still got it sets the tone for the back and forth roasting between the former NFL stalwarts. Given the fact there were three all-pro receivers in one room, the conversation shifted quickly to which of the three had the better career and which one had the most left in the tank. Marshall also asked if the fact that he broke T.O.’S single-game receptions record makes him the better receiver.
“T.O. I broke your record, bro. So, do you think your career was better than mine?” leveled Marshall.
While sporting a hoodie with a goat on the front, Owens, the one among them in the Hall of Fame to date, posed his own question to Marshall, “You feel like you can wear this shirt right here with confidence?”
Things settle down towards the conclusion of the episode, as talks of Hall of Fame credentials, top five receivers and T.O. “preserving his sexiness” rounds out the conversation. The fun-filled segment drags Chef Nancie in as a judge of looks between Owens and Ochocinco, who puts her on the spot.
“Who is cuter between me and him,” Ochocino asks while pointing to Owens.
The holiday feel was definitely in the air during one of the more colorful and fun I AM ATHLETE episodes of the year.
About I AM ATHLETE Podcast
I AM ATHLETE is a thought provoking and in-depth podcast with more than 100,000 subscribers and offers multiple perspectives on subjects ranging from sports to controversial topics to fashion to lifestyle covering all cultural conversations and building a platform to educate but encourage viewers to engage. Creating opportunities for conversation that change the narrative and make an impact. Six-time Pro Bowler Brandon Marshall serves as a contributor and moderator, and the panel embarks on provocative conversations that redefine what it means to be an athlete. Co-hosts Fred Taylor (Former Jaguars and Patriots running back), fellow receiver and 6-time Pro Bowler, Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson, and Former Dolphins linebacker, Channing Crowder join Marshall to discuss all topics from the perspective of an African American athlete, while dining on some amazing looking dishes served up by Chef Nancie. These gridiron giants pull no punches and have no filter while expressing themselves on the importance of the issues and topics they cover. Each week the podcast is growing in popularity and its’ subscribers due to the panelists frankness in sharing their thoughts and views on relevant topics covered each week.
I AM ATHLETE was created by House 3 Studios, owned and operated by Marshall, and in partnership with Emmy Award Winning production company Lobas Productions and Jersey filmmaker to story and edit the weekly series. Fans can subscribe to the I AM ATHLETE podcast YouTube https://bit.ly/2FVTeu8 and watch a new episode premiere every Monday at 12 Noon ET.
During the premiere of each episode, live chat with the I Am Athlete crew while you listen. Fans can also follow Twitter at @IAMATHLETEpod and IG @iamathletepodcast for updates and breaking news.