PORTLAND, ME – Life often imitates art, but last season, it was the opposite for the Chunky Chickens. A juggernaut that shattered the single season scoring record for a team in 2004 by nearly 100 points, the Chickens were primed for another record-setting season despite suffering a letdown in Super Bowl XII. Then Terrell Owens started monopolizing ESPNEWS. By the time he was doing sit-ups in his driveway, there were already rumblings that the Chickens might be breaking apart at the seams. As the situation escalated, the Chickens began dropping in the standings and when the dust cleared, the spat between Donovan McNabb and Owens had destroyed the Super Bowl hopes of the Eagles and Chickens.
Critical Question Facing Owner Mike Kinsman
Can Donovan McNabb be a franchise quarterback again? A year before Terrell Owens arrived on the scene in Philadelphia, McNabb scored a lowly 68 points, good for only 12th in the league at the quarterback position. Now that T.O. is out of town, McNabb is left with a scant collection of weapons to throw to. With four quarterbacks entering the season, Mike won't wait to swap out McNabb for a backup with a hot hand, but for the Chickens to excell again, it will be up to Donovan to carry the load.
Player to Watch
Terrell Owens, WR - I know choosing the 2nd leading scorer at his position in league history as the "Player to Watch" may look a little dubious, but does anyone really know what to expect out of T.O. this season? A year removed from systematically breaking up both his NFL and YFFL teams, Owens finds himself in Dallas and has yet to make any meaningful contribution to the club while nursing a hamstring injury. If T.O. makes it onto the field, he'll post numbers. Mike just has to hope he can keep his mouth shut.
Projected Starting Lineup
McNabb, Tomlinson, Lewis, Owens, Horn, Gates, Draft Pick, Barlow
Take one look at the roster of the Chickens and you have to love fantasy football. Side-by-side for the 2006 season will be Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens. It's like having Bret Hart take on Shawn Michaels one last time. Luckily for the Chickens, personal grudges don't exist in fantasy football and they're primed for another huge year. Despite questions of depth, the Chickens boast an impact player at every position. A team of just McNabb, LaDainian Tomlinson, Owens and Antonio Gates could probably carry the division...and they might have to. Although Jamal Lewis didn't spend his off-season incarcerated, his production has shown signs of decline. Kevan Barlow gets a fresh start with the Jets, but he failed to establish himself as a feature back once already. With a suspect offensive line, it could be more of the same. Finally, Joe Horn was nowhere to be found last season. Will a new quarterback reenergize his career?
The break-up between McNabb and Owens was the best thing to happen to the Chickens in the off-season. Owens has historically been able to play nice for at least one season and McNabb has put up numbers with a poor supporting cast before. If Mike can deal one of his four quarterbacks for more depth, the Chickens might be able to finally add another Super Bowl championship to their trophy case.
10-3; 665 points; 1st NFC West