Commentary

Graying expectations

Terrell Owens has had a great career, but don't expect Rice-like late-career numbers

Originally Published: September 7, 2010
By Bill Barnwell | Football Outsiders
Getty ImagesDon't expect magic from this duo in Cincy this year.

Terrell Owens is fond of referring to his newfound pairing with Chad Ochocinco as "Batman and Robin." This may end up being a particularly inspired metaphor from the two-time published author.

In the movies, when the actor playing Batman gets too old or expensive to reliably play the part, the production company replaces him with a newer, younger model. Owens and Ochocinco represent one of the oldest wide receiver one-two punches in recent NFL history; by looking at how similarly aged units have done in the past, we can see if the Cincinnati Bengals should expect to put out a casting call for a new wideout this offseason. (We must dismiss one argument quickly. Some will say that because these WRs have such a great track record they are able to play at this age, to which the response is: That goes for all the comparisons, as well.)

If we define a team's top two wideouts as the two wide receivers with the most catches for a team in a given season, there's been only three units as old or older since the strike season of 1983.

First, the facts. Ochocinco turned treinta y dos (32) in January. Owens turns 37 at the beginning of December. Combine those two figures and you get a pair of starting wideouts with 69 years between them. If we define a team's top two wideouts as the two wide receivers with the most catches for a team in a given season, there's been only three units as old or older since the strike season of 1983.


For the full breakdown of the problems Cincy might not run into, using historical examples, you must be an ESPN Insider.

Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) is a staff writer for Grantland.