Did Terrell Owens Kill Matt Flynn’s Career?

the soccer stadium with the bright lights

Terrell Owens spent three weeks with the Seahawks. Most will forget he was ever here. Matt Flynn likely will not be one of them.

Flynn was winning the Seahawks quarterback competition heading into the second pre-season game against the Broncos. In fact, it really felt like the competition had essentially ended when Pete Carroll named Flynn the starter for the second straight week. Nobody changes their starting quarterback after the second pre-season game, right?? Kidding aside, Flynn has finished his first game by being nearly perfect. He had two incompletions in 13 passes. One was a flat drop by Anthony McCoy, and the other was an interception he should not have thrown after a running back did not execute the play-action properly.

Owens played his first game against the Broncos. He was inserted in the starting lineup and proceeded to have zero catches in five targets. Four of the five incompletions were blatant mistakes by Owens that were acknowledged by Carroll after the game. Flynn’s passer rating would have been over 120.0 if Owens had simply caught the 46-yard touchdown that Flynn placed perfectly in his hands. His rating would have been much higher had Owens made the right plays on any of the other throws, especially the back-shoulder pass along the right sideline that Owens ran right by. As well as Wilson played that day, are we sure Flynn would have lost the starting role if he exited the Broncos game with a touchdown and a 130 or higher passer rating that included some deep throws?

Stories are coming out today that Wilson needed to be “markedly better” than Flynn to win the starting job. It is hard to be markedly better than 11-13 in game one and a 130 passer rating in game two. Should Wilson realize his potential and never relinquish this starting job, Flynn may look back at that Broncos game as the one that blocked his shot at starting in the NFL. He is still young enough at age 26 to find a spot somewhere else, but time is running out on his chances to be QB1 for an NFL team.

In a cruel twist of irony, it may have been a quarterback that cost Owens his job. There was no need for the Seahawks to cut Owens yesterday. There was certainly another player or two they already know will not be on their roster in a week or so. More likely, the front office linked the decision to name Wilson the starter with the decision to remove a personality like Owens from the equation. The front office is taking a risk by starting Wilson. They know it. The last thing they want to do is sabotage themselves by putting people around Wilson who could drag him down.

And so ends the Terrell Owens era in Seattle. Dramatic. Short. Massively impacting quarterbacks in record time.