22 years ago today, on September 24th of the year 2000, Music by Madonna was the number one song on the charts and the NY Post reported that eight bidders had emerged to buy the World Trade Center. The 49ers were also in Dallas to face off against the Cowboys and star wide receiver Terrell Owens was about to put on a show.
The 49ers were entering the game 0-3 and would only go 6-10 that season, but facing off against their rivals in Texas, they pulled out a 41-24 victory. Owens hauled in five receptions for a pair of touchdowns and 51 receiving yards. After his first touchdown, Owens sprinted to midfield and stretched his arms out at midfield. Cowboys fans responded with boos.
The next possession, Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith scored a touchdown, sprinted to midfield, and slammed the football at midfield, seemingly reclaiming it from Owens. Then, later in the game, after Owens’ second score, he sprinted to midfield and went to match Smith’s celebration. It gave us one of the best post-touchdown moments in NFL history.
The NFL's first celebration king? You can certainly make a case for T.O.— NFL Legacy (@NFLLegacy) September 24, 2018
18 years ago today, @49ers WR @terrellowens took it to the ⭐️ after each of his TDs in Dallas. (Sept. 24, 2000) #TDIH pic.twitter.com/G7dl6hfdEr
Despite the victory, 49ers head coach Steve Mariucci was livid with Owens’ celebration. He suspended Owens for the team’s next game and fined him a week of pay. While it remains one of the most memorable moments of Owens’ tenure, it would signal the beginning of his deteriorating relationship with Mariucci. Eventually, Owens would request a trade from the Niners and would be sent to the Eagles for defensive end Brandon Whiting and a conditional fifth-round pick.
It’s hard not to look back on this moment and think about what Owens’ career would have looked like if Mariucci hadn’t made such a big deal about the celebration.