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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

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.

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