Allen Iverson in the NBA, and Terrell Owens in the NFL both have gotten to their sports' big stage and lost. They both have bad reputations in terms of their attitude. In Iverson's case it is his work habits and need to be "different". Owens is just labeled an "issue" for his personality and off-field antics (like criticizing his quarterback). Most people consider it a personal failure that their teams haven't won championships, and they they are team "cancers".
And I look at others who have been successful yet they have had different problems or quirky personas.
Take Michael Jordan, whom most including me consider the best of all time in basketball.
When he didn't have Scottie Pippen (a top 50 alltime great), and Phil Jackson (a legend coach), he was labeled too selfish to do what it took to win a championship. But then he came into the right situtation (through no doing of his own), and was the major contributor to 6 championships.
But imagine if a coach didn't have "Jordan Rules" that allowed Michael to be special. Imagine if there were times when the coach and other players didn't cowtow to Jordan, and ignored his wishes.
I would bet he would be just like Iverson and Owens.
So the difference is 2 fold:
1. the team recognized that Jordan was their best chance and they placed him first and above the rest of them.
2. the team won.
On the Owens sitution in particular, there are problems because the Cowboys are underperforming. The foremost reason is that their quarterback Romo is a "choke artist". He clearly gets nervous and flustered, and then just does really dumb things in the cluth. It has happened for three years now. It could change, but it hasn't up to this point.
In last week's game, the Cowboys were winning, and then later tied, and it was Romo's bad play that set off the latest round of Owens complaining and team dissention.
Romo is a good quarterback overall, and especially so with low expectations, but so far in his career, every time you expect success, he's found the strangest ways to fail.
see: botched snap on an extra point in the playoffs 2 years ago.