Saturday, September 20, 2008

Luckless in Lambeau?


This Sunday, the Packers will host the Cowboys at Lambeau Field for just the sixth time in the history of the two clubs. At Lambeau, the Cowboys have never tasted success. Our record against the Packers has been great when we play them at Texas Stadium and we have had wins against them at Milwaukee (where the Cheeseheads have occasionally played some home games).

In the five previous meetings at Lambeau, here’s how things turned out:

Nov. 13, 1960 – Cowboys 8, Packers 41

Dec. 31, 1967 – Cowboys 17, Packers 21 (the Ice Bowl)

Oct. 8, 1989 – Cowboys 13, Packers 31

Nov. 23, 1997 – Cowboys 17 – Packers 45

Oct. 24, 2004 – Cowboys 20, Packers 41

As you can see, the Boys have been pretty luckless in Lambeau so far. Will Sunday be different? I think so. It seems as if last season and this one have both been seasons of “firsts” and “lasts” for the Cowboys and our young leader, Mr. Romo. Personally, I think the key to victory in Green Bay this Sunday will be the arm of our young Wisconsin native. Perhaps it will take a young man who grew up in Burlington, Wisconsin to break the jinx of Titletown, U.S.A. and warm up the “Frozen Tundra” for a first Cowboy victory. So – no pressure Tony – but we’re countin’ on ya.

The Packers don’t have Brett Favre anymore. We all know that. To paraphrase the Packers management, “The Favre Train has left the building.” He now plays for the New York Bretts, leaving the reigns of the Packer season in the hands of Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers has looked good thus far, but the season is early, and the Packers haven’t played a team with the kind of talent the Cowboys have.

Also, Rodgers did look good when he replaced Favre last year against the Cowboys at Texas Stadium – just not good enough. Many in the media are singing the praises of the new Packer starting QB – calling Lambeau field “Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood.” However, like Bill Parcells once said, “Let’s put away the anointing oil.” It’s early. Romo may have something to say about who the real sheriff in town is.

Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood? I don’t think so. Perhaps we, as Cowboy fans should sing the song together and add a new twist. Hopefully, you are old enough to remember the original show on PBS. If not, here’s how it goes with a final change to the ending:

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood…

A beautiful day in the neighborhood…

Won’t you be my…

Won’t you be my…

VICTIM!!!!!

Fair warning to our dear “neighbors” in the north - you’re going down. Go ahead and nail up the sign “Cowboys Owned” over the Lambeau label. The “Favre Train” has left the station and the current “Rodgers Trolley” just doesn’t have the “umpf” to pull the hill.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Few Minutes As An Eagles Fan

I admit that with a background in Biblical studies, theology, and philosophy I am not your typical sportswriter by any means. Sometimes my blogs are a bit “over the top” when I apply Biblical analogies to the Cowboys and events surrounding them. I have been a fan of the Cowboys since 1972 and get these crazy ideas and start writing until I gush with praise over their success (or I think Armageddon is just around the corner when they fail). That’s just the way I think in my own little world inside my head and I share it with others in the hope that they might find it entertaining as well. Do I really think God has a favorite team? Not really. I think God loves all people, without regard to their skin color or the uniform they wear.

So, today, I have decided to try something different in this blog. I am going to try to lay aside any bias or prejudice I may have. For a few minutes, I’m going to pretend to be a fan of another NFL team and ruminate on our glorious history. Now lets see which one I should pick…

The Buffalo Bills…with four straight Superbowl losses…Nah.

The N.Y. Giants…No. Although, my hat is off to them for last year’s success, I’m still too bitter.

The Redskins…NO! I can’t commit blasphemy even if it is just pretend.

I know…the Eagles!!! Since we play them this Monday, they’re perfect.

Now lets think back over the grand and glorious history of the Philadelphia Eagles…

We have gone to the Superbowl eight times and won five Lombardi Trophies…No. Wait. That was that other team we hate so much. We, the Eagles, have gone to the Superbowl…um…just once. It was 1980 and we made history by being the first team ever to lose to a wildcard team (the Oakland Raiders).

Remember when the Bills went to four straight Superbowls and lost all four? Each loss was to a team from the NFC East; once to the Giants, once to the Redskins, and twice to the Cowboys. One of those should have been ours in order for the entire NFC East to have been represented. Unfortunately, those damn Cowboys took more than their fair share.

OK, so Superbowl titles are not exactly our forte, but we do have three NFL Championships that we earned before the Superbowl was inaugurated. These occurred in 1948, 1949 and 1960. Unfortunately, since I am only 40 years old, I am not old enough to remember these “glory days.” Then, in 1960, an expansion club (previously mentioned above) was started that sort of eclipsed us and we have been living in their shadow ever since.

This year is going to be different though. We opened last Sunday by obliterating the Rams 38-3. Granted, the Rams are only a Junior Varsity team but I was really impressed. Now, we’re on our way to Texas to take on the Cowboys and that T.O. dude that we can’t stand anymore. We Birds are ready to show “the Boys” what we have.

Awww hell, forget it - I can’t stand it! I hope my Cowboys beat the wings off those Eagles!!!!

I am a Cowboy fan and proud of it. Forget this “New Age, get in touch with your enemy” crap. I am a one team, and one team only man. The Cowboys are the only team I care about. Give me the Silver and Blue. Give me the stadium with the hole in the roof and the Ring of Honor that makes me so proud. Give me the Star that some teams fear, some hate, but all respect. Give me a “history of victory” and a destiny of future Lombardi Trophies down the road. Give me the Dallas Cowboys – America’s Team – My Team.

To fans of other teams out there, God bless you. Keep supporting your team. Feel free to comment, brag on your team or bash mine. Diversity is what makes everything so much fun. Stay loyal. But just remember this – some call it arrogance, we just call it confidence. We know we’re good. You support your team. I respect that and I respect you. But to paraphrase the book of Joshua from the Old Testament (Joshua 24:15), “Choose this day which team you cheer for, but as for me and my house, we will cheer for the Cowboys.”

Can I get an “AMEN” from the congregation?


NOTE: I would like to make a correction to this blog. One of my friends pointed out to me that the Eagles have actually been to the Superbowl twice - not just once. This is correct. In 2005, the Eagles faced the Pats and once again came away without the Lombardi. T.O., who was still an Eagle at that time, had an outstanding day after just having returned from a broken ankle, but even this wasn't enough for the Eagles to claim their much desired championship.

I can't believe I forgot about that one. I hate not getting my facts right even when I am just poking fun at another team.

You know what they say - the memory is the second thing to go. I can't remember what the first thing is or when it left, but once I do remember, I am sure I will blog about it somewhere...

-Rich

Monday, September 8, 2008

THE PROPHET STRAHAN PICKS COWBOYS TO WIN IT ALL









The opening day of the NFL season was exciting for some fans and excruciating for others. For us Cowboy fans, we watched the Cowboys take some “hard knocks” in the dog pound with MBIII’s bruised ribs and Tony taking it on the chin, but overall our Boys looked superb (I won’t discuss the penalties here, but Wade, get on their “arse” about that…). Jets fans were, no doubt, excited to see Favre in that green and white uniform, and he didn’t disappoint. Poor Patriots fans who haven’t yet recovered from the greatest underachievement in history, have now had to face the fact that Tom Brady is out for the season and the fantasies of the Brady Bunch earning another Superbowl title has now been all but erased from the list of possibilities.

The thing I found most interesting about Sunday was that Michael Strahan, former defensive end of the Giants, predicted the Cowboys to win it all. Strahan said, “I have to be realistic and I have to be objective here, the Dallas Cowboys are the best team in the league.”

Most of Strahan’s former teammates stated that Strahan was just trying to motivate the Giants since they are considered a longshot to repeat as Superbowl Champions.

Do you think Strahan was trying to motivate his former teammates? I don’t. I think Strahan, who I admit was awesome at his position, decided to retire at the end of last season because he realized Santa Claus had given the Giants a present that was far and above what could be expected. Strahan realized that hoisting the Lombardi was a fluke that could not be repeated during his career and decided to “get out while the gettin was good.” You can’t motivate mediocrity. Strahan was just being a realist, and the reality is that the Cowboys, barring serious injuries, are the best there is.

Strahan is not trying to motivate the Giants. His new job as an analyst depends on him being knowledgeable of the game and accurate in his analysis of teams in the league. He didn’t say that the Cowboys were the best team in the league to motivate the Giants. He said it because the Cowboys are the best team in the league.

In the Old Testament, God often called prophets to prophesy against their own people and let them know that judgment is on the way. You may not agree with me, but I believe Strahan is a “prophet” who is simply acting on his calling to let the Giants know that judgment is coming – it’s coming from Texas, God’s Chosen Team is about to reclaim their place as Superbowl Champions.

The Lombardi is coming home to America’s Team. I assure you it is not going to stay in the “Meadowlands of Mediocrity.” God bless Michael Strahan for having the “prophetic courage” to speak the truth and God bless the Cowboys.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Highlights of America's Team Through the Years

Here's another video of Cowboy highlights that one of my friends sent me.

I hope you enjoy watching this as much as I did.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Happy Birthday to LoneStarStruck



I just wanted to take a moment here on my blog to wish a happy birthday to the LoneStarStruck site which is two years old as of today.

If you read this blog but haven't been to the StarStruck site, you need to check it out. Kelly (the owner) and all the other staff are dedicated Cowboy fans and great people to be associated with.

Personally, I am very proud to be associated with this site as a contributing writer and I am always encouraged to go to the site and read what other Cowboy fans blog about and comment on regarding the team. Plus, Kelly and several of the StarStruck friends design some wonderful graphics you can use on your myspace page or to send as comments to others.

If you get the chance, stop by the site and tell Kelly and everyone how much you appreciate all they do for us Cowboy fans. I think they deserve some thanks and recognition for all they do.

So, Happy Birthday LoneStarStruck. May you have many more in the future.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Preseason Isn't About Winning...







Since the Cowboy loss in their first outing against the Chargers on Saturday night, I have received some notes from other fans wondering what happened. They were disappointed over the final score and are now concerned about the future for the Boys. Likewise, I have seen many other fans express their disappointment in comments on other websites and articles as well. And, of course, there are always the Cowboy haters who love gloating any time we lose.

Well, take heart Cowboy fans……………Here's my response to our first loss: The final score doesn't matter. You see, preseason isn't about winning. Sure, we always want to win every time we take the field, but in preseason, the final score really isn't the important thing.

What is the important thing? It's seeing who's going to fit into our team and where they're going to fit. Who's going to move up the roster and who will move down. Who will stay and who will go home. What areas need more work and what areas are we satisfied with. Sure, you always want to win, and I am not suggesting that we weren't trying. However, the point of any preseason game is to find out how your second and third team players are doing. You don't risk your first team players just for a win that is meaningless in the long term scheme of things.

Our first team looked good in my opinion. Romo, Witten, Barber, and the rest of the first team got a series, proved they were up to the task by marching down the field and scoring. Then we took them out to save them and keep them healthy for the regular season. Same thing with the first team defense: they proved that they are game ready. Things look pretty good for the starters and for the Cowboys overall.

Now, when our second and third team players were in there, we had both bright spots and some troubling areas, but this is what preseason is all about. It's about getting your team in order. Don't push the panic button just yet. The Boys are fine. Yes, we have some work to do, but overall, at this point, there is no reason to be anything but confident in the play of the Cowboys during the upcoming season.

So, if you're a new fan or you're just not sure what to make of preseason - don't lose heart. Just remember, it's not about the final score. It's not about winning – at least not now. It's about getting your team in order so you can win later – and hopefully, win the whole shebang.



Originally posted at *Lone*Star*Struck*

Monday, August 11, 2008

HBO's HARD KNOCKS: Be sure to check out the Dallas Cowboys in Training Camp

StarStruck Graphics

Just in case you don't know or haven't heard, you need to check out the Hard Knocks series on HBO. It's a documentary following the Dallas Cowboys through training camp in Oxnard, California. For all of us fans who can't get enough of our Cowboys, this is an exciting and fascinating show to watch.

Unfortunately, some of you may be like myself, and not get HBO. No problem. While the show is broadcast on HBO every Wednesday night at 10:00 p.m. (9 p.m. central), it is also re-broadcast on the HBO website on Fridays as well - for FREE. So be sure and check it out. Here's the link:

HARD KNOCKS: Training Camp with the Dallas Cowboys

I hope you enjoy it and keep checking back here on my blog. I haven't been writing much lately but the season is getting cranked up and so am I. There should be more blogs on here and posted at STAR STRUCK soon.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Video Tribute to Tom Landry

Here's a neat video tribute I found on my favorite coach:

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Terrell Owens: Born-Again Cowboy



Originally posted at Star*Struck

I have always had a hard time picking out a favorite player on the Cowboys. I tend to be a “team” concept kind of guy. It’s all about the team not the individual. Terrell Owens, however, is different. I have to admit that T.O. has definitely become one of my favorite players.

To be honest though, it hasn’t always been this way. Like many other fans, when I heard T.O. was coming to Dallas, I couldn’t help but imagine all the ways this would screw up our team. I knew about his problems in the “City of Brotherly Love” and I couldn’t forgive him for his dance of Red and Gold upon our beloved Star at midfield. For me, the celebration on the Star was a desecration of Holy Ground – the unpardonable sin in Cowboyland. “You can write this guy off – Don’t like him. Never will,” I said to myself.

Then……..we bring him to Dallas. What the…….??????

I was dumbfounded. I couldn’t believe that a man who once stood on that Star and mocked it would now be wearing it. As the Bible would say, we had “unequally yoked ourselves together with an unbeliever.”

Training camp of 2006 brought on some drama. I knew the distraction had come. I knew I had been right all along. It passed however, and I continued to wait – all season. Despite some obvious discontent between Owens and the Big Tuna, everything went fine. I even began warming to T.O. – not yet a fan, but secretly starting to hope I could be a fan (although I wouldn’t admit it to anyone).

In 2007, somewhere along the way, I admit I realized that I love T.O. (Hopefully, you won’t take that the wrong way. I refuse to defend the idea of one man loving another here in this blog. Ain’t nothin wrong with it.) It’s not about his stats, which if you compare them to previous years, you can make a pretty decent case that his best year was 2007. It’s about his attitude. T.O. has become a real Cowboy. If I had any doubts about this, they were all completely swept away after the playoff loss to the Giants. Many wanted to play the blame game. Not T.O. “We lost as a team,” he said. It wasn’t about T.O., Romo, Jessica, Mexico……..It was, is, and always will be about the team. With that interview, T.O. solidified me as his lifelong fan without any doubt.

Is T.O.’s new attitude for real? He just said recently that he wants to finish his career in Dallas. Many have questioned this. Not me. I’m a believer.

Personally, I think T.O. was once an unbeliever – holding no respect for the silver and blue or the star under which we play, but like anyone can, he changed. The man who once was never happy with the teams he played for has now found his calling. His calling is to be a Cowboy. He was once discontent due to being surrounded by mediocrity and a lack of dedication. In Dallas, he has found a place where excellence and tradition come together – a place where dreams are made – a place where Championships are written in the Stars.

Yes, T.O. was once an unbeliever. Now he is a “born-again” Cowboy. His sins of the past are behind him now. He plays for America’s Team. The team that has a hole in the stadium roof so God can look down and watch His Boys play football. This ain’t the same T.O. He’s a new man, on a new team, headed for a new Lombardi.

Let me say it once more………….I LOVE T.O.

Just admit it – you love him too.


Saturday, May 17, 2008

Brad Johnson Comes Home and Gives Back

Cowboy quarterback Brad Johnson came home to the Asheville area this weekend to give back to a community that takes a lot of pride in calling him one of her favorite sons.


Brad attended Owen High School here in Black Mountain, NC from 1983-1987. He was an all-American quarterback for Owen and an all-state basketball player on a team that featured future UNC Tarheel standout and NBA center Brad Daugherty.

He came home to participate in the Brad Johnson/Verizon Wireless Celebrity Golf Classic and the Night of the Legends Auction. These events together are expected to raise as much as $400,000.00 for Eblen Charities – which exists to reach out to the many children, adults and families in Western North Carolina who are battling the effects of illnesses and disabilities.. At the auction, Johnson donated both a signed Cowboys helmet and one of his signed jerseys. He also spoke for the cause and visited with those in attendance, gladly posing for pictures and signing autographs.

Brad begins his 18th season in the NFL this year. He will turn 40 on September 13th and once that happens, he will enter some elite company. He will become only the 16th player in NFL history to play quarterback at age 40 or older.

While Brad is apparently going to finish his career as a backup QB for Tony Romo, we shouldn’t forget his past accomplishments: From 1996-2006 he was starting QB for the Vikings, Redskins, and the Buccaneers when he was healthy. During that 11 year span, Brad started 122 of 136 games and was a member of the Buccaneers Superbowl XXXVII Championship team in 2002.

Throughout his career Brad has been known as a man with a tremendous work ethic both in football and in various community causes. He’s another one of those Cowboy players who realizes that it’s not all about him and is willing to work for the betterment of others around him. By the way, that outstanding work ethic is probably why, at nearly age 40, he is still playing in the NFL while I, on the other hand, already at age 40, get winded just typing here at the keyboard.

I just wanted to take a minute and tip my hat to Brad. True heroes aren’t made just on the football field. We all love great plays and championships for sure, but it’s important to remember the need to give back to others when we ourselves have been blessed abundantly. So Brad, thanks for coming home and giving back.

It's kind of nice to see Cowboy players who spend their weekends doing something helpful rather than squeezing a trigger or punching a stripper.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Clint Longley: The Rise and Fall of the Mad Bomber












Clint Longley. Does the name ring a bell? It may not if you’re under the age of 30. Because if you’re under 30, you never saw Longley play for the Cowboys, although you may have heard about him. Clint’s career with the Cowboys was brief, but not without heroics, not without drama, and certainly earns him a place as one of the most fascinating players in Cowboy history.

Clint Longley came to the Cowboys in 1974 as a rookie quarterback from Abilene Christian College. Longley quickly earned a reputation for being unpredictable and was maddening for both receivers and defenders alike. Cowboy safety Cliff Harris said, “He looks one way and then throws sidearm in another direction. In practice, guys pull muscles trying to go where he throws the ball.” Longley earned the nickname “Mad Bomber” when one of his wayward passes smacked Coach Landry’s tower during training camp. Adding further to Longley’s mystique was the fact that his hobby was hunting rattlesnakes in his spare time.

By Thanksgiving Day of 1974, the Cowboys were struggling. Their record was 6-5 and they were facing the Division leading Redskins on this Turkey Day. The Boys were flat. It was one of those rare days when even Staubach didn’t seem to have anything. A Redskin win would guarantee them a Division Championship. The Skins had already made a boast that they would knock Staubach out of the game, leaving Dallas with only their rookie quarterback (Longley) – and in the Redskins mind, leaving the Cowboys no chance to win the game.

With 9:57 left to go in the third quarter, the Washington boast regarding Staubach proved prophetic, as he was knocked out of the game from a hit by Dave Robinson of the Redskins. With the Cowboys trailing the Skins by 16-3, Coach Landry quickly turned to Longley saying, “Clint, you’re in. Good luck.”

Ummmm. Redskins, meet the Rookie……

While many fans began to move toward the parking lot and the Redskins began to gloat in an apparent victory, the Mad Bomber took control and proceeded to bomb away. He completed 12 of 21 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns. The game winning touchdown was a 50 yard strike to Drew Pearson with less than 30 seconds left. The Redskins had fallen 24-23 to “the Rookie” and a new hero had emerged in Big D.

Unfortunately for Longley, he faded into the background during the next season (1975), although he did start against the Jets in the final regular season game when Staubach was again injured. Longley came through again, leading the Cowboys to a 31-21 victory.

During training camp in 1976, the tension was palpable as the Cowboys signed Danny White and it appeared that Longley would be relegated to third string due to White’s WFL experience. After one practice session, Longley made a derogatory remark about Drew Pearson after Pearson dropped one of Longley’s passes. Staubach told Longley that he was getting tired of him talking about people behind their backs and stated, “Somebody is gonna knock those Bugs Bunny teeth of yours in.”

“Are you going to be the one?” Longley said.

Staubach replied, “Yeah, I’d love to do it.”

Staubach and Longley agreed to meet at a baseball diamond adjacent to the practice field. By the time assistant coach Dan Reeves arrived to break up the fight, Staubach had Longley pinned beneath him.

Shortly after this, at another practice session, Staubach had his head down and Longley came up and threw a punch. Staubach was knocked into a set of scales and received a cut that took several stitches to close. Longley quickly returned to his dorm room, retrieved his bags (which were already packed), caught a ride to the airport, and was gone. Needless to say, the Cowboy organization traded Longley almost before the doctor could finish stitching up Staubach.

Longley ended up with San Diego for the rest of the ’76 season but eventually drifted away from football and has been reclusive ever since. He doesn’t grant interviews and talks about his playing days with just a handful of former teammates. Many have speculated on why Longley punched Staubach, with the most popular answer being that he wanted to be traded (Remember that his bags were packed before the punch). We will probably never know unless Longley decides to break his silence and tell us in his own words. It’s been 32 years. I won’t hold my breath for an answer.

Still, it’s an intriguing story in Cowboy history. A relative unknown becomes an instant hero. Shortly thereafter, he becomes an instant villain by punching Captain America. In refusing to discuss the incident, he has become a 30 year enigma for those of us fascinated with Cowboy history.

Below you will find a link to an original article written by Leonard Shapiro of the Washington Post on the day after the Redskins defeat at the hands of the "rookie." I thought it was interesting to read the report from the Skins "hometown" paper.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/sports/redskins/longterm/1997/history/allart/dw1974b.htm


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Where Have I Been???????


Hey guys and gals,

Many of my MySpace friends have sent me messages asking where I have been and why I haven't been on here very much. Things have been busy around here lately. Here's a couple of things I have been doing:

1. Following Tony Romo around with a cam corder. I have been filming he and Jessica Simpson as they go on dates. Once I get enough footage, I am going to send it to Tom Brady in an envelope marked "RomoSpyCam" so Tom can learn some plays from a real ladies man.......

2. I have also been trying to put together a company with T.O. So far, the details are yet to be fully worked out. Here's the idea: A new brand of popcorn called T.O.'s Game Ready Popcorn. We would market it as a new flavor under the Orville Redskinbasher label. Honestly, I think it would sell......

3. Lastly, I have been working closely with Pacman Jones. We are trying to figure out a way to get his house arrest ankle bracelet off his leg so he and I can check out some of the local Dallas strip clubs now that he's in town........We will probably take some of the popcorn with us, but I have to remember to be careful when saying the word "pop" around Pacman. He sometimes takes things to the extreme.......

Seriously, things have been rather busy with me lately. I haven't been on MySpace much at all. I have checked my messages and comments but thus far, have not had the chance to reply to them all. I have also been slack in my writing for StarStruck. Hopefully, Kelly won't fire me and I can be back to writing some more blogs in the next few days.

So, for all you folks who have been wondering where I have been, I am still here. Don't delete me. I love all my Cowboy buddies. Keep in touch and I will try to reply as soon as I can.

Wishing everyone the best. Peace, love, and a 6th Lombardi for the Cowboys and all their fans is my wish for this year.

GO COWBOYS!!!!!!!!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Dallas Cowboys Game Schedule for 2008


This graphic schedule was designed by my good friend Kelly at www.lonestarstruck.com.
Please visit my friends at Star*Struck and check out the site.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Charles Haley: Five Ring Champion


Originally written Monday, March 10, 2008
posted at www.lonestarstruck.com

After the Steelers had won their fourth Superbowl title in 1980, they came up with a slogan to describe their hopes for the following season. The slogan was, "One for the thumb in 81" meaning that many of the players had earned four Superbowl Rings in the past decade and were planning on getting a fifth one for the following season. Unfortunately for the Steelers, none of those players ever achieved the goal of a fifth ring as a player.

Thus far, the only man in NFL history to earn five Superbowl rings as a player is Charles Haley. Haley earned two of those rings with the San Francisco 49ers and then three more while playing for the Dallas Cowboys.

Haley played outside linebacker for the 49ers from 1986-1991 and helped them earn two championships in Superbowl XXIII (1988) and Superbowl XXIV (1989). After several well-publicized confrontations with his 49er teammates and the coaching staff, Haley was traded to Dallas during the 1992 off-season.

Although Haley gained a reputation as a disgruntled and malcontent player during his first years with San Francisco, he found a home in Dallas. From 1992-1996 Haley filled the position of defensive end for the Cowboys and was an integral part of their success and Superbowl Dynasty of the 90s. During this era, as you know, the Cowboys won Superbowls XXVII (1992), XXVIII (1993) and XXX (1995).

In 1996, Haley made the decision to retire after suffering a herniated disc five games into the season. In 1998, Haley came out of retirement to aid his old team, the 49ers in post-season play. The following year, 1999, he returned and played a full season with the 49ers before finally retiring for good.

Haley's accomplishments during his 12 year career are quite impressive. He had 100.5 sacks, 485 tackles with 13 assists, 26 forced fumbles, and 1 safety. He had 2 interceptions and 8 fumble recoveries, one of which he returned for a touchdown. Haley was named to 5 Pro Bowls (88, 90, 91, 94, and 95) and was named an NFL All-Pro in 1990 and 1994. In addition, he was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.

The late Bill Walsh called Haley "one of the greatest players of our era. At one point, he was considered the best pass rusher in all of football." Former Cowboys quarterback, Troy Aikman, said, "In my opinion, we would not have experienced the run of success we enjoyed here if it were not for Charles Haley's contributions."

Many people, myself included, believe Haley's personal accomplishments have earned him a spot in the NFL Hall of Fame, but unfortunately, he has not been able to make the list of 15 finalists in his first few years of eligibility. Hopefully, the NFL will rectify this situation in the near future. Until then, Charles, we Cowboy fans offer up our gratitude and recognize your contributions to America's Team. Thanks.

Note: This blog entry is part of a series called Galaxy of Stars: Cowboy Profiles from the Past and Present at www.lonestarstruck.com

GalaxyStarsBanner

The Cowboys Record Against Other NFL Teams

Originally written Wednesday, March 5, 2008

posted at www.lonestarstruck.com

Just in case you have ever wondered how the Cowboys have matched up against other NFL teams through the years, I have put together something you might be interested in.

Below you can see the Cowboys win/loss record against each team in the NFL since 1960. I snagged the info from the 2006 media guide and updated the records by adding the wins/losses from the 2007 season. The totals below are from the regular season and the playoffs. It does not include pre-season play.

..>..>..>..>..>..>

Arizona Cardinals

55-28-1
Atlanta Falcons
15-8
Baltimore Ravens
0-2
Buffalo Bills
7-3
Carolina Panthers
7-3
Chicago Bears
13-8
Cincinnati Bengals
5-4
Cleveland Browns
11-17
Denver Broncos
5-5
Green Bay Packers
15-12
Houston Texans
1-1
Indianapolis Colts
8-6
Jacksonville Jaguars
2-2
Kansas City Chiefs
5-3
Miami Dolphins
5-7
Minnesota Vikings
14-12
New England Patriots
7-3
New Orleans Saints
14-8
New York Giants
54-36-2
New York Jets
7-2
Oakland Raiders
3-6
Philadelphia Eagles
54-43
Pittsburgh Steelers
15-14
St. Louis Rams
14-14
San Diego Chargers
6-2
San Francisco 49ers
14-16-1
Seattle Seahawks
6-5
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
9-3
Tennessee Titans
7-5
Washington Redskins
56-38-2


Keep in mind that these records reflect games with Dallas when some of these teams were under other names and/or played in other cities than they do now. For example, the record against the Tennessee Titans also reflects games played against the Cowboys when the Titans were known as the Houston Oilers.

It is interesting to note that out of the 31 other teams in the NFL, the Cowboys have a winning record against 22 of those teams, they have a losing record against 5 teams (Ravens, Browns, Dolphins, Raiders and 49ers), and their record is at .500 with 4 teams (Broncos, Texans, Jaguars, and Rams). Just some stats I thought other Cowboy fans might find interesting.


Remembering Buddy Dial

Originally written Wednesday, March 5, 2008
posted at www.lonestarstruck.com
January 17, 1937 – February 29, 2008

Gilbert Leroy "Buddy" Dial passed away on Friday, February 29th, at the age of 71. Dial was a star wide receiver who played 8 years in the NFL, first for the Pittsburgh Steelers and then for the Dallas Cowboys.

Dial played with the Steelers from 1959-1963 and was then traded to the Cowboys per his request in 1964 and remained with the Cowboys until his retirement in 1966. During his career Dial made 261 receptions for a total of 5,436 yards and 44 touchdowns. His best year was in 1963, with the Steelers, when he caught 60 passes for 1,295 yards and 9 touchdowns. His per catch average remains the second-highest in NFL history at 20.8 yards per catch. Dial made the Pro Bowl in 1961 and 1963, and is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the National High School Hall of Fame.

The bulk of Dial's productivity came during his years with Pittsburgh. In his final three years with Dallas, Dial was not as productive due to nagging injuries that eventually left him largely disabled after his football career was over.

Dial passed away Friday, February 29th in a Houston Hospital after being recently admitted for treatment of cancer and pneumonia.

Danny White: Underrated Star in the Cowboy Galaxy

Originally written Monday, March 3, 2008
posted at www.lonestarstruck.com


Danny White came to the Cowboys in 1976 as a backup quarterback to Roger Staubach and to do duty as the Cowboys punter. He had spent the previous two years (1974-1975) in the World Football League with the Memphis Southmen. Danny remained at the backup quarterback position through the 1979 season when Staubach retired, giving White his opportunity to lead the offense starting in 1980.

White led the Cowboys to three consecutive NFC Championship games (1980-1982) and made the Pro Bowl in 1982. The Cowboys lost all three championship games despite being favored and White was severely criticized for his role in those losses. In 1983 Danny had his best season ever statistically, leading the Cowboys to a 12-4 record and another playoff appearance. Despite the 12-4 record, the Cowboys finished 2nd to the Redskins in the NFC East and then lost the Wildcard Playoff game to the L.A. Rams bringing about further calls for White to be replaced.

In 1984, Danny lost the starting QB spot to Gary Hogeboom, but Hogeboom's ineffectiveness led Landry to place White back in the starting position and the team finished 9-7 missing the playoffs. In 1985, White led the Cowboys back to the playoffs after finishing first in the NFC East, but once again, they were defeated in the post season by the L.A. Rams. In 1986, the Cowboys found themselves with a 6-2 record, tied for the lead in the NFC East and ranked as the 1 offense in the NFL. Then White suffered a broken wrist against the Giants which ended his season. Steve Pelluer took over as QB and the Cowboys finished with a 7-9 record and their first losing season since 1964. In 1987, White again returned as the starter but was eventually replaced by Steve Pelluer and the Cowboys finished with a 7-8 record (one game was cancelled). In 1988, Pelluer became the starter during training camp and White remained as backup for the entire season while the team finished with a dismal 3-13 record. In 1989, with the Cowboys under a new owner and coach, White's contract was not renewed and he decided to retire.

At the end of his career, Danny had racked up 1,761 completions on 2,950 attempts for 21,959 yards. He passed for 155 touchdowns and 132 interceptions. In the area of rushing, he gained 482 yards and scored 8 touchdowns. Another interesting stat about Danny is the fact that he had two pass receptions for touchdowns which resulted from half-back option passes. As punter, Danny punted 610 times for 24,509 yards, had an average of 40.4 yards per punt. 144 punts were inside the 20 yard line and he had 77 touchbacks. His record as the Cowboys' starting quarterback was 62-32 during the regular season and 5-5 during the playoffs.

After his retirement as a player, Danny White has continued to be successful as a head coach in the Arena Football League, winning two Arena Bowl Championships in 1994 and 1997.

The late Tom Landry, said this of Danny White: "I don't know of any quarterback who could have replaced a Roger Staubach and done a better job…Not many people realize what a fine quarterback Danny White was. He threw more touchdown passes than either Staubach or Meredith. And in 1983 he had the best statistical year a Cowboys' quarterback ever had when he set club season records for 3,980 passing yards and twenty-nine touchdown passes. Danny White was probably as fine a winner as we have had in football."

Here are some team records Danny set during his career:

  • Most four-or-more TD-pass games in a career (8)
  • Most Pass Attempts in a season (533)
  • Completions in a season (334) (Broken by Romo with 335 in 2007)
  • Touchdowns (29) in a season (Broken by Romo with 35 TDs in 2007)
  • Passing yards (3,980) in a season (Broken by Romo with 4,211 yds in 2007)
  • Best Single Game Pass Percentage (21-24, 87.5%)
  • Most pass attempts (53) and completions (32) in a playoff game
  • Most punts (11) in a game and a career (612)

Statistically, Danny White stacks up very well against other quarterbacks with the Cowboys and other football organizations. He broke many of Staubach's individual records and Aikman was unable to top White in many areas during his stellar career. Now, under Romo, more of White's records are starting to fall. Personally, I believe Danny has never received the praise he deserved as a quarterback largely due to the fact that he never led the Boys to a Superbowl win. If the Cowboys had earned at least one Superbowl Championship under Danny, would we see him differently today? Replacing Staubach might have been a no-win situation for any quarterback. Could he have been one of the "Great Ones" if he had been placed with a better supporting cast? I'm not sure if he could have been but I do know this: Danny was a very good quarterback, one who wore the Star well, and one who deserves far more accolades than he gets among fans today.

For more information on Danny and what he's doing today, visit his personal site at www.dannywhite.com or go to www.utahblaze.com to check out his team site.

Note: This blog entry is part of a series called Galaxy of Stars: Cowboy Profiles from the Past and Present at www.lonestarstruck.com

T.O. Late for N.O. - Still Wins MVP

Originally written Saturday, February 16, 2008
posted at www.lonestarstruck.com

The McDonald's NBA All Star Celebrity Game took place in New Orleans on Friday the 15th of February featuring Team New Orleans against Team Hornets. Yes, having two teams with one named New Orleans and the other named Hornets can get confusing, so I will try not to lose you.

Terrell Owens of the Dallas Cowboys was slated to play for Team New Orleans in the game but had not arrived by tip off time. Another former Dallas Cowboy, Deion Sanders, was playing for Team Hornets.

The Hornets led the game most of the way and were spurred on by the play of Deion Sanders who scored 14 points and had 13 rebounds in the game.

Midway through the 2nd quarter, with Team Hornets leading by double digits, a familiar face appears on the sideline wearing the uniform of New Orleans. Getcha popcorn ready cause T.O. has just arrived. T.O. quickly makes an impact on the game but his team still trails the Hornets 28-23 at the half.

In the second half, New Orleans makes a game out of it by closing the gap to 50-49 in favor of the Hornets with 19.5 seconds to go. With that short time remaining, Floyd Mayweather (world welterweight champion) was sent to the foul line and hit both free throws to give New Orleans a lead of 51-50. No other points were scored in the final seconds of the game giving New Orleans the win.

Terrell Owens finished the game as the high scorer with 18 points, including one dunk, and 3 rebounds. Due to his efforts on the court he was named the Most Valuable Player of the game. Not bad for a guy who didn't show up until the middle of the second quarter. Don't ya just love him? Way to go T.O.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Looking Ahead: Cowboys Opponents for 2008

Originally written Friday, February 8, 2008
Posted at www.lonestarstruck.com
Several weeks ago, the NFL released the opponents the Cowboys will be playing in 2008. Although we have been told which teams we will play at home and which are road games, the NFL has not yet released the date that each game will take place. I am sure that when the dates of the games are released, Kelly, here at StarStruck, will be busy designing schedules for us all to post on our sites.

Naturally, we will face each opponent in the NFC East twice during the regular season. This means that we will have to face the Giants, Redskins, and Eagles once on the road and once at home for a total of 6 games of the 16 game season. Although we won our division handily this year, we cannot take any of these games for granted. I have said it before and I will continue to say it: Year in and year out, the NFC East is one of the toughest if not the toughest division in the NFL. Although I believe we are better overall than each of these teams, any one of them is capable of beating the Cowboys on any given day. I think we are the stronger team out of these opponents and will win the division again next year, but I will not be surprised at one or even two losses within the division. I can already feel some of you steaming at that last remark. Please understand, I am not being pessimistic, just realistic. One side note: Considering that the Giants knocked us out of the playoffs this year, I would be very willing to bet that one Monday night game will involve us playing the Giants either at home or on the road. There's too much drama there. The NFL almost has to put one of those games in prime time.

The remaining ten games in the regular season are made up of non-division opponents. They are:

Road Games
Arizona Cardinals, St. Louis Rams, Green Bay Packers, Cleveland Browns, and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Home Games
San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens, and the Cincinnati Bengals.

Of these teams, only four had losing records last year: the 49ers,Ravens, Bengals, and Rams. The rest were .500 or better. Six of our opponents made the playoffs. These were: the Giants, Redskins, Seahawks, Buccaneers, Packers, and Steelers. Since we play the Redskins and the Giants twice, that means that 8 of our 16 opponents for 2008 were playoff teams in 2007.

I have read some comments from other fans that we have an easy schedule and we should go undefeated in 2008. Again, I don't want to sound pessimistic, but this is the NFL and since we were the number one seed in the NFC this last year, the powers that be in the league have no intention of making it easy on us. Although most of these teams didn't come close to matching our 13-3 record last year, this will still be a tough schedule. Remember, we almost lost to Buffalo early this last season (and to be honest, we probably should have the way we played) but we pulled it out in the end. Just like I said about the NFC East, any team in the NFL has talent and can put together at least one great day of football (I think the Patriots would agree with that anyway).

As for an undefeated season, I would enjoy that just a much as any Cowboy fan. However, history makes me face the realistic probability that this won't happen. Seldom does a team have that opportunity. It takes talent on your team, but due to the level of opposition in the NFL, a little luck is also usually needed. Personally, I would rather see us take a loss or two in the regular season and then go into the playoffs fighting mad. Lose early, get it out of our system and enter the playoffs knowing that we are a good team but not overconfident about it (Once again, I think the Patriots might agree with me here).

So, here's what I think and some of you may write nasty things to me about it - but it's ok, I can take it. We will win the NFC East. We will be the frontrunner for the Superbowl title and I think we WILL take it. Undefeated? No. I honestly believe our record will be no better than 14-2 and could even be 12-4. Again, I am not being negative, just realistic based on that schedule. We will lose at least one or two games in the NFC East and maybe one or two among our remaining opponents. I hope I am wrong. 19-0 would be wonderful. If I'm wrong I will gladly let my wife spank me and call me names (Hmmmm…..Now that I think about it……never mind. Now where was I??? Oh yeah....). The bottom line is that a tough schedule with some losses will prepare us to rise to the occasion when the playoffs arrive. Just like diamonds are made under extreme pressure, it may very well be the pressure of losses that cause our Stars to shine. Shine on Cowboys. Run for the Ring baby!!!

Pursuit of Perfection Fails to Finish

Originally written Monday February 4, 2008
posted at www.lonestarstruck.com
In the end 18-0 was just not enough. 18-1 doesn't earn you a Championship when the loss comes in the last game. You have to be able to finish to claim the title of Superbowl Champions. I think it was Fox announcer Curt Menefee that I heard say, "The Patriots came in undefeated while the Giants came in undaunted." That just about sums it up. As many of you know, I was rooting for the Giants in this game while many of my other Cowboy friends wanted the Pats to finish their season undefeated and go down in history (while many Cowboy fans also couldn't have cared less). I really didn't think the Giants would accomplish this, but my hat is off to the G-Men. They had a job to do and did what no other team has been able to do this season.

The Giants defense was definitely the key in this game. The defense was able to put so much pressure on Tom Brady that the Pats were never able to get in rhythm and stay there. Brady was sacked 5 times and hit 9 other times while throwing the ball.

As Cowboy fans, why should we care? Well, here are my thoughts for what they're worth: The Giants defense pressured Brady just like it did Romo in our last game against the Giants. While many people have wanted to play the blame game and not give the Giants credit for the win over the Cowboys, I for one, will do so. Our loss to the Giants had nothing to do with Jessica Simpson, or Mexico, or assistant coaches being distracted. Jessica didn't play in the game. The game took place in Dallas, not Mexico. The coaches didn't drop the balls, botch the plays, or fail to protect Romo. Like T.O. said in his interview after the game: "We lost as a team."

Protection was something Brady would have loved to have had yesterday. The Giants defense just kept getting into the backfield and I'm sure that Brady was hearing footsteps coming up behind him on every play by the end of the game. I don't blame Brady for this loss and I don't blame Romo for ours. A quarterback is one man, while a win/loss is a team effort. The Giants outplayed the Patriots, and, much as it pains me to say it, they outplayed the Boys.

I do take some consolation in the fact that the Patriots will not be considered "The Greatest Team of All Time" now. They are just one of the other 31 teams who failed to finish.

One final thought for what it's worth: Our Cowboys played the Giants three times this season, winning two, but losing the one that counted. The Patriots played the Giants twice this season, winning one, but losing the one that counted. If you add up the score of the Giants v. Patriots games you come up with 8 quarters of football and a final cumulative score of 52-52. The Cowboys, on the other hand, played 12 quarters of football against the Giants and finished with a final cumulative score of Cowboys 93-Superbowl Champions 76. Now, I know that's not much consolation to my Cowboy friends out there but I find some satisfaction in it (not much, but some….). Should we have beaten the Giants at home and advanced further in the playoffs? Yes, we should have, but we didn't. Could we have beaten the Patriots in the Superbowl? Yes, I think we could have, but that question will have to remain unanswered.

To the Patriots, I say, we Cowboys know how you feel. It's tough to have so much promise and potential and fall short at the end. We know…..

To the Giants, who have not, and probably will not, get the respect they deserve from most, I tip my hat to you on a good season and the ability to finish well. Wear your crown proudly. You are Champions and I freely admit it.

However, keep your ears to the ground during the offseason. Down in Texas, horses are getting re-shod and saddles are being polished. If you listen closely, you will begin to hear the thunder of distant hoof beats and the crack of whips. All too soon, you will see Stars on the horizon. It's not your fan club coming to pay homage. It's a cattle drive decked out in Silver and Blue coming to trample you and take your crown. So, enjoy this one Giants. We're thinking of you here in Texas. Can't wait to see you.

Barber? Jones? McFadden? Who’s Going? Who’s Staying? Who’s Coming?

Originally written Wednesday, January 30, 2008

posted at www.lonestarstruck.com

Originally, I had planned to write this blog on why I think we should go ahead and let Julius Jones go and keep Marion Barber. I have thought for most of the season that Barber is the future in the Cowboys backfield. While Jones is a good back and can certainly be the lead man in another offense, I think he has seen the writing on the wall in Dallas, and realizes that he is going to be relegated to a supporting role for Barber. Because of this, I think Jones slacked off this season. When he gets the chance to carry the ball, he spends his time dancing around the backfield, waiting for a hole to open up. Barber, on the other hand, tends to make a hole if one isn't readily available.

My reasoning here is, that Julius Jones, while a talented and hard worker, has lost heart, due to his realization that Barber is now perceived as the premier back. Julius knows that he can be the top back in many other offensive schemes, just not here with the Cowboys. Therefore, I was going to argue that we should get a contract on Barber and lock him in long term and let Jones go with our best wishes since I don't think we can keep both.

Then - from stage left, enters Darren McFadden of Arkansas. The rumors are flying that Jerry Jones wants McFadden and wants him badly. Miami, of course, would have the first shot at McFadden (or anyone) due to having the first round draft pick this coming year. As we all know, we have already had a mass exodus of coaches from Dallas to Miami to join the Big Tuna. In thinking about this, it seems that Jerry Jones has been very cooperative in this process, and has allowed these guys to leave without much effort to keep them. In addition, it is also rumored that Miami wants Barber. Could there be a deal in the works to let assistant coaches go without a whimper, while also tossing Barber into the mix at some point in order for the Cowboys to get their hands on that first round draft pick?

To be honest, I have no idea. All I know are the rumors I hear on the sports shows and the other blogs and fan sites I read. I love Barber and don't want to see him go. However, I loved Herschel Walker and thought his trade was one of the most stupid things I had ever seen - at the time it happened. Of course, I realized later, that "The Trade" as it would come to be known, was a brilliant coup on the part of Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson to lay the foundation for a dynasty, while Minnesota ended up feeling like they had bought a huge "lemon" from the shadiest used car dealer in town. Ultimately, the final results of "The Trade" brought some now familiar names to the Boys - Emmitt Smith, Russell Maryland, Kevin Smith, Darren Woodson, and Clayton Holmes. For Minnesota, the results brought - relative obscurity.

My thoughts here are this, I know Jerry Jones is a smart business man. He knows how to cut a deal, and has proven that time and again in the past. I admit that I have thought him crazy at times in the past and then later, I was proven wrong when the impact of these deals have been brought to light. Jones obviously has some neurons and synapses firing in his head that don't work so well in my noggin. But please, let's not make the mistake Minnesota did - thinking they were one back away from a championship, they sold their soul (and their supporting cast) to get him.

Again, I love Barber and think he may be the toughest back out there. McFadden is, without a doubt, extremely talented, yet unproven in the NFL. Barber has already proven himself with the Cowboys. Aren't there other possible ways of getting McFadden without giving up Barber? Is all this just unfounded rumor with no basis in reality? Many have said so. They say there's no way Jones will let Barber go. It's a given that Jerry Jones will sign him. I thought so too, but why hasn't he done so yet? What's the hold up? As a restricted free agent, my understanding is that you simply have to tender him an offer to lock him in, but this, as of yet, hasn't happened.

For the most part, in this blog, I am just thinking out loud. I certainly don't pretend to be an expert - just a devoted fan trying to figure out what's going on. What do you, the readers think? Please feel free to share your thoughts with me. Is all this a possibility? Am I nuts? Hit me back. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ellis Named to Pro Bowl - Campo Returns

Originally written Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Dallas linebacker Greg Ellis became the 13th Cowboy named to the Pro Bowl today. Ellis was orignially named as a first-alternate when the NFC team was announced last month. Now he has been bumped up the list to replace Bears linebacker Lance Briggs.

Ellis was named Come Back Player of the Year earlier this month for overcoming an achilles injury that had him thinking of the possibility of retiring during training camp. Ellis battled back from that injury to record 12 1/2 sacks for the year.

So, congratulations to Greg Ellis on his great season.

Here are the other Cowboy players named to the Pro Bowl in case you have been living under a rock somewhere:

Starters:
WR Terrell Owens
TE Jason Witten
OT Flozell Adams
G Leonard Davis
C Andre Gurode
OLB DeMarcus Ware
K Nick Folk
QB Tony Romo
S Ken Hamlin
Backups:
OLB Greg Ellis
S Roy Williams
RB Marion Barber
CB Terence Newman

Note: Bret Favre of the Packers was originally listed as the starter for the NFC but has announced that he will not play in the Pro Bowl, which means Romo should be the starter. Also, Ken Hamlin has moved into the starting safety spot due to the unfortunate death of Redskin safety Sean Taylor.

The Cowboys also announced at a 2:00 p.m. press conference that former Head Coach Dave Campo is returning to the fold as the new secondary coach. Campo coached with the Cowboys for 14 years beginning in 1989 as a defensive assistant. He was then named secondary coach in 1991 and served in that capacity until 1995, when he was named defensive coordinator. Campo was then promoted to head coach of the Cowboys in 2000 after Chan Gaily was fired following the 1999 season. Campo did not have the success he had earlier with the team in his other positions. The team finished with a 5-11 record for three consecutive seasons resulting in Campo being fired and the Big Tuna being brought to Dallas.

Hopefully, Campo can give us what we need in a secondary coach at this time. We'll see.

Why I am Rooting for the Giants in Superbowl XLII

Originally posted on Thursday, January 24, 2008
at www.lonestarstruck.com
Yes, I know this is a Cowboys fan site and yes, I know many of my Cowboy friends could care less about who comes out on top in this year's Superbowl. However, I have decided to throw my support behind the Giants, and here's why:

First of all, New England is a great team - I will give them that. Are they the greatest team of all time? I'm not ready to place that accolade upon their head. They do have the greatest regular season record of all time (Remember the Dolphins season in 1972 was only 14 games long). Are they invincible? I definitely don't believe that. I have seen them struggle from time to time this season and I think that even the mighty Patriots have their weaknesses that can be exploited.

My biggest problem with the Patriots, is that while I think they are a great team, I cringe every time I hear an analyst on ESPN or some other sports show, gushing with orgasmic delight when they talk about this team. Yes, they're good, but c'mon people… Here's a towel. Clean yourself off and let's try to be objective. They are not a machine and they are not without their faults.

The Giants, on the other hand, are a team many feel don't deserve to be in the Superbowl. They didn't play consistently throughout the season and couldn't even win their division. However, they have done what it takes down the stretch and have put together an impressive record on the road. Maybe they don't deserve it, but it's hard to argue with the fact that they're still there while the players of 30 other teams are home enjoying chips, dip, and a cold one on the couch.

I have argued for years that the NFC East is consistently the best division in football. I realize that there are years when they don't produce threatening teams like they have in other years, but on a year in, year out basis, the NFC East usually fields some pretty tough teams. Which means that for the Cowboys to win the East is an impressive achievement in and of itself.

My argument here is, if the Giants win the Superbowl, it buttresses the Cowboy claim to a great season (although I don't think we need any other validation). We beat the Giants twice during the regular season, and took the division title. Yes, we lost to the Giants in the post-season when it counted most, but the team to knock us out was one of our own. Three out of four NFC East teams made the playoffs, and I think that's impressive. For an NFC East team to win the Superbowl, just shows that the young NFC East Champion Cowboys are a team to be reckoned with next year.

I didn't write this blog to convince you to root for the Giants. I am just trying to explain my reasoning. I really don't care who you root for in the Superbowl, just as long as you continue to support the Cowboys with your heart and soul.

What I would like to convince you of is this: Don't be like the Cowboy-haters out there. You know, those people who can't bear to give us credit when credit is due. The Cowboys are a polarizing team - it seems you either love them or hate them. There isn't much ground in between. The haters always want to find fault, downplay our achievements, and come up with reasons as to why we aren't the team our record shows. Let us not be that way, Cowboy fans. We should rise above the pettiness and hate for the accomplishments of other teams. Whichever team wins this Superbowl should be deserving of our congratulatory kudos. We're above the bitterness, snide comments, and hate-filled talk. We're Cowboys. Our day will come….

Cowboys and Theology

Originally posted Saturday, January 19, 2008
www.lonestarstruck.com
You know, when you are a True Blue, Die Hard Cowboy Fan, most of the people around you just don't seem to get it. Those folks may support their own team, or they may even be a nominal supporter of the Cowboys, but they think your love for the team is so fanatical that it borders on being some type of mental disorder.

I have been a Cowboy fan for 35 years. I picked the Boys as my team when I was around 5 years old. Admittedly, I didn't know much about football at the time but something about the Cowboys grabbed my attention. This is made all the more interesting by the fact that no one in my family really cared about football. I got into watching the Cowboys, and being an only child, I got my way on Sundays and was able to turn the dial to the Cowboys game.

So, I really don't know why I became a Cowboy fan here in my home state so far away. We didn't have the Panthers then. The only way I can explain my love for the Cowboys is by good old Calvinistic theology. I think I was predestined to be a Cowboy fan. You know - many are called, but few are chosen. I guess I am blessed to be one of the elect. If you're not one of the chosen, you just won't get it.

It was so exciting to watch them play and win. It was devastating to see them lose. I can't tell you how many times I cried over a Cowboy loss as a small child. My father would look at me, shake his head, and remind me that it was only a game, but to me it seemed like so much more than that.

Over the years, as the family watched one Dallas game after another, I began to notice my father getting into it more and more. He was pretty calm during Superbowl XII when we beat the Broncos. He was reserved during Superbowl XIII when we lost a close one to the Steelers. Me? I cried of course. But as the years went on, his interest in each game seemed to grow until in 1992, we watched Superbowl XXVII together. The Boys were awesome as they destroyed the Bills that day. The outcome was really never in doubt. I was tearing the house down in excitement. There were great moments during that game when I looked over at my dad and, I swear to you, I could see a tear or two gleaming in his eyes. I knew at that point - he gets it.

My dad saw the Cowboys repeat in 1993 as the Cowboys once again beat the Bills in Superbowl XXVIII. In May of 1994, he left us due to a heart attack. I still miss watching the games with him.

I think it was D.D. Lewis who first said that they left a hole in the roof of Texas Stadium so God could look down and watch His team play football. That statement by Lewis puts a thought in my head. I know you never met my dad but see if you can picture this scene with me…….

It's a Sunday afternoon, and my dad's up there in heaven looking down through that hole in Texas Stadium. He's got a comfortable chair, he's wearing a jersey with number 81 on it, and there's a bowl of fresh buttered popcorn beside him. To the other side of the popcorn, there's another person watching the game as well - but you can't make out who it is just yet. The Cowboys are doing well this day and they just score another touchdown. A vaguely familiar voice says to my dad, "I'm glad we had our popcorn ready." Dad smiles and turns his head toward the unknown man with the familiar voice. For the first time I catch a glimpse of Dad's companion. He's wearing a smartly tailored suit with a fedora on his head to top off the look.

As dad faces his friend he says, "You know Tom, I think they're about to do it again."

Now, if you're not a die hard fan, you might think that's a crazy idea I have. It's ok if you don't get it. It's a Cowboy thing. Only the elect will understand. The Cowboy fans who are among the chosen, agree with D.D. Lewis - there is football in heaven, and the heavenly fans are all decked out in blue and silver - with one exception. There's always that one guy watching the game in his smartly tailored suit and fedora. Most of the time he looks quite stoic, but every now and then, if you look close, you will see just the slightest grin….

T.O. Writes to All the Fans and My Apology to Him

Originally written Thursday, January 17, 2008
Just in case you haven't seen it posted somewhere in another blog or on a bulletin, here's a letter T.O. posted on his official website at www.terrellowens.com.

TO ALL OF MY FANS:

With our loss to the Giants comes the end of a great ride for this season. We win and lose as a team, and I loved playing with this team. With 13 regular-season wins, which tied the franchise record, we won the NFC East title for the first time since 1998. We also had 12 Pro Bowlers, the most of any NFL team. That alone makes for a successful season.

It is an honor being part of the Dallas Cowboys organization, and I am committed to bringing a championship to Dallas and our great fans.

I want to thank all of you from across the country for your amazing support and encouragement during the season. I appreciated hearing your cheers and best wishes every week. It really meant a lot to me, and I am truly blessed to have you on my team.

After the Pro Bowl in February I'll continue to work with my Catch A Dream Foundation. I will also participate in other important activities on behalf of the community.

In the spring I'll begin my training for next season. I am going to do everything possible to get stronger and improve my game, and I'll be back, better than ever. Trust me on that.

Thanks again for all of your support.

Getcha popcorn ready.

Terrell Owens, 81
______________________________________________________________

My Personal Thoughts..........and My Apology

You know, I will be the first to admit that when Terrell came to Dallas, I really didn't expect much. I knew he was talented, but I just wasn't sure he was worth the "baggage" that would come along with him due to his reputation as a troublemaker. There was also the "incident" on The Star in Texas Stadium that I struggled to get over. I remained skeptical throughout the 2006 season, just waiting for things to reach a boiling point and for T.O. to do something that would prove me right.

Well, I was wrong. You should never judge someone based on one or two incidents and you certainly shouldn't judge them by what often gets reported in the media. Sometimes it takes a while to recognize character and this season the character and behavior I have seen from Mr. Owens (and I say Mr. out of respect) has made me believe that he has found a home.

I am sure he will never read this blog and I may never get the chance to say this to him in person, so I will do it here. Mr. Owens, I have misjudged you and I want to admit that I was wrong. For that I sincerely apologize. You are a True Cowboy. I am proud of the way you have worked with the Cowboys this year. I truly believe that, from your perspective, it's not all about you, but it's all about the Cowboys. With each passing week of this season, my affection for you has grown. With that final interview, after the loss to the Giants, where you defended your quarterback, and stated that "we lost as a team," you solidified my respect and affection. I love you man.

For those who have made fun of T.O. for crying in that interview, I say get a life. If you have never cried over falling short of a worthy cause, or seeing someone you love fail, then you are just too self-centered and egotistical to understand. Real men do cry. Real men realize that there are things in this life more important than their own self-image, egos, or personal goals.

Mr. Owens, again, I think you are a true Cowboy and you have found your home. Your home is with this team and in the hearts of fans like myself.

God bless you T.O.

Oh...........and one more thing T.O..............regarding next season..........

Getcha Popcorn Ready....................

Who do I want to win the Superbowl now?

Originally written Tuesday, January 15, 2008
A lot of my friends have asked me which team I would like to see win the Superbowl now that the Cowboys have been eliminated. To be honest, I am a one team guy so it really doesn't matter. Usually, when teams other than the Cowboys are playing, I tend to pull for either the underdog or, during the regular season, a team that, by winning, helps Dallas gain some advantage, such as a divisional championship, home field in the post-season, etc.

I really have no idea who I want to win it all now. I am sure I will watch the remaining games but I am pretty cool about whoever comes out on top. I don't really have a like or dislike for any of the remaining teams, but here are my thoughts for whatever they're worth:

New England Patriots

Like it or not, the Pats have had an incredible season. To go 16-0 in the regular season in the NFL is historic. Only one team has ever done that before - the Dolphins of 1972 (note: the Dolphins regular season was just 14 games long). I have to give credit to New England. They have had a great season and could very well be one of the best football teams of all time. I don't particularly care for them, but I have a tremendous amount of respect for what they have accomplished so far.

Just a word about the spycam incident here: They've been punished for it by the league. It's over. Let it go. Who cares? Every team in the NFL has tried at some point in time to get an edge on the opposing team - either within the rules or outside them. Former Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson said in an interview recently that other teams had stolen our signals when he led the team to two consecutive Superbowl victories. He said the coaches told him afterward that although they knew what play the Cowboys were going to run, it just didn't matter. The Cowboys were so good that you couldn't stop them even by knowing in advance what they were going to do.

My point is, yes, the Patriots cheated. Would they have been just as good without cheating? Probably. Discipline and execution are the key. To be honest, the Patriots may be the very best in those two areas right now. Oh yeah.....and they have some decent talent on the team. LOL. Anyway, I can't deny that to this point in the season, the Pats probably deserve a Superbowl Championship. They do still have to earn it mind you. No remaining team will just up and give it to them. However, no remaining team may have the weapons to stop them either. Should the Pats win, I will not begrudge them that honor.

Green Bay Packers

Without a doubt the Packers are one of the most storied teams in the NFL. From the early days of the NFL with Lombardi and Bart Star, the Pack has a proud history. Brett Favre has followed in that tradition quite well and is going to be a Hall of Famer without question. Plus, from what I have seen of him, he's just a decent guy. I have no problems seeing the Packers win it all either.

San Diego Chargers

Now, I do have to admit that I have a soft spot in my heart for the Chargers, and that's for one reason only. Do you know what it is? Norv Turner. I always have a soft spot in my heart for former coaches and players for the Cowboys. When Turner was with the Cowboys in the 90's as offensive coordinator under Jimmy Johnson, he did an excellent job. However, he has been unable to achieve that high level of success since becoming a head coach himself. He has received a lot of criticism since leaving Dallas - some deserved I guess, but some not. Just because of Norv, I would be happy to see San Diego come out on top as well.

New York Giants

Now I know many of you hate the Giants. Not just because of the loss on Sunday - although that is still an open wound at the moment. However, although I love the Cowboys, I have to admit that the Giants outplayed us Sunday, and on that day (and that day only), they were the better team. They outplayed us. I am not going to analyze the game and give the reasons why "the Giants didn't really win, we just beat ourselves." The Giants won. That's it. End of Story. Let's just own up to it and give them credit. Congratulations Giants. There. That felt better (OK, it didn't really feel better, but it was in order I think).

Am I OK with the Giants winning the Superbowl? Yes, and here's why: The Giants represent the NFC East - the very division that the Cowboys won during the regular season. For years I have argued that the NFC East is consistently the best and most competitive division in the NFL. For example, when the Cowboys won back to back Superbowls in 1992 and 1993, do you remember who won the two Superbowls right before that in 1990 and 1991? If you said the Giants and the Redskins, you are correct - both from the NFC East. For those four years, the NFC East held the world championship. That's good. All the AFC could offer was Buffalo (I won't get into that here). My point is that for the Giants to win the Superbowl, actually only reflects well on the Cowboys and their performance this season. Yes, we fell short in the end, but it wouldn't be bad to say that the team that won the Superbowl finished second in the division to our Boys.

So, all in all, I am good with everything. The Boys are out but the future is very promising for our team. I am going to just try to enjoy the remaining games and not stress over who wins. I have had enough stress for this season.

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Star Has Fallen.....

Originally written on Tuesday January 15, 2008

Yes, a Star has fallen…the Star of our beloved Cowboys has gone as far as it will go this season. I am in the process recovering from the shock and disappointment of it all. I really thought we would get by the Giants. I knew we had a tough road ahead facing the Packers and possibly the Patriots, but I just never thought we would let the Giants get us at Texas Stadium. Nevertheless, although I am heartbroken at how this season has ended, I remain confident in the future of the Silver and Blue.

One thing that has really discouraged me has been some of the fan comments about the Cowboys since Sunday's loss. One of my friends on my page wrote to tell me, "The Cowboys suck just like you cuz." LOL. I have to laugh about it, but it does raise an issue that is important to me. I have been a Cowboy fan for 35 years (yes, since I was 5 years old). Now, as I have said before, I don't remember why I originally picked the Cowboys as my team. At age 40, it's now hard for me to contemplate the reasoning of a 5 year old mind (Looking back though, I think that 5 year old decision to support the Cowboys may have been an early sign of genius - although few other signs have appeared throughout the ensuing years……). It may have been the fact that they beat the Dolphins in the Superbowl that year, or it may have simply been that they had cool uniforms (they still do). I don't know. But what bothers me is seeing fans who claim to be loyal suddenly jumping ship just because we have hit rough waters. Although, I don't think a record of 13-3, NFC East Champions, number one seed in the NFC, 12 Pro Bowl selections, and a host of broken or nearly broken team and individual records could exactly be called stormy seas for the Cowboys ship.

I will be the first to admit that I have yelled for the Boys as well as yelled at them. I have gotten pissed at some of their bonehead plays but then turned right around and thrown all my support toward them on the next play or the next game. I can get mad and cuss, rant and rave at the Boys because I am a loyal fan (as are many of you). It's ok to get mad at them but don't give up on them. This has been a terrific season and the Boys have nothing to be ashamed of. Indeed, we have every reason to be proud of our Dallas Cowboys and we have every reason to expect that next season will be even better. To all those fans who jump ship now after our playoff loss, you have to make your own decision in that area. If you want my opinion, however, I think you will regret it down the road. This team is young, talented, and here to stay for a while. You can't win them all, but this team will win more than their share.

So yes, I was crushed by the loss like so many others. The pic of Princess Marmaduke above really captures how I have felt after the loss to the Giants. Yes, it was heartbreaking. Am I giving up on the Cowboys? No way! The Cowboys are my team and will always be my team. So many of us fans have a graphic of some type on our page that says, "Win, Lose or Tie, I'm a Cowboy fan till I die." Let's live by that instead of jumping ship just because the ship sailed into some rough waters.

Let the critics bash, and the haters spit their poison at our team. The Boys can deal with it. So can us fans. As fans we just need to continue to support the Boys by remaining confident and full of pride. The critics and haters will never be won over. Don't worry about them. But as fans, lets remember to "Respect the Star."

To Princess Marmaduke: I know how you feel Sweetheart. But the hurt will heal before training camp. Yes, a Star has fallen………..but what do you do when a Star falls? You make a wish of course. My wish is that the Cowboys come back next season, more mature, more confident, more disciplined, and more determined. I wish for a 6th Ring. This wish will come true. I guarantee it.

Note: I would like to thank my friend VACowgirl, and my new friend, Princess Marmaduke, for allowing me to use this picture in my blog