Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
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
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. 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.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
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.