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Weekly Game Balls: Week 7

How ’bout them Cowboys! Huge win for our boys in blue and silver last Sunday.This win might be a sign of things to come.

This week’s offensive game ball goes to Miles Austin, again.

How can we deny another game ball to him two games in a row? Miles is proving why we got rid of T.O.

Austin has the game breaking speed and excellent route running that the Cowboys have been lacking for a while.

Austin finished the day with 171 yards on only six catches. He scored two touchdowns along the way. The speedster from little known Monmouth University has given the teams of the NFL a reason to take notice.

We should give Jerry Jones some credit for finding 2 diamonds in the rough. Miles and Tony.

Great work once again Miles!

Star50

This week’s defensive/special teams game ball goes to DeMarcus Ware.

The sack flood gates have opened!

The Cowboys sackmaster celebrated his new deal with two sacks and heavy quarterback pressure for the whole game.

Ware also had a forced fumble.

He is a leader on defense and deserved every penny Jerry paid for him.

DeMarcus also finished the day with 2 solo tackles. He is the cornerstone of the new improved defense.

All quarterbacks should be running for their football lives. DeMarcus is here to stay.

Star50

Congratulations to Austin and Ware for their great contribution to the victory.

Honorable Mention: Tony Romo, Mike Jenkins

Finally, Ware Gets His Money!

The Cowboys are making the announcement in a press conference as I type this, the DeMarcus Ware deal is done!

Cowboys fans around the nation celebrate!!

Nick Eatman reports on his blog:

While the Cowboys are expected to announce the contract extension of DeMarcus Ware here at 4:30, it’s believed the outside linebacker will receive $40 million guaranteed over the six-year extension that will keep him with the Cowboys through 2015.

Overall, the deal is expected to be $78 million, averaging right at $13 million per season.

Week 7: Cowboys 37 – Falcons 21

Cowboys take win #4 against the Atlanta Falcons.

Tony Romo went 21 of 29 for 311 yards and three touchdowns.

Miles Austin had another career game recording 171 yards on 6 catches and two touchdowns.

Patrick Crayton had one touchdown on offense and one on special teams after returning a punt for 73 yards.

Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick both had interceptions and Demarcus Ware had two sacks.

Full recap to follow.

Is Lack Of A Contract Affecting Ware On The Field

wareBack in July, I expressed my concerns over the lack of progress in the DeMarcus Ware contract negotiations.

One of my biggest fears was that it would become a distraction if we didn’t get Ware signed before the season.

I even wondered if it would cause Ware to be somewhat tentative on the field for fear of getting hurt and jeopardizing the potential for a big contract.

Now I’m left wondering if the lack of any financial security has anything to do with the lack of sacks, coming from the 2009 NFL sacks leader.

Ware is only earning $1 million dollars this season while others in his class are making 5-10 times as much. He will become a restricted free agent after this season. Why is Jerry Jones dragging his heels on one of the teams core players?

Tony Romo got his payday, and yet the teams true MVP and only Pro Bowler for the last three consecutive seasons, continues to dangle in the wind. Is this anyway to treat the teams most accomplished star?

Back in September, Ware’s agent expressed concern.

“I don’t want it to be and I know they don’t want it to be a distraction for DeMarcus,” Dye said. “Up to this point, it hasn’t been, and we’ll do our best not to let it be, but until you reach a result or have a result, how do you measure progress?”

In 2008 Ware recorded 20 sacks to lead the NFL. He also had his first 100 tackle season along with eight tackles for losses and six forced fumbles. So far in Ware’s young career he has recorded 299 tackles, 53.5 sacks, 61.0 tackles for a loss, 18 forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries (one of which he returned 69 yards for a touchdown), 13 passes defended and one interception which he returned 41 yards for a touchdown in 64 NFL games.

However, in three games in 2009, Ware has registered zero sacks and ranks sixth on the team in tackles with 11.

You can call it an unfortunate coincidence or you can conclude that Ware may not be going full throttle for fear of getting hurt and left without a contract.

It’s time for Jerry Jones to do the right thing and give Ware his just rewards.

Cowboys Extra Points: Tackles and Trash Talk

Gerald Sensabaugh has been fined by the NFL for a horse collar tackle during last Sunday’s game.

Josh Ellis reports,

Safety Gerald Sensabaugh received notice Wednesday of a $5,000 fine for a horse collar tackle in the second quarter of Sunday’s win over Tampa Bay.

Though no flag was thrown, the league’s official review concluded the first-year Cowboy had illegally pulled down Bucs running back Cadillac Williams from behind. Sensabaugh said he thought it was a legal tackle because he had grabbed Williams’ jersey, not the inside of his pads.

I clearly remember the play, and I even questioned if it was a horse collar during our live game chat. Seems a little harsh to fine someone $5,000 when no penalty was called, and no one was hurt.

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Tony Romo has been nominated for the NFL’s FedEx Air & Ground Player of the Week Award. You can vote up until Friday at 11 a.m. CST. Place your votes – http://www.nfl.com/partner?partnerType=players-air-and-ground. Romo is up against Drew Brees and Joe Flacco.

Oddly enough former Cowboy Julius Jones is up for the ‘Ground’ award, along with Thomas Jones and Adrian Peterson.

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Linebacker Stephen Hodge had microfracture surgery on his left knee while linebacker Brandon Williams is expected to have his reconstructive knee surgery within the next couple of weeks.

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Felix oh Felix! Please stay healthy!

Felix Jones was limited in play during last Sunday’s game due to a bruised thigh, and will possibly be limited this week as well. Here is what has been posted on the Cowboys official website.

RB Felix Jones – quad (9/13) – Although he continued to play, Jones was limited after suffering a quad injury during a big tackle in the first quarter. The Cowboys held him out of some third-down plays and replaced him in the second half with Miles Austin on one kickoff return.

* * *

Have you heard what Brandon Jacobs said yet?

“No question,” he replied. “I hate the Cowboys with a bloody passion.”

I asked him what the difference between a “regular passion” and a “bloody passion” was.

“You want to go into the game as being assassins,” he said, referring to the feelings of bloody passion, “instead of tough football players in a game like that.”

He most likely heard what DeMarcus Ware said, “I hate those New York Giants!”

Nothing like some good old fashioned division rivalry trash talk! Bring on those Giants!

StarStruck Graphics

Why The Cowboys Will Win The NFC East

I was asked by another football site if would write a few words about why I think the Dallas Cowboys will win the NFC East. I wanted to share what I wrote with our readers here at LSS.

For the first time in five years, the Dallas Cowboys enter the 2009 season without the lofty expectations of seasons past. They play in one of the toughest divisions in the NFL, and enter this season as an underdog rather than a favorite. I believe the Cowboys will win the NFC East and advance all the way to the Super Bowl this season. No longer under the grips of wide receiver Terrell Owens or the likes of Adam Pacman Jones, the Cowboys have improved significantly with their departures.

Tony Romo is coming off his best preseason since taking over as quarterback and finally looks ready to lead the Cowboys’ high-powered offense that features solid targets in Jason Witten, Roy Williams and Patrick Crayton, and a great running game led by Marion Barber and their newest secret weapon, Felix Jones.

Pro Bowlers DeMarcus Ware and Jay Ratliff spearhead a defense that loves to feast on quarterbacks and they have one of the leagues best pass rushes. The Cowboys worked hard to improve their secondary and special teams unit.

Gone are all the locker room squabbles, the second guessing, and the back-biting that has plagued this team during the T.O. years. The Cowboys are now one cohesive unit that is focused, determined, and talented enough to go all the way. For the first time in his Cowboys career, Tony Romo is firmly in charge, and now he finally looks like he is ready to play his part and lead this team to the promised land.

Cowboys News Heading Into Week 1 of 2009

Welcome to opening night of the 2009 NFL season. Sure it’s not the Cowboys, but it’s real football and I can not wait for it to start. The Cowboys have been quiet this preseason, except for the video board that took up the headlines for two weeks! I loved that the team was focused on football and there was no circus in town. The Cowboys have had so much negative headlines over the last few years, so it was nice that the main player in the news this preseason was Kevin Ogletree. Seems like everyone is doing the right things to get themselves better. And it’s also clear that they do not let what others (the media) say about them affect them. Sunday is fast approaching. Let’s get this season started the right way.

Here are some news and notes from today reported by DallasNews.com.

Update on DeMarcus Ware

Ware’s agent Pat Dye met with Stephen Jones this afternoon to discuss the new contract. Progress was made, but it’s unsure how much progress. Ware is scheduled to make $1.005 million and without a collective bargaining agreement he would become a restricted free agent after the 2009 season. There does not seem to be a deadline in getting a new deal done and both sides are determined not to let this become a distraction.

“I don’t want it to be and I know they don’t want it to be a distraction for DeMarcus,” Dye said. “Up to this point, it hasn’t been, and we’ll do our best not to let it be.”

“It was very, very cordial,” Dye said. “They made some significant moves in certain components of the contract and we made some significant moves on certain components of the contract. I think it was a very constructive discussion, but until you reach a result or have a result, how do you measure progress?”

“I wouldn’t say anything is closer,” Ware said, “but I would say the process is still going. We’re still trying to get some things done. They’re trying to show they want me here and I’m trying to show them I want to be here.”

In 2008 Ware recorded 20 sacks to lead the NFL. He also had his first 100 tackle season along with eight tackles for losses and six forced fumbles. Ware would like to get another 20 sacks in 2009.

“That’s always motivating but at the end of the day your goal is to try and get it again, but you’ve got to look at ‘how effective can I be?’ ” Ware said. “Can I be more effective than I was last season? I feel like with what I’ve done and what we do now, I can be.”

Team Captains announced

The Cowboys announced four full-time Captains for the 2009 season: Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Bradie James and DeMarcus Ware. Sounds like the right choices since these four are the veteran leaders on offense and defense. There will also be a fifth Captain every week for special teams which be different for every game. For the Tampa Bay game it will be Matt McBriar. Ware will be the only new Captain out of the four this season.

“He works hard all the time, and he has a great attitude,” Phillips said. “That’s the kind of captain you want. By his actions certainly and the way he works, he’s a great example.”

Miles Austin and Sam Hurd

Miles Austin  and Sam Hurd have announced that they should be fine for the Tampa Bay game on Sunday. Austin tested the hamstring during practice yesterday and said he had no issues with it.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Austin said. “I’m ready to play.”

The Bookends

We all know how great of a player DeMarcus Ware is and because of that fact we should listen when he says that Anthony Spencer is ready for a breakout season in 2009. Spencer has been playing behind Greg Ellis since being drafted in 2007. Now that Ellis is no longer with the team Spencer has his chance to show everyone what can do. And Ware believes he will.

“I’m really looking forward to it. You know how they always say, can he fill Greg’s shoes? Everybody’s going to stop talking and they’re going to see him putting pressure on the quarterback, stopping the run, still being able to drop. He’s a smart guy. In practice, he’s hardly making any mistakes. And he’s getting pressure on that quarterback, too.”

Emmitt’s prediction

The other day all-world running back Emmitt Smith said that the 2009 Cowboys would win seven games. That did not sit well with Tony Romo. I believe his response shows his maturity as a player and as a leader.

“People outside of this locker room, they don’t affect this football team,” Romo said. “We’ve really narrowed our focus. We don’t have time to discuss what different people might be saying or talking about our team, because it really doesn’t come out any way. It’s about the game. It’s about beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“This week, we’ll be able to go out and hopefully improve and get better. All we can do is do that. Whatever people might say or might not say, that’s for those people to talk about. But all we think about is the game and getting better today.”

A Great Beginning to Cowboys Stadium

It was a good night for the Dallas Cowboys for the most part as they beat the Tennessee Titans 30-10. The offense looked crisp as they mixed the run and the pass and controlled the clock. The Cowboys won the time of possession 40:57 to 19:03 and gained 466 yards of offense. They had three drives in which they held the ball more than five minutes and two of those three resulted in a touchdown. With that kind of ball control it allows the defense to stay fresh, which they were as they dominated the first half for the most part and did not allow a point in the second half. Total yards given up by the defense to the Titans was only 191 yards and they recorded one interception.

What continues to be a concern is special teams and penalties. Why so many missed tackles? It’s something that needs to be addressed as preseason continues on toward the first week of the season. With the penalties it just seems to be the same as the past few seasons. Against the Titans the Cowboys were penalized 13 times for 113 yards. Last week the Cowboys had 11 penalties for 109 yards against the Raiders. Hopefully it’s something they can get a hold of (no pun intended) and straighten out.

Some of the positive things from the game…

Romo being patient in the pocket and stepping up when he needed to.

No Turnovers for the offense.

Offensive line pass blocking well as well as run blocking.

Receivers catching almost everything thrown their way.

Running Backs doing well as they all rushed for a combined 111 yards.

DeMarcus Ware…what can I say, he is amazing.

Newman and Jenkins looked good coming back from injuries.

Defense forced five 3 plays and out on the Titans offense.

75,720 fans for a preseason game? Wow!!!!

Some of the negative things from the game…

Penalties!!!!! Especially on the offensive line.

Special Teams tackling.

Terence Newman and DeAngelo Smith should not be returning punts.

Nick Folk is having issues with Field Goal attempts.

Will the big screen be a concern as the season moves on?

It was a good time had by all last night. The win, the progress of the team and oh yes, the new stadium that is amazing. I was in awe as I watched on TV. I can only imagine what it looks like when you are actually there. I thought Fox did a good job showing the new stadium to the fans during the game and I loved the tour during halftime.

“For the opposing teams, it’s a shock to them,” linebacker DeMarcus Ware said of the stadium’s atmosphere. “It’s definitely a 12th man.”

“The big star was the stadium and our fans,” Phillips said. “It was loud in there, and our players played to the level of the situation.”

Tony Romo, Patrick Crayton and Jason Garrett on how the team played..

“The team came out with a lot of energy, and it’s really exciting to be a part of something this special,” Romo said. “It’s only going to continue and get better as the year goes on.”

“I thought we did the big things well,” Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett said. “I think we’re playing with good tempo and good urgency, which is an important part of our style of offense.”

“You can be pleased by it, but I know there’s room for improvement,” Cowboys receiver Patrick Crayton said. “If we’ve got five series, we want to go 5-for-5 in scoring. We need to improve on that.”

Funny thing that somehow I missed during the third quarter as Referee Walt Anderson announced another Dallas penalty…

“False start; everyone but the center.”

So now the Cowboys are 1-1 this preseason. Next up are the San Francisco 49ers August 29th. I’m sure we will all be looking for continued progress from the team and much less penalties since the 3rd preseason game is usually the true warm-up for the season. There were some of us on the Chat Board last night speaking about nothing at the 50 yard line of the new stadium. I’ve read a few articles that lead me to believe Jerry Jones is planning something for the first regular season game against the Giants on National TV. The stadium won’t be complete until that star is at midfield.

The Chat Board is a lot of fun for all. It’s even better when the Cowboys are winning and the humor increases among all of us. Whether it’s praising the 911 connection of Romo and Williams or becoming a Kevin Ogletree fan. I for one hope he makes the team because he looks like a really good receiver and also because Stanback was out of the game again last night. Why? because of an injury.

Go Cowboys!!!!


Cowboys Swagger

Do you think the Cowboys have swagger this year? I know the games haven’t been played yet, but I have confidence in this team. At first I didn’t think addition by subtraction was good. The Cowboys have now convinced me. The most optimal word is IF this year. The defense will be just as good or even better. Teams will not know where Ware will be coming from. I see DeMarcus getting the sack record this year.

Roy Williams (safety) is gone, but he was never a really good cover man anyway. He was always getting beat on 1 on 1 situations. The two sophomore players, Jenkins and Scandrick, will step up and be a force in the secondary this season. Brookings has played in Phillips’ scheme before. That should be a smooth transition for him. The Cowboys defense will be top 5, at least.

As for the offense, it is Tony’s team. Williams is good at routes and has sure hands. Witten is probably if not the best tight end the Cowboys ever had. Crayton runs great routes too. I have seen in games past that some WRs give up on their routes. You know who I am talking about. The 3-headed monster of Barber, Jones, and Choice will give defensive players fits. Austin will come into his own, if injuries don’t plague him this year. Tony needs to cut down on mental mistakes. He has shown flashes of what a great Quarterback should be.  This is his year to shine. Time for the Cowboys to be Romo-friendly. Whatever that means….

My prediction for this coming season at 10-6 If everything happens the way it should. Like I said IF. I know injuries happen throughout the season. But, I am excited for the upcoming season. I see a Cowboys Swagger about them this year.

How ’bout them Cowboys!

T’was the Night Before Camp Opens and…

Wade Phillips showed some fire during today’s press conference with owner Jerry Jones. Hopefully Phillips fire was real and not just some smoke.

“We were knocked down some last year, and we’re gonna get back up,” he said, smacking the Built Ford Tough podium for emphasis. “We’re gonna get back up fighting!”

“We’re winning, but we’re not winning enough,” he said. “That’s the step we want to take.”

Here is a shortened video of the press conference posted by DallasNews.com.

http://www.dallasnews.com/video/dallasnews/hp/index.html?nvid=384295

Jerry Jones informed the audience at the press conference today that Wade Phillips is the only choice for the Cowboys and that the team will benefit from him. Although, if that is true than why hasn’t Wade been signed to a contract extension since he is entering his final year? My guess is that Jerry Jones is waiting to see the results from 2009.

“I want to emphasize this,” Jerry said. “I’m so solid in my thinking that by having Wade Phillips as our head coach and what he brings with his experience and what he brings to the table with his experience as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, with his full perspective of his first year as head coach and his second year as head coach, I like that mix. I like that combination of not only his skill but what he brings to the table, and I like what our players see when he steps up there as our head coach.”

“There was no wavering because I know it’s the best thing for the Dallas Cowboys to have Wade Phillips as our head coach,” Jerry said.

“I don’t worry about my job,” Phillips said. “I worry about the job I’m doing.”

Nothing new to report on the new contract for DeMarcus Ware. Reported by DallasNews.com…

“It’s still a top priority for us,” said Stephen Jones, who declined to comment specifically about the negotiations with Ware’s agent, Pat Dye Jr. “Our hope would be that we’ll get something done.”

“From what I’ve seen, he can compartmentalize his business both on and off the field,” Jones said. “I feel comfortable that he’ll be just fine with that.”

We have all seen DeMarcus Ware develop into one of the top defensive players in the NFL. In my opinion Ware is the best in the NFL. And when other players threaten to stay away from camp over contracts and even hold out from camp, Ware is a professional and is preparing himself for the season and not wanting to let his teammates or coaches down. GET DEMARCUS WARE SIGNED NOW, PLEASE!!!!!

News and Notes from Cowboys Land

As we get closer to July 28th and the opening of training camp there isn’t much news floating around. But I did find a few things that I wanted to share.

First thing is this whole Greg Ellis-DeMarcus Ware thing going on. Ellis claims that Ware would hide on the sidelines during games so that Ellis could get more playing time.

Ellis…

“It’s a disgrace when DeMarcus Ware comes off the field just so I can get in the game and when the coaches tell him to come on the field, he tries to hide so I can play,” Ellis said on Irvin’s show. “And you’re telling me we’re trying to win the Super Bowl?”

When asked about Ellis’ claim Ware was too nice to shoot down what he said, but that was not the case with Bradie James.

James…

“Never seen anything like that,” James said with a bemused chuckle. “I don’t know where that came from. Greg … (sighs) … we’ve just gotta move on.

“We’re talking about probably the best defensive player in the league. There’s no way he can hide. Even the birds, they know where No. 94 is, so there’s no hide-and-go-seek.”

Here is some proof that backs up what Bradie James is saying as reported on DallasNews.com who got their information from ProFootballFocus.com. This is a game by game list of Ware’s game participation.

Cleveland – 50/50
Philadelphia – 67/68
Packers – 66/71
Washington – 73/74
Cincinnati – 68/69
Arizona – 59/59
St. Louis – 64/64
Tampa Bay – 68/68
New York – 71/74
Washington – 57/57
San Francisco – 53/55
Seattle — 60/70 (sat out final 10 snaps after injuring knee)
Pittsburgh – 70/70
New York – 65/67
Baltimore – 71/71
Philadelphia – 59/59

If you add it up that is 1,021 out of 1,046 plays that DeMarcus Ware was on the field or 97.6%. Only 25 plays that Ware was not on the field and 10 of those because he hurt his knee. Don’t get me wrong, I like Ellis as a player, but over the last few off-seasons we all know that he always had something to say. He was always complaining about his playing time. Yes, it’s time to move on. I wish Anthony Spencer all the luck because if he is the kind of player that the coaches think he is then combined with Ware on the other side it should be great to watch.

Pearson and the Ring of Honor

There has been a lot of talk about who should be the next player inducted into the Dallas Ring of Honor. My personal choices would be either Drew Pearson or Harvey Martin. I was very disappointed when Jerry Jones said no one would be going into the Ring this season. Drew Pearson said he isn’t holding his breath about getting into the Ring anytime soon.

“There’s nothing you can do about it,” Pearson said on ESPN 103.3. “My records speak to itself. I can’t add to those numbers. I can’t go out there and catch any more passes. It’s there. If it’s good enough, then I’ll be up there. If it’s not, then I won’t, and apparently at this point, it’s not.”

Drew Pearson said he has never discussed the Ring of Honor with Jerry Jones who is the only one who makes the decisions on who gets inducted.Pearson said he presented a business idea to Jones a few years ago, but never got a call back from Jones. Pearson also said they see each other at functions and they only make small talk.

“He speaks to me,” Pearson said, “but you know, with all due respect, he calls me Preston more than he calls me Drew.”

I had to laugh after reading that. Come on now! This is Drew Pearson, aka Mr. Clutch. How can he not be in the Ring of Honor? How can he not be in the Hall of Fame? Pearson caught 489 passes as a Cowboy for 7,822 yards and 48 TDs. Oh, by the way Pearson also threw touchdown passes in 1974, 1976 and 1981. Give Drew Pearson what he deserves.

Cowboys Extra Points: Leadership, Legal Battles and a Ticket Giveaway

According to a USA TODAY article, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones spoke up about Tony Romo:

“Contrary to some, I think he’s a natural leader.”

“I think his leadership role will naturally foment; his position and his talent at that position, and him exerting leadership is a big ingredient to us winning. … His awareness of his leadership responsibility is encouraging.”

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Martellus Bennett speaks up about the team and his youtube channel MartyBTv. Bennett says the locker room was never split and a lot of the rumors just weren’t true. He says this is “a whole new team and a whole new season”.

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=4316554&categoryid=2459789

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The DMN reported that litigations for the roof collapse from May 2nd are about to begin. Rich Behm has hired a high profile Dallas lawyer who admitted they have no plans to sue the Cowboys, and in fact can’t sue the Cowboys because of the workers’ compensation has received. Behm’s lawyer will be going after the company who built the structure that collapsed and left Behm paralyzed from the waist down.

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Former Cowboy Greg Ellis has caused a stir once again this time from the Michael Irvin Show on ESPN radio. Ellis reportedly claimed that DeMarcus Ware would come off the field so that Ellis could get playing time. Here is what Ellis said:

“It’s a disgrace when DeMarcus Ware comes off the field just so I can get in the game and when the coaches tell him to come on the field, he tries to hide so I can play. And you’re telling me we’re trying to win the Super Bowl?”

“He would say, ‘G, come on.’ And I would tell him, ‘No, DeMarcus, go ahead, man. You’re coming up on your contract year. Don’t mess that stuff up. Go ahead and do you, and we’re just going to do what the coaches, or whoever the powers that be, what they want to do.'”

DeMarcus Ware was on the The Ticket this morning and of course they brought up Ellis’ comments. Ware responded:

“You know, I just think that everybody got an ample amount of playing time, for what it was worth. At the end of the day, if I was off the field, there was a reason why I was off the field. Maybe Greg rushed the passer better against a certain guy. But I think at the end of the day, the time that guys got is how it is.”

Ware is just a great guy, what else can you say.

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Now for some awesome news for Cowboys fans:

The website StudyofSports.com based out of Arlington is giving tickets away to the Dallas Cowboys home opener on September 20th versus the New York Giants.

The contest runs from July 1 – August 31, 2009. The winner will be announced on September 4th.

Please visit their website for details and instructions on how to enter their contest. Here is the link:

Dallas Cowboys Ticket Give-Away!