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

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?

A Rivalry Worth Taking Serious

Good Afternoon Cowboy fans,

If you’re a Philadelphia Eagles fan, there’s nothing worse and nothing better than the Dallas Cowboys’ being good. When Philadelphia and Dallas meet it is usually a very hard contest full of drama, excitement and some fun along the way. This rivalry has been dating back several years and has had its share of unusual cast of characters.

In the late 1980s, legendary coach Buddy Ryan was very successful in what Ryan liked to call “wiping the smirk off Tom Landry’s face”, when the Eagles sort of dominated the series in Landry’s last few seasons. Then there was the first half of this decade when the Eagles won 9 out 10 games against our Cowboys and made the Eagles a hated rival in the NFC East. All it really proved though was that “bandwagon” fans ran out to buy Eagle jerseys and that Andy Reid may have been a little better head coach than Dave Campo was.

For a rivalry to truly be a rivalry worth the name, it requires an opponent worthy of respect and maybe a little fear. Well let me tell you, the “boys” are there once again. As I look back over the decades between these two teams, I remind myself of some good times, some bad times, and rather funny times. Like the time Buddy Ryan was accused of putting out a “on the field hit” on certain Cowboy stars to gain an unfair advantage. Of course let us not forget our beloved T.O. (Terrell Owens) when he was an Eagle and performed some of the best
end zone celebration antics ever witnessed in Texas Stadium. This was indeed not pleasing or delightful to the Cowboy’s faithful. Who would have ever thought a few short years later, T.O. would become an elite member of “America’s team”. 

Over the years the regular season has brought some unforgettable matchups, but few have shaped up any bigger in advance than Monday nights’ showdown at the soon to be doomed Texas Stadium. After week 1 of the 2008-2009 campaign has come and gone, both the Cowboy’s and Eagle’s first games seemed to be a Sunday walk in the park. So, Cowboys fans get ready because the hated Eagles are coming to “Big D” this Monday ready to play and for both teams the real season and division kicks into high gear. For the fans, the drama has already begun. The on-going, sometimes called soap opera that takes place at Valley Ranch with all its compelling characters like Tony Romo, T.O., and let us not forget a guy
named “Pacman”. Not to mention our hero Jerry Jones, I think we carry into this game a little extra edge. Even though it’s early in this young season, in this writer’s opinion, I think this will be a statement game to the Eagles that the Cowboys are defending NFC East champs.

The Eagles, if they can pick up where they left off before McNabb’s run of injuries, have a chance to see the championship light, but to do that, they must first get past the Cowboys. The Cowboys are a confident bunch and a very experienced bunch. After all, there is a reason why they won 13 games last year.

Now I will say, McNabb certainly looked like his best self in Sunday’s dismantling of the St. Louis Rams, but after all it was the Rams which we all know have not been to the Super Bowl since Moses went up the mountain with his 13 inch color T.V. to get better reception. We will know a lot more in a few days when McNabb and company come to town. They should not come in brimming with confidence and “cockiness”, because they will leave Texas giving their soul to God and their asses’ to the Cowboys! This Cowboy’s team is no joking matter and is once again the kind of rival worth taking serious.

Some Players Are Worth The Gamble. Emmitt Sure Was.

The 52-17 drubbing of Buffalo in Super Bowl XXVII wasn’t as close as the score indicated. It should have been 59-10. Buffalo’s Frank Reich was beyond the line of scrimmage when he released the ball completing the pass to Don Beebe for 40 yards and a touchdown. Beebe later stripped Leon Lett of the ball at the last second on a 64 yard fumble return. The ball rolled through the end zone for a touchback. Dammit.

The offseason between ’92 and ’93 was pretty sweet. Cowboys fans were smiling and smiling big. Super Bowl XXVII was in the books, the Cowboys were on top again. The planets were finally aligned once again. There was no doubt this team would repeat. Who could possibly beat them?

In 1993 Free Agency was a new thing. I don’t think fans had a real grasp on how it would change the game. Most players no longer spent careers with one team. But rest assured agents DID know how Free Agency would impact things, especially their own bank accounts. A bitter contract dispute between Emmitt Smith and Jerry Jones was immanent. Most headlines read things like "Trouble In Paradise" and basically predicted a team headed for self-destruction. Smith was offered $2.2 million. He wanted $4 million. He held out. There were rumblings about egos. Mainly Jerry Jones’ and Jimmy Johnson’s egos. Out of the gate Dallas was 0-2. How could this be happening??

January 2, 1994. Anyone remember that day? Last game of the 1993 regular season. Giants vs. Cowboys. Meadowlands. Winner is NFC East Champs. Ring a bell yet? In the second quarter Emmitt separated his shoulder after a long run. I think it was about a 40 yarder. None of us knew the severity of the injury at the time. But as the game progressed it was very obvious. He couldn’t even get up after a tackle without help from his teammates. He was in tears on the sideline. His arm just hung beside his body. He never stopped running. He never stopped fighting.

At the end of that game Emmitt Smith had taken over the game offensively. My memory of that day is pretty vivid but I could be wrong about exacts. I’m sure I have it on video somewhere. Bottom line is, Emmitt was a warrior. The game went into overtime because of Emmitt. The game was won because of Emmitt. The Cowboys didn’t lose another game that year(actually they didn’t lose another game after Thanksgiving). They started 0-2 WITHOUT Emmitt.

I remember 3 years earlier, Emmitt Smith, the rookie, was holding out in training camp. I sent a letter to The Dallas Cowboys Weekly saying things like "Who does this guy think he is??".. "He’s unproven!" You get the gist of it. At the time it felt totally justified. He WAS unproven! Sure he broke like a million records as a Florida Gator but this was the NFL baby! He was not worth the money he was asking! Obviously I didn’t have a crystal ball. The letter was printed in the following week’s "Letters to the Editor". Therefore I’m immortalized, IN PRINT, saying Emmitt Smith isn’t worth the money.

Well, 18,355 yards and 164 touchdowns later, I’m pretty sure Emmitt Smith was worth the money.

The moral of this story is this:

We’re now asking ourselves is Marion Barber worth the money. Again, I have no crystal ball. I can’t compare him to Emmitt Smith. That’s not fair to Marion. Smith is a once-in-a-lifetime back. But Marion Barber has earned respect of Cowboys fans across the nation. His reckless style is both scary and inspiring to watch. His desire is unquestionable. His refusal to go down without a serious fight deserves recognition.

Is Marion Barber worth more than $30 million? I don’t know. But I don’t think the Cowboys can win that 6th trophy without him. With him, I think the Cowboys can not only win a 6th, but probably a 7th as well. Would that be worth more than $30 million? We would all ,in unison, say "YES!!". But Jerry Jones has the bankbook. What we should do as fans is not speculate what Barber is "worth" and just hope an agreement is met and we have "The Barbarian" for many years to come.


Looking Ahead: Cowboys Opponents for 2008

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!!!

Why I am Rooting for the Giants in Superbowl XLII

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….

Contributed by Rich Isaacs