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2010 Preseason Schedule Released

As this off-season slowly moves there just doesn’t seem to be a lot of news coming out of Dallas. With the draft still three weeks away I’ll take any news I can get. Today the preseason schedule was released.

Aug 8th. Dallas vs Cincinnati in the Hall of Fame game.

Week 1. Date has not been set.  Oakland at Dallas

Week 2. Date has not been set. Dallas at San Diego

Week 3. Aug 28th. Dallas at Houston

Week 4. Date has not been set. Miami at Dallas

In the next two weeks the entire regular season schedule should be released.

Overtime Rule Changed Starting with the 2010 Post-Season

The NFL announced today that they will be changing the current overtime rule for the post- season starting this coming season. The new rule passed by a 28-4 count. The owners also agreed to speak about the new overtime rule for the regular season at next years meetings. The four teams voting against the new rule were Buffalo, Minnesota, Cincinnati and Baltimore. This is the first time the overtime rule has been changed since 1974.

As for the new rule? It may be an improvement from the old rule, but I’m still not sold that it’s the answer. I still like the idea of putting eight to ten minutes on the clock in the overtime period and let the teams play until there is 0:00 on the clock. If it’s still tied after the overtime period ends then the game is a tie.

Here is the new overtime rule from ESPN.com

Both teams must have the opportunity to possess the ball once during the extra period, unless the team that receives the opening kickoff scores a touchdown on its initial possession, in which case it is the winner.

• If the team that possesses the ball first scores a field goal on its initial possession, the other team shall have the opportunity to possess the ball. If [that team] scores a touchdown on its possession, it is the winner. If the score is tied after [both teams have a] possession, the team next scoring by any method shall be the winner.

• If the score is tied at the end of a 15-minute overtime period, or if [the overtime period’s] initial possession has not ended, another overtime period will begin, and play will continue until a score is made, regardless of how many 15-minute periods are necessary.

Some other important details were brought up about the new rule on ProFootballTalk.com

What happens if a team attempts an on-side kick?

“A kickoff is the opportunity to possess for the receiving team. If the kicking team legally recovers the kick, the receiving team is considered to have had its opportunity.”

This is also true if the receiving team fumbles a kickoff.

It is also my understanding that if the offense surrenders a safety on their initial possession that the game would end.

I’m sure we all have our own opinions on the new rule.  My opinion is that if Brett Favre didn’t throw the interception late in the NFC Championship game or if Favre was able to get a chance in overtime, this rule would have never been discussed at the owners meetings. Should this be the Favre rule?

Overtime: It’s Time for a Change

Is it me or do people put way to much thought into the overtime rules in the NFL? We have heard the arguments for years. Should things stay the way they are? Should teams get at least one possession in overtime? Should a team win by at least a touchdown? Should overtime be taken away all together?

The latest proposal from the competition committee is below as reported by ESPN.com…

Under the new format, both teams would get the ball at least once unless the first team to get the ball scores a touchdown, Greg Aiello said. If the first team to get the ball makes a field goal and the other team ties the game, action would continue until a team scores again.

I’m just not sure things have to be so complicated. This whole overtime thing has been over-thought for years now making it harder than it has to be.  I agree that both teams should have a chance to win the game. I never liked the rule that the first team to score wins the game.  I know the percentages show that the team getting the ball first does not win the game. The last two examples were from this past seasons playoffs. Arizona beat Green Bay when Aaron Rogers fumbled on the first possession of overtime. Then New Orleans beat Minnesota when they won the coin toss and drove down for the winning field goal. Minnesota never had a chance to get the ball. I also do not believe that the overtime rules should be different in the playoffs then in the regular season. The rules should be the same for both. Let’s forget about all these wild ideas to change the overtime rule and make it simple.

Here is my idea. For overtime all you need to do is play half a quarter. Put 7:50 on the clock and let the teams play. Both teams will get two time-outs and all reviews would come from the booth.  This seems like a simple solution to a problem that has been around for years. Let the two teams battle it out for half a quarter right down to 00:00.  It seems like a fair solution for all teams.

I know the networks don’t like the idea of games going so long, but it makes sense to make overtime fair for all teams. Sure there will be arguments on this idea just like any other overtime ideas. The overtime rules have been the way they are for way too long now. It’s time for a change.

New Show About the NFL

Have any of you heard about the new reality show called NFL Full Contact?  The show is to air on Monday evenings at 10 pm on TruTV. I plan on watching this as often as I can so I can get my “football fix” during the off season. According to their website, the show will give us an in-depth look into the NFL.

NFL FULL CONTACT reveals the sides of football the game day cameras never show, providing the ultimate look at what goes on behind the scenes of the National Football League. Every episode lets you eavesdrop into the tense and chaotic world of making a professional football game run smoothly and features crucial events of the 2009-10 pro football season: NFL KICKOFF, COWBOYS STADIUM OPENING, THE LONDON GAME, THE PRO BOWL, THE SUPER BOWL and THE DRAFT.

I know I’ll DEFINITELY be watching the episode showing the Cowboys Stadium opening! I wasn’t able to attend the actual event and would really like to see it. The show is scheduled to run for 6 weeks but I’m hoping they get good enough ratings that they continue clear through next season so I don’t have to go through football withdrawals!

Make Some Room in the HOF for Emmitt Smith

It was April 22, 1990 and the Dallas Cowboys were about to make the 17th selection in the NFL Draft after trading up. With their pick they selected running back Emmitt Smith from Florida. The so-called experts called Smith too slow and too small to be a Pro runner. What the Cowboys got was a player that loved the game and played it with heart, determination and a passion that could never be equaled.

Emmitt James Smith III was born in Pensacola, Florida on May 15, 1969. When the Cowboys drafted Emmitt Smith I don’t believe anyone knew what kind of player he would turn out to be. Smith quickly started to make a name for himself in 1990. Smith scored his first rushing touchdown in Week 3 of the 1990 season against the Redskins. He went on to rush for 937 yards and scored 11 touchdowns in his rookie season. That first season was just the start of Emmitt Smith’s amazing NFL career.

What the Cowboys got in Smith was the NFL All-Time leading rusher with 18,355 yards as he played 13 seasons for the Cowboys before being released after the 2002 season. He then played two seasons with the Arizona Cardinals before retiring as a Dallas Cowboy in 2005. He is now onto the next step and that is the Pro Football Hall of Fame. This Saturday the announcement will be made and it is certain that Emmitt Smith’s name will be on that list.

Emmitt Smith quickly became my favorite Dallas player. The way he played the game every week was unlike I have ever seen before. Smith took control of games, hardly ever went down on first contact, always seemed to get stronger as the game went on. Smith wanted to win at all costs, but at the same time he respected the game and his fellow players in the NFL. Even people I knew who hated the Cowboys would always tell me that they couldn’t hate Emmitt Smith because he was such a class act.

Emmitt Smith went on to lead the NFL in rushing in 1991, ’92 and ’93, then again in 1995. He also rushed for over 1,000 yards in 11 straight seasons from 1991 to 2001. He has 164 rushing touchdowns and 175 total touchdowns in his NFL career. He earned the NFL MVP after the 1993 season and went on to win the MVP in Super Bowl XXVIII. His Super Bowl MVP happened after he took control of the game against Buffalo in the second half and ended up with 132 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Smith was also selected to eight Pro Bowls in his career.

On October 27, 2002 against Seattle in Texas Stadium Emmitt Smith broke Walter Payton’s All-Time rushing record. Although the Cowboys lost the game it was still an incredible moment for Smith and the Cowboys organization. What really stands out to me is the moment that Smith and Daryl Johnston had on the sideline after he broke the record. It was a touching scene that really showed the emotion and love that teammates have for each other.

With Emmitt Smith going into the Hall of Fame this year it will complete the third part of what was known as the triplets for the Cowboys in the 1990’s. Troy Aikman entered the hall in 2006 and Michael Irvin entered in 2007. Along with the Hall of Fame the triplets were inducted into the Cowboys Ring of Honor together during the 2005 season.

I had the good fortune of meeting Emmitt Smith after the 1994 season at an autograph signing. He was such a nice guy and took the time to talk as he signed my jersey. Actually because he was talking to us he never heard the guy he was with say that I wanted him to sign my jersey in silver ink on the back number. After he signed it in black ink the guy told him again and Emmitt asked me if I really wanted silver ink. I said that it was fine, but Emmitt went ahead and signed it a second time for me.

I will be gathering some of my most remembered games from Emmitt Smith’s career for my next post. Until then I want to congratulate Emmitt Smith, the best running back of all time for an outstanding career and for making it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I also want to thank Emmitt Smith for being the type of player that he was. The type of player that kids can look up to and want to be like.

A Tough Loss To Take In

Well, 3 days later and I am finally writing an article. It was hard to take in that loss. Not because we got beat 34 – 3 but because, just like James said, we did not choke. We got beat by a team that just simply wanted it more. I am still confused because going into that game, not only did I believe we were the better team but it was being said everywhere I watched and read. NFL.com writers and analysts were saying Dallas is a better team, Broadcasters on Sports center were saying Dallas was a better team. They were playing “together” just like a championship team should. But watching the game, we simply got outplayed.

Romo did not have his best game by far but this loss was not even close to being his fault. The offensive line fell apart, the defensive line got played, simply put the Dallas Cowboys got outplayed. Don’t get me wrong I am just as much of a fan today as I have been my whole life. I stuck by them when they went 1-16. I was there with them when Tom Landry got treated like a red headed step child and DID NOT deserve it. I was there when they won 3 out of 4 super bowls in the 90’s. I will be with the Cowboys until the day I die.

Looking back at this game if I did not see the score I would never think that they got beat that bad. Let me prove my point.

Time of possession in the game was extremely close. Dallas had the ball for 30:34 and Minnesota had it for 29:26. Dallas had 16 first downs in the game with Minnesota only have 15. Dallas had only 2 penalties all game for a minimal 10 yards. Minnesota had 8 penalties for 50 yards. Minnesota only had 17 more rushing yards than Dallas but the average yards per rush was Dallas 3.7 Minnesota 3.3. Minnesota only converted one more third down that Dallas did.

Looking at those stats makes me feel better about the loss. Do I feel good about it, of course not who does or would feel good about a loss. But I know that Dallas did not choke, as a matter of fact they played a half way decent game.

This year Dallas got a HUGE monkey off their backs. After a 13 year drought, they finally won a playoff game. No we did not advance to the super bowl like we all had hoped but we made a huge step forward in our progress to becoming a championship team once again. We will learn from our mistakes and come back next year stronger faster and more hungry. Thank you Dallas Cowboys for a great season. Let’s do what we have to do this off season to keep our star players and draft some soon to be pro bowlers, and come back next year ready and raring to take on the world.

Wade Will Be Back

According to Jason La Canfora at NFL.com Wade Phillips will return as the Cowboys head coach for 2010.

The Cowboys are executing the 2010 option on coach Wade Phillips‘ contract, binding him to the team for next season, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

Phillips met with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and top brass on Monday, and more talks are scheduled for Tuesday. The team hasn’t moved to extend Phillips’ contract beyond 2010, but Jones is comfortable with him as the coach for next season.

I like it. I like Wade, more importantly the players like him and what he did with this team in 2009 was really impressive.

I know many may argue, but I definitely agree with keeping him on another year.

Now They Fear the Star

I just read this interesting article over at NFL.com and thought it was worth sharing with our readers. Its nice to see the Cowboys are finally getting some much deserved respect in the league.

NFC Fear Factor: Cowboys are conference’s most dangerous team

1. Dallas Cowboys (11-5, No. 3 seed)

Beware of this red-hot team, winners of three straight and five of their last seven. Dallas has shown to be the most physical team in the postseason on both sides of the line.

The offensive front is road-grading, giving its trio of tailbacks room to run and allowing quarterback Tony Romo time to make the right decisions. Defensively, Dallas is making life troublesome for opposing quarterbacks with Jay Ratliff, Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Ware living in the backfield.

Romo has been the main ingredient for the team’s solid late-season play. He seems unflappable, which has been a huge departure from his past. He relies heavily on tight end Jason Witten and No. 1 wideout Miles Austin with good reason. Romo is taking few gambles with his throws, and that ball security has been a big reason for Dallas’ late-season success.

It’s a deep run through the playoffs — or bust — for this evolving team.

The Cowboys Are Playoff Bound!

Oh what a great feeling it is! The Cowboys are guaranteed a spot in the playoffs after tonight’s win over the Redskins, no matter what happens next week against the Eagles.

Orlando Scandrick

Even though it really seemed like the Redskins gave up long before the game ended, the Cowboys definitely deserve their spot in the post season. From the beginning of the season until last week, no one (outside of the Cowboys faithful) believed this team could go anywhere and here they are, in control of their own destiny.

The only thing left to decide is home field advantage and the division title. It all comes down to the last game of the season, once again, versus the hate Eagles but this time at home in our house!

Things to Note:

- Its the first time in 5 years that the Cowboys have swept the Redskins.

- If the Cowboys beat the Eagles next week they secure home field advantage. If the Vikings lose, the Cowboys, Eagles or Packers could earn the first round bye week.

- The game next week has been moved from noon to 3:15 p.m., the NFL moved the Jets – Ravens game to prime time over the Cowboys – Eagles game. (Big mistake in my opinion.)

Bengals WR Chris Henry Has Passed Away

On behalf of all of us here at Lone Star Struck we would like to express our sincerest condolences on the sudden passing of Chris Henry. Our thoughts and prayers are with Chris’ family and team at this difficult time.

The young wide receiver’s tragic death reminds us exactly how fragile life is. Henry leaves behind three young children.

CHARLOTTE, N.C.(AP)—Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry has died, one day after suffering serious injuries upon falling out of the back of a pickup truck in what authorities describe as a domestic dispute with his fiancee.

Police say Henry died at 6:36 a.m. Thursday. Henry was 26.

Away from the team because of a broken forearm, Henry was rushed to the hospital Wednesday after being found on a residential road. Police say a dispute began at a home about a half-mile away, and Henry jumped into the bed of the pickup truck as his fiancee was driving away from the residence.

Police said at some point when she was driving, Henry “came out of the back of the vehicle.”

Rest in Peace Chris.

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

Flozell Gets A Kick Out of the NFL

FlozellFlozell Adams has been fined by the NFL for the third week in a row. The latest fine for kicking Julius Peppers during the Monday Night Football game against the Panthers.

Game 1 – $5,000 Unnecessary Roughness

Game 2 - $12,500 Kicking (2 separate incidents)

Game 3 – $7,500 Kicking

Head coach Wade Phillips had this to say about his veteran left tackle:

“He’s a very good football player. He’s aggressive … He just wants to protect the quarterback.”

Well, at this point would the Cowboys be better off if he went back to the habitual false starts? I’m sure Tony Romo appreciates the support.