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.


Football Season’s Over? Yeah Right!



Well, I guess it’s safe to say that the football season is officially over… yeah, right! Who am I kidding? Football season is never over for a Cowboys fan, it’s a 24/7 365 days a week job staying on top of everything the team does, because it’s all about the "silver and blue" baby!

Let me be the first to say that our Pro Bowl Cowboys didn’t disappoint us in the least. Despite the loss, the only fighting chance the NFC had was due to our beloved Cowboys, and everybody knows it. I was totally impressed by Tony Romo, and I was happy to see him shake off the dust of that muffed field goal. We need Romo to get passed all that and it looks like Tony Romo is going to be just fine. And speaking of Tony Romo, several sources are reporting that Jerry Jones is going to sign Romo to a brand new contract extension and is 100% committed to Tony Romo leading the Dallas Cowboys for the rest of the decade.

As I look at the team now, I certainly have a few concerns, or should I say questions. Here are my top 5 questions for Dallas Cowboys as they enter into the new season.

1. I love both Julius Jones and Marion Barber equally, but both of them want to start and yet only one of them can. How does this situation resolve itself next season?

2. Wade Phillips is certainly the main man on the sidelines for the Dallas Cowboys, or is he? Can the laid back style of Wade Phillips be enough to temper the enigmatic Terrell Owens, or will the combination end up being lethal for one of them?

3. Can Wade Phillips rebuild the confidence of a defense that had a major meltdown during last 6 games of the season, and can he take players like DeMarcus Ware and Bobby Carpenter to the next level?

4. Speaking of defense, something’s gotta give in the secondary. There are too many questions regarding the effectiveness of Pat Watkins and Keith Davis. There are rumblings that Roy Williams may be asked to switch positions too. Should the Cowboys draft the best safety available in the NFL Draft?

5. What about all those Bill Parcell’s players like Aaron and Terry Glenn? Will they still be with us when the new season opens?

Sure there are many more questions than these to ponder for next season, but these are the ones that concern me the most right now. Yes, I also wonder if Martin Gramatica will be re-signed or do the Cowboys draft a kicker or, I shudder to think this, sign the best kicker in the free agent market?

We’ll see how it all plays out in the coming weeks, but rest assured I’ll be keeping my eyes open and my ears peeled for all the latest rumblings and grumblings from Valley Ranch.