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LSS Extra Points: Goodbye 2010

After ending the 2010 season a disappointing 6-10, the Cowboys will pick 9th in the 2011 NFL draft. While some would have rather the Cowboys lost the finale and received pick #6, I like what DeMarcus Ware had to say about the situation:

“It’s all about pride. When a fan sees you’re still fighting in the last game of the season and you don’t have anything to play for, you talk about the winning tradition of the Dallas Cowboys.”

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2011 Opponents are as follows:

Home: New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, St. Louis Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins

Away: New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New England Patriots, New York Jets.

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Sam Hurd, who was sidelined at the season finale game due to a head injury, was chosen as the recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award. The Ed Block Courage Award is an annual award presented to selected players in the National Football League, who are voted by their teammates as role models of inspiration, sportsmanship, and courage (Wikipedia).

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Wide receiver Roy Williams make some interesting comments in the past week.

“I was the go-to guy in Detroit. Coordinators can make who they want to make the star.”

“This is my dream [to stay] here and it started out good. Started out real good, but it fell apart I guess you could say. I love to be here.”

Many believe Williams’ is on his way out of Dallas, and I’m sure he has very few supporters campaigning to keep him a Cowboy. 37 catches for 530 yards and five touchdowns hardly warrants the high priced contract Jerry Jones generously issued back in 2008 (6 years, $54 million).

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DeMarcus Ware won the NFL sack title with 15.5 sacks on the season. With his three sacks in Sunday’s game, Ware beat out Kansas City’s Tamba Hali by one sack. This is Ware’s second sack title in his 6-year career.

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Jason Witten and Miles Austin both finished the season with over 1,000 yards. Witten passed the 1,000 yard mark in the final play of the game, ending the year with 85 receptions for 1002 yards and nine touchdowns. Austin finished with 69 receptions for 1041 yards (down from 1320 in 2009) and seven touchdowns.

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And last but not least…

After the media mania on Sunday morning declaring Jason Garrett the official head coach, Jerry Jones himself denied the rumors.  Jones reiterated that he will honor the Rooney Rule, which states a minority must be interviewed.

“I am really interested in following the spirit of our NFL rules and that’s what this is all about.”

Reports Sunday and Monday say the Cowboys will interview wide receivers coach Ray Sherman to honor that rule. ESPNDallas reports that interview will take place Tuesday. ESPN also believes Jones wants to hire the next head coach of the Dallas Cowboys by Friday. Which only leads one to believe that Jason Garrett is Jerry’s man.

LSS Extra Points: One Goodbye and Many Excused Absences

As any Cowboys fan knows, the dog days of offseason are long and boring. Nearly every day you seek any news or rumors about your team and rarely come up with anything. Today I spent time with family and had a lazy day and what do you know, the Cowboys go and make a little rumble.

I know at least a handful of people who will be happy to hear this news…

The Cowboys have released Cory Procter. The 27-year old backup offensive lineman has been with in Dallas since 2005, though didn’t debut in the NFL until 2007. He only started in 13 career games, 11 of those in 2008 while filling in for the injured Kyle Kosier. How dare they break up the band, eh, who needs offensive line depth anyway?

In other news, Sam Hurd and Patrick Crayton both missed OTAs on Monday. Hurd was on scene but out while recovering from offseason thumb surgery. Crayton is still demanding a trade, but no one seems to be interested. Have you Hurd Crayton wants out of the big D?

Marcus Spears also missed the practice because of a scheduling conflict according to several sources. Whatever that means?

Keith Brooking, Stephen Hodge and Akwasi Owusu-Ansah are all recovering from surgeries while Sean Lissemore and Scott Sicko are finishing up at college. Yes, okay they are excusable.

These workouts are voluntary but Coach Phillips made a good point saying… “Your competitors at your position are all here.” Okay so he’s no philosopher but you understand what he’s saying.

You can argue either way, veterans can miss the practices because they know the drills but at the same time the new guys, younger guys are there practicing, busting ass to steal your place on the roster. Practice makes perfect!

That’s all for now. Only 117 days until the 2010 season kicks off!

Some Sound Advice For Patrick Crayton and Sam Hurd

Whenever you hear a professional football player say something like, “I just want to play and help the team win.”, what they’re really saying is, “I just want to play so I can make more money”.

It’s no secret that in football, the more snaps you participate in, the better your chances are for earning more riches.

Immediately after the selection of Dez Bryant on Thursday night, most of the reactions from our current crop of receivers were very cordial and supportive.

However, I wasn’t all that convinced, and in fact in a previous post I poised the question,

“What are they really thinking?”

The answers started trickling in less than 24 hours later…

According to several reports, wide receivers Patrick Crayton and Sam Hurd have asked to be traded. Additionally, Jerry Jones was quick to react and didn’t seem all too shook up about it.

“Both of those receivers I have such respect for,” Jones said. “And I know what they’ve given to our team and what they may give to the team in the future. I respect their sensitivity and I understand that. We all, I think, should understand when Dez Bryant enters the scene that that’s competition.”

You can be sure that niether of them will be back.

We might be able to get a future 3rd or 4th round pick for Crayton (if we’re lucky), but Hurd?

Sorry Sam… But like I said yesterday, you’re only sixth on the depth chart right now (if that), and you’ll probably just get released.

If you had made the right comments and said the rights things, you may have been able to stick around somehow and earn a paycheck, but now you’re looking at the prospect of trying to beat out a field of 10-12 other wide receivers trying to make another team, and that’s only if another team gives you that opportunity.

If we lose Crayton, I’ll be honest, I’ll miss him. But I also don’t hold it against him for trying to find an opportunity to be a number two receiver somewhere else.

But Patrick my friend, you have no control over where the Cowboys trade you. You have no veto power. You may very well end up in a situation where you get even less playing time. Or worse yet, end up with a perennial loser like the Detroit Lions, with no chance to make the post season.

Well. whatever happens I wish both of you luck.

Cowboys Extra Points: Free Agency, Draft and Schedules

Sam Hurd is the most recent player to sign his tender. Still nothing from Miles Austin or Gerald Sensabaugh, however both showed up in Valley Ranch for the off-season workout program. ESPN Dallas explains free agency rules and deadlines.

Robert Brewster has been cleared by the medical staff to return to football. The offensive lineman’s best position would be right tackle or guard. Brewster was drafted in the 3rd round of the ’09 draft but sat out the entire season due to a torn pectoral muscle.

The 2010 NFL Draft begins this Thursday, April 22nd at 6:30 p.m. CST. The first round will be held Thursday, the second and third rounds on Friday starting a 5 p.m. CST and rounds 4-7 on Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. CST. We will have a live thread with continuous updates for the draft. See ya then!

The Dallas Cowboys official website has been redesigned. In my opinion its clean and bright, almost too white, and will take some getting used to as far as the layout. Check out the new design here.

The NFL will announce the complete 2010 schedules tomorrow at 6 p.m. CST on NFL Network and NFL.com.

Follow us on Twitter and fan us on Facebook.

UPDATED: Tender Me This

With the deadline coming up in eight days, the Cowboys still have several players yet to sign their tenders. Several are unhappy and the rest have been very quiet.

Gerald Sensabaugh for example decided not to participate in the first offseason conditioning program this week. According to his agent he is not under contract but has been training six days a week on his own.

Marcus Spears and Steve Octavien signed their tenders yesterday. Cory Procter was the first to sign the tender back in March, which actually makes perfect sense.

I expect the remaining unsigned players will jump on board soon. I believe Miles Austin knows he will get his money eventually and hopefully it will all work out smoothly.

Interestingly enough, Alan Ball hasn’t signed his exclusive rights tender and with the release of Ken Hamlin he could be more essential than ever before.

Its been a slow and silent offseason regarding free agency and the Dallas Cowboys. With our rivals signing big names we have remained very conservative to say the least. Maybe that’s because we already have the players we need for a championship team. After the draft, hopefully we will have a few eager rookies who will complete this team that not only were the division champs, but also won their first playoff game in 12 years.

NOTE: We will update this post as the players continue to sign in the days to come.

UPDATE (4-7-10): Pat McQuistan has signed his tender.

UPDATE (4-8-10): Jason Hatcher and Junior Siavii have signed their tender.

UPDATE (4-9-10): Stephen Bowen has signed his tender.

Deadline: April 15th

Restricted Free Agents

Miles Austin, First Round Tender

Sam Hurd, Second Round Tender

Pat Watkins, Original Draft Pick

Duke Preston, Original Draft Pick

Gerald Sensabaugh, Second Round Tender

Stephen Bowen, Second Round Tender – SIGNED

Jason Hatcher, Second Round Tender – SIGNED

Junior Siavii, Original Draft Pick – SIGNED

Pat McQuistan, Original Draft Pick – SIGNED

Corey Procter, Second Round Tender – SIGNED

Marcus Spears, Original Draft Pick – SIGNED

Cletis Gordon – SIGNED 1 Year Deal

Shaun Suisham – NOT TENDERED

Unrestricted Free Agents

Montrae Holland, Unrestricted Free Agent

Exclusive Rights Free Agents

Steve Octavien, Exclusive Rights Tender – SIGNED

Alan Ball, Exclusive Rights Tender

Today Is Deadline For Tendering Offers To Restricted Free Agents

Today is a big day for the Cowboys as they must tender offers to their 13 restricted free agents by the 11:00 pm CST deadline tonight.

You can be sure that both wide receiver Miles Austin and safety Gerald Sensabaugh will both receive high tenders from the Cowboys and that neither will be going anywhere.

Clarence E. Hill of the Star-Telegram speculates that Austin will receive the highest tender possible — a one-year salary of $3.168 million and compensation of a first- and third-round pick if he signs with another team.

Sensabaugh will likely be tagged with the first-round tender of $2.62 million. If he signs with another team, the Cowboys would get a first-round pick in return.

The other Cowboys restricted free agents include:

DT Stephen Bowen
G Cory Procter
G Duke Preston
DE Jason Hatcher
NT Junior Siavii
WR Sam Hurd
S Pat Watkins
OT Pat McQuistan
DE Marcus Spears
PK Shaun Suisham
CB Cletis Gordon

Of those eleven, I suspect that 3-4 of them may not be returning next season including Suisham and Gordon.

I was very surprised when the Cowboys decided not to place the franchise tag on Miles Austin last week which would have paid him a guaranteed one-year, $9.52 million deal that would’ve required another team to give up two first-round picks as compensation for signing him to a non-matching offer sheet.

I was a little worried that we might be exposing Miles Austin to a slight risk of employment elsewhere if another team should beat the Cowboys tender, but felt more at ease after reading this in the Dallas Morning News.

Not many teams in league history have been willing to relinquish a first- and third-round pick for a restricted free agent. Almost none, in fact. In 1998, Bill Parcells brought restricted running back Curtis Martin with him from the Patriots to the Jets. The Patriots were unwilling to match the Jets’ six-year, $36 million offer sheet and took a first- and third-rounder in return. Eighteen players received the high tender over the next 10 years. None were pried away by a rival’s offer sheet.

Good to know…

Cowboys Free Agents for 2010

I know it’s been a little over 24 hours since the Cowboys season ended. And I know most of us probably need a break from the long season, but a wise person once told me that the season never ends on LSS.

Here is a list of the Cowboys Free Agents for 2010.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENT
OG Montrae Holland

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
WR Miles Austin
DE Stephen Bowen
CB Cletis Gordon
DE Jason Hatcher
WR Sam Hurd
OT Pat McQuistan
C Duke Preston
C Cory Procter
S Gerald Sensabaugh
NT Junior Siavii
DE Marcus Spears
K Shaun Suisham
S Pat Watkins

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENT
CB Alan Ball
LB Steve Octavien

I’m sure we will all agree who should be at the top of the list to sign. I’m also trying to get a list of the 2010 Free Agents from the other NFL teams.

Here are my thoughts on the Cowboys list of Free Agents.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENT
OG Montrae Holland, Depth on the line. Maybe

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
WR Miles Austin, Of course we need to sign him. He has earned it
DE Stephen Bowen, Sign him. I like his upside
CB Cletis Gordon, Don’t know much about him
DE Jason Hatcher, Sign him. Like Bowen I like his upside
WR Sam Hurd, Decent receiver, but nothing special
OT Pat McQuistan, If we can find better in FA or the draft then say goodbye
C Duke Preston, Never really got a chance to see him
C Cory Procter, Goodbye
S Gerald Sensabaugh, Need to sign him. Loved his play this season
NT Junior Siavii, Could go either way. Need a backup for Ratliff
DE Marcus Spears, Have never been a fan. I like Bowen and Hatcher better
K Shaun Suisham, After Sunday. Goodbye
S Pat Watkins, Great special teams player and decent safety

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENT
CB Alan Ball, Needed depth in secondary
LB Steve Octavien, Never really got a chance to see him

In other news today it has been reported by many people that Jerry Jones will keep Wade Phillips as the head coach. After how the team played this season, especially the second half of the season I think this was a good decision. No word on any other coaches which includes Jason Garrett. I have mixed feelings on Garrett, but since Phillips is staying on my thought is that Garrett will stay as well.

Will there be trades involving the Cowboys this off-season and before the draft? We all heard that before the trading deadline in 2009 that Cincinnati wanted Martellus Bennett. Could this still be a possible trade with John Phillips developing into a good tight end? If not to Cincinnati maybe another team?

What about Tashard Choice? Please don’t kill me on this thought because I love him on the Cowboys, but maybe it might be a good idea to explore the possibility. Kind of like striking while the fire is hot. Choice could start for a lot of teams in the league. Marion Barber and Felix Choice are the main backs in the Cowboys offense. Just a thought.

Cowboys Stadium: A Fan’s Eye View

I have had the absolute luxury of attending four home games this year, in our inaugural season in the new, breathtaking stadium. I also attended the Big 12 Championship game between Texas and Nebraska, but that being said let me start from the beginning.

The first game I went to was Monday Night Football against the Panthers. I was so dang excited and in awe of the stadium that I am thankful I went in several hours early to take it all in.The fans were pretty lively as the minutes ticked away to the kickoff, as a matter of fact I specifically remember getting the chills when they played the intro to MNF on the big screen and when we all heard the anthem to MNF everyone was going crazy …and then we watched a half that ended with Carolina up 3-0. That does sort of take the wind out of your sails.

I sat in the upper level for this game and there were several groups trying to start chants and even the dreaded wave, and it was a decent atmosphere. There were a lot of cheers during the defensive series.

The second game I attended was a 3 o’clock kickoff vs Atlanta. I was very lucky to get free lower level tickets on the 15th row. This is where I saw a marked difference. There was little to zero passion down there. As a matter of fact, there were at least 10 empty seats on our row! The face value of these tickets were $375.00 each, so I seriously doubt that someone would pay that and just decide not to go, so they must have belonged to some gigantoid corporation.

I remember early on in that game texting my friend who was in the 200 level and telling him that there was no hype, no excitement. This was during one of our best wins of the season. Sam Hurd was dancing and waving his arms before every kickoff to get the fans into it, and this would work to an extent. I almost felt bad once, because I stood up on a 3rd down to cheer and looked around and I was the only one.

So, on that occasion it was NOT a great atmosphere. I loved the view, but not the vibe.

My third game was Thanksgiving and again, I was in the upper level. This game was sort of a tweener, sometimes really good, sometimes very quiet. Miles Austin brought the biggest cheer of the day when he was doing a little celebrating on the bench and it was shown on the big screen. He was smiling and holding his arms up and the place went nuts.

Overall, this being a holiday game and a very lackluster opponent, I was a little disappointed in the atmosphere.

Now, about last week’s game against the Chargers. I was shocked to see so many San Diego fans! This must have just not translated to the TV because this was a loud game. The fans knew how important this game was, and if not, then the loud, obnoxious Chargers fans put a little life into them. The 4th and goal debacle and lack of points took some steam of off things, but I really enjoyed Sunday’s game from an atmosphere standpoint.

I have some theories to why things seem to be the way you wrote… but first, let me just say that the most insane, intense game was without question the Big 12 Championship.

With the crowd split about 65/35, there was never a quiet moment, the marching bands in the stands filled every break with fight songs and such, and the colors were vibrant… it seems that every person in the building was wearing red or burnt orange. It was an amazing experience.

Now, my theories on why the stadium is or can be quiet.

First theory: the product on the field. Let’s be real and honest with ourselves as die-hard fans. We are disappointed right now, we have no consistency, we can’t seem to make the defensive stops we need so badly, cheering or not! The offense racks up yards but can’t put points on the board and we are very unsure about our head coach. Just because we don’t boo doesn’t mean we are not concerned.

If we as knowledgeable fans feel this way, imagine the schmucks and trophy wives that sit down along the first level, they don’t know anything but when the Cowboys score it’s good and when they don’t it’s bad. While this may be a reflection on ticket prices, I believe it’s more of a reflection on casual fans.

Secondly, the aforementioned ticket prices. When you out-price the average joe, then you lose your most passionate fans. If there is one thing I walk aways from thinking after each game, is that this is NO Texas Stadium, in both good and bad ways; I remember being at many games there and while you would freeze your you-know-what off trying to walk to a 30-year old bathroom. You had an awesome time screaming and yelling and cheering.

I recall a Sunday night game four years ago, the first home game against the Redskins and it was electric. When Romo hit Terry Glenn in the endzone for a TD, my friends and I went crazy, jumping and chest bumping and so was everyone else. You just don’t see that now at the new place. There is no community of fans, no tradition yet.

And my last theory: the big TV. It is amazing, the most awe inspiring thing you could imagine but it draws people in like a tractor beam. You just sit there and stare at it. I have weened myself off of it to an extent this year and now am able to actually watch the live game below, but look around and everyone is sitting back, eating their popcorn watching the game on TV. It almost brainwashes people into forgetting they are AT A GAME!

Who knows, maybe these could all have a little truth to them, or maybe none at all. I am with you and with Roy, and I try to do my little part. I know that winning and consistency cure all. The fans, for the most part, start off with good intentions. It’s those 7-6 games against the Redskins that seem to turn even the best intentions, into disappointing actions.

I want to give it time, let the stadium grow it’s own traditions. Let’s get some landmark victories in there and let’s let the corporate suits give their tickets away to clients for now, and as time goes by we can hope that the stadium becomes more accessible to the true fans! Go COWBOYS!

This comment was promoted to a post in response to: Are You Starstruck? Then Act Like It!

Wide Receivers Get To Work

Miles AustinThe Dallas Cowboys once again played a game where all phases came together, this time against against the Seahawks. It was really nice to see all of the wide receivers get into the action.

Miles Austin scored another touchdown, Roy Williams scored a touchdown on a nice slant route, Patrick Crayton scored on another punt return, Sam Hurd scored a touchdown on nice pass, and although Kevin Ogletree did not score, he did make a nice catch and run for a first down.

I will admit it I have had my doubts about our wide receiver corps, but it seems that they might be coming along and they are doing some good things. It has been nice to see Miles Austin doing so well, he has catches totaling 482 yards. That is the best that a wide receiver has ever done in their first three games.

Romo and Williams have some work to do and even they admit that they have not been on the same page a lot this year.

I am sure Jason Witten is happy we are winning, but not so happy that he is not getting his normal amount of catches.

Its nice to see that the receivers have finally found a way to get open and make some nice catches and runs.

Patrick Crayton has stepped it up in the return game, scoring a touchdown in each of the last two games.

We have the Eagles this weekend and we are tied with them for first place in the division, we need to step it up again and beat them.

GO COWBOYS!

Balancing It Out

Yes there was only 1 football on the field at a time, but from the way Dallas looked this week and the way Tony Romo spread the ball around it sure didn’t look like it. Dallas had Seattle confused from the very beginning on what their game plan was and that was to dominate.

Tony Romo went 21/36 for 256 yards and 3 touchdowns with NO interceptions. Miles Austin had 5 receptions for 61 yards rushed for 11 yards and had a touchdown. Sam Hurd had just one reception but it went for 35 yards and a touchdown. Roy Williams finally had his first touchdown as a Dallas Cowboy with 2 receptions for 19 yards. Patrick Crayton had 39 yards receiving and returned a punt for a touchdown for the second week in a row. Jason Witten, Felix Jones, Kevin Ogletree and Martellus Bennett all had receptions for over 100 total yards.

Marion “The Beast” Barber had only 14 rushing attempts but went for 53 yards and a touchdown. Felix Jones had 8 attempts and pounded out 39 yards. Tashard Choice got in on the action with 4 rushes for 11 yards. The offense went for a total of 26 first downs in the game, with 17 of those coming in the first half alone. 15 of those first downs by passing and 7 of them by rushing. Our third down efficiency was at 53% with a total of 362 net yards. Time of possession was an astounding 34:45

th_newman-1Keith Brooking continued to make his statement towards defensive player of the year with 8 tackles and forcing 1 sack. Demarcus Ware once again had a strong game with 2 tackles and a sack and Bobby Carpenter refused to be overlooked and got in with 3 tackles and a sack. Terence Newman and Bradie James both had good games each forcing a fumble that was recovered by Dallas. With a total of 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and only allowing 79 rushing yards by previous Dallas Cowboys RB Julius Jones, holding the Seattle offensive possession time to 25:15 and only 17 points, the defense made a statement once again.

You hear all this talk about what division is the toughest in the league. If you look at the numbers it is an easy decision to make. the NFC east is the only division in the league to have 3 teams with at least 5 wins on the season. With 5 out of the next 4 games being on the road you could make the argument that Dallas has the toughest schedule to finish out the season but with the way they are coming together on both offense and defense, bring on the competition.

Sunday night is going to be a true test for Dallas when we play Philly for first place in our division. After we win that game and silence all the critics we make our way north to Lambeau field for a battle against the Green Bay Packers before we come back home against our long time rivals (I cringe every time I even say their name) the STRUGGLING Washington Redskins.

Although we are looking very strong at home, we need to prove to not only ourselves but all the critics out there that we can win on the road. Once we win Sunday night and take over first place, then come home after winning in Green Bay with a 3 game winning streak, maybe, JUST MAYBE, everyone will see that this year DALLAS IS ON A MISSION!!!!!

LET’S GO BOYS!!!!!!!

Romo Spreads the Love As the Cowboys Win 38-17

Tony Romo and the Cowboys had an excellent outing at home against the Seahawks winning 38-17.

The defense and special teams looked outstanding and the offense used all of their weapons.

Touchdowns: Sam Hurd, Marion Barber, Roy Williams, Miles Austin, Patrick Crayton

Sacks: Keith Brooking, DeMarcus Ware, Bobby Carpenter

Patrick Crayton returned a punt for a touchdown for the second week in a row.

Outstanding play all around! How bout them Cowboys!

Weekly Game Balls: Week 4

Sometimes its hard to find anything positive from such a heartbreaking loss, however several players did play well and for that they deserve to be recognized.

This week’s offensive game ball goes to Sam Hurd.

Sam Hurd, who has been nearly invisible offensively this year, zig-zagged his way down the field on 4th and 3 to set up a chance for the Cowboys to win last Sunday.

Hurd finished the game with 62 yards on 3 catches. He made up most of those yards his 3rd catch, a 53-yard gain.

Sam was also thrown to twice in the final seconds but could not secure the ball. He was covered by the Pro Bowler Champ Bailey.

We are likely to see more of Sam Hurd with Roy Williams injured this week.

Star50

This week’s defensive/special teams game ball goes to Bradie James.

Bradie James was a beast out there. He helped give the Cowboys a chance in the game.

With the offense sputtering, the defense was needed to step up and Bradie led the way. With the exception of the Brandon Marshall touchdown (in which they couldn’t tackle), the defense gave Denver quarterback Kyle Orton all kinds of pressure.

James finished the game with 6 tackles with 2 assists. He also had 1 sack and a fumble recovery.

Star50

Congratulations to Sam and Bradie for their outstanding play.

That was a game the Dallas Cowboys should of won. Kansas City is next, hopefully the Cowboys will give us an overwhelming win and that should make it more satisfying to give out game balls next week.

Runners-up: The Entire Defense