Jesus Did Nothing

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Tony Romo finishes his Mavericks career with a losing record and missing the playoffs. He’s still got it.

The lines between what is real and what is fake get blurrier every day. What an insult to every Mavericks player. And what a testimony to how low the bar is now for Cowboys quarterbacks. You don’t have to win a Super Bowl. Shoot, you don’t even have to win a divisional playoff game! Ever! You’re a hero!

Romo was speaking for all of us yesterday when he kept saying he was embarrassed.

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How do we move so quickly from praising our Lord to denying him? How do we go so fast from vowing to die for Christ to betraying him? The Gospels tell us that all his followers — those huge crowds that welcomed him with palm branches and shouts of loyalty — abandoned him. They went from shouting “Hosanna!” to shouting “Crucify him!” They went from showering Jesus with praise to driving nails through his hands and feet. From big, green, leafy palm branches to an old wooden cross. The apostles promised their undying allegiance to Jesus at dinner and, then, within an hour or two, maybe less, they abandoned him completely. How does that happen?

Remember the frenzy of Palm Sunday?

At last, God’s anointed King has come! The teacher and miracle-worker from Nazareth is God’s promised Messiah! Jesus will defeat the pagan rulers from Rome! He will establish the true Kingdom of God right here in our land! We’re going to regain our power! We’re going to be in control! Jesus is the Christ and he’s going to take away all our problems and he’s going to make all of us winners! Hosanna!

And there’s shouting and singing and celebration and anticipation. Huge crowds of followers surrounding Jesus on all sides, hailing him as their new king. Jesus rides through the eastern gate into the Holy City, right into the temple precincts, and he does…

…nothing.

He doesn’t do anything.

“Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the temple. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.” ~Mark 11:11

Jesus doesn’t do anything. He doesn’t lead the mob against the Roman garrison. He doesn’t physically confront the powers and authorities that are oppressing the people. He doesn’t even take the steps of the temple to deliver a stirring speech. He looks around for a little bit and then goes back to Bethany. For dinner, I guess.

What a disappointment! What kind of Messiah is this? What sort of Savior?

Yeah, the next day Jesus preaches a sermon in the temple and overturns a few tables to illustrate his point. But he doesn’t raise a finger against the Romans. He doesn’t even raise his voice. In fact, the next day, he tells everybody, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s.”

What?

By Friday, enough of the crowds were disappointed and disenchanted with Jesus, that the priests and teachers of the law were easily able to turn them against him. The apostles — the insiders, the personally-chosen followers of Jesus — promised to never betray him, to never leave his side, to die first. But they’re gone, too.

If you look honestly at that picture, if you pay close attention to the story, you will see yourself. You will see your sin. And it will break your heart.

Jesus doesn’t always meet our expectations. His lordship doesn’t always provide for us what we think it should provide.

Maybe there’s something broken in your marriage that Jesus hasn’t fixed. Maybe there’s a deep wound in your soul that Jesus hasn’t healed. Maybe there’s something going on in your family, a situation at work, a physical illness or disease, an addiction. Maybe. And being a Christian hasn’t really helped.

Maybe you’re all alone and Jesus hasn’t given you any friends. Maybe it feels like nothing is going right. Jesus doesn’t always provide for us what we think he should.

So, you abandon what Christ teaches, you give up on the way of the Lord, and you do things your own way. In order to gain some control, you leave Jesus, you turn your back, you drift away, or maybe you flat-out deny him.

When you see that, when you see your sin, it’ll break your heart.

I know it can feel like Jesus is doing nothing. And somebody has to do something! Jesus can’t just look around at everything, he can’t just look at my life and my struggles and my problems, and shrug his shoulders and go back to Bethany. For dinner, I guess.

Well, Jesus did do something. He did something that only he could do. He did something to finally and completely and ultimately destroy the effects of sin and death in your life and for the whole world forever.

He died. He died on a cross. On purpose.

Jesus resolutely set his face toward Jerusalem and walked to the cross. He allowed himself to be beaten and tortured. He allowed them to nail his hands and feet to the blood-soaked wood of that cross. He died willingly. He sacrificed himself. He could have called ten thousand angels. But he died alone. For you and me. That’s what Jesus came to do. The Lamb of God who dies to take away the sin of the world.

Peace,

Allan

Romo Disappoints One More Time

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I feel really ripped off. Deprived. Done wrong. For the past four or five months we’ve been anticipating watching Tony Romo play football for another team and taking the analyzing and dissecting of his game and his psyche to a whole new level. When Houston unloaded Brock Osweiler a few weeks ago, the foregone conclusion was that Romo would be the Texans’ starting quarterback. They were clearing space for Romo. Denver was interested, but Houston was Romo’s destination. And maybe his destiny. How much fun would that be?

I was already taking bets here in the church offices that whichever team Romo went to would finish 2017 with a better record than the Cowboys. I was already gearing up to watch Romo, with the league’s best defense and some of the NFL’s best receivers and the best coaching he’s had in his career, win a divisional playoff game for the first time. I was licking my chops at the absolutely delicious prospect of Jerry Wayne’s adopted son winning a Super Bowl for another team. How awesome!

But, no. I feel gypped. Cheated.

Tony Romo has walked away from Houston and from the Broncos. The Texans are legitimately a decent quarterback away from competing for a championship; Denver is not too far behind. But Romo doesn’t want to give it a shot. Both those teams are legitimate contenders. Both those teams want Romo. But Romo doesn’t want to do it. He wants to go into broadcasting.

I don’t blame him. It appears that Romo is smarter than I thought he was. It’s the right call for all the right reasons: personal health, a wife with a third child on the way, an unbelievable opportunity to immediately move into the top analyst spot at CBS. I get all that. It makes sense.

But Romo has ripped us off again. He’s failed to deliver to our expectations.

To be fair, Romo was trapped in the middle of the game of “chicken” between the Texans and Jerry Wayne. Houston was never going to give up a player or a draft pick to get Romo — the Cowboys don’t need Romo. But Jerry was never going to give Romo away for nothing in return. While both sides dug in and refused to blink, while Romo was flapping in the breeze, CBS apparently backed a truckload of money onto Romo’s lawn and he couldn’t refuse.

Jerry’s dream was to have Romo stay a Cowboy and be his incredibly overpaid backup quarterback to Dak Prescott. Unrealistic. Jerry’s worst nightmare was for Romo to go somewhere else — four hours south on I-45 — and actually win a Super Bowl! How delicious would that be?!!! Can you imagine!?!

We’ll never know. Romo has walked away from the chance. His last act as a Cowboy was to disappoint all of us one more time.

As for Houston, can they trade a number two draft pick to the Browns for Osweiler?

Peace,

Allan

Romo Remembered

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According to my research — I’ve spent about 15-minutes on this — there’s only one quarterback in the history of the NFL who started for the same team for as many consecutive seasons as Tony Romo without winning a single divisional playoff game.

Romo has been in Dallas for 13 seasons, the starting quarterback for the Cowboys the last eleven of those seasons — ten if you don’t count 2016 because he actually never played a down. Regardless of how you count this past year for him, he stands with only one other quarterback in league history in the category of longevity-plus-playoff-failure.

Danny White was the starter for eight years in Dallas and led the Cowboys to three straight NFC Championship Games. By the way, only five of those years was full time  — he split starts with Gary Hogeboom and Steve Pelluer his last three seasons — because White couldn’t get the team to the Super Bowl. Don Meredith was under center for seven consecutive seasons and took Dallas to two NFL league championship games. But he was run out of town because he couldn’t win the big one. Romo hasn’t even won a medium-sized one! But, as we figured out a long time ago, Jerry Wayne is making plenty of money and seems to be perfectly fine with a mediocre team.

Jim Hart played nine years for the Cardinals and never won a playoff game. Matt Stafford just completed his eighth year in Detroit without a playoff victory. Philip Rivers has been in San Diego for eleven years, but he’s taken the Chargers to an AFC Championship Game.

Archie Manning is the only guy I can find who played for the same team as long as Romo played for Dallas without a divisional playoff victory. Manning started for ten seasons in New Orleans, never once qualifying for the playoffs.

Help me. Is there somebody I’m missing? Is Romo’s situation truly this rare?

I’m not blaming Tony Romo exclusively. It’s not all his fault that he’s the first quarterback in the past thirty-one years and only the second in NFL history to play ten years for one team and never win a divisional playoff game. A lot of this is on Jerry.

Peace,

Allan

Jerry Wayne in the Hall of Fame

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This post is about the weekend election of Jerry Wayne into the once-proud Professional Football Hall of Fame. I’ll add a few observations from last night’s Super Bowl at the end.

JerryJonesShirtCroppedSo Jerry Wayne is in the Hall of Fame.

Gross.

I need to take a shower. And brush my teeth. And gargle. Twice.

Enshrining the Cowboys’ owner with the immortals in Canton values making money and turning a profit over winning football games and capturing championships. Jerry was elected solely on his ability to multiply cash. And it’s sickening.

JerryWayneHairGive Jethro all the credit in the world for buying the Cowboys for 140-million dollars in 1989 and turning them into the world’s most valuable sports franchise at four-billion-plus-dollars today. But at the same time, recognize that Jerry has driven one of the NFL’s marquee franchises into a 21-years-and-counting streak of complete irrelevance on the field. Honor Jerry Wayne for sticking it to the networks and raising the annual revenue the league takes in on television contracts to 44.5-billion dollars. But, keep in mind that the Cowboys have not won a divisional round playoff game since Toy Story was released as Pixar’s very first full-length animated movie. Sure, praise Jerry for sticking with Pepsi and wearing Nike and going with Miller Lite and putting on Papa John’s pajamas to revolutionize the way the NFL does marketing agreements and stadium deals. But don’t forget that he fired Jimmy Johnson for winning back-to-back to Super Bowls and hired Barry Switzer. And Dave Campo.

JerryHidesFaceYes, for more than two decades Jerry Wayne has made the NFL and all its team owners more money than they could have ever possibly dreamed. Jerry is a genius when it comes to making money. When it comes to stadium revenue, team marketing, club sponsorships, labor negotiations, and TV contracts, there’s no stopping Jerry Wayne. He’s going to win those games every time.

At the expense of his team on the football field. Every time.

The timing’s good for Jerry, huh? I wonder if Jerry had been eligible last year, when the Cowboys were 4-12, if he would have received the votes. What if his name didn’t appear on the ballot until next season when Dallas will be playing a bunch of division winners on its schedule instead of this year’s cellar dwellers? Would he still be elected?

JerryWaynePicksJerry has demonstrated over and over that making money is a whole lot more important to him than winning championships. He proves it every year. He’s fond of saying that nobody ever really owns the Cowboys; one only takes care of them for a while before passing them on. When that day comes, the Cowboys will be richer in the bank than when he first took over, but in far worse shape on the field.

The Hall of Fame inducted Tex Schramm and Tom Landry for building a dynastic team that posted 20-straight winning seasons, went to Super Bowls, won championships, and captured America’s heart with its dramatic performances of grace and power on the field. Now the Hall of Fame has inducted Jerry Wayne for making a whole lot of money for the NFL owners. The fact that he’s destroyed the on-field product in the process doesn’t seem to matter.

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All credit to Brady and Belichick and the Patriots’ D. Let’s recognize that coming from 25-points down to win the Super Bowl is a monumental achievement. Let’s acknowledge that holding the wild Falcons’ offense to zero points over the final nineteen minutes is an incredible accomplishment. But let’s never forget that Atlanta cost themselves the trophy. They gave it away.

I don’t pretend to know all that happens on the field and on the sidelines, in and in-between the huddles, in the headsets, and player-to-player. I know it must all happen extremely fast. But coaches and quarterbacks do things all the time that make no sense.

For example, at the end of the game-winning drive in overtime, after the pass interference in the end zone, on first and goal at the one yard line, why did Tom Brady throw a fade route to the corner? It was nearly picked off! One more half-a-step and the linebacker intercepts and the Falcons get the ball at the 25! Atlanta’s defense has been on the field for more than 40-minutes. They’re clearly exhausted, they’re on their heels, they’ve got nothing left. Just run it up the middle and win the game. Just run the ball. They did that on second down. But because they attempted a pass on first down, they almost didn’t get the chance.

Back to the Falcons choking away the game.

Atlanta’s up by eight points and they’re at the New England 22-yard-line with 4:40 to play in the game. That’s a 39-yard field goal to go up two scores. If you run the ball straight up the gut three times in a row, then kick the points, you’re got an eleven-point lead with less than two minutes to play. The only thing you absolutely cannot do is go backwards 23 yards!

So they lose one yard on the first run. And then they panic. Ryan attempts a pass and he’s trapped for a 13-yard sack. Then another pass play with a ten yard holding penalty. Then the punt. Then the loss. If they run the ball, they win the game. Instead, they tried passing. And they lost. They went for the mile when an inch would have won the championship.

Like Pete Carroll and the Seahawks two years ago. Just run the ball and win the game.

Don’t give me what we heard from the Atlanta coaches and players last night: “That’s not our offense. We’re always looking to move the ball downfield and score points. We weren’t trying to squeak out a three-point win, we’re trying to play our style, play our game.”

Knowing how to close out a game, how to milk the clock and kick a championship clinching field goal, should probably be added somewhere next year in the Falcons’ playbook.

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For my money, with a nod to Turbo Tax’s Humpty Dumpty and T-Mobile’s Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg ads, my three favorite commercials from last night were Skittles, Busch Beer, and the Intel ad featuring Tom Brady. When he snatched that dropped pancake off the floor and away from his dog…

Peace,

Allan

Remember When?

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CT68T6 Family gathered around television

Remember watching the Cowboys together the last time they were in the Super Bowl?

Some Finish!

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AaronRodgers&BoysThey never quit. They never gave up. They never stopped fighting. They suffered more than a couple of major physical and mental breakdowns on both sides of the ball — substitution penalty, defensive holding, clocking the ball on that last drive — and they were playing one of the greatest 4th quarter quarterbacks in league history, but the Cowboys never threw in the towel. Give ’em that.

When Green Bay went up 21-3 early in the 2nd quarter, it looked like the rout I figured it to be. Rodgers was having his way with the Dallas secondary and the whole Cowboys defense was already worn out. Down by 18, Dallas couldn’t run Ezekiel Elliott like they needed to and the offense, which was going to be the only hope against the Packers, was reduced to one dimension. Even after Dak Prescott marched the Cowboys down the field and hit Dez Bryant with a touchdown that made it 21-10, Rodgers answered right back in a way that would have sunk most other Cowboys teams.

But the Cowboys kept fighting. I’ll give ’em that.

PackersCatchWhat a wild finish to the most entertaining playoff game of the Divisional Round weekend. A combined 24 points scored in the 4th quarter by the Packer and Cowboys, including three field goals of more than 50-yards in the final 93-seconds. Dallas scored 18 points in the 4th quarter to erase a 15-point deficit. But it was Rodgers hitting Jared Cook on 3rd and 20 with a 35-yard pass down the very edge of the left sideline that doomed Dallas to another epic failure on the playoff stage. That astonishing pass and catch set up the 51-yard field goal that won the game as time expired — that’s the play we’ll see on the highlights over and over again until Green Bay gets knocked out or wins the Super Bowl. But I think it was the play before that clinched it for the Packers.

How did Rodgers hang on to the ball on the Jeff Heath sack?!?

HeathSack2Heath blitzed from Rodgers’ blind side and blasted the Packers quarterback, tomahawking his right arm to knock the ball free. Rodgers didn’t see him coming — he had no idea he was about to be hammered. He didn’t see Heath, he didn’t feel Heath, he didn’t sense it coming at all. And in the instant before Heath made contact, I jumped off the couch, threw my arms over my head and screamed in agony: “No! No! No!”

I just assumed Rodgers fumbled. No quarterback in the league survives that kind of sack without losing the ball. It was impossible. It never occurred to me that Rodgers would hold on to it. He fumbles there and, if the Cowboys recover, they’re on the Green Bay 32-yard line and Bailey wins it with a field goal. Automatic. Heath becomes the improbable hero and the Cowboys win the game.

I’ll never know how Rodgers did not fumble that ball. It’s beyond my comprehension. But he calmly gets up, calls the timeout, hits Cook with another play-of-the-day pass, and watches calmly as Crosby hits the game-winner. Green Bay travels to Atlanta for another NFC Championship Game and the Cowboys still have not won a Divisional playoff game in 21-years. And counting.

Let me make two observations about the Cowboys and be done for the day.

One, it looks like the Cowboys have something really good in Prescott. Maybe. You can get in trouble for anointing a legend before his sophomore year is complete. Dak is a rookie playing the easiest schedule in the league with zero expectations. If you’re one of the few Cowboys fans who hasn’t purchased a Dak jersey yet, you might hold off until the end of this upcoming season. Everybody’s got film on Prescott now and the expectations are high and next year’s schedule will be against division winners, not cellar dwellers. Having said that, this team really responds to Dak. They follow him, they believe in him. The defense plays better after Prescott does something exciting, the line blocks better because he doesn’t get sacked or throw interceptions, the receivers jump higher, the coaches coach better. It all snowballs in really fun ways around Dak Prescott. For now.

Second, you can look at Dallas and see reflections of 1991. It was that season, Emmitt Smith’s second with the team, that you sensed something really special was building. The Cowboys — really young, really dynamic, fun personalities, unique talent, and top picks at three key offensive positions — won a playoff game that year for the first time in nine seasons and then got obliterated in the Division Round. But it felt like something great was happening. The core players were in place, the chemistry was perfect, the next level was just around the corner. Sure enough, Dallas won the next two Super Bowls and made it look fairly easy.

JasonGarrettPresserThere are a few similarities between this team and that one. With one glaring difference: This team is coached by Jason Garrett and that one was coached by Jimmy Johnson. That team was put together by Johnson and Lacewell and this one is run by Jones and Jones. So, yeah. There’s really no reason to be optimistic.

If you’re a Cowboys fan, this surprise 13-3 season, the number one seed in the conference, and an exciting loss in the Division Playoff is probably as good as it’s going to get.

Peace,

Allan