Category: Cowboys (page 1 of 34)

College Night at Central

The Cowboys and Redskins are playing tonight in Arlington, both teams at 5-6, both teams more or less playing out the string now, pretty much out of any kind of playoff running. Still, it’s Cowboys-Redskins. And, still, there’s no better day-to-day, week-in-and-week-out drama than Jerry Wayne’s Cowboys. To get you ready for tonight, I highly recommend this excellent piece by ESPN’s Bill Barnwell. It’s a lengthy and detailed analysis of the Cowboys’ problems since Ezekiel Elliot began serving his suspension. Barnwell makes a really strong case that the Cowboys aren’t missing Elliot as much as Dak Prescott is faltering at quarterback. If you ever wanted to make the case that Prescott only looks good because of Zeke, now would be the time to do it — Dak has thrown more interceptions over the past three games than he did his entire rookie season.  But Barnwell expertly outlines how the running game is putting up the same numbers without Elliot as they did with their superstar back. And he accurately spreads the blame around to injuries, receivers, coaching, and offensive line. And Dak.


One of the many intentionally intergenerational events we hold here at Central is our annual college night.  We bring in recruiters from ACU, OC, LCU, West Texas A&M, Amarillo College, OU, and Texas Tech. And they bring their T-shirts and posters and catalogues. We invite our entire church to show up in their college gear, supporting their schools and interacting with the Central middle school and high school students who are shopping for colleges. And it’s always a fun night. We give away door prizes and play silly trivia games. And we encourage our younger people to talk to our older people about where they went to school.

I enjoy reminiscing about the good ol’ days with fellow Oklahoma Christian alums like Jeff & Michelle and Steve & Connie. It’s fun to talk to our Central teenagers about college life. Their reactions, too, are interesting. It’s almost like they can’t imagine their old preacher really being a teenager and living in a dorm and going to college.

I’m grateful to belong to a church that places such an emphasis on intergenerational relationships. I’m thankful that, even though it’s sometimes hard to determine whether anything’s being accomplished, we keep plugging away at forcing our older and younger people into the same rooms together. It matters.

Thank you to OC recruiter Lauren Bridgeforth for making the trip to Amarillo. And thanks to Adam and Tanner and the Adees for pulling off a fabulously fun evening.



Remarkable Low

The NFL has announced that the Cowboys-Giants game set for prime-time on Sunday December 10 has now been flexed out of the 3:30pm slot to be replaced by Seattle-Jacksonville. Let me repeat: The Cowboys-Giants game has been moved to 12:00 noon on Sunday December 10 in favor of Seahawks-Jaguars.

Let that sink in.

The last time the Giants and Cowboys faced each other at noon on a December Sunday was 2005.

Yes, the Cowboys and Giants play each other twice a year, but their games are a TV exec’s bread-and-butter. This is an intense 60-year division rivalry with two huge fan bases and two of the top media markets in the country. But the game has been moved to noon for Jaguars-Seahawks.

Yes, the Giants are woefully awful this season. Yeah, nobody wants to watch Geno Smith at quarterback for a lame duck coach nobody’s ever heard of. But the now 22-year irrelevancy of the Cowboys is also a factor here that cannot be ignored. Dallas is on its way to yet another .500 or worse season, they won’t make the playoffs, and it’s going to take outsiders — TV executives, NFL brass, jersey sales in Great Britain, whatever — to do what Jerry Wayne won’t: pull the plug on this experiment already!



Jesus Did Nothing

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.


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…


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.”


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.



Romo Disappoints One More Time

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?



Romo Remembered

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.



Jerry Wayne in the Hall of Fame

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.


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.


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.


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…



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