Category: Cowboys (Page 1 of 44)

A Night with the Greatest

I’ve got three or four pretty good Emmitt Smith stories from my mediocre sports radio career and I added to the list last night with our oldest daughter Whitney. The all-time greatest running back in NFL history was in town for the Davidson Distinguished Lecture Series at Midland College, and our favorite math professor, Lori Thomas, got us a pair of VIP passes for the event.

Emmitt stopped by the pre-event reception to take pictures with us and he was kind enough to pretend like he remembered me from my time at KRLD. Maybe. There were a lot of us in and out of Valley Ranch back in those days, but the longer we talked, the more he seemed to recognize me. He was mostly surprised to hear that I’m preaching. Most people are. And he was kind enough to autograph my press pass from the day he broke Walter Payton’s all-time rushing record against the Seahawks at Texas Stadium. It was the first and only time in my 16-years in sports radio that every person in the press box stood and applauded an athlete on the field. A special day.

Whitney doesn’t remember Emmitt Smith’s playing days. When he left the Cowboys the season before Bill Parcells took over for Dave Campo, she was nine. But she’s seen all the highlights and heard all the stories. She laughed out loud several times during Emmitt’s talk and her eyes lit up when he talked about Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin, when he mentioned familiar names like Jerry Jones and Roger Staubach. She was especially locked in while listening to the story about the separated shoulder game against the Giants – an expertly delivered first hand account. I guess it was her first time to hear about that legendary performance and she was riveted. We debriefed it all the way home – she asking questions, me telling her my memories of that afternoon.

They don’t make ’em like Emmitt Smith anymore. Three Super Bowl victories, league and championship MVPs, Cowboys Ring of Honor, Pro Football Hall of Fame. His rushing records for most ever yards and most ever touchdowns in NFL history will never be threatened. He was durable, dependable, tenacious, and focused. Not the biggest, not the fastest, not the strongest. Just the undeniably best to ever do it. And still a really nice guy.



Less Moore is the Same

Dallas Cowboys, OC Kellen Moore mutually agree to part ways

The Cowboys “mutually” parting ways with offensive coordinator Kellen Moore tells me Jerry Wayne has given Mike McCarthy one more year to get Dallas over the divisional playoff hump and if McCarthy is going down, he’s going to go down swinging and calling his own plays. McCarthy’s oversized play sheet isn’t just a coaching prop anymore, he’s actually going to be calling each play for the Cowboys offense starting this next season. Which means… what?


I can’t imagine Moore was doing anything the past three seasons that McCarthy didn’t ultimately approve. If anything, not having Moore on the sidelines might mean more double reverses and more going for it on 4th and two from their own 30-yard line and more two-point attempts to tie a game in the second quarter.

At the very least, it’ll be the same.

The change that needs to take place is with the coach in the owner’s box. I haven’t seen this addressed anywhere since it happened, but immediately following the Wild Card win in Tampa Bay,  Jerry Wayne told reporters in the locker room that he and Mike McCarthy were in agreement all week that Dak needed to win the game for the Cowboys. Dak had to have a great game. He and Mike agreed on that. Then Jerry said he had a talk with Dak right before the game. He told Dak he had to be aggressive on every play. “Don’t be anything less than aggressive.”

That’s a problem.

Aggressive means zipping the ball into double-coverage over the middle or forcing an out route off your back foot when you’re under pressure. It means interceptions. Aggressive doesn’t work with Dak. Did Jerry’s advice go against what McCarthy and Moore were telling him? I don’t know! We’ll never know! But Jerry personally coaching the quarterback on the field minutes before kickoff is a problem that’s not going away.

McCarthy won a Super Bowl a long time ago with Aaron Rodgers in his prime. Dak is not Aaron Rodgers. And McCarthy is not Tom Landry as Jerry called him after the Tampa Bay win. And Jerry is not Clint Murchison. If Jerry were more like the other 31 NFL owners, things might be a little less interesting off the field, but a lot more interesting on it.

Kellen Moore has bolted for the Bolts in San Diego and an owner you can’t name and a generational talent at QB in Justin Herbert. McCarthy stays in Dallas. And so does Jerry. Which means nothing changes.



Losing Proposition

Some of these teenagers here at GCR Church are desperate to get me up front on a Sunday wearing a Dallas Cowboys tie. The problem is that they keep betting on the Cowboys, and that’s always a losing proposition.

The latest delusional young person to bet on the Cowboys with me is Graden McQueen. He’s about as hard core a Cowboys fan as anybody I’ve met not named Whitney. Graden approached me last Sunday with the wager. We negotiated the details and came to the agreement that if the Cowboys make it to the Super Bowl, I would wear a Cowboys tie on Super Bowl Sunday and if the Cowboys don’t make it to the Super Bowl, Graden would wear a t-shirt sporting the logo of the team that knocked them out.

It’s a sucker bet. But Cowboys fans are suckers.

Graden took it hook, line, and sinker.

When Dak threw his first interception against the Niners, I texted Graden’s dad, Marc. “Ask Graden what size t-shirt he wears.” About a minute later, I received the reply: “Graden responded with some trash talk that might get him grounded.”

Well, Graden made good on his bet today. He wore the ugly 49ers shirt I got him and he wore it well all through Bible class and our worship assembly. He’s a good sport and a great young man. And I think he enjoyed the attention a little more than he was supposed to.



Make it 27

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) walks off the field after an NFL divisional round playoff football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023. (AP Photo/Josie Lepe)

Twenty-seven years now, and counting. It’s been 27 years since the Dallas Cowboys last won a divisional round playoff game. The only NFL teams you can place in that category with Dallas are the Dolphins, Lions, Browns, and Deadskins. That’s some mighty fine company there.

A few observations, please, from Sunday’s 19-12 playoff loss to the 49ers and their rookie quarterback:

The very first play of the game was a ten yard holding penalty against the Cowboys. Of course.

The Cowboys scored six points in the first half and six points in the second half. This, from the NFL’s highest scoring team with a $160-million quarterback. Dallas went 5-15 on third downs. This kind of offensive production wouldn’t beat Texas A&M-Commerce.

Speaking of Dak, he threw two interceptions Sunday, more than any Cowboys quarterback in any playoff game since 1998. He had at least two other balls bounce off the chests of 49ers defenders. Prescott led the league in picks this year, even while missing five games with an injury. He can’t read a simple zone defense. He doesn’t make good decisions under pressure.

Brock Purdy is a rookie. He was the 262nd pick in the draft – dead last. When the Niners picked Purdy, the draft ended. At Thanksgiving dinner this year, he had never taken one snap in an NFL football game. Now he’s won the same number of playoff games Dak has won in his seven year career and the same number of postseason games Tony Romo won in his 14 year career. And he’s already done something neither of those quarterbacks ever did: advance to the conference championship game. Purdy’s first playoff game was eight days ago.

The Cowboys defense allowed this rookie quarterback to drive his team 91-yards for a crucial second-half touchdown. The Cowboys offense had the ball at the Dallas 18 with 3:00 to play, down by seven, with all three timeouts. They went three-and-out. Two Dak incompletions and a Dak sack.

The Cowboys offense averaged 27.5 points per game this season. That many points wins this game. The 49ers gave up an average of 16 points per game this year playing the NFC West. The Cowboys couldn’t even reach that.

After the game, Mike McCarthy told reporters this Cowboys team was “factually” better than last year’s team. “On paper,” he said, this season was a step forward from last season. Okay. I suppose. Dallas won one more game than last year, they advanced one round further in the playoffs, and maybe the last play of the game Sunday was slightly less embarrassing than the play that eliminated the Cowboys the year before. That’s only if you consider Dak running up the middle with 14-seconds left and no timeouts and handing the ball to his center instead of the referee as time expired a little worse than whatever that play was the Cowboys rolled out there Sunday. Zeke snapping the ball from center and having to be declared an ineligible receiver, all the linemen spread out beyond the hashmarks, Dak throwing a seven yard pass to a punt returner, and the whole thing blowing up in two seconds. It looked like something Kellen Moore drew up on the back of his notebook during a sophomore English class in high school.

Dan Quinn is surely gone. He’ll be wearing a different colored hat backwards for somebody else next season. Kellen Moore will surely be gone. You can’t score twelve points in a divisional playoff game and keep your job. Zeke might be gone. You can’t pay that much money for a pass blocker and short yardage expert. Tony Pollard won’t be the same after his fractured tibia. The only certainty with this team is that Dak will be back. He’s counting $50-million against the cap in 2024.

At least three times on Sunday, the television broadcasters said something to the effect of if Dak can win today he will solidify his legacy as a Cowboys quarterback, he’ll be established as a Cowboys legend. What?!? By just getting his team to the NFC Championship Game? My, how the bar has been lowered! The standard for this once proud franchise has been completely erased. I remember a time when Danny White took the Cowboys to three straight NFC Championship Games and we hated him for it! He couldn’t win a Super Bowl. That used to be the standard. Now, Cowboys fans tout a road playoff win over an 8-9 Buccaneers team as success.

This is a second-place franchise that got to the divisional round by beating the disinterested 45-year-old quarterback of a team with a losing record in the wild card game. When the Cowboys go up against real teams, with real coaches, and real quarterbacks, with real stakes on the line, they turn the ball over, commit costly penalties, and score twelve points. This is what they are.

I don’t know why the Cowboys still have so many fans. It’s stupefying. This is an over-hyped, do-nothing football team, and has been for 27 years. The foundation of this once proud franchise has been totally destroyed by an owner who’s sold a sacred public trust down the river for his own wealth and power and ego. There is no continuity between the Cowboys who consistently played for conference and league titles every season for thirty years and what we’ve been watching now since 1996. The Cowboys are the Lions, Browns, Dolphins, and Deadskins.

And Jerry Wayne will still be the owner and Dak will still be the quarterback in 2024. And 2025. And 2026.


Happy Birthday today to our middle daughter who was born 54-weeks AFTER the last Dallas Cowboys divisional playoff victory. Valerie Nicole is 26 today. She’s learned to walk and talk, she’s gotten a driver’s license, she’s earned a college degree, and gotten married all since the Cowboys last won a divisional playoff game.



Retiring Tom Brady

Congratulations to the Dallas Cowboys.  Seriously.

The 31-14 blowout of the Bucs was the very last thing I expected to see last night. Yes, I figured the Cowboys had a 50-50 shot of winning their first playoff game on the road in 30 years against a bad Tampa team that entered the postseason with a losing record. I expected them to win it or lose it in a tight game in the 20s, say 27-23, something like that.  I wouldn’t have been surprised by a back and forth barn burner in the 40s or by a modest 13-6 score, either. But Dallas’ total domination last night was shocking, and they deserve a lot of credit from the coaches to every player on the team not named Maher.

Tampa Bay is not good. We know that. Still, that should not take away from what the Cowboys accomplished. They played a perfect game against the scheduled opponent. Flawless.

Coming off arguably his worst career game in D.C. last week, Dak Prescott turned in an all-time beauty last night with four passing TDs and one running on a spectacular 4th down bootleg. At one point, Prescott led the Cowboys on four straight scoring drives. He threw no interceptions and he completed balls to every receiver. Tony Pollard opened things up with his tough running. The defense put constant pressure on Brady, batted away every other pass he threw, and totally shut down the Bucs’ running game.  No turnovers for Dallas and they only committed two penalties.

And they officially retired Tom Brady. Didn’t they? Didn’t Dallas last night finally put Tom Brady out of his misery? And ours?

Brady did not want to be out there last night. His facial expressions, his body language, his posture – all of it looked like a guy who had ended up in a neighborhood he didn’t recognize. He didn’t want to play, he wanted to get out of there. He didn’t want to get hit, so he took one step away from the pressure and drilled the ball into the ground. Like a dozen times. He wasn’t scrambling to make a play as much as he was getting rid of the ball so as to get off the field without getting hurt. It was clear he didn’t want to be out there and he had no intention of doing anything extra or special to try to win. He just wanted it to be over.

And it is, right? Dak has never looked as good as he looked last night and Brady has never looked as bad. Never. Tom Brady looked like a third-string QB on crack. He underthrew, overthrew, and threw behind his receivers all night. He attempted 66 passes and most of them were ugly. He was out of sync, out of rhythm with his receivers, and out of sorts all the way around. And out of time. It’s over. Right?

If you had an NFL team that was really good on both sides of the ball and all you needed was a quarterback to take you to that next level, would you call Brady? Not me. He’s done. Finally.

Brett Maher missing an NFL record four PATs was my glimmer of hope last night. Certainly those historic misses would turn out to be a deciding factor. The Cowboys always lose playoff games in the strangest way imaginable. It’s always something you’ve never seen before, something that drops your jaw and defies explanation and gets talked about for months. Like missing four extra points. The perfect script had the Cowboys losing by one point last night. Can you imagine? Of course you can, because things like that have happened to this team regularly for the past quarter century.

But not last night. The Cowboys were too good and the Bucs were dreadfully awful.

It won’t be the same thing in San Francisco on Sunday. The 49ers are the most dominant team in the NFL since November. They are on an eleven game winning streak and they are solid on both sides of the line. They will run the ball 35 times against Dallas, Brock Purdy will scramble away from pressure and make big plays against the Dallas secondary, and they will stuff Zeke and Pollard and show Dak defenses he’s never seen before. It’s a road game for the Cowboys, all the way to the West Coast, and on a short week. The string of consecutive seasons without a divisional playoff victory will extend to 27 years. And the Cowboys will lose Dan Quinn and make Kellen Moore an assistant head coach.

But that’s next week. For one day, the Cowboys deserve to celebrate a postseason road victory, the first one since before my 30-year-old daughter Whitney was born.


Our middle daughter Valerie flew in from Tulsa to spend almost a full week with us as we acclimate from Houston back to Stanglin Manor here at home. While she was here, we celebrated her birthday a little early with a Hibachi dinner at Hayashi – her call. Of course, she wore the cheesy inflatable pink princess crown when they brought out the birthday drums! Valerie helped with the cooking and cleaning, turned Carrie-Anne on to a couple of TV shows she’ll be streaming for the next several weeks, and provided a real emotional boost during this up-and-down time of transition. It’s always good having our Val Pal around.

We meet with the doctors at Texas Oncology here in Midland tomorrow to work out the game plan and finalize the time frame for Carrie-Anne’s chemotherapy. C-A was scheduled to return to work on February 9, but that may be the same week we start her infusions. We’ll see. They told us at  M.D. Anderson that this type of chemo isn’t the kind that knocks you out for a week. They say she’ll be able to go to work the day after each treatment. But, of course, everybody responds differently. We’ll see.



Statement Game

It’s that most wonderful time of the year, when reality sets in for delusional Cowboys fans. No doubt, there are some who still believe Dallas is going to beat the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay one week from tonight in the Wild Card round. But that number is surely fewer today than it was 24 hours ago. Tom Brady has seven Super Bowl rings and he’s won 35 playoff games. The Cowboys have never beaten Brady. But, I’m not sure Tom Brady’s the problem here for the Cowboys.

Dallas has faced Gardner Minshew, Joshua Dobbs, and Sam Howell the past three weeks and all three of those quarterbacks enjoyed great success against the Cowboys defense. The Bucs have a first-ballot Hall of Famer under center for this first-round game, but it may as well be Tom T. Hall.

Before we look ahead to the playoffs, let’s recap what happened at FedEx Field yesterday. The Cowboys told us all week long that the regular season finale in Washington was going to be a statement game. This was the time to put it all together and build winning momentum for the playoffs. No more mistakes. No more interceptions. No more penalties. Back to the relentless pass rush. Back to pounding the ball on offense. With a win yesterday, Dallas had an outside shot at the NFC’s number one seed and the first-round bye and home field advantage through the playoffs. They had everything to play for and told us that they would.

Well, the game was a statement alright. It was a succinct and complete summation of the issues facing Dallas as they prepare for Tampa.

Dak is a problem. He has thrown three pick-six interceptions in his past four games, at least one interception in seven straight games. He’s thrown a league-leading 15 interceptions this year despite missing five games with injury.

The running game is a problem. Ezekiel Elliot ran the ball eight times for a total of ten yards yesterday. Zeke and Tony Pollard combined for 29 yards rushing, their longest gain a mere sixty inches.

Offensively, the Cowboys went three-and-out ten times yesterday. That’s the most by any team in any game in the NFL this season. They were four-of-18 on third downs.

The defense is a problem. Dallas gave up 151 yards on the ground yesterday and got no pass rush on a rookie quarterback making his first ever NFL appearance. The Cowboys are 1-4 on natural grass this year; the natural turf seems to negate whatever speed they may have along their front seven. It’s real grass in Tampa Bay, and it probably won’t be mowed this week.

Leadership is a problem. It was obvious from the very first play that Dallas was not prepared to play yesterday. With so much on the line, the Cowboys suffered a holding penalty on the opening kickoff, Bryan Anger fumbled the snap on his first punt attempt, KaVontae Turpin fumbled his first punt return attempt, Brett Maher missed his first PAT attempt, and the Cowboys had only one first down in their first six possessions. Mike McCarthy will be rightly blamed for not having his team ready. But, good grief, all the players knew what was at stake. The Eagles and 49ers were playing with the same scenario yesterday and posted wins of 38-13 and 22-16.

I’m sure Tom Brady is trembling at the specter of this well-oiled Cowboys machine coming to Tampa Bay.

The Cowboys have not won a road playoff game since the 1992 season. Jimmy Johnson was the coach. My 30-year-old daughter wasn’t yet born. Dallas hasn’t won a divisional playoff game in 26 years, one of only five teams in the NFL on that kind of streak. They said yesterday would be a statement game regarding expectations for the playoffs.

It was.

The 12-5 Cowboys are going to be beaten in the first round by a team with a losing record.


Our youngest daughter, Carley, and her husband, Collin, drove down to Houston Friday afternoon to stay with Carrie-Anne while I flew back to Midland to preach at GCR yesterday. Carley took over the drain management and exercise drill sergeant duties with detailed precision. Collin said he came “to cook and lift.” It was great to spend some time with these two and a wonderful emotional lift for C-A. We sent them off this morning with a full tank of gas and a twelve-pack of Dr Pepper.

M.D. Anderson has set our appointment with the oncologist for Tuesday morning January 17th. We’re heading back to Midland this Wednesday the 11th and were told this oncology meeting would be scheduled for before then. We’re trying to work through that right now. Disappointing.



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