Category: Cowboys (Page 2 of 40)

A Delicious Win-Win

Which would be more of a devastating gut-punch to the Cowboys? To lose to the Giants at the very last second in a dramatic catastrophic collapse? Or to come from behind to beat the Giants, pack up and fly to DFW, think about the next week’s potential playoff opponent during the flight, drive home, sit down in front of the TV, and watch the Eagles jump offsides on Washington’s fourth-and-one to hand WFT the NFC East and get knocked out of the playoffs at 10:30 at night?

I think scenario #2 would have been a lot more fun, but history dictates it was always going to be scenario #1.

Either way. So juicy.

Trailing by four points a little over midway through the fourth quarter, Dallas started at their own 25-yard line and methodically marched to the Giants seven. Confidently. Triumphantly. The Cowboys overcame three third downs and converted a fourth-and-two on what was an unheard of 17-play drive. It felt like some kind of devilish destiny. The Cowboys are terrible, but the Giants, yes, are probably worse. It looked like Dallas was going to win this lousy game and subject all of us to another week of the Mike McCarthy inspiration tour. In the driving sleet in an empty Giants Stadium, Dallas had a first-and-goal at the New York seven yard line. I felt sick to my stomach.

But, then, history took over and all was made right in the football world.

1st down – shotgun formation, Dalton sacked for a ten yard loss
2nd down – shotgun formation, Dalton incomplete across the middle to CeeDee Lamb
3rd down – shotgun formation, Dalton pressured, forced to his left, lofts a dying duck to the middle of the end zone that is intercepted by Giants rookie Xavier McKinney

Dalton said after the game he was throwing it up for grabs, hoping somebody would make a play. He told reporters he wishes he had thrown the ball out of bounds since it was only third down. Hmm. Sounds reasonable.

We all should have seen it coming. We knew the Cowboys weren’t going to punch it in there. Of the myriad Cowboys issues this season, one of the more glaring is their inability to score touchdowns inside the Red Zone. Dallas took four trips inside the New York 20-yard line yesterday and came away with only one touchdown. Each of the other three trips was stymied by a Dalton sack. Dallas scored touchdowns on only 27 of their 54 Red Zone opportunities this year. Too many field goals. Too little imagination.

The longer historical narrative should also have comforted us. The Cowboys always lose when they’re playing a divisional opponent in the season finale with a playoff spot on the line. Five times since 2008, Dallas has needed a win against another NFC East team on the last day of the season to qualify for the playoffs, and all five times they have lost.

2008 Philadelphia 44-6
2011 New York 31-14
2012 Washington 28-18
2013 Philadelphia 24-22
2020 New York 23-19

So, the next time it happens, maybe as early as next season, you can bet on Dallas to lose to WFT or WFC or whatever Snyder’s calling that outfit then. And it’ll be just as satisfying.



Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!

Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to Julio Franco…

The sign has arrived and it’s finally becoming a reality: Amarillo will have a Chuy’s restaurant and it will open in mid-January! For two years we’ve been teased with rumors of land purchases and permits,  remodeling and renovations, strategy revisions and pandemic delays. I had just about given up hope when the truck and trailer rolled into town carrying that big beautiful sign! If  everything can continue now on schedule, move over Abuelo’s! In less than three months, it’s all chicken enchiladas with the Boom Boom sauce and that green chili rice!


My great friend, college roommate, Delta brother, and roofing partner Mike Osburn is running for re-election as an Oklahoma State Representative from the district that includes our old Edmond stompin’ grounds. His new TV ad features his wonderful wife, Holly, and their three kids, and it’s terrific.


Following their 5th loss of the season on Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys made big news yesterday by signing a backup punter to the practice squad. Yes, you read that correctly. Special teams director John Fassell says they signed Hunter Niswander as insurance, in case of an injury to Chris Jones or Greg the Leg. That’s right. Not a defensive back or linebacker, not an offensive lineman. This team now has two punters. With their turnover ratio at -13, do they even need one?


In his one-and-a-half quarters of relief for the concussed Andy Dalton, Cowboys quarterback Ben DiNucci suffered more sacks against Washington Sunday than completed passes. His line after the game was that, coming out of James Madison University, he’s never really seen pass rushers like Chase Young. Oops.


If I’m being generous — very, very, very generous — I can’t see the Cowboys finishing this season at anything better than 5-11. If they split with every team in this atrocious division and if they split their games against Minnesota and the Bengals (a big IF), they’ll finish with a Dave Campo record. And Jerry Wayne will say they’re just one offensive lineman and one defensive playmaker away. Or punter.


We’re celebrating another fabulous Missions Sunday here at Central. After sharing the communion meal together with our 14 local and foreign missions partners, our church family gave $335,296 towards our missions efforts in 2021! That’s  a lot of money for one church our size to give in one day! And it’s still coming in!  Praise the Lord! I’m so blessed by our God to belong to a church that puts God’s mission to others at the front and center of our existence and then puts it money there, too. This is such a deep part of who we are as a congregation. This is the way we express our faith in God and experience the abundance of his blessings. And this is one of the most significant ways we’re all connected.



Bad Company

Bill Parcells famously declared, “You are what your record says you are.” With that in mind, here is a list of the teams in the NFL who have not won a divisional playoff game in at least 25 years:

Buffalo Bills
Miami Dolphins
Washington Deadskins
Cleveland Browns
Cincinnati Bengals
Detroit Lions
Houston Texans
Dallas Cowboys

This is the worst of the worst in the NFL, the teams that have gone the longest at being the most irrelevant. This is the company the Cowboys have been keeping since 1995. The Cowboys are not one player or one coach away. The Cowboys are the Bengals and the Lions and the Dolphins.

At least it can be said that we are watching history with this current version of the Cowboys. Only three teams in the history of the NFL have given up more than the 218 points Dallas has given up in its first six games. The last time it happened was in 1961. Statistically speaking, we are watching the worst defense in the NFL in my lifetime! Arizona averaged almost seven-and-a-half yards per play last night!

But it’s not just the defense. Eighty-four of those 218 points given up this year have come off Dallas turnovers. The Cowboys committed four more in last night’s debacle against the Cardinals, two on fumbles by the highest paid running back in NFL history on back-to-back possessions. Andy Dalton looked lost. And the Cowboys may as well have set up five chairs on the line the way the Cards defense was running through to the backfield.


On this day in 1950, Thomas Earl Petty was born in Gainesville, Florida. At the age of 26, with his band of mostly childhood friends, The Heartbreakers, he released their self-titled debut album and I had a rock-and-roll companion I could grow old with. In his memory, check out this  promotional video of a little-known deep cut from that first album, “Anything That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll.”

I love the rebellious teenage angst lyrics in that song. This is the young Tom Petty, but anybody could see he was already a genius at turning a phrase and writing a really good lyric:

“Your mama don’t like it when you run around with me / but we got to hip your mama that you got to live free.”

While we’re at it, here are my favorite lines from the other nine songs on that first Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers album.

“I can’t stop thinkin’ about how I dig rockin’ around with you.”

“There is no sense in pretending / your eyes give you away / something inside you is feeling like I do / we’ve said all there is to say.”

“Said it’s so good, said it’s unreal / might not last, but it’s no big deal.”

“Well, the moon sank as the wind blew / and the street lights slowly died.”

“A roar turned into whispers.”

“You never said you had no number two / I need to know about it if you do / If two is one, I might as well be three / it’s good to see you think so much of me.”

“You got ruby lipstick, rose petal rouge / dime store jewelry, cheap perfume.”

“White light cut a scar in the sky / thin line of silver / the night was all clouded with dreams / wind made me shiver.”

“Well, she was an American girl, raised on promises / she couldn’t help but thinkin’ that there was a little more to life somewhere else / after all it was a great big world / with lots of places to run to / and if she had to die tryin’, she had one little promise she was gonna keep.”


Great Cities Missions has released a really wonderful video that highlights the missionaries, church planters, and congregations they equip and support all over Latin America and in Spanish-speaking churches in the U.S. The video is hosted by Grant Boone of CBS Sports, a great friend of GCM, and it really captures the passion of Kelley and Brian and Chris and all our great partners in this extraordinary Gospel organization. Junior and Patricia Lira are featured at the beginning, Byron and Sandra Cana are seen passing out food and resources in Bogota, Max Lucado makes an appearance at the end, and our own Leon Wood’s surprise cameo steals the whole thing! Watch the video; you’ll be encouraged and inspired.

At Central, we are incredibly honored and blessed to be founding partners with Great Cities Missions for almost 50 years. And we love celebrating our friendships during Missions Month and giving the glory and praise to our God.



Positively Negative

Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to Pat Verbeek…

Mainly to assure my co-workers and appease a couple of our church elders, I submitted myself to a Covid-19 test yesterday. I came out positive for burning nostrils and watery eyes and negative for the coronavirus. Everybody around me can breathe a huge sigh of relief. While wearing a large mask.

The Houston Texans should have fired Bill O’Brien at least four years ago, long before he traded away Jadeveon Clowney, DeAndre Hopkins, and all those draft picks. The Texans have the highest payroll in the NFL this year and they have started out 0-4. Reminds me of another embarrassingly futile NFL team in Texas.

When a team begins a football season at 1-3, it has a 14% chance of making the playoffs. That statistic will probably be skewed a bit this year because the NFC East is led right now by a team with one win. The Cowboys might win this division with a 7-9 record. But they already have a 100% chance of extending their streak of consecutive seasons without winning a divisional playoff game to 25 years. They should design another commemorative patch. “Silver Substandard” or something like that.

Missions Month is my favorite season at Central.

I’ve added our middle daughter Valerie’s brand new blog, “The Kitchen Sink,” to my links on the bottom right hand side of this page. Valerie is the newly-married, newly-employed Youth Minister at the Contact Church in Tulsa. She just launched the blog over the weekend and just posted her first article about our (Christians) and her (personal) relationship between our citizenship in heaven and our national politics. You can click here to read it or scroll through the links on the right. Man, I really love this girl. I admire Valerie. I wish I had the same passion for the Kingdom when I was her age. I’m really blessed to be her dad. I’m very thankful to God.



Established 1960

The Dallas Cowboys are recognizing their inaugural season of 1960 this year with a commemorative patch on their uniforms and, evidently, by replicating the results from that expansion campaign. The Cowboys have allowed 146 points through their first four games this season, the most since those first-year Cowboys gave up 136 through their first four contests. They’ve allowed 38+ points in three straight games for the first time since 1960. And, had the Falcons not completely lost their minds in a once-in-a-lifetime onside kick meltdown two weeks ago, the Cowboys would be on their way to matching that first year’s 0-10 start.

It’s genius, right? Commemorating the 1960 origins of the team by playing like them?

Actually, that’s not fair to the 1960 Cowboys. That very first edition did not have a single draft pick on the roster. That team was built by an expansion draft in which the other twelve NFL teams were allowed to protect 25 of their 36 players and the Cowboys had 24-hours to select three men from each team’s bottom eleven. And that team played with heart. They didn’t win a single game that season – a 31-31 tie with the New York Giants in week eleven was the only non-loss – but they played hard enough to capture the city’s imagination and build a solid following.

This current Cowboys team makes those 1960 forerunners they’re trying to honor look like the ideal.

In yesterday’s blowout loss to the Browns, the Cowboys gave up 333-yards and 24-first downs — wait for it — in the first half! Cleveland averaged 7.7-yards per play over the first two quarters and, at one point, scored 34-unaswered points to take a 41-14 lead. The Dallas defense let the Browns second and third string backs run for 307-yards, the most rushing yards given up by the Cowboys in a single game in franchise history. The Cowboys defense is giving up a touchdown for every twelve passing attempts! This defense is all bad angles, over-pursuit, sloppy tackling, and zero discipline. It’s historically bad. 1960 bad. Which, again, is an insult to everyone who played in 1960.

But it’s not just the defense, the special teams are also killing the Cowboys. Watching Tony Pollard return kicks is like watching Rick Perry on Dancing with the Stars: he’s doing it terribly, I have no idea who chose him for the job, and his partners have to pretend like it’s good. Only the Cowboys can block an opponent’s PAT and have it turn into two points for their opponent. While the offense is rolling up points like a pinball machine, they have also turned the ball over a league-worst nine times in the first four weeks. And the Cowboys offense is the third most penalized offense in the league. It’s undoubtedly a complete team effort.

So, yes, let’s honor those 1960 expansion Dallas Cowboys. Let’s hear it for that collection of misfits and castoffs who lost their first ten games and finished without a win. At least those Cowboys had a clue. They knew where they were going and they had a plan for getting there. They had a creative and energetic general manager, a brilliant and innovative head coach, and an owner who stayed out of the way.

And. The. Fans. Had. Hope.



Open Letter to Roger Goodell

Roger Goodell
NFL Commissioner
280 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10017

Mr. Goodell,

First, allow me to thank you for working so hard to get the current football season underway. You and your league officials committed to doing whatever it takes to begin the NFL campaign on time and I am deeply grateful. Watching Tom Brady and Cam Newton in their new digs, cheering on Pat Mahomes and Andy Reid in their attempt to repeat, and being tortured in new and unthinkable ways by the Houston Texans is just the diversion millions of Americans and I need during the autumn of this terrible year.

I realize how busy you are; I hesitate to even write this letter. You have a tremendous amount on your plate: Covid-19 testing your athletes, policing your head coaches’ masks, socially-distancing your fans, and negotiating the ways your African American players are allowed to protest police brutality probably takes a lot of time and energy. But I cannot overlook the nightmare of events that unfolded on a glittery gridiron in my own state yesterday under your watch. I do not believe you are responsible for the catastrophe, but I do think you can do something about it.

Of course, I am referring to the Dallas Cowboys “win” over the Falcons yesterday at Jerry Wayne’s AT&T Stadium. Sir, you alone are able to address this so that something like it never happens again. I am requesting that you please take extreme, yet, under the circumstances, justifiable action against the parties involved.

Both the Cowboys and the Falcons made enough bad calls and dreadful decisions yesterday to lose a season’s worth of games. The Cowboys fumbled four times in the first quarter, botched two fake field goals in their own territory in the first half, trailed 20-0 before I finished my lunch, gave up points on six straight Atlanta possessions, and were down 29-10 at the break. Dallas was behind 39-24 with five minutes to play in the game. Atlanta had scored 39 points and had committed zero turnovers. NFL teams had an all-time record of 440-0 when scoring that many points and not turning the ball over. NFL teams had only lost six times in history when leading by 15-points with under five minutes to go.

On the Falcons side of things, coach Dan Quinn inexplicably called for a two-point conversion halfway through the second quarter with his team leading 26-7. Instead of kicking the automatic point and extending the Atlanta lead to 20, he tried for two, missed it, and their lead remained at 19. I said at the time to my lovely and patient wife who has endured a great deal of grumbling out of me for the past 24-hours, “I hope they lose by one point.”

I really didn’t. I wanted the Falcons to win. I hate everything the Dallas Cowboys stand for and wish for them to go 0-16 every year. For 59:54 of yesterday’s game, it looked like the Cowboys were attempting to honor their 1960 inaugural season by recreating the ten straight losses that marked those humble beginnings. And I was, understandably, ecstatic. But I’ve got a problem with coaches who don’t know when to go for two. I don’t know what makes it so hard, I don’t get what they don’t get. I admit, this is more like a borderline obsession for me. I once got into a pretty-heated argument with Bill Parcells over his inconsistent decision-making on two-point tries after a squeaky win in Seattle. He accused me of not knowing anything about the “chart.” I told him the “chart” was for losers. Dallas radio and Fox Sports Southwest had a three-day field-day with it. Not my proudest moment.

Back to the Cowboys yesterday. Somehow, someway,  Atlanta let the Cowboys back into the game. Dallas scored a touchdown with 4:57 to play to cut the lead to 39-30. All Dallas needed to do was kick the automatic extra point to make it an eight-point game. Then all the Cowboys would need is one more time with the ball to score a TD and convert the two-point try to tie the game. If they kick the point, it’s a one-possession game.

But Mike McCarthy went for two.

I understand no other teams were banging down his door to sign him when Jerry Wayne called. I did not realize that his one-season sabbatical was spent on his farm playing “Madden” in rookie mode.

McCarthy, who is evidently not a better coach than Jason Garrett, went for the two-point conversion and failed. It was the incredibly rare touchdown that KEPT it a two-possession game. Now the Cowboys need to get a stop, score a touchdown, get another stop, and score again to win the game. In under five minutes. Impossible. The game is over. Dak and Zeke and CeeDee are questioning everything they know about football and thought they knew about their new coach. Is this the guy who’s going to get us over the hump? Jerry’s in his owner’s box trying to find Lou Holtz’s cell phone number. Against the Rams last Sunday night, the Cowboys were trailing by three in the fourth quarter and, on fourth-and-three at the LA 11-yard-line, eschewed the game-tying field goal, threw a two-yard pass to Lamb, turned the ball over on downs, and lost by those three points. Now, this?

As bad as all that is, the Falcons found a way to make it seem insignificant.

The Cowboys did get the ball back and they did score a touchdown with 1:46 to play to pull to within three points, 39-36. If they had just kicked the extra point three minutes earlier, they would be trying a two-point conversion now to tie the game. But they’re down three. So they kick the PAT and gear up for the onside kick.

I am not telling you anything you don’t already know, Mr. Goodell, when I say you and the league have made it almost impossible for anybody to recover an onside kick. The desperation play was long-perceived as the most dangerous thing in football and your new rules regulating its execution have all but rendered it moot. No one is allowed to get a running start. The kicking team cannot load up a bunch of players on one side. They are forced to kick the ball to the other team, watch that team fall on it, and endure the final kneel-downs before the obligatory handshakes.

Unless you’re the Atlanta Falcons.

I fear I am unable to adequately describe what happened on that onside kick yesterday. I am certain you have seen it a zillion times as it is being played on a loop on every TV screen and phone in the western world. It’s being played and replayed and analyzed like the Zapruder film. Cowboys kicker Greg Zuerlein “watermeloned” the ball sideways so that it rolled toward the five Falcons players situated ten yards away. The ball was moving slower than Larry Allen on a Wichita Falls stairmaster. It was barely moving. Three or four Atlanta players surrounded the ball. But nobody grabbed it. Nobody fell on it. Nobody made a move. It’s like they were practicing social distancing. It’s like the football was pancreatic cancer; two Falcons actually jumped away from it.

It must be noted here, for those who might be reading this letter who have never seen a football game, that the Cowboys could not touch the ball until it traveled ten yards. Any of the Falcons can pick the ball up anywhere on the field, they are not required to wait for anything. If a Cowboy touches it before it goes ten yards, the play is over and the Falcons get the ball. But the Falcons are free to jump on it at any point, cover it up, and win the game. They don’t have to wait. But these five Atlanta players just watched from afar while the Cowboys’ C.J. Goodwin waited for it to travel the required distance and then pounced. By the time the Falcons realized what had happened, Goodwin had the ball cradled in his arms and the Falcons had become the first team in NFL history to score 39 points, have zero turnovers, and lose a game.

Apparently Dan Quinn had called for the Hands Team and not the Brains Team.

Greg the Leg kicked the 46-yard, game-winning field goal as time expired and the Cowboys had their second-largest come-from-behind win in franchise history.

When asked to explain why his players only curiously backed away and watched while the game-clinching kick awkwardly spun toward them, Quinn told reporters his special teams coaches and players “definitely know the rule.”  He claimed they work often on recovering onside kicks in practice, which, by the way, makes what happened yesterday worse, not better. “We’ve got to go capture it when the moment comes. We should make the aggressive move to go get it.”

That’s what lost the game for the Falcons. The meat-headed decision to go for two points with 4:57 to play when a PAT would have made it a one-possession game is what should have lost it for Dallas. McCarthy explained his thinking by telling reporters it’s “simple mathematics:”

“You’d rather know if it’s a two-score game at the earliest time instead of taking it all the way down to the end for a two-point try at the end. I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve been involved in on this particular situation. You go for two there just to make it clear, with a little over four minutes left, if we were going to be in a one-score game or a two-score game.”


Mr. Goodell, I know I’ve rambled a bit here, thank you for indulging me. This letter is a cathartic exercise as I work out my own issues. But surely you understand what’s happening as a result of this football travesty. McCarthy and his players are calling yesterday’s game a “building moment.” They say yesterday proved they can believe in each other as coaches and players. Cowboys fans are boasting in the comeback victory. They say this team has heart and talent and guts. The good Lord knows, Mr. Goodell, we have more than too many obnoxious Cowboys fans already.

More than that, I believe the integrity of the game and of your league may be at risk. When every major decision a coach makes in a football game is bad, and one of them egregiously harmful, he should not win that football game, especially if his owner is Jerry Wayne. Certainly, the Falcons deserve to lose – anyone who watches the footage of the onside kick will agree. But the Cowboys cannot enjoy the benefits — practically, emotionally, financially — of a “win” attained in such a dishonorable way.

I know what I am asking of you is unprecedented. But I believe we are in unprecedented times that call for unprecedented actions. I am calling on you to force both the Falcons and the Cowboys to forfeit yesterday’s game and to order both teams and their coaching staffs suspended for three weeks. It is a harsh sentence by any standards, but it is necessary in light of yesterday’s revolting display. Your courageous move can guarantee that the American public will never be subjected again to such a horrific exhibition of ineptitude. Coaches will think twice. Players will act on instinct. Owners and general managers will require IQ screenings for potential hires. And the “chart” will be tossed into the history bins with the leather helmets,  salt tablets, and Stickum.

It’s what is best for the game and for the good, hard-working, honest citizenry of this country who depend on the stability of an NFL that makes sense when nothing else in the world does. You can make a difference, Mr. Goodell.

Please call me if I can help you with a new name for the Redskins or moving the Raiders to Bismarck.

Your friend,


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