State Supremacy

Ah yes, that time of the year again. The mercury has crossed the century mark, the pulse incorporates a few extra heart beats, the airport magazine racks are chocked full of fantasy football periodicals, and equipment managers across the NFL are making their lists and checking them twice.

Hopefully, sacrificing nice for naughty, hard-hitting, aggression.

In Texas, football is King. Top Dog. Sure, we have our longhorn steers, prime chop houses, blue bonnets and the Bush contingency, but even the Commander In Chief can't "top bill" Texas football. If you know the name Dave Campbell, you know what I'm talking about. If in doubt, purchase his bible (after you purchase The Ranch Report magazine), "Texas Football," and start reading.

In the dog days of Summer, when two-a-days take center stage, it's all about Friday Night Lights, Saturdays roaming the Forty Acres or standing in Kyle Field, and Sundays spent watching those making a gridiron living in Houston and Dallas.

To call it a "rabid" state is to greatly underestimate and diminish its importance across the vast Texas landscape. Texas is football.

One has to love Christmas in July when every fan, El Paso to Texarkana, wants to know what Fall goodies Santa Cleats has in his delivery bag. While pigskin intrigue and support extends all the way to Pop Warner and Pee Wee, this magnifying glass will hover over the two resident professional programs with sights set on January reservations for Detroit.

So, who has the better Lone Star chance of taking their collective game late into January?

Like any NFL venue this time of the year, optimism abounds, and wishful thinking hits peak levels. Everyone crafts an F. Lee Bailey opening argument, hoping to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, a case for the right to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. Assessing conference strength alone, the Texans have the rougher terrain to navigate. As gut-retching as it is to both admit and convey, the NFC is the Philadelphia Eagles and a whole host of wannabes. Somebody needs to step up and de-feather Bird Land.

Cowboys' faithful, fear not, our chance is as good as any.

The stakes? Texas supremacy and bragging rights. Passion, commitment and resolve propel both organizations to succeed. It starts with ownership commitment and threads its way through each organization.

Anyone questioning the Bob McNair or Jerry Jones' desire to win is either clueless or flat-lined. While Jerry wears a dual hat, Charley Casserly is virtually unmatched amongst NFL GM's. His name, in Swahili, translates to Talent Evaluator. Both Coaches, while defensively-minded, have an arsenal of assistants poised to exploit every facet of the game. This directly leads to the vehicle where games are ultimately decided; on-field personnel and talent.

So, who wields the upper hand?

In contemplating the Cowboys of the 1990's, one might argue, and let me be a proponent of the stance, the Texans have the making of "The Triplets."

David Carr wears #8 with both pride and purpose. No, he hasn't morphed himself into Aikman just yet, but the training wheels are off, and the break out period (4 years in) is ready to unfold.

How about the Canes gracing the flanks? Personality-wise, they're polar opposites. The work ethic and talent levels intimate cloning. Andre Johnson is a man-child and the next great NFL receiver with "Playmaker" pedigree to come out of Coral Gables.

Can former Bayou Bengal Domanick Davis become the all-time leading rusher in NFL history? Longevity tables for NFL rock-toters say "no." Unlike Emmitt, durability is Davis' albatross. While Julius Jones certainly appears poised to establish a career, there ends the Cowboys' current "Triplets" conversation.

Jason Witten is a culinary delight in the making. Billy Miller and Bennie Joppru can certainly play, but game, set, match Dallas. When it comes to the remainder of the offensive line for both squads, they're science experiments waiting on Petri dish and test tube results. Push.

The defensive front sevens for each club will certainly play a major role in determining how successful and productive each organization can be. The Cowboys are yet to unveil their greatly-anticipated 3-4 scheme, but lack of experience has to account for something. While the Texans employ it, they've got huge question marks amidst the LB ranks. The departures of Jamie Sharper and Jay Forman are monumental. Replacing this much production (tackles and assists) is no simple task.

The secondaries are the wild cards of each defense. The common thread being Aaron Glenn. One man's loss is another's gain. You're not going to find a more valuable, and crafty, Nickel Back, in the League, and the Cowboys will need him. The duo of Dunta Robinson and Phillip Buchanon comprise a more formidable and playmaking tandem than the Cowboys twosome of Henry and Newman. As they say, horse collar or not, Roy will be Roy. Find him a running mate of the "Killer" mold, and the Cowboys enjoy a slight edge in the last line (safeties) of defense.

The Texans, under Capers, are on the ascent. The Parcells' reign denotes roller coaster. While fairly evenly-matched on paper (dangerous), both teams possess the necessary ingredients to knock on the post-season door, but at a time when "Hope Springs Eternal," only time will tell.

In a state where pride and loyalty are unmatched, who will stake the claim for best pro team in Texas? If the Cowboys can string together another two to three field-productive and return-on-investment Drafts, and the Texans continue to fortify their futuristic core, the battle for Texas Supremacy will be a thing of beauty to behold for the remainder of the decade.

Let's get this thing started, all y'all.

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