Memo to the Dallas Morning News

OXNARD, Calif. -- Our position that the 2005 Cowboys are in fact not especially elderly has created a bit of a stir among followers -- especially because it comes on the heels of a Dallas Morning News article claiming that the team employs an excess of players in the 30-year-old range.

Wrote Jean-Jaques Taylor, "The NFL is a young man's game. ... So there has to be some trepidation when a survey of the Cowboys' roster shows 15 players who are at least 30 years old or will turn 30 during this season.''

We aren't disputing those numbers; a quick glance at the Cowboys roster can verify them. Heck, Taylor's position even drew concessionary comments from coach Bill Parcells.

But in the interest of non-linear thinking (hey, that's just the way our brains are wired!), we thought the issue worthy of a few more "quick glances.''

After all, we thought, how do you know if Dallas' 15 30-year-olds are "too many'' unless you compare that number to other teams' ages?

Memo to the DMN: ooops.

We did this randomly, we promise: Just started scanning assorted NFL rosters. And guess what? The Giants, like Dallas an also-ran NFC East team, have 13 players 29 and up. The Vikings, trying to remake themselves in the post-Moss era, have 14. The Packers, consided by some to be Brett Favre surrounded by kids, have 15. Oh, and the Washington Redskins, who surely ought to be in rebuilding mode? The number of guys on their roster who are 29 and up? Um, 21!

Bad teams have "too many''; the Raiders have 20 of 'em. Good teams have "too many''; New England has 19 of 'em.

There are seven examples. Had enough? Want more? Philly has 14. Pittsburgh has 23. Arizona has 13. Buffalo has 14. St. Louis has 15. Carolina has 19. The Chiefs have 25!

That's a random cross section of 14 teams. (We're sure we can find exceptions to what increasingly seems like our own little self-discovered rule, but our eyes are starting to blur and spin.)

And they are all just as "too old'' as Dallas. Good teams, bad teams, title teams, rebuilding teams -- all the same. Like we say, a little non-linear thinking goes a long way -- and helps us avoid the "ooops'' moments.

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