Desireable In Dallas

IRVING, TX. - How desireable are the Dallas Cowboys? Forget Jessica Simpson. Tony Romo is so hot that I figured the musical guests at Texas Stadium last Thursday, Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, were actually there in order to slip their phone numbers to "Broadway Ro'.''

Rumor is, every other female with a pop-twang wants to date our QB. Here come the Dixie Chicks, Reba, Dolly Parton, the late Minnie Pearl. ... the kid's dance card is about to fill up.

How desireable are the Dallas Cowboys? Forget Jon Gruden, Jeff Fisher, Denny Green, Houston Nutt, Bob Stoops and any other sexy "next-Cowboys-coach'' name. The Cowboys are suddenly so looking so purty that the guy who coaches them in 2007 might be. ...

Bill Parcells!?

The Giants' ridiculous collapse in Tennessee on Sunday (New York lost 24-21 by giving up 24 fourth-quarter points to Vince Young and company) allows the 7-4 Cowboys sole possession of the NFC East. Next week's Cowboys-at-Giants meeting -- a battle royale of sorts, but only if the Giants can avoid spending the week not battle-royale'ing each other -- could serve as a Cowboys corronation.

"We'll be ready,'' promised Romo on Sunday as he basked in the national spotlight.

All of the sudden, the Cowboys are ready for more than just next week; they seem ready for a more distant future as well. I say nice nice things about InfalliBill grudgingly, so cherish this: Parcells' rebuilding of the team's foundation is truly complete if Romo is as special as he appears. Parcells and staff have hit personnel home runs on virtually every defensive guy (with a patient asterisk next to the name of this year's first-rounder, Bobby Carpenter). The receiving corps feature Terrell Owens, obviously, but yet there is balance. There is depth and talent in the backfield. The O-line might need an annual upgrade, but otherwise, the infrastructure is sound -- and an impressive foundation is being built in Arlington in time to further polish the star.

Even the personality quirks of Owens, Vanderjagt and Parcells and the bonus money tossed about to "Parcells Guys'' are presently non-issues.

All of this, and no wonder Bucs coach Gruden and others are reportedly flirting with the idea of working for the Cowboys. As the story (in the Tampa Tribune) goes, Gruden recently put out "feelers'' to lay the groundwork for possible future employment in Dallas.

"Some (bleeping) idiot wrote that article, OK?" Gruden said in response to the story. "I'm committed to being in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It's the only job I've ever wanted. ... I'm here as long as the Glazers (ownership family) will have me. It's the greatest franchise in football.''

Gruden's enthusiasm for his have-not Bucs is laudable. But methinks he protests too much.

Tampa Bay "is the greatest franchise in football''? C'mon, Coach Chucky.

In truth, the Cowboys remain a viable candidate for "the greatest franchise in football.'' Jerry Jones has, over the course of his 18 years in charge, generally kept the shine on the star. And now, with the help of the reinvigorated Bill Parcells and the apparently-invigorated-from-the-womb Tony Romo, this franchise is in far better shape than it was in before Parcells' four-year stint, far nearer a return to its glorious roots.

Far nearer a Super Bowl.

Indications are that Jerry will want to retain Parcells for next year. History suggests that Parcells will consider doing so only after milking the owner for another million-dollars-or-so raise. And speaking of history, the Dallas Cowboys once again feel like (with all due respect to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) the greatest franchise in football. "America's Team,'' and all that.

Great enough to merit the continued attention of fine championship-winning coaches -- including Bill Parcells.

Great enough to merit the continued attention of fine Grammy-winning women -- including the late Minnie Pearl.

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