Atlanta Unconstitutional

It doesn't get any more Un-American than this. Whoever is calling the shots down at Cowboy Central on preseason game day can't be from around these parts. Because there is something covert and clandestine about the nuances of the game between the Atlanta Falcon's and the Dallas Cowboys. And it needs to be examined.

A Senatorial Blue Ribbon panel should be gathered on the White House lawn to kick-off the investigation, forthwith.

In a move as baffling as the disappearance of Amelia Earhart, the brain trust of the Cowboys pulled Chad Hutchinson from the game in the midst of a series. With a third down and 8 facing the Cowboys, the switch was flipped and Quincy Carter trotted out onto the field. Somewhat reminiscent of the stroke of midnight with the coach and horses turning into a pumpkin and mice. Chad's evening ended as abruptly as the beautiful but woeful ingénue's gala ball.

Campo lived up to his word and the letter of Coslet's law as the boy wonder from Stanford, via the St Louis Cardinal's, was yanked in favor of the real starter come September 8th.

"We made the decision in our meetings that (Hutchinson) would play one quarter." A terse comment by an irritated Dave Campo after the game indicated there was more than the yellow flags that chapped his backside. "We wanted to end any type of quarterback controversy."

Was this controversy in the rank and file of the Cowboy's coaching staff? Were the suits in management choosing sides and having a tug-o-war over whom the real starter should be? Where was this controversy that was quelled by the clock expiring on the first quarter causing teams to change ends of the field along with Quincy Carter's entrance?

While I am not one to revisit the Jimmy era and wistfully ponder over the what if's had his "Hairness" stayed for another decade, I must admit Johnson controlled the press and thus the opinions of the fan base by his dominance. There were no second guessers in the media after Jimbo held court. Everyone knew who was in charge. And the press, a group more willing than any other to watch out over their own preservation, knew without a doubt that you cross Jimmy you get zilch come deadline time.

Why Campo is dancing for the press by making any concessions to a controversy that exists solely because of sports writers of this most glorious of the perspiring arts is beyond the pale.

Yet as the second quarter commenced finding Dallas needing 8 yards on their own 45-yard line, Quincy Carter took the reigns and stoked the fires of the "Who's In Charge" comedy routine by Abbot and Costello. The first version of "Who's On First" that bombed out in Flat Bush opening night.

To compound this felony was a tense moment when Quincy, taking the field in the third quarter against players that are desperately trying to impress Dan Reeves, was sandwiched on a routine pass play. Quincy went south and his helmet went north and the flag happy referees seemed to have Super Glue holding the yellow hankies in place. Two different Falcon players hit Quincy helmet to helmet and not one of the monochromed crew tossed a doily to the turf.

I understand referees that allow Shaquille O'Neal to circumvent the rules to save the game of basketball. But where did the respect factor come from, that sanctioned this ignoring of the rules that protect a quarterback? And where was Dave Campo doing his best impersonation of a mail carrier gone Postal and jumping somebody's butt over this flagrant tackle?

Campo and crew have the understanding of the X's and O's that make a rabble into a football team. Get 22 men and a ball that is pointed on both ends and the coaching staff of the Cowboys will have them lined up and running wind sprints in no time.

But toss a little grenade of contention into the fray and this group is as adept at controlling the press' conspiracy theories as Bill Clinton controlled the public's interest in his unusual smoking habits.

Campo looks the part. His demeanor on "Hard Knocks" looks and sounds like Jimmy. He states unequivocally he is from the Johnson mold. And even in his handling of players he demonstrates how capable he is at making any remark sound as if the effort is not enough. A Jimmy trait as recognizable as the green bottle of Heineken in Johnson's sunburnt hand.

But if there are two areas where Campo fails miserably, it's the point differential in the fourth quarter and the media. He is just too nice a guy for his own good. His background of coming up the hard way puts him in a position to be thankful he is here, instead of domineering.

This explanation of why Chad was ripped from the game is vacuous. Any explanation other than "that's the freakin' way I wanted it," shows weakness on the coaches part. And eventually that will seep into a game that means something to Jerry Jones and ultimately Campo's career.

The press and fans alike call Dave Jerry's puppet. I fail to believe that notion is anywhere in the same zip code as the truth. Campo is a football guy that knows more about defenses than Jerry knows about plastic surgeons. Taken at face value how could anyone doubt this as fact. But the flailing at the potholes dug by the press and the knee-jerk responses underscore what the outsiders believe to be real. And show a side of Dave that is uncomfortable with being the point man of the most visible football franchise in the world.

Respect is earned and the road traveled by Dave Campo should have respect ushered in by the 18-wheeler. Yet when the game's on the line, is this man that is so capable at taking lemons and turning them into a bend don't break two-fisted defense tough enough to command that same respect from the zebras that arbitrarily decide the contests? Can his sideline presence turn the tide as Jimmy's surely did?

There was a football game in Texas Stadium Saturday night where the Dallas Cowboys allowed the Atlanta Falcon's to escape with a meaningless win, 21 to 19. What was left unresolved was not a game that matched brute strength between large and determined men. But another brick in the wall that indicates, true or false, that the man in charge is treading water.

Dave Campo either needs to take charge or he will be another in what is now becoming a growing line of head coaches of the Dallas Cowboys that haven't won it all.

And that, my dear friends, is simply Un-American and unconstitutional.

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