FISH: Assorted Bar Stool Musings

IRVING, TX. - Assorted musings from my Valley Ranch barstool. ...

ITEM: As a group, the defensive-line meetings at Valley Ranch weren't very Parcells-friendly. Maybe Jason Ferguson will miss InfalliBill; we understand Fergie, a "Parcells Guy,'' tried to keep the other fellas on the same page. But the best Greg Ellis could do was hide his dislike of the man. And Marcus Spears? He barely even bothered hiding his dislike. And Ellis and Spears had company.

None of this makes Parcells' style "wrong.'' It does suggest, though, like Jimmy Johnson before him, that the taskmaster style doesn't work forever. Now, if Ellis and Spears & Co. dislike Wade Phillips, too, we've got a problem.

ITEM: Tony Romo doesn't look very "haunted'' to me.

When last seen, the Cowboys QB was on a Dallas TV station, allowing himself to be the butt of "American Idol'' jokes -- all the result, of course, if his YouTubed karaoke performance of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin''' in an LA club while accompanied by "Saved By The Bell's'' principal Mr. Belding.

Now, none of that is exactly how I'd want to be remembered; please, Fate, don't let my tombstone be inscribed with the words "Karaoke,'' ""Saved By The Bell,'' "Journey,'' "Mr. Belding'' and "Dropped a Game-Costing Placekick Hold in Seattle.''

But Romo is clearly handling the playoff mistake the same way a great basketball shooter handles a missed layup. Think the Wiz' Gilbert Arenas, cocky enough after a miss to be looking forward to getting the ball again. So he can shoot it again. And all the time, smiling about it.

ITEM: I'm amused by the anti-Wade Phillips arguments, and for that matter the anti-Norv Turner arguments, that go thusly: "Dallas/San Diego was the only team that wanted to hire him.'' A head coach is partly about the marquee value of course. But it's also about "fit.'' And about beauty being in the eye of the beholder. Management in Dallas likes and trusts Phillips. Management in San Diego likes and trusts Norv. How is that a bad thing?

ITEM: The recent induction of Jerry Jones into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame -- a greater no-brainer, by the way, there will never be -- reminds us again of how such bodies ought to be a little less exclusionary.

There is honor, of course, in being recognized for a "lifetime achievement award'' of sorts, and it's better to be inducted into halls and such when you're 99 than it is not to be inducted at all. And there is honor in being inducted posthumously. ... though I'm figuring when I'm dead and sprouting wings I'm going to have much better things to do than listen to Peter King and John Clayton debate my merits as a mortal.

But whether this is about Bob Hayes or Paul Tagliabue or even Jerry in the Pro Football Hall of Fame (yes, Jerry!), or whether it's about any other strong candidate who seems an inevitability. ... why not do it sooner rather than later? Why set the club up as being so exclusive, so laden with shrouded and clouded unwritten rules about "first-ballot worthiness'' and such, that by the time the guy is recognized, the person required to give his acceptance speech is his widow?

You don't get this? If you're a basketball fan, and you've heard of the late Dennis Johnson, you get it.

ITEM: Brian Stewart as the new D-coordinator? Fine with me. I've dealt with him many times (he's been a frequent guest on my radio show) and he is bright and frank and devoted to the work of football. My only concern: Staff carryover Todd Bowles was in line to maybe get the bump up. Instead, he's a "Parcells Guy'' who remains as the secondary coach working UNDER a guy with whom he was in competition for the coordinator's job. Wade Phillips will no doubt be delivering his "We Are Family'' speech to Todd and Brian very soon.

ITEM: I talked to Michael Irvin this weekend. Life goes on as usual. He was at his son's basketball game when he called.

"The timing for leaving ESPN is probably right,'' Michael said. "No hard feelings. I am working on a movie project right now. I want to do radio, which I've always loved and which I think I can be good at. I'm going to the Hall of Fame. I have a beautiful family. God has a plan for me. Life is good!''

ITEM: There is one media person in DFW who, up until recently, was clamoring for the outright release of Andre Gurode. Gurode, of course, was to be a free agent, so not even the wording -- "outright release'' -- was accurate. This media person harped on the idea that Gurode had had a poor season and didn't deserve to be re-signed at all.

A blink of an eye later, the Cowboys kept Gurode from turning FA by signing him to a massive $30 mil contract -- a lot of bread for a center who "can't play.''

The moral to the story? When it comes to offensive-line play -- hell, when it comes to football in general -- if a media person is getting his info from eyes only, and making uniformed guesses to create juicy opinions. ... the media person isn't worth paying the 50 cents to read.

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