Prime Pickings

If there was any doubt Jerry Jones and his Dallas Cowboys Football Club completely owned the professional sports landscape in Dallas, and possibly the entire State of Texas, let it be known the solidification can be guaranteed this year.

It's safe to say the Jones family has established itself as an iconic sports entity in today's NFL, and their contributions to the D/FW Metroplex are too numerous and impactful to fully mention. For as much ribbing and chiding as Jerry has taken over the ownership years, Cowboys fans once again fell into the "spoiled" rotten personification the day the Jones family arrived in 1989.

The traditionalists and long-time supporters didn't think it such a great thing when the founding fathers and old guard were being ushered to nearest exits by the new, renegade regime. Many still harbor ill-will and negative feelings towards Jerry Jones due to the dismissals of Coach Landry and Tex Schramm. In traditional Dallas Cowboys society, the acts were sacrilegious. Memories and summer days are long in these parts, and loyalty remains supreme. Noteworthy qualities, but even the fundamentalists have to admit Jerry Jones was a necessary and vital change. In a take-no-prisoners and challenge-the-establishment fashion, Jerry Jones personally laid the track for continued organizational success.

Like the quarterback and running back positions throughout team history, Jerry has spoiled fans beyond comprehension. As with LeBaron, Meredith, Staubach, White, Aikman, Perkins, Thomas, Dorsett and Smith, the full impact won't be felt until departure. Have you ever noticed things aren't missed until they're actually gone? Why does society wait to say thank you? You pick the subject matter, situation or person, it's usually too late when the masses get around to recognizing achievements and providing testimonial thanks. Fortunately for the Cowboys faithful, the apples don't fall far from the Rock of Gibraltar. Stephen, Charlotte, Jerry Jr. and their spouses are being groomed to continue the Jones' legacy for decades to come. Anyone thinking differently should put on a pot of coffee and inhale deeply. It's a given and a great thing at that.

The Canton guarantee is not too far around the corner. Many believe it's already been cemented, but if any questions remain, they're about to be answered within the next four years. A sixth Super Bowl victory was predicted in this very space weeks ago, and the recent securing of Super Bowl XLV will equate to the final pen strokes on Jerry's Hall of Fame invitation. Jerry, courtesy of Michael Jerome Irvin, will receive a precursory look from the Canton podium later this summer. Unless asked to present other future Cowboys' inductees, Jones' next trip to the Canton stage will be following these uttered words, "It's my honor and privilege to present to you, my Father, Jerry Jones." Stephen will acquiesce to Dad, and Jerry will take his rightful place in NFL history.

The closest Texas contender is the soon-to-be, four-time NBA champion, San Antonio Spurs. To Head Coach Greg Popovich and the tremendous Alamo-affiliated organization, congratulations on achievements worthy of dynasty distinction. As great as they've become, they still pale in comparison and remain an afterthought in the Texas professional sports landscape. No slight is meant, but the Cowboys are embarking on a window which will solidify top billing in State history. Let that one settle in. Since 1836 and all that's transpired on the Texas landscape, the Cowboys are poised to capture the #1 historical significance classification. No doubt heads are shaking and laughter abounds, especially amongst native Texans, but history is about to be made. When you're done chuckling, step back and really take in the overall impact and historical significance of the Dallas Cowboys. To think Mayor Laura Miller and the Dallas City Council wanted no part of this perpetuation is not only mind-boggling, it's gross negligence defined.

From historical perspective to absolute nonsense, is anyone else tickled pink the Obnoxious Training Annoyances (OTA's) are complete? The only positive, outside of new blood learning new systems, is the apparent starvation for Dallas Cowboys football and the NFL season. The Stars, Mavericks and dreadful Rangers have had a direct impact on the sports-deprived appetite in the D/FW Metroplex. Thus, anything, and everything, Cowboys-related is magnified 100-fold. Thank you Lord for making sure Terrell Owens wasn't the only missing voluntary component in May and June. The persecution would have been too much to endure. Likewise, thank you Lord for making sure Tony Romo didn't miss any transportation connections on this way back to Valley Ranch for the organized gatherings.

Has a man, and a single one at that, endured more scrutiny for simply having the fun life occasionally offers up? Can the man simply capitalize on the benefits offered him as being the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys? Contrary to popular belief, what Tony Romo does off the field, as long as not illegal, in the off season does not matter. Everything seen and heard, to date, regarding football-related matters, appears to be highly-encouraging. So, while beauty votes were cast and starlets accompanied, how come no one notices Romo's clubs are spending more time in the tour bag than out on the local links? Being the back-up certainly has its scrutiny advantages.

Yesterday may have provided the most insightful and encouraging look into the Dallas Cowboys 2007 defensive scheme. Sure there has been a litany of blah, blah, blah "additional pressure" summations and proclamations, and all of it has been pure conjecture and speculation to this point in time. However, Anthony Henry's insight, and maybe his most valuable organizational contribution to date, into how the corners will play their assignments in the Brian Stewart mold was educational and enlightening. The depiction conjures up images of the Doomsday secondary. As much as humanly possible, routes and receivers were forced inside where safeties and big hit potential loomed large. If Ken Hamlin and Roy Williams can resurrect Cliff Harris and Charlie Waters-like contributions, the coverage deficiencies will gradually fade. Terence Newman has always been handicapped by not facing the quarterback with eyes toward the ball. If Newman and Henry are being entrusted with funneling receivers to the middle of the field, they'll be positioned to make more plays on the ball. The fact Terence Newman is yet to participate in a Pro Bowl is a crime in and of itself, but he's been hampered by lack of picks and attention. Quarterbacks simply avoid him whenever possible, and so have Pro Bowl voters. Not guaranteed, but things could change this year.

The wait is officially on. In a little more than month, the pads will be pulled on in the Alamo City. Along with the diverse team following, it's hoped a piece of the championship city rubs off on the visiting Cowboys. While the celebration might not be of the Super Bowl championship nature, the Cowboys should be fueled by the electricity and feed off the San Antonio energy. If they can bottle the magic in a two week period and cart it back to the Metroplex along with the equipment lockers, it might be a very prosperous 2007 for the State of Texas. Texas is certainly big enough to house several champions, but no one entity reigns supreme like the Cowboys. Parcells wouldn't allow it, and the players respected it, but it's nice to hear organizational members articulate the ability to compete on a high level. Once again, Jerry has given the team and the fan base an opportunity to thrive, but it's up to both to follow through on their commitments.

In a little over 30 days, the road to Phoenix will commence, and judging by the growling stomachs in North Texas, the championship starvation factor is in full swing. It's high time to go to work, knuckle down, and position the franchise for a record-setting sixth world championship.

Got six?

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