Cowboys All About Being 'Miked Up'

IRVING, Tex. -- Decision-making in football isn't limited to the draft, to play-selection and to the at-the-moment instincts of the athlete. Sometimes, it's also about who and what seems from the microphone and the camera into the psyche of the sporting consciousness.

Before we proceed to the Cowboys-related closing argument on subject, I present to you Exhibits A, B and C.

Exhibit A: To the NFL, where the Washington Redskins this week involved themselves in a campaign to educate high-school students on the dangers of steroid use. According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 25 high-school students has taken steroid pills or injections without a doctor's permission.

Can't argue with the cause. Except, how seriously invested are the Redskins in the cause when the player they sent to speak to the children is. … kicker Shaun Suisham?!

Exhibit B: Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, reacting in a press conference to a newspaperr column critical of one of his players, got so steamed that his face turned the color of his bright orange shirt. "Where are we at in society today?'' exploded Gundy, making a purile point about an "amateur'' athlete and a "kid'' (who will turn 22 in December). "Come after me! I'm a man. I'm 40. Write about me!"

OK, Coach Gundy, I'm writing about you. Except. … it feels like the only "child'' in this episode is the "I'm 40'' guy.

Exhibit C: Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione Franchione, who makes $2 mil a year, announced this week that he has no intention of resigning despite the controversy created by his secret, possibly illegal, "inside information'' newsletter that is sold to boosters at $1,200 a pop.

"I love this job. I love these players. I love this university," said Coach Fran, who also apparently loves his 1,200 bucks a pop. … and may have created a stir by issuing this statement without charging listeners a fee.

Now, back to a place where sanity rules: Valley Ranch, Cowboys headquarters, where this team could be spotted driving a car with Britney Spears' baby on its lap and still somehow avoid any negative vibe.

Think about it: Compare this assorted Football Gaffes of the Week to the public-spotlight work of your Cowboys. Jason Garrett is cool with the Dallas newspaper lauding the offensive-coaching work of Tony Sparano. Wade Phillips is refusing to take shots at this week's foe, the Buffalo Bills, who happen to be a former employer of his. Tony Romo is refusing any "Show me the money!'' urges. Jerry Jones is reserving his usual omnipresence for TV commercials peddling pizza and sody pop. Heck, even Greg Ellis is temporarily appeased!

And of course, any discourse on Cowboys media behavior must include Terrell Eldorado Owens. Coming off a three-catch, 33-yard game, T.O. not only didn't gripe. … he actually heaped thanks and praise on somebody. Wanna guess who?

Himself? Good guess, but no.

Kim Etheredge? Bad guess. No.

Jeff Garcia's sexuality? No.

Donovan McNabb's blackness? No.

Rosie O'Donnell? Everything else is her fault, but no.

Terrell Owens is busying himself this week crediting his and his team's grand start to. … his coaches.

That's what 4-0 will do for you. "Get yer popcorn ready''? In football at this moment, the Cowboys aren't concerned with theatrics. So the popcorn will have to be handled by others.

Maybe Suisham can kick it. Then Coach Fran can sell it. But only after Mike Gundy puts it on his forehead to pop it.

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