Cowboys Are The NFC's Axis

IRVING, Texas - Dallas is not yet again the axis upon which the entire NFL spins. But Dallas IS the axis upon with the entire NFC spins. With that in mind, I get some Cowboys impressions off my chest.

ITEM: A lot of teams talk about "getting things started for real'' in the second half of the season. Baltimore loudmouth Ray Lewis grabbed headlines before last Sunday by promising that the Ravens' second half would be different – and then Bal'mer lost a home game, 21-0, by failing to even threaten to score while allowing an easy-distracted Cincy team seven field goals. Bounce back to the NFC, and notice how contenders Detroit, New Orleans, Washington and of course, New York, all lost.

Meanwhile, the Cowboys opened the second half with a win that gives them an 8-1 record and, essentially, a three-game divisional lead with seven to play. Unless Bill Parcells returns to helm the team in December, no way these Cowboys fall apart, right?

ITEM: Listen, I'm not saying I'd be real happy if my daughter announced she was dating Terrell Owens. But that same logic applies to a lot of football guys; I would be even less pleased to learn that my mom was dating Bill Belichick, who I'm sure would cheat on her, film it, and then go all Mr. Woodcock on me.

But T.O. has now played 25 games in Cowboys silver-and-blue and he has 21 touchdowns. I mean, he's a goofball and he's a front-runner and he can be a little embarrassing sometimes. But 21 TDs? Is there any way the NFL can present Jerry Jones with a retroactive 2006 NFL Executive of the Year for pulling off that signing?

ITEM: Don't the Giants always seem to start 6-2 or so before an annual second-half collapse?

ITEM: Is T.O. really selling enough of those "Touchdown Towels'' to justify him earning a $10,000 fine for the promotion-minded waving of it on the sidelines?

ITEM: Tony Romo's is now the top-selling of NFL jerseys. The world loves him more than L.T., more than Brady, more than Peyton, more than Urlacher. How can it be so?

Easy Theory No. 1: It's the Cowboys. Cowboys sell.

Easy Theory No. 2: He's San Antonio Romo; the Hispanic population has itself a hero.

Easy Theory No. 3 – and the one I prescribe to: Romo's story is so compelling, his play is so dazzling, his personality is so charming, that he supersedes the issue of race. And he even supersedes the issue of being a Cowboy.

ITEM: Can the Redskins beat the Cowboys once this season? Maybe. Twice? Nah. Washington is way too inconsistent, from their QB on down.

ITEM: Not to be a party-pooper here by bringing up that DFW-area body builder who is claiming to be the Cowboys' steroid provider, but. … Somehow, some way, the NFL keeps an incredibly powerful lid on these things. The day after a local TV station broke the story, the Dallas Morning News wrote up a blurb – and buried it on Page Infinity.

ITEM: How weird is it that all of the sudden, no GM in the league would take Eli Manning – who is as pedigreed as they come, and while sporting a clueless-looking face is a perfectly good pro – over Tony Romo?

Is this the East-Coast-Media-Bias thing, all twisted around, when ESPN radio guy Mike Greenberg says Eli should be off the hook in comparison to Romo because Dallas' weapons are better, "no comparison.''

Really? Shockey vs. Witten. Burress vs. Owens. Toomer vs. Crayton. Jacobs/Ward/Droughns vs. Jones/Barber. An offensive staff led by Tom Coughlin vs. an offensive staff led by Jason Garrett.

No comparison? Even blinded-by-bias Cowboys fans don't believe that.

ITEM: This information is not to be used as evidence that Tony Romo is better than Troy Aikman. This information is to be used to prove that, with Brady and Payton and Romo, football has changed in the last decade or so: Aikman's top TD total in a season was 23. Romo has 23 already, and will end up with, what? Maybe 30 easy, right? With a shot at 36-plus? Crazy.

ITEM: In back-to-back weeks, the Cowboys O-line goes against an Eagles pass-rusher nicknamed "The Freak'' and a Giants pass-rush featuring single-name studs like "Osi'' and "Strahan.'' They do almost nothing against Dallas. Hey, O-line: We hoped you'd be bullies on the run. We didn't know you'd stone people in the passing game, too.

ITEM: Why did Jeremy Shockey have such a dominant game last week?

"We tried to. ... get the matchup with him on Roy Williams," Eli explained. Two points here:

One, Roy Williams can now bitch at the Giants for picking on him and quit bitching at the media for "wrongly blaming'' him.

Two, if you have Chris Cooley on your Fantasy Team, you might want to start him this week.

ITEM: Patrick Crayton's reach-over-the-goalline-and-gently-place-the-ball-in-the-end-zone score last week? I know I'm a middle-America, middle-class, middle-income, middle-intelligence old white man. But I hate that crap. Not just because it's unnecessarily flashy, but also because it's just ASKING for a fumble, a collision, a ref's tough decision. Nothing good comes of it.

ITEM: Should we say something good about Bill Parcells here? He knew Jason Witten was going to be this good a little before the rest of us did. And he knew Bradie James was going to be good waaaay before the rest of us did. They're both "Parcells Guys,'' and I'm cool with that.

ITEM: Plaxico Burress plays Dallas in Week 1 and almost qualifies for the Pro Bowl on one game. Plax opposes Dallas in Game 9 and totals just 24 yards.not being a factor. That's how good Terence Newman is.

ITEM: Demarcus Ware is one more monster game away from being christened a superstar. However, that "one monster game'' needs to come in the playoffs. And I bet it will.

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