Killing The Cowboys' Media Messengers

IRVING, Texas -- Terrell Owens. Jessica Simpson. Matt Moore. The Pro Bowl. Bill Parcells. "We've got to make sure we don't get caught up in everything,'' says Cowboys tight end Jason Witten.

"There's a lot of stuff going on.''

The media's handling this week of this "stuff'' doesn't cause me to want to kill the messenger. But I am going to go ahead and maim the messenger.

MEDIA OBSERVATION No. 1: I love the revisionist history of a huge segment of the DFW media that is claiming, "Hey, dating all the way back to San Antonio, I always really liked this Matt Moore kid.'' I heard one radio guy say something like that this week. … and this particular fellow wasn't even AT training camp.

Fourth-string quarterback Matt Moore is now the Kelly Girl, the temp, for the Carolina Panthers. And he gets to make the second professional start of his life against the Cowboys team that released him at the end of camp. It's a cute story. Moore played well enough in last week's win over Seattle (I say "well enough'' because I watched that game, and it was pretty much a 0-to-0 shootout) to earn him a chance at a backup job in 2008.

But for those of us who were actually AT training camp, here were the headlining Cowboys' QB-related questions:

a) Is Tony Romo for real?

b) Can Brad Johnson throw a ball farther than eight yards?

c) Is Matt Moore slightly better than Richard Bartel?

d) Should Dallas keep three QBs?

And now we have the answers: Yes. No. Yes. No.

I'll allow coach Wade Phillips to cop to a mistake on Moore, or to say he saw something a little bit special in the kid. "We toyed back and forth with the idea of keeping three quarterbacks,'' Wade said this week. "We may have made a mistake there.''

In the end, the Cowboys – right or wrong – didn't think enough of Matt Moore to keep him. And in truth, the media barely though of Matt Moore at all.

MEDIA OBSERVATION No. 2: Why don't squealing commentators (yes, Skip Bayless, I'm talking to you) understand that the number of Pro Bowlers on a given team IS NOT NECESSARILY A REFLECTION OF THE QUALITY OF THE TEAM?

In the case of the Cowboys and their 11 selectees, it happens to be a reflection. In the case of Jacksonville, an elite team with no Pro Bowl starters, in happens to not be a reflection. "If that's so, then how are the Jaguars so good?'' asks the media.

Answer: Because maybe while no Jag is the No. 1 player in the AFC at his position, there could be 22 Jags who are the second-best player in the AFC at their positions. That would add up to no Pro Bowl starters. … but still lots of wins. Pro Bowl voting is about the individual. It is not about saying, "Oh, Dallas is slightly better than Green Bay, so let's make sure to put slightly more Cowboys on the Pro Bowl roster than we do Packers.''

Got it?

MEDIA OBSERVATION No. 3: The media effort to roast Terrell Owens marches on. And shame on the reporters who intentionally twisted T.O.'s attempt at Jessica Simpson humor into a controversy.

As I think we all recognize by now, when Owens said that Simpson is "not popular'' with the Cowboys because she jinxed Tony Romeo, he was kidding. But that didn't stop some in the media from knowingly fabricating his intent. Is this how we're finally going to nail Owens?

By making stuff up?

Listen, the pop tart Jessica Simpson's involvement with the Cowboys is a legit story. She made it so; Tony made it so, and as I suggested last Sunday, they've made their celebrity bed and now they have to sleep in it. (Well, Tony doesn't HAVE to. He GETS to.) And there is a lot of fun to be had with the story. For instance. … You read it here first: Ms. Simpson has rented a townhouse in downtown Dallas. Her place is right next door to the pad of a proprietor of a famous local restaurant (that's how I know about it; I'm not friends with Jessica, but I am friends with every guy in town who makes good pizza.)

We can make jokes about how The Official Sports Color of the Week is "pink.'' (Jessica's jersey; Isiah Thomas' slip.) We can poke fun at the creepily ever-present Joe Simpson, Jess' dad who is so proud of his little girl's double-D's. We can keep it up with the nicknames. (I'm diggin' "Yoko Romo.'')

We can remind of the immortal words of Rocky's trainer, Mickey: "Women weaken legs!''

But in the end, we might want to remember that there are 60,000 people in the stadium and a skillion people watching on TV, and none of that much phases a guy or his team. And we might want to remember that all over America, hundreds of thousands of teenage boys play games in front of their teenage girlfriends. And things seem to work out just fine.

MEDIA OBSERVATION No. 4: How is it that last week Bobby Petrino was a villain and the Falcons were a victim because he jumped ship. … and nobody bothered pointing out that Atlanta was simply getting screwed by Arkansas in the same way Atlanta had screwed Louisville the year before?

This is a mercenary business. Petrino left Louisville "prematurely'' (to Louisville fans) to move to Atlanta. Now he leaves Atlanta "prematurely'' (to media members) to move to Arkansas. That's the way it works. And now it works that way again this week for the Falcons as they assume Bill Parcells is accepting the job of running their organization. Fools. … why would you take Bill Parcells' word on ANYTHING?

This is what Bill does. Retirement threats. Job-jumping. It's the Falcons. Er, it's the Dolphins. Er, it's the money.

I watched this thing unfold while kinda feeling sorry for ESPN's Chris Mortensen, a Parcells crony who got played here by InfalliBill. Good luck, Mort, with putting your trust in Parcells. Good luck, Dolphins, in trying to teach players about loyalty, values and keeping your word.

A Dallas columnist wrote that he "guarantees Parcells will have Miami in the AFC Championship Game within four years.'' Guarantee? I'll take that bet, while offering my own Parcells-inspired guarantees:

He will surround himself with people who have as much "yes-man'' in ‘em as talent. (Get ready for Jeff Ireland's departure from Valley Ranch. And maybe Tony Sparano's, too.) He will bully anyone who was in power before him. He will threaten to retire at the end of every season but eventually return while accepting a million-dollar raise. He will offer a lot of horse-racing and boxing analogies. Everybody will be compared to Phil McConkey. He will demonstrate a weird disinterest in connecting himself to the community (no church, no charity). He will orchestrate the acquisition of Vinny Testaverde. Ultimately, he will oversee a very painful climb to respectability.

Yes, Parcells' Dolphins will improve. … because how do you not improve on 1-13?

Be forewarned, Miami media and fans: You shouldn't trust Mr. Parcells to run your company any more than you'd trust Mrs. Spears to raise your daughters.

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