Diverting the Static

It's time for the Cowboys break into the postseason with a vengeance.

Do you ever stop down to actually listen to what's going on around you? Not the momentary pauses in the action, but the don't-say-a-word ingestion of what some really think and believe. It's always alarming at best and extremely frightening on most occasions. Pick any topic and you'll find twisted and distorted truths and viewpoints. For sanity purposes, let's confine this to the Dallas Cowboys and Cowboys-related topics.

The title "America's Team" is not transferable. It can't be bought, stolen, borrowed or bequeathed to would-be survivors. This talk of other sports organizations more befitting of the moniker is preposterous. Ask a hundred people, semi-knowledgeable in sports, how the Dallas Cowboys acquired this distinction and the reasoning behind the famous title, and then brace yourself for a litany of off-the-wall assumptions and absurdities. Let's save everyone a whole lot of time and effort by clearly stating the title has been appropriately and rightfully affixed to the Dallas Cowboys Football Club for over 40 years. They call that staying power, and any team thinking they can crack that code of tradition is absolute nonsense.

Need a title? Go create your own. The key word being "create" as in the use of imagination and forethought. Anything less is pure sloth and "give up" laziness. Are there any Oklahoma Sooners faithful in the reading house? To preface, there are many guilty institutions, but the folks from Norman (and College Station for that matter) need to step forward and take their medicine. An upside down "Hook Em" sign? Or how about that brainless pick-up truck staple with the "sawed off" horns? OU and A&M grads, your parents need to come collecting. It appears that college tuition didn't quite take the intellect elevator all the way to the top. Your imagination skills rival that of a brick. Just how were those strokes of genius celebrated? Cookies and lemonade? Followed by a little dodge ball.

Most of the America's Team chatter is either coming from the Patriots fans or media pundits who feel the 21st century Patriots are more representative of the title. Why is that? Is it the red, white and blue uniforms? The name Patriots? The place Boston plays in American history? Sorry, good try, but none of these factors even evoke sponge-worthiness! Once past the nicknaming rights, the conversation usually then turns to which team(s), and their 3 of the last 4 Super Bowl runs, was deemed the best?

That answer cannot be correctly provided without dividing it into two segments. If evaluating talent only, hands down, it's the '92-'93 Cowboys. That squad would have their way with the current Patriots or the previous New England Super Bowl teams. The depth, talent and numbers-wise, was incredible. The Cowboys were absolutely loaded from the 1st player to the 53rd player on the roster. They could have played with anyone, and in many cases their back-ups could have throttled most of today's NFL teams.

If the question was posed as to which organization had to endure more and work harder to obtain the titles, then, without question it is the New England Patriots during the early 2000's. The obstacles were immense, but no two bigger than free agency and the salary cap. The Cowboys of the early ‘90's did not face these barriers, and the '95 Super Bowl team was still operating with remnants of the '92 and '93 teams. The Patriots have done an absolutely masterful job of navigating the terrain to field championship teams. Their front office and coaching staff deserve all the credit in the world, and what they've accomplished in this decade is simply beyond just and worthy description.

Speaking of deserving, what is the significance of starting in the NFL? Especially for the teams which employ the two-back or committees approach to toting the rock? Seriously, what significance does starting matter? Why all the clamoring for Marion Barber to get the nod over Julius Jones? Please qualify or quantify the advantage of one over the other. It may quite simply be one of the stupidest arguments ever raised. Each has a significant role in the Cowboys' offensive scheme, and starting has no bearing on anything game-related. If it works fine the way it is, why call for a change?

While on this particular topic, here are a couple of other "miss the mark" assessments as they pertain to the Cowboys backfield duo. Under the Parcells' regime, MBIII was originally viewed as a role player; mainly third downs and goal line duty. While very effective at each, it was always stated Barber could not be a feature back capable of handling the ball 25-30 times a game. Bull snot. Jason Garrett's utilization of Barber has clearly shown his versatility and endurance. Barber could very easily be a feature back in this League. The only thing missing, and most clubs covet it mightily, is the fifth gear. MBIII does not have the after burners to outrun most secondary personnel to pay dirt. For this reason alone, look for the Cowboys to seek another sidekick for The Barbarian.

In case no one has noticed, there's been a ton of contract speculation, extensions and signings out the Valley Ranch way. Jerry is prudently locking up the future and playing keep away from the other 31 general managers. A more supporting and confidence-boosting message could not be sent to this young and budding team. It's clear the organization feels this is not a one and done season for your Dallas Cowboys. The future looks very bright and opportunistic. With this in mind, one with any heart whatsoever has to feel for Julius Jones. Talk about your "no win" situation. With all the contract renewal talk swirling, his name is never mentioned. It's a pretty good indicator he doesn't figure into the Cowboys' long-term plans, and they will let him test the market in free agency.

If the open market proves to be less than favorable, the Cowboys could get Julius on the cheap. A compelling argument could be made on why he'd benefit from staying in Dallas. Unfortunately for Julius, he will not receive that huge pay day that every player seeks. It's the second contract which is supposed to bring financial security, but Jones was never featured or showcased to warrant some team throwing big bucks his way. It will be a most interesting situation to watch in the off-season, and the best is hoped for Julius Jones. He never publicly complained about his carries, and that alone says a lot about the young man.

Success is the core essence of succession planning. If you win, and win big, your people will be sought. The Cowboys are about to experience this in a huge way. All the talk has been about Parcells' return to NFL front office management and what it will mean to the Dallas Cowboys front office and player personnel. Sure, it's a possibility due to familiarity and comfort levels, but don't stop at Parcells. The entire League is looking intently at Dallas and rightfully so. The organization has many vital cogs which have propelled this entity to competitive levels once again. That transformation does not go unnoticed. Not sure everyone feels the same, but opportunity should be afforded to all earning their stripes and making a name for themselves. It's what they work tireless hours and sacrifice valuable (and irretrievable) family time for. It's a trade-off which should not be squelched. Good luck to all the Dallas Cowboys personnel as they receive invitations and entertain offers from other organizations.

At least it's not a situation (current status) they're looking to flee from in a New York minute. It's the ultimate benchmark and something each will have to weigh heavily in the consideration process. Do they stay and build upon a firm and solid foundation, produce more success while driving their price tags up, or do they elect to move on to further test their rebuilding skills in a less desirable venue? It's the ultimate question each person will battle, and as much as the football profession mandates nomadic living, there does come a time when families simply want to settle on a community to call home.

Let's just throw this out there now. The potential for personnel movement is immense, and while the fan base wishes it would remain status quo, the thought of losing the entire Scouting Department does not appeal whatsoever! If anyone deserves the opportunity for advancement, it's Jeff Ireland and his team of professionals. They work tirelessly, and no one has their noses to the grindstone like these guys. There was huge slippage in player evaluation and talent acquisition prior to Bill Parcells' arrival. Major slippage. Jeff Ireland and staff fortified these ranks and parlayed personnel acquisition into production. It's how successful organizations are built; from the Draft outward. It took the Redskins forever to figure this out as Daniel Snyder thought he could simply buy a championship every year. How's that worked out for the Cowboys' end of the regular season opponent?

There have been so many tremendous stories and accomplishments in 2007, and all have led this proud organization back to prominence. They are many people deserving the credit for the turn-a-round, but it had to be done collectively, as a team. It sure appears that all egos were checked at the Alamodome doors. None bigger than that of Terrell Owens. It could go down as the year which possibly righted a ship which seemingly appeared to be rudder-damaged. At least that is the hope. If, and that's taken with a gigantic breath, things continue to progress, Owens should end his career donning the famed blue star. The Dallas Cowboys cannot win the Super Bowl without T.O. It can't be done. Everyone would love a buck-fifty and two touchdowns every time out, but that's simply not going to happen. It's a fact his mere presence on the field requires the opposition to adjust at all times. Alterations create opportunities, and Jason Garrett, coupled with happy-go-lucky Tony Romo, are opportunity exploiters. The Dallas Cowboys need Terrell Owens, and likewise, T.O. needs the Cowboys.

Cowboys' faithful, the boredom and end-of-the-season blues are gone. Just how does that feel? Permanently gone? Probably not, but don't let the current state of affairs and excitement be clouded with static and noise. These occasions, in today's NFL, are too priceless and rare to squander in speculation and "what if's." Savor the moment. Lord knows it's been a long and painful road back. Put the bandwagon in park and enjoy the scenery for a while.

Cowboys' fans are so paranoid about what comes next. They refuse to rest on their laurels knowing something is lurking at the next turn or rounding the corner will somehow produce a giant dilemma. Again, it's the Dallas Cowboys, the one and only America's Team, so there are bound to be stories and soap opera scenarios which creep in from time to time. It's what makes it fun and worthwhile.

This team is poised to inflict some damage in the post season, and there's absolutely no reason to let the static drive you nuts. Go buy some of those airline magazine advertised Bose headsets and slide off into a Cowboys-induced coma. In a tribute to the classic Sixteen Candles, "It ain't a party until something gets broke." It's time for the Cowboys break into the postseason with a vengeance.

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