A Six-Pack of NFL Myth-Debunking

IRVING, Texas -- A Special Playoff Edition of NFL Myth-Debunking – oh, and I'm providing a six-pack, so all you need to do is bring the Doritos.

1. YOU MUST RUN TO WIN: There's a compelling piece of evidence floating out there that seems to support this old chestnut: "22 of the last 27 Super Bowl champs have been in the top 10 in rushing.'' But there are a couple of holes in the logic. One is that being in the top 33 percent of the league in a category does not necessary qualify a team as an "NFL leader'' or as being "run-oriented.'' Two, the advent of domed stadiums and artificial surfaces has allowed for changes in the reasons for run-first attacks. The Colts of Baltimore had to succeed in lots of bad weather; the Colts of Indianapolis do not. And three. …

The New England Patriots.

The Patriots are arguably the greatest offensive team of all time. Yet this year they ranked just No. 13 in rushing – behind five non-playoff clubs. Are we really betting against New England to win the Super Bowl just because the Oakland Raiders were a more highly-ranked running team? Dallas, Indy and Green Bay, by the way, finished 17th, 18th and 21st, respectively.

I think it is fair to suggest that times have changed.

But. …

2. TIMES HAVE CHANGED: Yeah, but not too much. According to my personal Eye Test, the Cowboys throw the ball A LOT. Especially in comparison to the Emmitt Smith-driven Super Bowl teams of the ‘90s. That team, unlike this team, controlled the ball and pounded the ball and smash-mouthed opponents to death. But in comparison to THIS team? Not exactly.

The '92 Cowboys ran it 500 times and threw it 491 times.

The '93 Cowboys ran it 490 times and threw it 475 times.

The '95 Cowboys ran it 495 times and threw it 494 times.

And this year's Cowboys? They ran it 419 and threw it 531 times.

Now, the RATIO is screwed up compared to the Emmitt Days. But the total number of throws? Aikman & Co. tossed it around about 40 fewer times than Romo & Co. have; that's only 2.5 more throws a game for today's Cowboys.

Ball control is important, of course; but in terms of "the risks of throwing the football,'' the 2007 Cowboys offense has some of the same trademarks as its predecessor.

3. HALL OF FAME QUARTERBACKS WIN SUPER BOWLS: It's true that 10 of the first 11 Super Bowls were won by HOF QBs. … EVENTUALLY! But what sort of predictor is that? Only in retrospect do we know that certain guys are HOFs. This is a cart-before-the-horse cliché; there is no evidence at this moment that, say, Ben Roethlisberger is going to the Hall of Fame.

But if he wins a Super Bowl this year? Or in any ensuing year? Then he will be. And only then will we recognize that he is. … er, was. See?

4. WADE PHILLIPS CAN'T WIN PLAYOFF GAMES: He is 0-3. And losses are losses. But do you take a guy off the hook a little bit if he loses games he is SUPPOSED to lose? His losses were at Raiders, at Dolphins, at Titans. His test – the test of this cliché – comes next week if he loses a home game he is supposed to win.

5. IT'S A WHO YOU KNOW BUSINESS: That could undoubtedly come into play for a number of Dallas-related names: Jason Garrett, Tony Sparano, Mike Zimmer (the Atlanta D-coordinator interviewing for the same job in Cincy), Paul Pasqualoni, Todd Bowles. …

And June Jones?!

An example of taking the "Who-You-Know'' thing too far, from the Dallas Morning News: "There is an SMU-Hawaii connection. Donald Mitchell, a former SMU and Dallas Cowboys player, is the son-in-law of Hawaii QB coach Dan Morrison. Morrison's daughter, Nikki Mitchell, is an SMU graduate. The Mitchells reside in Dallas.'' So, lemme get this straight: June Jones might leave the University of Hawaii to come to SMU because somebody on his staff has a daughter who married somebody who went to SMU? Shoot, the guy who cuts my hair has a cousin who once got Eric Dickerson's autograph. …

Am I a finalist for the job yet?

6. JERRY JONES DOESN'T BELONG ON THE SIDELINES: Hey, if Mack Brown can let his stepson on the University of Texas sidelines, I think it's OK if the owner of a team is down there. Surely Jerry won't run onto the field to touch a live ball. … will he?

CowboysHQ Top Stories