Marvez: Hype Still Building for Cowboys-Pats

FOXSports.com's Alex Marvez reports on late-week happenings in Dallas that add even more hype to this weekend's matchup between the undefeated Cowboys and Patriots.

IRVING, Texas - A matchup between two undefeated marquee teams didn't need extra hype.

But more spice was added to Sunday's Dallas vs. New England game following several late-week happenings at Cowboys headquarters.

Among the new storylines that have unfolded:

HBO reported that Cowboys coach Wade Phillips made comments disparaging New England's three Super Bowl victories because of the signal-stealing scandal that enshrouded the Patriots earlier this season. Phillips denied making those statements Friday and tried to downplay what should become bulletin-board material for the Patriots.
"They won all those championships and deserve every bit of what they got," Phillips said.

Phillips said HBO analyst Peter King had an "agenda" during their interview and misconstrued what he said about the signal-stealing topic. King and HBO are standing by their story.

My take: Unless Jay Glazer finds the tape, we'll never know whether Phillips actually spewed — on or off the record — or King misunderstood what the Cowboys coach described as his "Texas" talk. King is one of the NFL's best reporters and known for his integrity. But someone who has coached as long as Phillips has traditionally known better than to antagonize an opponent, especially one as talented as the Patriots (5-0).

  • Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo's father is suffering from prostate cancer. The Dallas Morning News reported that Ramiro Romo will have surgery soon after being diagnosed last month, but offered no other details as to his long-term prognosis.
  • The news makes Romo's breakthrough 2007 season even more impressive. But every time he struggles, Romo must now deal with media speculation about whether his father's situation affected his on-field performance.

    "It really does affect you," Cowboy owner Jerry Jones said. "It wouldn't surprise me at all if his dad at different points of the day isn't on his mind. Hopefully he can, with that in perspective, play like he and his dad wants him to play."

  • Wide receiver Terrell Owens continues to steal the spotlight while barely saying anything.
    Earlier this week, Owens posted a sign in front of his locker saying he wouldn't talk until after Sunday's game. Owens ended the note with a P.S. reading "Getcha Popcorn Ready."
  • The kernels actually are already popped, as Owens had a giant bag of popcorn in front of his locker Friday. He offered some to reporters, jokingly flexed his biceps for another writer but wouldn't field questions.

    "I'll see you guys after the game Sunday," a departing Owens said.

    No doubt.

  • As for the game itself, the Cowboys have credentialed 107 different media outlets, including those coming from Thailand and Japan. But the game actually won't be aired on broadcast television in Los Angeles. Local CBS viewers will instead be treated to Oakland vs. San Diego for AFC West supremacy.
    Yes, DirecTV is still offering NFL Ticket packages.

  • Tony Romo
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    In that same vein, Jones said he will make a heavy push to expand the NFL Network's penetration now that he is replacing Patriots owner Bob Kraft as the league's committee chairman. Jones took a swipe at cable companies balking at paying higher fees to carry the network.

    "The thing I do want to emphasize is how committed the total ownership is to building that network," Jones said.

  • Although it seems so, Jones said potential NFL expansion to Los Angeles isn't dead. Jones said he plans to meet Tuesday with a league committee about the subject.

    "There is a lot of urgency and it's shared by several owners," Jones said. "On a personal basis, I've been doing a lot more lately to get us a team in Los Angeles than I have in the past."
  • Jones also didn't discount the possibility that Toronto may someday land an NFL franchise. Owners of the CFL's Toronto Argonauts have reportedly started planning for a potential NFL ownership bid.

    "That's not a reach at all," said Jones, who also referred to the large number of Canadian fans who attended last Monday's Cowboys-Buffalo game in Orchard Park, N.Y.

    "I couch that with the idea we have thrown (international expansion) on the wall a few times, but not a significant amount. Having said that, it makes a lot of sense. It's a great market."

  • Dallas almost had another K-ball controversy at the end of Monday night's 25-24 victory over Buffalo. Jones said the Cowboys were given a slick K-ball to use on Nick Folk's game-winning 53-yard field goal.
  • The Cowboys suffered a first-round playoff loss to Seattle last season after a slick K-ball slipped through Romo's fingers when holding for a chip-shot field goal. That led to the NFL passing a rule this off-season barring home teams from giving slippery footballs to the opposition while using more conditioned ones for their own specialists.

    Jones said the officials lost track Monday of one K-ball and didn't want to re-use the one Folk had just kicked on a field goal aborted by a Bills timeout.

    "There's no conceivable reason ... not to have a conditioned ball in the game," said Jones, who communicated his dismay to NFL headquarters.

  • Jones will celebrate his 65th birthday Saturday by going to dinner with Kraft (among others). Considering the money that could be spent at that meal, I'll gladly take a doggy bag if Jones brings one back.
  • Alex Marvez is a senior NFL writer for FOXSports.com.


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