Posts Tagged ‘Dallas Cowboys’

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year! A Gridiron-Infused Holiday Song…

Yesterday brought cold, blustery weather to much of the country.  Instead of fighting the bitter wind and the (at times) bitter-like crowds at the mall, I decided to stay in and do a little online shopping.  I wrote out my Christmas cards and wrapped presents, perfectly positioned in front of the TV so I could watch a slew of great NFL games!  Spending the day like that truly put me in a festive mood and reminded me why this is one of my favorite times of the year.

 In the spirit of the holidays and with yesterday’s games in mind, I give you my gridiron-infused version of the classic holiday song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”!  Feel free to sing along to my version or, better yet, click the video to enjoy the traditional song by Johnny Mathis!  Hmm…maybe I have had a bit too much eggnog??!!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

With Favre’s shoulder still swelling

And Giants fans yelling

A win may be near

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

 

It’s the hap-happiest season of all

With 2 Jets defeatings

In rival team meetings

The Pats will stand tall

It’s the hap-happiest season of all

 

There’ll be playoffs for hosting

Mike Vick will be toasting

The Vikings will clear out the snow

There’ll be more Dallas stories

And tales of the glories of

Romo from long, long ago

 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

There is Matt Ryan knowing

His record is glowing

And playoffs are near

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

 

There’ll be victories for boasting

Locker room toasting

Celebrating after the show

There’ll be ESPN stories

And tales of the glories

Of playoffs long, long ago

 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

Some teams will be going

The beer will be flowing

The fans can cheer!

It’s the most wonderful time

It’s the most wonderful time

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Fantastic Four – Which Four Teams Can Clinch a Playoff Spot Today??

As the season continues, teams throughout the NFL are desperately trying to win in order to receive a coveted playoff spot.  This week brings a number of games with playoff implications.  Four teams can actually clinch a playoff spot today.  Here is a look at the scenarios involved with each team that can propel them into the playoffs!

New England Patriots

Perhaps the best contest of Week 14 is between the New England Patriots and Chicago Bears.  After Monday night’s destruction of the Jets, the Patriots find themselves with the best record (10-2) in the AFC East.  Chicago comes into today’s game at 9-3 and holding only a one game lead over Green Bay in the NFC North.   Though they are in different conferences, both teams desperately want to win this one.

Green Bay plays the Detroit Lions today and should walk away with a win.  If Chicago wants to maintain its first place standing, they need a win vs. the Patriots so they are not tied with the Packers in their division. 

 New England can clinch a spot in the playoffs if they win or tie today.  They also earn a playoff spot if Miami loses or ties AND Jacksonville loses or ties.  Another way the Pats can secure a playoff spot today is with a Miami loss or tie AND an Indianapolis loss or tie.

Tom Brady (it pains me to say) is in “the zone” and is leading the NFL with TD passes (27).  He is in complete command of his team and should win this one, thereby securing a playoff spot.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The 9-3 Steelers host the struggling Bengals today, who limp in with a 2-10 record.   The Steelers, in first place in the AFC North after defeating the Ravens last week, should dominate this matchup.   The Steelers can secure a playoff spot today if they win and any of the below scenarios takes place:

A Colts loss/tie AND a Patriots win/tie AND a Miami loss/tie

A Colts loss/tie AND a Patriots win/tie AND a Raiders loss/tie AND a Chargers loss/tie

A Colts loss/tie AND a Miami loss/tie AND a Raiders loss/tie

A Miami loss/tie AND a Raiders loss/tie AND a Chargers loss/tie AND a Colts loss

A Jacksonville loss/tie AND a Patriots win/tie AND a Miami loss/tie

New York Jets

After the build up to last week’s Monday Night Football game vs. the Patriots, the Jets were humiliated in the national spotlight.  No one anticipated the 45-3 beating the Jets endured at the hands of Brady and company.   The 9-3 Jets face the struggling Miami Dolphins who are 6-6 and the perfect remedy for the Jets after their MNF embarrassment.  Mark Sanchez will look to redeem himself and Gang Green and unlike last week, should emerge with their heads held high.  The Jets can clinch a playoff spot if they win and any of the following scenarios occurs:

A Chargers loss/tie AND a Jacksonville loss/tie

A Chargers loss/tie AND a Colts loss/tie 

A Raiders loss/tie AND a Chargers loss AND a Colts loss

If the Jets tie today’s game, they can still secure a playoff spot. But, the Raiders would have to lose or tie AND  the Chargers would need to lose AND, finally, the Colts would have to lose.  Yes, the various scenarios involved in teams securing playoff spots can be quite complicated, but it is one of the exciting aspects of this time of year!

Atlanta Falcons

The 10-2 Atlanta Falcons sit atop the NFC South and face the Carolina Panthers who have the worst record in the NFL.  Atlanta should easily win this one and can clinch a playoff spot if they win and any of the following scenarios takes place:

A Giants loss AND an Eagles loss

A Giants loss AND a Packers loss

An Eagles loss AND a Packers loss

If the unthinkable occurs and Atlanta ties the Panthers, they could still secure a playoff spot if the Giants lose AND the Eagles lose AND Green Bay loses AND Tampa Bay loses or ties!

There are lots of other games today and tomorrow that offer excitement in their own right.  Here are a few non-playoff scenarios of interest…

Will Brett Favre keep his NFL streak for consecutive starts, despite the sprain to his throwing shoulder and his inability to throw a pass in practice?  More importantly, how will the blizzard that shut down the Twin Cities and pushed the game from Sunday afternoon to Monday night impact the game?  Will another day of rest allow Favre to start?  Will the layover the Giants were forced to endure in Kansas City affect their play?  We think the Giants win this one, but it may be a bit harder due to the chaos the team has lived through for the past few days.  Being stranded in an airport and forced to eat airport food cannot be the best preparation for an NFL game!  

Will the Dallas Cowboys be a spoiler and defeat the high-flying Eagles and QB phenom Michael Vick?  It’s a Sunday night prime time game, but we think the Eagles will prevail and remain tied for first place with the Giants.  Next Sunday, the tie will be broken when the Eagles and Giants face each other for a critical game.  That is a matchup that cannot be missed!

It’s Week 14 in the NFL!   Make some hot chocolate, wrap up in your favorite comfy blanket and watch the drama unfold!

Great Gridiron Gifts for the Holidays!

It is December 1st.  How did that happen?!!  There’s a lot to do before the holidays are suddenly upon us.  Over the next few weeks, look for our favorite shopping, cooking and other helpful tips that will help you glide through the holiday season with ease.  As always, we also keep you updated with the latest gridiron news!

Looking for a great holiday gift for that football fan on your list?  Jerseys are a perfect choice and with so many retailers offering them, it is easy to find a great deal.  NFL.com recently released its list of the top 25 selling NFL jerseys.  The sales data is for the period of April 1st through October 31st

These past few weeks have undoubtedly changed that list, as Michael Vick jersey sales have skyrocketed.  This past summer, his jersey sales were not even on the top 100 list.  His phenomenal performances (13 TDs, 1 interception and a 106 QB rating) have helped him lead the Eagles to 1st place in the NFC East, tied with the NY Giants.  With his new fan base behind him buying his #7 jersey, it now appears Vick will be among the top 25 when new sales figures are released.

Other interesting players on the list are the two rookies.  Sam Bradford may have been the #1 draft pick, but Tim Tebow’s jersey is the #1 seller, despite the fact that he is not even the starter for the Broncos!  If Tebow’s jersey remains #1, it will be the first time a rookie has ever led NFL jersey sales. 

Who is not on the list?  Steeler QB Ben Roethlisberger’s popularity apparently declined due to the allegations of sexual assault.  His jersey is not among the top 25 sellers.  Prior to this, he had been on the list every year since his rookie season six years ago.

The Cowboys have three players on the top 25 list (Miles Austin, Tony Romo and Jason Witten), leading all other NFL teams.  It is too bad jersey sales do not have any bearing on how a team is performing.  The Cowboys could use any help they could get!  

Here are the top 25 as of October 31st:

  1. Tim Tebow, Broncos
  2. Drew Brees, Saints
  3. Troy Polamalu, Steelers
  4. Peyton Manning, Colts
  5. Brett Favre, Vikings
  6. Aaron Rodgers, Packers
  7. Tom Brady, Patriots
  8. Miles Austin, Cowboys
  9. Donovan McNabb, Redskins
  10. Tony Romo, Cowboys
  11. Mark Sanchez, Jets
  12. Eli Manning, Giants
  13. Desean Jackson, Eagles
  14. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
  15. Adrian Peterson, Vikings
  16. Jason Witten, Cowboys
  17. Philip Rivers, Chargers
  18. Chris Johnson, Titans
  19. Patrick Willis, 49ers
  20. Sam Bradford, Rams
  21. Ray Rice, Ravens
  22. Darrelle Revis, Jets
  23. Chad Ochocinco, Bengals
  24. Brian Urlacher, Bears
  25. Wes Welker, Patriots

NFC Rivalry Game! Can the Cowboys Save Their Season?

The struggling 1-7 Cowboys travel to the New Meadowlands Stadium today for a game vs. the NY Giants, who are 6-2 and are first in the NFC East.  The Giants have won their last 5 games, the Cowboys have lost their last 5.  Don’t let the Cowboys dismal record deceive you.  This conference rivalry is always electrifying, due in part to the pure loathing Cowboy and Giants fans feel about each other!  Here is a glimpse at some of the key factors in today’s matchup and how they may affect the outcome.

Factor #1 – Jason Garrett

After firing Wade Phillips, Jason Garrett has stepped in as interim Head Coach.  His coaching style is markedly different from Phillips’.  This week he had the team practicing in full pads on Wednesday, the first time they’ve done so since training camp.  Garrett is definitely trying to change the tone and culture of the team, but will that translate on to the field?  Garrett was the offensive coordinator all season and his players didn’t exactly play winning football!  

We do expect the Cowboys to play a little more motivated after losing Phillips. Many of the players truly admired him and his dismissal may have been the wakeup call they needed.  If the Cowboys step up their performance this week, it will be due in part to Garrett and his more authoritative coaching philosophy.  Any improvement in performance, though, will also be a result of simple human pride.  The Cowboys are tired of being embarrassed, so look for them to play more disciplined, focused football against their nemesis today.

Factor #2 – A Banged Up Giants Offensive Line

Giants tackle David Diehl will miss today’s game due to injury (hamstring, hip) and will be replaced by Shawn Andrews.  Diehl is a staple on the line, having started in 120 straight games.  Rich Seubert will move from guard to center, after starting center Shaun O’Hara sprained his foot. Either rookie Mitch Petrus or Kevin Boothe, who was recently taken off the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, will step in at left guard.  Will this offensive line shuffling impact the outcome of the game?  Not likely.  The Giants o-line appears to be versatile and well-coached and should match up well against a Cowboys defense that has given up 232 points through eight games.  Only Buffalo’s defense has given up more.  Ouch!

Factor #3 – No Romo

With QB Tony Romo still injured, backup Jon Kitna will once again lead the offense.  Kitna’s performance this season has been shaky.  In the three games since Romo’s injury, he has thrown 4 TDs and 6 interceptions.  Look for Giants defensive ends Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck to bring the pressure.  Even if Kitna avoids the sack, the pressure may lead to some key turnovers and make it a long day for the Cowboys and new Head Coach Jason Garrett.

The Bottom Line

The Giants are firing on all cylinders right now.  Eli is playing exceptionally well and making smart decisions.  For three weeks straight, he had a QB rating of over 100.  The receiving corps (Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham), known as “Jet Blue”, is flying high too.  Although Smith will miss today’s game with an injury, the two remaining Jet Blue receivers should be able to make some big plays against a struggling Dallas defense.  Running backs Ahamad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs comprise the other threat that makes the balanced Giants offense so efficient.  Look for them to put up big numbers today as well. 

Despite the emotion the Cowboys are feeling about Phillips’ firing, that desperation alone will not be enough to overcome the Giants today.  The Cowboys may come into the game with more focus and motivation, but the Giants seem prepared to handle any Cowboys resurgence.

This Cowboy is Riding Off Into the Sunset…Finally!

After the Cowboys suffered a 45-7 pounding from the Packers Sunday night, team owner Jerry Jones fired head coach Wade Phillips on Monday.  It is a move that’s not surprising, but does shows the desperation Jones is feeling as the season slowly slips away. 

The Cowboys now stand at 1-7.  They were pre-season Super Bowl favorites and are generally believed to have the most talented roster in the NFL.  The Cowboys also have the highest payroll in the NFL. 

Will firing Wade Phillips save the season?  It is hard to predict if the Cowboys will suddenly start playing better with just the firing of a single man.  But Phillips’ mid-season dismissal certainly sends a potent message to the players that their current attitude and effort is unacceptable.  For weeks, Jerry Jones insisted that Phillips would remain the coach for the season.  This latest move shows that Jones has decided he is not going to tolerate the status quo.  It is a wakeup call to the team.

Phillips will be replaced by offensive coordinator Jason Garrett for the remaining games.  Garrett has a much stronger personality than Phillips, who often appeared weak and detached.  The team has shown a lack of discipline throughout the season and at times they have appeared downright apathetic.  The penalties, turnovers and other mistakes seemed to have no consequence under Phillips. 

Garrett’s temperament will definitely change the football culture of the team.  Garrett seems to be more of an authority figure who is not concerned whether players like him or not.  But is Garrett the one to take the team into the future?  As interim coach, he has just eight games to prove himself.   

Jerry Jones has invested billions of dollars into “America’s Team” and expects to win. Five straight losses finally prompted him to do whatever is necessary to become a winning organization once again.  If it means more coaching or player changes, Jones looks like he is ready to hold everyone accountable for their actions.  Firing Phillips is likely only the first change Jones is going to have to make to save his beloved Cowboys.  There may be many more Cowboys riding off into the sunset in these next weeks and months.  One thing is certain, this is going to be one wild rodeo!

It’s Week 9 and Oh What a Season it has Been!

Here we are, in week 9 of the NFL schedule, which means we are half way through the regular season!  Time flies when you’re having fun.  As we reflect on what has unfolded in the NFL thus far, we were inspired to say it with poetry.  (Don’t ask why, frankly, we really don’t know)

 

The NFL season is already half completed

Some of our teams have won, others were defeated

Players have been benched, a few were even traded

Coaches have been praised, a few are truly hated

So at this point in the season, we look at where things stand

One thing we know for certain, this season has not been bland!

 

The great and mighty Saints were expected to be dominant

But here in 2010, they’re not so prominent!

The trendy “who dat” slogan was such a catchy phrase

 But the way the Saints are playing, was it only just a phase?

So as New Orleans struggles to find a way to win

Will another team replace them as America’s new darlin’?

 

All throughout the league, quarterbacks are making news

With so many controversies, it’s easy to feel confused

In Philly, Vick was out…then in..then out again

The Steelers had their own QB troubles – the behavior of Big Ben

McNabb was benched for Grossman, a decision that boggles the mind

Grossman fumbled his first play, and the Redskins fell behind!

 

The Vikings made a trade to pick up Randy Moss

Four short weeks later, they gave him quite the toss

Randy’s open praise of his former coach and team

Caused coach Childress fury and to fire him it seems

Randy’s now a Titan, playing in Tennessee

Will he find a home there?  Or will he have to flee?

 

Jerry Jones’ Cowboys now stand at one and six

How does this happen to a pre-season Superbowl pick?

The Bills are once again at the bottom of the pile

Will frosty Buffalo fans ever find reason to smile?

The Panthers and 49ers are also down this year

Their fans are not celebrating, but drowning in cold beer

 

The Patriots are once again winning, doing it with flair

Even with Tom Brady and his Justin Bieber-like long hair

The Giants and the Falcons are tied for first in the NFC

Who will win their division?  We will have to wait and see

The Ravens, Chiefs and Colts seem to be true contenders

While the Jets, Packers and Steelers may just end up pretenders

 

The season’s only half way through, there’s lots more games to play

Some teams will continue to win, some may go astray

Football is a game of inches, so the saying goes

It’s a game that can’t be predicted, as any true fan knows

So enjoy the “second half”, it will be an adventurous ride

It’s what makes football the greatest game – that cannot be denied!

Falling Star…Is the Season Over for the Dallas Cowboys?

Last Sunday, NY Giants linebacker Michael Boley sacked Dallas Cowboy QB Tony Romo early in the second quarter, driving his left shoulder into the ground.  Romo suffered a broken left clavicle and it appears he will be out for at least 8 weeks, if not the entire season.  For a team that was 1-4 before last week’s game, the injury to Romo is devastating and will make it nearly impossible for the Cowboys to salvage this season.

So what happened to America’s Team?  The Cowboys entered this season as a Super Bowl favorite.  Most sports analysts affirm that the Cowboys have the most talented roster in the NFL, yet their performance has been abysmal. 

The Cowboys have played sloppy, undisciplined football these past few weeks.  Penalties, mistakes and an apparent lack of enthusiasm seem to characterize this team.  Why does a team that has appeared in 8 Super Bowls, more than any other team in the NFL, seem to be so unmotivated? 

Perhaps the problem lies at the top.  Team owner Jerry Jones perceives himself as a football expert and his enormous ego leaves no room for a coach who can outshine him.  Jones is a “hands on” owner and Head Coach Wade Phillips is just the kind of weak pawn Jones can use in his life size game of chess.    

A headstrong, opinionated coach takes the spotlight and control away from Jerry Jones and, in the end, it really does seem to be all about him.  In the 1990s, Jimmy Johnson coached the Cowboys to two Super Bowl victories and was responsible for some of the best draft picks and trades in NFL history.  Johnson left the Cowboys after he and Jones simply could not work together, due in large part to Jones’ insistence on so much control in the day to day coaching aspects of the organization.

One thing is for certain, the Cowboys are now facing a much more difficult challenge since Romo’s injury.  With the trade deadline passed, Dallas must rely on backup QB Jon Kitna to lead the offense.  Is it just me, or is it absolutely shocking that the 38 year old Kitna is the backup QB on a team as prestigious as the Cowboys?! 

Kitna came into the Giants game last Sunday and seemed totally unprepared and overwhelmed.  Isn’t it his JOB to be ready to go into the game at a moment’s notice? A quality, heads-up coach would not have a QB the caliber of Kitna as their backup.  Sorry, but there is simply no excuse for it!

Today the Cowboys face the 3-4 Jacksonville Jaguars at home.  The Jaguars defense has been struggling, especially against the rush.  But the Cowboys haven’t had an effective rushing game this season, so in all likelihood, the Jags will be able to control this part of the game.  This means Kitna will be forced to throw the ball to his very capable receivers.  The problem is Kitna’s tendency to drop back deep to pass.  Expect the Jaguars to aggressively pass rush and hit Kitna hard and often to rattle the backup and give the Jags a victory.

It seems unlikely that the 1-5 Cowboys can make the playoffs.  So at this point, they need to look to next season and the future of the organization.  Will Jerry Jones be able to put his ego aside and hire a new coach capable of instilling discipline and motivation to this very talented roster?  Or will his thirst for fame make it impossible for him to give up control of the team to someone who is more knowledgeable about the game? 

This year’s Super Bowl will be held at Jones’ new, beloved Cowboys Stadium.  Jerry Jones will be relegated to spectator, rather than participant, despite all the predictions his team would be playing for the championship.  This humiliation alone may be enough to force Jones to hire a more capable coach who can do the things necessary to start winning. 

The injury to Romo cannot be used as an excuse the rest of this season for poor performance by the Cowboys.  That was happening long before the loss of Romo.  Instead, the Cowboys need to use the injury as a wakeup call and make the organizational changes that will allow this gifted roster to continue the winning tradition.  It is time for Jones to bring the Cowboys back to their “America’s Team” status.

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