Tag Archives: NFL

Milking the D/FW connection for all it’s worth

I cannot help but chuckle at the Dallas-Fort Worth media’s concentration on a certain aspect of the American Football Conference champion Kansas City Chiefs, who are heading to the next Super Bowl next month in Miami.

It’s the Dallas connection that gives me a giggle or two.

The Chiefs came into being in 1960 as the Dallas Texans. Then the owner of the franchise moved the team to Kansas City, where they became the Chiefs. The owner was Lamar Hunt, a young Dallas business mogul. He went on to build the Chiefs into an American Football League powerhouse.

The Hunt family has retained its Dallas roots. Lamar Hunt is now deceased. His son, Clark, runs the Chiefs. Clark Hunt still lives in Dallas.

The media are all over the Dallas connection and keep reminding viewers and readers that the Chiefs are actually direct descendants of the team that was born in Dallas but gravitated a bit north nearly 60 years ago.

It’s OK. You have to look for ways to retain interest among viewers and readers. The media here are doing their level best in that regard.

Hoping the KC Chiefs bring home Lombardi Trophy

I have a clear favorite among the eight teams still vying for a chance to play in the Super Bowl next month in Miami.

It is the Kansas City Chiefs. Why the Chiefs? Here we go.

I am a longtime fan of the former American Football League. The Chiefs came into being as the Dallas Texans, one of the charter franchises in the AFL in 1960. The Texans packed up and moved to Kansas City and became the Chiefs.

With that all said, I will now ignore the National Football Conference playoff lineup. I don’t care about any of the teams in that “other” conference.

The Chiefs and the Tennessee Titans are the two original AFL franchises still in the hunt. However, I remain profoundly angry that Bud Adams, the owner of the Houston Oilers, decided to move his team to Nashville because Houston wouldn’t build a stadium with luxury boxes. Hey, the Oilers played in the Eighth Wonder of the World, the Astrodome. That shoulda been good enough for the Oilers. It wasn’t. Adams got greedy and bolted for Grand Ol’ Opryland.

The Baltimore Ravens? Pfftt! They once were the Cleveland Browns, one of three old NFL teams that moved into the AFC when the AFL and the NFL merged in 1970.

The fourth AFC team is the Houston Texans. That franchise is new to the NFL, having been created after the Oilers left the Bayou City. They don’t count, either.

In all my years watching the Super Bowl, I have rooted for one NFC team to win the Lombardi Trophy. That would be the New Orleans Saints in 2010. They beat the Indianapolis Colts. Two factors came into play for that Super Bowl. First, New Orleans needed a lift after the 2005 devastation brought by Hurricane Katrina. Second, the Colts have no AFL history, as they were among the NFL teams moved into the AFC when the leagues merged; the third team to join the AFC, by the way, was the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Chiefs played in the very first Super Bowl, losing 35-10 to the Green Bay Packers in 1967. Then they came back in 1970 to beat the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV, pummeling the heavily favored NFL rep 23-7. That was the final Super Bowl before the leagues merged.

It’s been 50 years since the Chiefs played for the pro football championship. It’s their time … I hope.

Cowboys’ coach is out … finally!

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

That went well, yes? Well, no. It didn’t.

Jason Garrett has been booted as the Dallas Cowboys head football coach. The Cowboys have told Garrett his contract won’t be renewed. He’s out of a job.

However, all of this is coming from media reports. The Cowboys’ ownership hasn’t made a formal announcement just yet.

Jumpin’ jiminy. The owner of the NFL franchise, Jerry Jones, has made a mess of it. No surprise there. The owner operates on a clumsiness quotient that has virtually no rival in the National Football League.

I won’t get into the Xs and Os of the job Garrett did. I don’t know enough about football to speak intelligently about it. He won more games than he lost. He just didn’t win any Super Bowl games during his time as coach. That’s the benchmark for success in Jerry Jones’ world. To be fair, Jones isn’t the only pro sports franchise owner who cherishes league championships.

However, I just hate that Garrett had to be called the Cowboys’ head coach while the owner/general manager was interviewing prospective successors. He didn’t deserve to be disrespected in that manner.

As for whoever dons the coach’s headset next year and beyond, I hope he’s ready to deal with an owner who thinks he enough about pro football to act as a general manager, which to my way of thinking requires a skill set a zillionaire businessman just doesn’t possess.

Owner/GM needs to fire himself, but he won’t

The owner/general manager of the Dallas Cowboys football team is making a spectacle of himself — no surprise there! — as the media ponder his next coaching move.

Jerry Jones is the owner of the NFL team. He is likely to fire head coach Jason Garrett, whose contract expired when time ran out at the end of Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins. The Cowboys won the game but aren’t going to the league playoffs.

Garrett is going to leave the team he has coached. Jones will find someone else.

But the owner/GM is going to make it all about him as he postures, preens and pontificates about how he intends to make the Cowboys great again. Does that sound like someone else in the news? Well, sure it does.

Jones is entitled to own the team. I don’t begrudge him that. I just wish he would be a more “conventional” pro sports team owner: sit in the shadows, pay the salaries of your executives, let a real general manager make football decisions such as hiring a coach.

The owner need not get mixed up in the middle of running a pro football team. It’s way more complicated than making all that money to buy the team in the first place.

Hmm. Does that also sound like anyone we know, too?

Let the football gurus rebuild the team, Mr. Franchise Owner

I am going to delve into a subject about which I know nothing … which is no surprise, I guess, to critics of High Plains Blogger.

Still, here goes my foray into what I think is best for a pro football franchise that is the talk of the region where my wife and I now reside.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones needs to give up his stint as the team’s general manager. He should hire a competent, knowledgeable football guru to make drafting decisions, make coaching staff hiring choices, run the day to day operations of arguably the most valuable pro sports franchise on Earth.

I get that it’s his team. He spent zillions to buy the Cowboys back in 1989. He fired the team’s only coach, the legendary Tom Landry. He said something at the time about getting involved with every aspect of the team, including “washing jock straps,” or some such nonsense.

The owner anointed himself the team’s GM.

To be fair, the Cowboys have won three Super Bowls since Jones bought the team. However, they’ve gone 25 years since playing in the last one. The team is struggling again this season. The coach, Jason Garrett, is likely to hit the road once the final game ends this weekend.

I happen to agree with WFAA-TV sports commentator Dale Hansen, who said this morning that the owner’s meddling in matters about which he knows not a thing is what is fundamentally wrong with the Cowboys.

Hey, he’s entitled to be the owner. It’s his money. However, he is feeding a bloated ego by being in the news constantly.

I prefer sports owners to be silent. Let them pay the salaries. Let them run the board meetings. They can make command decisions, but then have their flacks make the announcements.

Would the Cowboys’ owner fire himself … please?

I’ve seen and heard enough from the Cowboys’ owner and the guessing games about what he intends to do to fix the team. Just walk away from the GM job, Mr. Owner, and hire someone who knows how to run a pro football team.

Coaching path from college to pros is strewn with casualties

(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

The fascination in this part of the world with Urban Meyer and the thought that he might become the next Dallas Cowboys head football coach intrigues me terribly.

And not for reasons you might expect.

Jason Garrett is likely coaching his final season for the Cowboys, who have underperformed to the disappointment of the team’s fans. Let me stipulate that I am not one of those fans.

So, what about Meyer? He retired as head coach at Ohio State. Prior to that he coached the University of Florida to greatness. Prior to that he led the University of Utah to the status of being a very good football team. He won three national collegiate championships.

Does that college success translate automatically to the professional ranks? Hmm. Let’s ponder that.

Chip Kelly coached the University of Oregon and for a brief spell led the team to elite status among college football programs. He left Oregon to become head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles; he got fired. Then he became head coach of the San Francisco 49ers; he got fired again. He’s now back as a college coach at UCLA.

Bud Wilkinson led the University of Oklahoma to 47 straight wins in the early 1950s. He coached the St. Louis Cardinals of the NFL, where his success was, shall we say, less than sterling.

Dennis Erickson had a stellar college coaching career. His pro coaching career was decidedly less than stellar.

Steve Spurrier, too, had great success as a college coach. Not so much in the pros.

Nick Saban? Same thing.

To be sure, there are reverse examples. The Cowboys hired two successful college coaches, Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer, who managed to win Super Bowls coaching the Cowboys. The owner, Jerry Jones, fired ’em both; Johnson mouthed off to the owner and I can’t remember what got Switzer into trouble.

I would encourage my friends who are Cowboys’ fanatics to take great care in wishing Urban Meyer can be talked into donning the headphones yet again, this time for the Dallas Cowboys.

It’s one thing to throw your weight around with student-athletes. It’s quite another matter when the players you are coaching are multimillionaires who make more money each year than the guy who’s telling ’em to run wind sprints.

Trying to understand these sports contracts

A whole lot of things go way over my noggin, especially if they involve large amounts of money.

Such as sports contracts signed by highly paid athletes. One of them, Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, is “holding out” and not participating in the NFL team’s preparation for the upcoming season. He’s reportedly in Mexico somewhere, working out on his own, presumably getting in game shape.

So, what don’t I understand?

Elliott signed a contract. I understand there’s still some time left on that contract, which means — I think! — that he agreed when he signed it to fulfill the terms of that contract. That means he agreed to accept the large amounts of money he gets paid to play football.

Now he says he wants even more money. Elliott believes, I presume, that the millions of bucks he gets to play football aren’t sufficient. I understand he’s getting a lot of love and support from his teammates and rivals. They say he is simply looking out for his family. Got it!

Are these athletes exempt from adhering to the terms of the contracts they sign? Are they able to walk away from their jobs, hold out for more money while still getting paid the handsome sums they earn already?

The Cowboys’ management is holding firm.

If I were on the negotiating team I might be inclined to offer this notion: Zeke, come back and play hard, roll up some big rushing stats, lead the team to the Super Bowl and when your contract is set to expire, we can find a way to give you the raise we believe you will have earned. 

UVA declines invitation to visit White House … what gives?

The list is now up to three.

The University of Virginia won the NCAA men’s basketball championship with a stunning victory over Texas Tech University. Then the White House invited the Cavaliers to be feted by Donald Trump.

The Cavs’ response? No can do, Mr. President.

They now join the University of North Carolina and Villanova University in declining to take part in what most of us thought was a part of D.C. normalcy. Teams win national championships, then travel to the nation’s capital to be honored by the president of the United States.

That was until Donald Trump became president of the United States. Now we find the president politicizing these events, criticizing pro football players for kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem. He infuriates players, who then balk at coming to the White House. The Golden State Warriors this past year won the NBA title, chafed at going to the White House and then the president disinvited them.

Now the third straight men’s college basketball team has said “no thanks” to the White House, citing what school officials called “scheduling conflicts.” Sure thing, man.

When you think about it, what we’re seeing is an ongoing trend involving this president.

Donald and Melania Trump haven’t attended a Kennedy Center Honors event that pays tribute to artists who contribute to the world’s culture. The president refuses to attend the White House Correspondents Dinner, I presume because of his antipathy toward the “enemy of the American people.”

These once-pro forma events have become news in and of themselves because of the president’s clumsy relationships with national institutions.

So the drama continues.

The UVA Cavaliers won’t break bread with the president. I fully expect Donald Trump to say something inappropriate — if not downright stupid — in response to the NCAA men’s champs’ decision to stay away.

Weird.

NFL wants to slow the game down even more?

One play in a key playoff game . . . and the National Football League goes ballistic!

The NFL has decided to introduce the option of reviewing pass interference calls on the field, in real time, moments after the fact. It’s going to be a one-year trial period.

Call me old-fashioned, but this is a ridiculous idea!

OK, I get that the play in question occurred during a National Football Conference championship game this past season. The Los Angeles Rams won the right to play in the Super Bowl largely on a missed pass interference call in a game versus the New Orleans Saints. The Rams should have been penalized; they weren’t. The Saints lost the chance to win the game and play in the league championship contest against the New England Patriots.

Now the NFL wants to prevent future injustices from occurring on the field? Please. The NFL already allows for reviews of calls involving touchdowns, pass receptions, first downs, those kinds of things. Pass interference calls are considered “judgment calls” that until now had been left for the official to make on the spot.

May I now declare that I detest instant replay? I do. It slows the game down. It disrupts the flow. It robs players of the momentum they might have. I don’t like it any of the major sports where this technology is deployed. Not in baseball or basketball, either.

I know what you might be thinking: This is the same clown — me! — who endorses the use of red-light cameras to deter lawbreakers from running through stop lights at intersections. That’s different. We’re talking about public safety. Thus, I want the cops to have technological assistance to help them do their job to “protect and serve” the public.

Professional athletic events are performed and controlled by fallible human beings. Of all the calls NFL officials make during the course of a game, they get the overwhelming amount of them right. Overwhelming!

I get that they missed a big call in one of the biggest games in anyone’s memory. New Orleans Saints fans are still steamed over it. They’ll never get over the theft that occurred that day late in a playoff game. I’m sorry for them.

But the sun still rose the next morning. Life went on. No one was physically damaged. Sure, a lot of emotions suffered harm.

Hey, it’s a game! Let the players play it and the officials officiate it!

Any questions?

What’s so wrong with a defensive struggle?

I am going to take up the cudgel for the two professional football teams that just played in the lowest-scoring Super Bowl in history.

The New England Patriots scored 13 points compared to the three points rung up by the Los Angeles Rams.

I’ve been reading social media and other commentary about how “boring” and “stupefying” and “disappointing” the game turned out to be.

Let me stipulate that I didn’t want either team playing for the NFL championship. My favorite among the four teams vying for the Super Bowl, the Kansas City Chiefs, lost to the Patriots in overtime in the AFC championship game. The New Orleans Saints, it can be argued, should have been the NFC rep, but were robbed by a non-call that should have gone against the Rams in that conference’s title game, which the Rams won also in overtime.

When did massive offensive output, though, become the benchmark for on-the-field excellence in these football games? I watched most of the game Sunday night. I watched a lot of sequences when both teams would take three snaps and then punt the ball away. It got to be so repetitive that CBS Sports color analyst Tony Romo joked that the first-half highlight was the Ram punter’s record-setting kick of 65 yards.

However, we all did watch some stellar defensive strategies being played out. Both teams were hitting hard and their tackling was sure-handed. Patriots QB Tom Brady got sacked for the only time during this year’s playoff season. Rams QB Jared Goff was hassled and chased around constantly by New England’s defensive front line.

I didn’t see many defensive mistakes out there. I saw some hard-hitting tackle football.

So what if the teams couldn’t ring up 30 or 40 points apiece? The outcome was in doubt until practically the very end of the game.

There. Having said all that, I am kinda/sorta glad the Patriots won the game, owing only to my longtime affection for the AFC over the NFC. We saw a bit of history made Sunday night, with the Patriots winning the franchise’s sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy.

What is so wrong with that?