Tag Archives: Green Bay Packers

Cowboys find a winner to replace Garrett

First, I’ll declare this: I didn’t always hate the Dallas Cowboys.

Those of us of a certain age remember when the then-upstart Cowboys sought to knock off the Vince Lombardi-coached Green Bay Packers while fighting for the NFL championship. The Ice Bowl of 1967? I remember it well. My home boy Mel Renfro, the Hall of Fame Cowboys safety, suffered frostbite in that classic contest at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.

So, then the Cowboys started to win and got too big for their britches.

But they had that history with the Packers ÔÇŽ which brings me to my point. The Cowboys have hired a good guy to coach them in the wake of the demise of the Jason Garrett era. Mike McCarthy has won a Super Bowl — which coaching the Packers.

Do I want them to win it all? Am I now going to cheer myself hoarse rooting for the Cowboys? Hah! Not even!

I just want to declare that the Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones has made a good hire.

Now the owner ought to take the next step. He ought to just sit up there in the owner’s box during the games and not get involved in football matters. He should hire a real GM, someone with actual football knowledge and let the GM deal with the nuts and bolts of whether Coach McCarthy is doing a credible job calling plays.

The rest of the scenario isn’t likely to occur, given the owner’s monumental ego, but I believe he has made a good call in hiring Mike McCarthy.

How ’bout them Chiefs?

OK, here goes my selection for the next National Football League championship.

I am pulling hard for the Kansas City Chiefs to win the Lombardi Trophy at the end of Super Bowl 53 (or is it LIII?).

They play the New England Patriots next weekend for the AFC championship. They’ll play it at Arrowhead Stadium in KC. The NFC championship will be decided between the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints; I don’t care about that one, because I have been a long-time AFC fan.

My cheering for the Chiefs stems from the fact that they last played in the Super Bowl in 1970. That was 49 years ago, man!

Those Chiefs defeated the heavily favored Minnesota Vikings 23-7. They manhandled the Purple People Eaters. Their coach was a guy named Hank Stram, who crafted something called the Offense of the 1970s. He was a dapper dresser who strolled the sideline with his plays written on a rolled-up sheet of paper he carried with him.

The KC Chiefs had the misfortune, too, of playing the mighty Green Bay Packers in the very first championship game. The Packers won that game 35-10; it wasn’t even known yet as the Super Bowl.

The Chiefs represented the American Football League against the powerhouse NFL titans from Green Bay. They got thumped, but then in the final game representing the AFL, which merged with the NFL, did their own thumping three years later in Super Bowl IV.

That was too long ago. The Patriots have been to many Super Bowls over the years. They’ve won their share of them, too. Sure, whoever wins the AFC title game must play the NFC winner at the Big Game.

This is the Kansas City Chiefs’ time. At least I hope it is.

‘Act like you’ve done it before’

I must be in a fuddy-duddy mood today. I’ve already posted something that suggests that awards ceremonies aren’t the place for political speeches.

Now this: I am not a fan of those elaborate touchdown celebrations we see when National Football League players score points for their team. The picture above is of a Seattle Seahawks player doing some kind of dance in the end zone after scoring a touchdown.

Accordingly, I am glad college football has decided to prohibit that kind of show-boating; players who prance and preen after scoring a touchdown draw penalties levied against their teams.

The NFL ought to ponder a similar rule, although I doubt it will. Pro football fans think it’s entertaining and that players have some kind of “right” to express their sheer joy at scoring a touchdown. I do admit to liking the Lambeau Leap, where Green Bay Packers jump into the stands to get some “love” from their adoring fans.

However, I still prefer the Earl Campbell, Walter Payton, Bo Jackson, Jim Brown approach to scoring TDs: Cross the goal line, flip the ball to the nearest official and then run back to the sidelines and get the pats on the rear end from your teammates.

It might have been the late great coach Vince Lombardi who said it. Whoever it was, he gave some good advice: When you score a touchdown, act like you’ve done it before.

Recovering from a weekend of profound loss

My wife and I have just experienced one of the worst weekends of our married life.

We’re fine, she and I. However, my wife is seeking to recover from a profound loss of a loved one. Her mother passed away Sunday morning. She was 93 years of age. Her life was long, eventful, containing the full range of emotions over its span on this Earth.

I won’t wallow in the loss we have suffered. I want instead to honor the memory of Loretta Mae Bellstrom.

She was many things. She led a complicated life, but managed to soldier through with good spirits. However, she could be melancholy, owing to the death of her own mother when Loretta was a baby.

She didn’t have specific memories of her mother, but she missed her every day of her life. That’s not surprising, given that she and the oldest of her siblings were raised by their maternal grandparents in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. “Grandma” and “Grandpa” spoke often to Loretta about her mother, so she came to know of her mother through the expressions of her beloved grandparents. Two other siblings lived with their father in Kenosha, Wis.

Loretta went though many of the heartaches that others have endured. However, she found solace by keeping her mind alert.

She was a relentless reader of books. She was proud of her library. Indeed, she introduced her oldest grandsons — my own sons — to the joy of reading. The older of my sons has retained that love of reading to this very day.

Loretta also was an avid fan of the Green Bay Packers. I wouldn’t call her a student of the game of football. But, man, she loved the Packers. Growing up where she did, it was only natural that she would love to follow the Packers’ fortunes, especially their years of greatness during the era of Vince Lombardi, Paul Hornung, Jim Taylor.

Ah, but Loretta’s greatest intellectual stimulus — in my mind — came from her worldwide network of pen pals. I don’t know how many of these “pals” she had at its peak. I’m not sure she quite knew, either. She would describe the pen-pal network as being “in the hundreds.”

It spanned the entire planet. She began building this network when she was a little girl.

But here’s the most fascinating aspect of it: Loretta was dedicated to writing original compositions to every one of her pen pals — and she demanded that they do the same in response. If she received one of those “Dear Friends” mass mailings, she would cut that person off — on the spot! She wouldn’t respond to them. She would toss their address into the trash can and stick just to those who would write her with the same detail that she would write to them.

Indeed, her letters were descriptive, heartfelt and — before she became accustomed to using a typewriter — written with impeccable penmanship.

Well, that was then. The end came quietly on Sunday. Her body gave out. And why shouldn’t it? She put 93 years worth of life on it.

Loretta was a big part of our life for many years. We will miss her.

Not every Texas resident roots for Cowboys

Mom had a million of ’em … sayings, quips, one-liners that is.

If she said something that I didn’t quite get or understand, she’d say, “Don’t look at me as if I just grew another head.”


Today while at work a very nice woman asked me something and my response prompted that look from her that might have made me ask about the appearance of a second head.

“So,” she asked, “did you watch the Cowboys game last night?”

“Um, no. Not all of it. I was in and out of the game,” I said.

“It was a great game,” she said. “Sure it was,” I replied, “if you’re a Cowboys fan.”

“What? You aren’t a Cowboys fan?” she asked.

“No. Not really,” I said.

“How can you live in Texas and not be a Cowboys fan?” she asked, sounding borderline incredulous.

I proceeded to tell her that I am not much of a pro football fan. I mentioned that one of my sons lives in a Dallas suburb and he and his wife are huge Cowboys fans. He watched the game, I told her, and I assured her he likely is deliriously happy today that the Cowboys won.

I told her I’ve lived in Texas for nearly 33 years. I told her I went to a Houston Oilers (remember them?) game years ago in the Astrodome. My favorite pro football team growing up was the Oakland Raiders; I alluded to my upbringing on the Pacific Coast, so I guess it was a regional thing with me. I suppose it’s the same way here.

Then something occurred consciously to me that I’ve more or less felt for many of the past three decades-plus my family and I have lived in Texas: Mere┬áresidency in this state does not necessarily make one a Texan.

I suppose if I were a true-blue Texan, I’d be a serious Cowboys fan. Since my aforementioned Cowboys fan son came of age in Texas, he probably qualifies as a Texan — along with his brother — way more than their mother and I do.

I did mention to the nice lady that I used to cheer for the Cowboys back in the 1960s when they tried to beat the Green Bay Packers for the National Football League championship. Roger Staubach, Mel Renfro — a fellow Oregonian — and “Bullet Bob” Hayes were my go-to guys back then.

Am I wrong to dismiss the Cowboys? I wish them well as the playoffs commence. But if you’ll excuse me for identifying the┬áteam for which I plan to root, I’m going to stick with the Raiders.

They’re having a stellar season, too.

Let humans play and officiate these games

An astonishing event occurred Sunday as I watched a Dallas Cowboys wide receiver get robbed of a near-touchdown after an “official review” of a play near the end zone.

My opposition to instant replay hardened.

How can that be? It’s because we’re surrendering to technology the ability to make split-second decisions in the heat of competition.

Dez Bryant caught a pass from Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and fell toward the end zone. He had possession of the ball. The Green Bay Packers saw it differently, which is understandable, given the intensity of the game at the moment. They called for a review. Then they got the play overturned. Bryant’s catch was ruled an incompletion.

I am not going to argue here whether the Cowboys were robbed.

It’s just that because I remain a bit of a stodgy, old-fashioned kind of guy on some things, I hate that officials who call these games are being second-guessed by technology.

Hey, the game is played by human beings. Last time I looked, we humans can and do make mistakes. Do officials who run football, baseball, basketball and hockey games make mistakes? Sure. What percentage of all the thousands of calls they make during a season are wrong? Oh, maybe a fraction of a fraction of 1 percent? Maybe?

It might be that I don’t have enough of a stake in some of these games to get worked up over whether an official blows a call. Yes, I have my favorite teams. Did I mention I’m rooting huge for my Oregon Ducks tonight in the College Football Playoff championship game against Ohio State?

Whatever. These games belong to human beings. Fans deserve top-quality entertainment. The players deserve to be treated fairly. Coaches deserve respect for the tough job they do.

High-tech gadgets are fine. I’m all for them. I own a few myself and I’m getting used to operating some of them.

However, when it comes to watching athletic events, I prefer to leave the human factor alone.

Let the athletes perform to the best of their ability and let the officials call the game to the best of their ability as well. They get it right almost all the time.

How in this world did we play these games before the arrival of instant replay?

What to call college football's big game?

I might be breaking some new ground here, but a thought occurs to me regarding the Big Game set for Monday night to determine the best college football team in the country.

The game doesn’t have a catchy name. You know, like the Super Bowl?

My Oregon Ducks are going to play the Ohio State Buckeyes in the first-ever college football playoff championship game. It needs something catchy.

Let’s flash back for a moment to the first Super Bowl, played in 1967. It wasn’t even called the Super Bowl. It carried the clunky name of “AFL-NFL Championship Game.” The American Football League champs that year were the Kansas City Chiefs; representing the National Football League were the Green Bay Packers.

The Pack won 35-10 at the Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, which was about two-thirds full for the biggest game in pro football history.

The AFL and the NFL played three more interleague championship games before the leagues merged in 1970. But someone came up with the name “Super Bowl” in time for the 1968 game between the Packers and the Oakland Raiders.

I’m open for suggestions on what to call the college football equivalent of the Super Bowl.

Heck, college basketball has its March Madness and its Final Four; Major League Baseball has its World Series; college baseball has its College World Series; hockey fans know the title series of their sport simply as the Stanley Cup.

The NCAA has come up with a marketing winner with this college football playoff. It figures to smash TV-viewing records Monday night.

So … let’s give┬ácollege football’s big game a name to make it — and us — all proud.

Oh, before I forget: Go Ducks!


Would the Cowboys’ owner fire himself … please?

I hate commenting on sports because I don’t know enough of the nitty-gritty to talk intelligently about it.

However, I do know bad management when I see it. It’s running rampant inside the head office of the Dallas/Irving/Arlington Cowboys professional football franchise.


The team owner Jerry Jones also is the team’s general manager. He’s got his own TV show on which he blathers on about football strategy and other on-the-field things about which he knows next to nothing.

I haven’t been a Cowboys fan since Jones bought the team in 1989 and fired a living legend, Tom Landry, the team’s head coach since it entered the NFL in 1960. I used to like the upstarts from Big D, when they tried to knock the Green Bay Packers off in the late 1960s. They came close — and nearly froze to death in the Ice Bowl game played in Green Bay.

Then along came Jones. The former Arkansas Razorback hired his old Hog teammate Jimmy Johnson as head coach. After a spell, the two parted company because Johnson didn’t like the owner meddling in football strategy and tactics. Their friendship ended, too.

Now the Cowboys are languishing again. As the blog linked to this note observes, the Cowboys are known as one of the NFL’s best teams — on paper — but they are managing yet again to prove they cannot win consistently.

Yep, the Cowboys have won some Super Bowls since Jones took over the team. It’s looking, though, as if the next one is slipping farther and farther into the future.

Why? It has to be Jones. The owner is a smart businessman who made enough money to buy himself a professional football team that has moved from the Cotton Bowl at the State Fairgrounds in Dallas, to a new stadium in Irving and now the place nicknamed Jerry World way over in Arlington — which is a lot closer to Fort Worth than it is to Dallas. Take it from me, many of the folks in Fort Worth detest the reference to the Dallas Cowboys.

Jones may be an adequate owner. He needs desperately, however, to turn over the day-to-day management of the team to someone who knows what the bleep he’s doing.

That someone is not Jerry Jones.

Take a hike, big guy. Sign the paychecks, pay the bills and get the heck out of the way.