Posted on: December 10, 2008 6:35 pm

Boys Will Be Boys

"My first road game with Dallas, we walk into the hotel lobby and there are four hundred people waiting - grown men, beautiful women, kids. It's a circus and a rock concert rolled into one. My first game with the Rams, the only people waiting are the bellhops." - Jim Price, Cowboys tight end.

While entertaining and amusing for a self-professed "Cowboy-hater", Boys Will Be Boys (by Jeff Pearlman) was still somewhat of a disappointment. After reading this book, I do not get the feeling I know much now that I didn't know when the 1990s came to an end.

Did I know that the Dallas Cowboys partied hard during that time? Yes.
Did I know that the Cowboys lacked discipline under Barry Switzer and that was a big reason they fell apart after winning 3 of 4 Super Bowls? Yes.
Did I know that, without Jimmy Johnson, Jerry Jones' drafts were mind-numbingly horrible? Yes.
Did I know that Deion Sanders was the walking billboard for prima donnas? Yes.
Did I know that Skip Bayless is the least credible writer in the history of sports journalism? Yes.

The most insight gained into the Cowboys of the '90s from this book that I gained had mainly to do with Jimmy Johnson. Whilw heralded by many as the real genius of the operation, one would be stunned to read that Jimmy Johnson wanted to trade Troy Aikman, cut Michael Irvin and not draft Emmitt Smith. Jimmy was also such a brutal taskmaster that, except for guys like Aikman and Irvin. most of the Cowboys' players were glad to see him gone.

There are some other golden tidbits in there. Deion's attitude towards practice and film study rubbed many teammates the wrong way. Charles Haley being downright insane got him in trouble more than once. And, of course, there is the story of Michael Irvin punching a referee. Not in a football game. No no. In a "charity" basketball game. (The referee was a volunteer).

Oh, by no means is this book a total waste of time. You actually learn more about Super Bowl XXX than you might have thought. Such as, how Neil O'Donnell's second interception was actually the fault of a receiver named Andre Hastings, who ran the wrong route. Then, again, most people by now know that too. And the book is well researched. It just reads like a summary of everything we already knew.

Still, if you are looking for an amusing book that can give you a few laughs at the expense of "America's Team", Boys Will Be Boys is for you. If you are looking into new insight into the Cowboys of the '90s, you won't find it here.
Category: NFL
Posted on: October 20, 2008 2:42 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2008 2:43 pm

Manic Monday Nuttahs

1. Tampa Bay finally did it. The Rays are in the World Series. Now, of course, we have the mainstream media (Freeman) whining that a Phillies-Rays World Series isn't "sexy enough" for him. Oh....my...Gawd! Do you hear that Bud Selig? You have failed in your duties as baseball commissioner because you did not produce a World Series matchup that appeases Freeman! How freaking ARROGANT can some sports writers be that they think that somehow who they want to be in the World Series matters! It doesn't matter, Freeman! The World Series does not exist to accommodate YOU! It exists to put the winners of the ALCS against the winners of the NLCS! If you don't watch it because it's not sexy enough for you, then that's your loss.

2. The head coaching change in St Louis better have teams worrying about the Rams. That team's mentality has changed drastically with the ouster of Scott Linehan and the promotion of Jim Haslett to head coach. Arizona better not stumble or else they'll see the Rams breathing down their neck for the NFC West Championship.

3. On the other hand, the Cowboys are NOT right mentally. Yeah yeah yeah. Tony's finger was hurt and he didn't play. But that's not why they lost 34-14. That's not why they lost 3 out of their last 4. The Cowboys are simply not right mentally. They aren't disciplined mentally. Stupid illegal shift penalties killing a scoring opportunity. Sleepwalking on the football field. Cowboy fans, your team is in trouble. Not talent-wise but attitude-wise. They got that star on their helmet and they are acting like that alone should win them football games. They better figure out their mental failings or they will be watching the playoffs on television.

4. Toxic Take: Hines Ward. I like Hines Ward. I don't like seeing a guy get hurt but I do like seeing guys play football. With all the wide receivers in the league that spend more time practicing their end zone celebrations than they do practicing their route running, it's nice to see a wide receiver remember that football is a contact sport and goes out there and pops somebody.

5. Then we have the Brett Favre silliness. I'm not going into the alleged accusations about him giving out Packer secrets. I'm more interested in examining his on the field play. And the entire Brett vs Aaron debate has been a roller coaster. The Packers started 2-0 and Aaron looked good while Brett and the Jets were just 1-2 and not so hot. Then the Packers lost 3 straight as Aaron was hurting and Brett had one ....key word ONE....monster game and suddenly everyone was jumping out and pointing out what a mistake the Packers made and how the Packers were going to regret the move. Then the Packers won a couple games, Rodgers outdueled Peyton Manning and Brett and the Jets just stunk up the joint against a Raiders team that, just a week ago, I would have thought would not win another game all season. Just another wacky week in the NFL.

6. Heads up, Texans. A second straight game is headed their way against a winless team. I always cringe when we have to play winless teams. Especially when the Texans have never beaten the Bengals in their existence. Texans need to take a class on how to step on a team's neck and choke them out. No reason to only win 28-21 against the Lions when you have a 21-0 first quarter lead!

7. Teams that are for real: Buffalo, Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Carolina, Giants. Not quite yet sold on: Denver, Arizona, Washington, the entire NFC North. On the rise: Rams. On the decline: Patriots, Chargers, Colts, Cowboys. Get consistent and you could be a contender: Jets, Jaguars, Saints, Buccaneers, Ravens, Eagles.

8. One last question/thought before I wrap up. Will the election put an end to all the political talk on this board or will it just make it worse? Why do you people bother? Seriously! I've read several of the threads on the political topics and all the good or relevant points get buried in the huge pile of personal attacks, insults, name-calling and stereotyping. Yankee and Red Sox fans think that Democrats and Republicans should be a bit nicer to each other!

And with that, Toxic Talk will now close for the day.
Category: NFL
Posted on: October 4, 2008 8:55 am
Edited on: October 4, 2008 8:56 am

Ocho Genius

So, Chad Johns....errr....Ocho...errrr, hell with it, I'm just going to call him Chad. Chad says he is going to score a touchdown against the Cowboys and then kiss the star. Most of us are sitting there thinking he is just being stupid and needs to shut up. But wait....Let's think about this for a second.

Suppose, just suppose, Chad gets an early touchdown and goes off and does this star kiss thing. Now, who is watching on the other sideline? That's right. T. O. Now, let's get into the thought process of Mister Owens. This is the same guy who spiked the ball on the star twice in the same game. Why did he do it the second time? Because after he did it once, Emmitt Smith answered to even the score of sorts. But that doesn't work for T. O. He has to be one-up. He had to be one-up then and he will have to be one-up now. It's because he is ... "competitive". So, he has to be the top dog, even when taunting.

So, back to our hypothetical situation. Chad has scored and kissed the star. Now, T. O. will have to one-up him. So, he will have to do a bigger taunt. Which means he will have to score. Whick means he will have to get the ball. He'll be demanding it even more this week than he did last week. Remember that game? The Cowboys had 58 offensive plays. 11 of them were rushing plays. 2 of those went to T.O. 47 pass plays. 18 of them thrown to or were designed for T. O. Garrett and Romo were already going out of their way to try and get T. O. the ball. Then he had that complaining quote in the paper so they are even more aware that T. O. wants the ball.

Now, we have T. O. having to try and outdo Chad's kissing the star?

The Dallas offense will be in total chaos. All the Bengals defense will have to do is rotate an extra defensive back to T. O. on every play. The longer the game goes without T. O. being able to retaliate to Chad's kissing the star, the more frustrated he will get and the closer the Bengals will come to pulling off this upset.

All over a bunch of silliness.

But that is what we are dealing with when you put guys like Chad and T. O. on the field at the same time.

Who is running this show? Barnum and Bailey?

I'll have my popcorn ready.
Category: NFL
Tags: Bengals, Cowboys
Posted on: September 27, 2008 9:25 am

We're Not On Life Support

When I first began to watch sports, the NBA was a couple years away from obtaining Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. And the league was on life support. I can clearly remember the NBA Finals Game 6, which would be the deciding game, between the Lakers with Magic Johnson and the 76ers with Dr J being telecast on tape delay. We knew who had won before the game ever began on television.

But things changed. The NBA grew as fans piled upon the Bird and Magic bandwagons. But Bird and Magic did not last forever and neither the Lakers nor Celtics won the Finals in the 90s. But the NBA did not collapse. No. In fact, it got even more popular as everyone piled upon the Michael Jordan bandwagon and off to the races they went.

But Jordan didn't last forever either. And the NBA had to deal with the Jerry and Jerry dissection of the Bulls and a lockout at the same time. If anything could have killed the NBA, that would have been it. But, the NBA just hitched its wagons to Shaq and Kobe and kept on rolling. Shag and Kobe had a nasty divorce that had such backstage drama that it could have made pro wrestling proud but the NBA has marched on as the Lakers and Celtics met in the last finals and the whole thing went full circle.

Now, you ask yourself, why the history lesson in the NBA? Because we have these people whom believe that if the current bandwagon isn't at the top of the world in sports, the sport would die. People like Colin Cowherd from ESPN Radio. He thinks that MLB needs the Yankees in the playoffs. Or the NBA needs the Lakers in the Finals. The NFL needs the Cowboys and Patriots in the Super Bowl.

Guess what folks. Baseball is going to survive just fine with the Yankees sitting at home and watcging on television. The NFL? Oh please. There have been so many bandwagons come and go in my lifetime and the NFL is still the most popular sport in America. From the Steelers and Cowboys in the 70s, to the 49ers in the 80s, to the Cowboys in the early 90s, then to Brett Favre, then to John Elway, then even the Rams got into the act with the Greatest Show on Turf. And, when the Patriots eventually tumble back to the bottom...and they will. All teams in the NFL eventually hit the skids and dive back to the bottom. When that happens, the NFL will be just fine because someone else will hop up and take their place.

That even goes for college football. College football isn't on life support just because USC lost to Oregon State Thursday. Even golf is surviving without Tiger Woods.

So, don't worry about the health of your sport just because the current bandwagon team has suddenly fallen on hard times. There will be plenty of other bandwagons for people like the Colin Cowherd's of this world to climb upon and then claim that their sport has to have that team on top forever and ever for it to survive.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com