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NFL16: History of the Decline & Fall of the Cowboys’ Empire?

27 Apr

Some’ll read this title and say, ‘Au contraire, Steven, the Dallas Cowboys are far from decline (the rise part, that’s implied (See; Gibbon)), they’re NFL’s most valuable commodity.’ In other words, ‘you’re a certifiable loon, Mr. Keys.’

The ‘loon’ line would be way off-base most days but when talking strictly dollars & cents they’d be right on-point.

Forbes last year valued Jerry Jones’ football enterprise at approximately $4 billion, twice the League average (Google). That’s alot of loot and alot of rise.

But there’s more than one way to catalog a cow.

...........Cowboys.cheer.7.16.11.wc.D.Wertman.thmFrom this viewing vaquero’s vantage point the gridiron guys from Dallas are in steady, uninterrupted decline, looking ‘all hat and no cattle’ as the sun sets on one frustrating, unfulfilled season after another, their last NFC championship coming in 1996 (v GB) on way to their most recent NFL title in SB30 (v PIT).

And the Cowboys roundup still somehow manages to pull off the America’s Team thing. Like “Shane” said, “the brand sticks.” Pray tell, why?

Uniforms & logo are classic cool and Jones has shown good sense to steadfastly refuse any aspirations to change by kids at Nike who seem expert at messing up a good thing (See; Browns, TB, etc.). Plus, nobody really cares about the AT tag anymore. Belichick & Brady don‘t and Packers’ fans want it too much.

But the long-running futility that’s displayed on the Arlington, Texas field renamed AT&T Stadium (‘14) is a major drag and hardly befitting of a franchise that had became the standard of success in American sport ever since Mickey Mantle hung up his spikes (‘68) and Bill Russell called it a career (‘69).

..........Jones.12.7.15.K.Allison.wc.thmMurchisons & friends (Hawn, Wynne, Lee) gave it life (1960), firm of Schramm, Brandt & Landry gave Cowboys form, early-QB Eddie LeBaron made it fun, All-Pros Don Perkins, Mel Renfro and “Dandy” Don Meredith made it close (Ice Bowl) and Roger “The Dodger” Staubach, Bob Lilly, Ray Wright, Chuck Howley & Dan Reeves got the 1st brass ring (‘71). Then Drew Pearson, Tony Dorsett and Randy White helped hand Tom and Dallas their 2d NFL title (‘78) and Jerry Jones, Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer worked the mental maneuvers to resurrect the glory in the 90s with 3 rings in 4.

Since Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Deion Sanders and Michael Irvin hoisted their last Lombardi 20 years ago (1996) the Cowboys have made the post-season but eight times and have not been close to a Super Bowl without having played in nary one NFC championship contest.

Twenty years is a long drought for any team but for the Cowboys crowd it must feel like the well’s run dry for a thirst that’ll never be quenched. Gulp.

And the worst of it is that charismatic Jerry who bought the club in ’89 from the giving arms of the RTC who’d intervened as then owner “Bum” Bright was neck deep in the savings & loan scandal, doesn’t seem all too concerned with Cowboys plight, apparently content with the trophies on his mantel, AT&T rental fees and the resounding cash-register ring he savors with every quarterly report.

..........Romo.10.13.10.bigcatsliar.wc.thmbWhen the ’Boys looked to be turning the corner onto Contender Alley back in 2014-15, compiling a RS mark of 12-4 and only exiting playoffs after a gut-wrenching defeat to longtime nemesis Green Bay in the divisional (26-21) (THAT was a catch, and one heck-of-a-catch at that (D.Bryant)!), they lost their run game in the off-season bidding wars when 1500+ man DeMarco Murray chased the bigger bucks (PHI) only to flounder in Philly and then stat-star but oft-injured, long-time Dallas QB Tony Romo (‘06) went down with a clavicle break in W4 as the club limped to 4-12 in 2015.

Tony’s a topper in the pocket and his jersey number surely retired one day but has the luck of a may-fly and crunch-credentials that are somewhat questionable (2-4 PS). He just turned 36 (4.21) and is nearing the end of a long, notable trail.

Because there’s a dearth of pro-style, proven QBs in NFL ranks and Draft16 will have to, in Gomer Pyle speak, “surprise, surprise,” to help alleviate that sorry state, Romo still carries a premium and has full support of Jones, as he should.

But while Cowboys are beginning to re-establish their trademark defense with key team ranks ending upward in middle-of-the-pack in 2015 (#16 papg (23.4) / #17 yapg 9348)), All-Pros Jason Witten, Dez Bryant and Romo are no spring chickens and the ‘need-list’ in Big D is longer than a…chuckwagon chow-line at Chisholm Trail’s close.

.........RomanLegion.wc.StoriadItalia.1979.Mainz.tmDrafts are largely exercises in ephemeralia so don’t expect big reversal of last season’s 4-12 to a 2014 result. Boosting Dallas’ and every team’s chances is that the present state of (quality) competition in the NFL is probably at its lowest ebb in decades (See last season’s flops: ATL, NO, DET, MIA, SD, BAL, CHI, NYG, PHI, etc.) (See Also: NBA16) and anything is possible in NFL16-17.

Though Barbarians are massing at the borders there’s still time for Jerry Jones to put Dallas’ house in order and set ‘em again on that path to glory.

Unless he wants to go down in Texas football lore as the Romulus Augustulus of Cowboys’ empire, he serving as the last Western Roman emperor when the Vandals & Visigoths swarmed Rome (476 AD), he best turn his major attention away from the cha-ching ($) and back to turning this thing around but quick.

“Rome wudn’t burnt in a day (B.Hopkins, American Graffiti (‘75))” but when it was it wudn’t pretty and all the statues came tumbling down. Gasp!

.....macroecono.lamcasinoroyal.2011.wcSteven Keys
MacroSport
Photo credits: Cowboys.helmet, wc, 5.16.8, Dukeha; Cowboys.Cheer, wc, 7.16.11, D.Wertman; J.Jones, wc, 12.7.15, K.Allison; T.Romo, 10.13.10, bigcatsliar, wc; Barbarians.Rome, wc.cca, 19c, EV.Luminais, BAL; Roman.Legion, wc, Mainz, StoriadItalia, 1979; macroecono, lamcasinoroyal, wc.cca, 2011.
Posted: 4.27.16 @ 4:09pm; Copyright © 2016

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NFL16: London Calling, Best Pack a Toothbrush & extra Jim-Jams, Mate

16 Apr

Word came down recently from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell that the League is still desirous of and actively perusing the prospect of assembling a franchise for London Town, England (“Roger Goodell: ‘Realistic’ Possibility” / 4.5.16 / CBS.com / J.Breech). The schematics, so to speak, are being drawn for review and an owners vote sounds a likelihood in the not too distant future.

When speaking at a Jaguars’ ticket holder hoedown in early April the National’s top cufflink-in-management was queried about where the issue stood in terms of development and decision to plant an NFL team in the land of fish n’ chips.

Roger stated it in pretty plain speak, laced with some specifics and sufficient non-committal: “I actually believe that a franchise in London is realistic.” The two keys according to Goodell: “Competitive(ness)” and “logistics.”

.....toothbrush.paste.wc.thegreenj.9.6.8.thmSomething tells me once logistics get ironed-out (travel (Brits expect extended stay), scheduling, conversions (metric), language barrier (sed-jo͞oəl (schedule)), etc.) the competitive issue will find resolution as well.

Securing a viable and committed investment group goes a long way to satisfying performance potential of a planned franchise. If it comes to fruition, like any expansion club, London will be given ample time and then some to find its winning way with the added challenges they‘d surely face.

Two issues likely not to be discussed, not in public, anyway:

1) Oil to Burn?

Why now, to propose this distant addition to the NFL family in a call that flies in the face of a depleting worldwide energy reserve (don’t let the price plunge fool you), a problem looming large even as most everyone is hiding heads in the sand? With no major shelf discovery in 45 years, a squeeze on oil-shale that red-flags trouble, an ever rising demand (China, etc.) and nearly no movement on the alternative front (hydrogen, solar), less travel aught be the norm.

......Goodell.8.30.12.wc.thmb.SSG.T.Wade.USMA2) Mexico City

You can figure why Canada has not been a place for NFL expansion as it has with pro baseball and basketball. No real good comes from trying to topple the Canadian Football League (‘58). No such issue in the land of Moctezuma. Maybe it’s Mexico’s vast soccer set-up and love of baseball that precludes the possibility of NFL presence but it’s hard to imagine a franchise could not succeed South of the border. No hablan inglese?

Nevertheless, and thank heavens for ‘nevertheless,’ the idea of any city outside North America joining NFL ranks is a tantalizing thought, especially as the design is taking shape in the capital of the world-spanning British Commonwealth upon which the “sun never sets (Xerxes I).”

♫ Everybody wants to rule the world ♫ but will settle for wanting everybody else to want what they want. An affirmation of ideals as it were. I like football and like it when others join in the fun. Not exactly altruistic but human enough.

I can’t speak for our colonial forebearers, early adversary (1776 & 1812) and since long-time Anglo-American ally from across the Atlantic, but it seems a serious segment of the British consumer public is responding to the NFL presence at Wembley Stadium these past dozen years. Otherwise the League would not be feeling as chipper as it does about the prospect of a permanent presence in the land of Ivanhoe, the Virgin Queen and the Sex Pistols.

......SexPistols.wc.Riksarkivet.1977.TrondheimOne of America’s most notable contemporary pop culture contacts with London comes by way of HBO host John Oliver. John’s not so much a comedian as he is a testy traffic-cop on trends, some of which most certainly do need an accounting (greed). But Benny Hill, he ain’t, and that’s a bloody shame.

Birmingham-born John boarded the recently crafted anti-Redskins bandwagon (2012) as a critic of NFL’s 80-yr old moniker, making it unlikely he’d be among that group of Onslowians who are receptive to London joining the NFL club. “Onslow,” the lovable & lounging Geoffrey Hughes character (d.2012) on the 90s hit TV and long-time PBS syndicated series Keeping Up Appearances, was seen to sport a Packers shirt and personified UK’s version of ‘(Jeremy) Six-Pack.’

Oh for those racy days of when “Mrs. Slocombe (Mollie Sugden)” and junior staffer “Mr. Lucas (Trevor Bannister)” traded barbs at “Grace Brothers” department store (Are You Being Served (1972-85)) (before the politically correct bullies like Oliver were building shopping malls-in-the-minds), selling discounted (cheap?) laughs on bawdy display to a consumer public that had discriminating taste but was rarely imperious.

Count me with Judy Garland (“Esther Smith (Meet Me In St. Louis (‘44))”): “If there’s anything I hate, loathe, despise and abominate it’s a bully.” Hear, hear!

Once it’s in the hopper (London locale), next big question is, what to name the NFL’s hottest new prospect now that the Rams are back in the City of Angels?

......spank.VanityFair.thm.wc.6.6.1903Far be it for me to tell Britannia, that small but clouty cluster of islands & cliffs jutting out from that last major oil deposit discovery in the North Sea (’70), one that gave birth to Shake-a-Spear (de Vere) and Dickens, Newton and Darwin, Mick Jagger and Petula Clark, who for near 300 years ruled the Seven Seas, imprinted their language on every major consumer good and diplomatic dossier on the globe and have “150 magazines devoted to spanking (“Dr. Fiscus (St. Elsewhere)”),” what logo they should choose to adorn their NFL uniforms, if & when awarded said team.

But with a history background, decades of experience in the gridiron game (a word the Limey‘s will need work into their lexicon) by viewership and fun play, and descending from a parentage vested in the commercial art and advertising fields, I feel well qualified to advise on the subject, take it or leave it.

Forget-About-Its

The musings will start with the expecteds like monarchs (NFL Europe & WLAF), knights (of the Roundtable (Sir)) and probably wrap-up with the king of the jungle, the long traditional symbol in England, the lion. All terrific: Strong, relevant and about as common and non-inspirational as eagles and toothy mammals this side of the pond.

Possibilities

Montys

Not the “Full” kind like in the hit movie (‘97) but as in Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery, England’s most decorated and distinguished commander on land during WWII. “Monty” was winner of the decisive desert battles against Italian and German forces (Rommel) at both Alam el Halfa & El Alamein (2d), the Italian invasion and European theatre closing Battle of the Bulge (‘44). This one’d take moxie but then Nashville’s NHL franchise is called the Predators, so there’s that.

Admirals (Drakes)

.....Drake.bowl.wc.thm.J.Boehm.LobsterthermidorThere are the Admirals of Milwaukee (AHL) and Norfolk Admirals of the Eastern Coast Hockey League but the British admirals that ruled the liquefied waterways shaped the course of history and made Rule, Britannia! the song of the seas. Nelsons (Horatio (Vice – Trafalgar)), maybe not, but the Drakes might sail. Not in reference of the Canadian rapper, not necessarily, but Sir Francis Drake (Vice) who after lowering his privateer flag went on to scuttle the Spanish Armada (1587 (Cadiz)) and foil it’s invasion (’88): Raiders, Buccaneers & Drakes, aye, matey!

Dukes

A British title more suited to Walter Camp football than Sir (knight), “Duke” was nickname of our most famous movie cowboy (J.Wayne) and is currently burned onto the official NFL game ball (Wilson®), a tradition that began in 1941 at behest of Bears’ owner / coach Halas to honor Giants’ owner Tim Mara’s son, Wellington “the Duke” Mara who himself was named after Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, most renowned for his victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo (1815). No hazard in choosing the Dukes design.

Champion!

Post-war, outside the realm of science (TV (Baird), jets (Whittle), computers, economics (Keynes), fibre, physics, internet (Berners-Lee), lava lamp (Walker)), no persons, event, creation of British origin has had more impact on these United States than their greatest export, The Beatles. More than symbol of an era, their music and personas set the standard, sometimes went way-out & wild but were always in control.

The four ‘mop-top’ lads from Liverpool dominated the scene in the 60s and individually stayed relevant into the 80s. But their influence went beyond music even before they became social advocates. The hair, cloths, manner, it all worked into the cultural and commercial fabric, Sinatra / Elvis fans aside.

.....JFK.stamp.5.29.64.FBEP.tmUnpretentious (John only stated a truth: “bigger than Jesus (‘66)”), ever evolving, innovating, setting trends and never following, The Beatles were the quintessential non-conformists, a way that can exact the highest price (11.22.63), though, the foursome would freely discuss the strong influence American blues and early rock n’ roll had on their music. I sometimes marvel that any other music made it onto the radio, making The Kinks, The Seekers, Peter Paul & Mary, Spanky & Our Gang, Dionne Warwick, Herman’s Hermits, The Guess Who, Simon & Garfunkel, The Fifth Dimension, Burt Bacharach and the like, that much more amazing.

From their Hamburg days to the slim suits set by betters Epstein & Martin, Misters Lennon, McCartney, Harrison & Starr would lead the British Invasion in 1962 (Love Me Do), landing by air in a ‘64 campaign of music, money & merriment. From 1963 until their break-up in ‘70 they reeled off #1 hits like nobody‘s business to help a still grieving America (JFK) find comfort in a rocking new beat that both energized and waxed poetic. Through their transformations from leather jackets to chicken-slacks to hippie-hair, no other English good or services compares to their body of work and cultural impact.

Churchill inspired on USA tour post-WWII but Great Britain never had goodwill ambassadors quite like The Beatles, likely never will again. After comment controversy, fired mostly by organized Christian conservatives, their kids and hate-groups (Ku Klux Klan) in US South, the big band conducted their diplomacy almost exclusively in studio record and interviews but the sway held swag and the sounds still resonated with music lovers, media and corporate keens.

.....Lennon.wc.1969.thm.R.KerwoodAnd though resented by some music lovers in later generations for their talent, success, visceral vibes and ♫ feelings ♫ that are largely lacking from their own toe-tappers and angry rappers, the foursome’s relevance will last as long as humans make music or beam their broadcasts to worlds beyond.

Because of that it is a word / image in reference to The Beatles and their large legacy that should adorn the helmets and all appurtenant for any English entrant into the NFL field of frolic. Anything else would seem, so-so.

Their hint-on-helmet would also be the coolest thing since John Lennon worked distortion into the opening of “♫ I Feel Fine (‘64) ♫,” which was the coolest thing since Judy Garland sang “♫ clang, clang, clang went the trolley ♫.”

How then would The Beatles translate into the commercial design?

To the colors and logo the possibilities are many. And that’s for another day.

On the team name, your instinct has you pursuing Beatles vast library of songs hoping to find a perfect fit. You won’t, not for a football moniker. And then the copyright question comes into play. Some are fun to consider, impractical as they be: Day Trippers, Rocky Raccoons, Yellow Submarines, Nowhere Men, Eleanor (Rugbies), Revolutions, Paperback Writers, Walruses, Mean Mr. Mustards.

......Beatles.heads.thm.2.7.64.JFK.LOCThe name: London Beats

The band’s name itself is reference to the new ‘beat’ sound of the late 1950s and early 60s. Add in the football meanings and it works the triple entendre, i.e. beating / besting (there’s a pun, Pete) your opponent in score and into a bloody pulp, figuratively speaking, of course.

There is an Anglo-American band of some prominence by the name LondonBeat who scored a #1 pop hit in 1991 with “I‘ve Been Thinking About You,” and were the NFL – London group interested in the Beats name, might have a British copyright claim on the tag (See; patent lawyer (US), solicitor / barrister (UK)). Even if not, it’s likely contact would be in order and handshakes made.

.....macroecono.lamcasinoroyal.2011.wcSteven Keys
MacroSport
Photo credits: London-bus, wc, 6.26.12, BH.Spier; Toothbrush, wc, thegreenj, 9.6.8; Goodell, wc, 8.30.12, SSG.T.Wade, USMA; SexPistols, Riksarkivet, wc, 1977; Spanking, wc, VanityFair, wc, 6.6.1903; FrancisDrake-bowling, J.Boehm, Lobsterthermidor, wc; JFK-stamp, 5.29.64, wc; Lennon-guitar, 1969, R.Kerwood, wc; The-Beatles, wc, 2.7.64, JFK-NYC-UPI, wc; Macroecono-lamcasinoroyal, 2011, wc.
Posted: 4.16.16 @ 7:34pm, edit 4.17 @ 12:58am; Copyright © 2016

NFL16 Wild Cherry Picks: Veni, Vidi, Vici

8 Jan

‘I came, I saw, I conquered’

The NFL playoffs.

They mark a new beginning in the championship campaign of conquest, a whole new season, in fact (0-0), and you could even say afford an extension of the holiday season if your team happens to get its ticket punched.

....winter.wood.2007.wc.NinoBarbieri.thmIt’s when the crème de la crème get mettle tested by the fiercest foes and not infrequently the worst weather Mother Nature can doll out (See; SEA @ MIN (-0°?)).

For the player, his body tells him it’s time to settle for winter, catch up on sleep, reacquaint w/friends & family, read the mail, walk the dog, anything but more football. But the contract, bills to be paid and desire to be the best drive him onward in hopes of greater glory.

Which team can prove Julius Caesar, conqueror of the vast playoff landscape of combatants that lay ahead?

Some teams clearly have a leg up on the competition in weaponry, positioning and the art of field tactics & technique.

....RomanLegion.wc.StoriadItalia.1979.Mainz.tmHome-field and 1st-Rd byes, deserved as it they are, give a decided advantage. And while all 12 invitees are endowed with the spirit and physical skills to take the VLT (Vince Lombardi trophy), only a handful are cloaked in that garb of destiny.

Panthers at 15-1 and bye-ing time to polish their armaments and fine-tune strategy look best suited to wear the victor‘s laurel. But their lack of battlefield experience (1-2 Rivera – Newton – Kuechly) and atypical command tactic (Camster-the-Hamster (run-QB)) makes them a questionable conqueror.

In Mark Antony fashion, Seattle sent strong message to Arizona (36-6) that they are not ready to relinquish their tight hold on National Conference supremacy.

And Caesar Augustus that rules from New England always shapes the map.

Roll Call

Patriots: Coach (Bill), player (Tom) and sports success story of 2015, injuries all around are taking heavy toll on the Empire as the ranks are in depletion.

Seahawks: The thumping they gave rival & riser AZ, run-game modifications that work and 3-year playoff prowess all make them NFC’s team-to-beat;

....Rodgers.wc.cca.M.Morbeck.08.thumbPackers: Early loss of catch-machine Nelson was either underestimated or has proven a too frustrating fill-in. Mobility & quick-release are Rodgers’ keys.

Broncos: Pey-Dirt’s back in the saddle and will be given ample opportunity to work off rust and find the end-zone;

Steelers: Trademark Steelers D must’ve run afoul of Patent Office politics and been revoked because it’s been lesser in 2015 (#21 / 11). And with Williams hobbled, Big Ben must, as he often does, carry offensive load;

Panthers: Cats are 1-2 in recent PS and have not faced the toughest of slates. Keeping Cam pocket poised or letting him rabbit-at-will is Rivera’s big call.

Chiefs: Like Cats, another so-so slate but KC too balances like a top (O/D) and QB Smith looks for his first Super (10y) after 2012’s chance slipped away (SF).

....Dalton.wc.emeybee.9.17.13.thmBengals: The monkey on Cincy’s back is so big (PS 0-5 Lewis) it could buckle their collective knees if they fall behind in early going but this year’s squad has a cool confidence and determination that bodes well.

Vikings: “Baby It’s Cold Outside (Loesser)” is theme in Land of 10.000 (frozen) Lakes. Good thing it’s a 1:00 start. Will Peterson’s back injury warm and can 2y-QB Teddy move-the-chains and forge TDs to match a potent ‘Hawks offense?

Redskins: NFC Cinderella favorite for NFL’ers who appreciate commercial art and history (See; logo). Run-game quirky but hosting befuddled GB a blessing.

Texans: AFC’s underdog favorite for having turned injury-lemons into lemonade. Coach O’Brien, JJ Watt and their QB crew now seek February champagne.

Cardinals: Were on the march until Seahawks stymied. Bruce Arians is not one to panic nor placate his troops so expect a donnybrook in divisional.

....cherries.B.Kua.wc.cca.thumb.6.1.08

Wild Cherry Picks 2016

Chiefs (11-5) @ Texans (9-7): 1.9 ESPN 4:35: KC wins
Steelers (10-6) @ Bengals (12-4): CBS 8:15: Cincy wins
Seattle (10-6) @ Vikes (11-5): 1.10 NBC 1:05: Hawks win
Pack (10-6) @ ‘Skins (9-7): Fox 4:40: Green Bay wins

Record: 97 – 98

Steven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: Julius.Caesar, wc.cca, AV.Domaszewski, 1914; winter.wood, wc, Nino.Barbieri, 07; RomanLegion, StoriadItalia, 1979, wc, Mainz; Packers.cheer, wc, M.Morbeck, 9.26.10: A.Rodgers, wc, 2008, M.Morbeck; A.Dalton, wc, 9.17.13, emeybee; cherries, B.Kua, wc, 6.1.8; NFL-symbol, wikiproject
Posted: 1.8.16 @ 3:06pm EST; Copyright © 2016