Tag Archives: Jason Garrett

NFL16 Cherry Picks W14: Are 11-1 Dallas Cowboys Super-Sizing or Just Surviving?

5 Dec

Monday Minute Waltz – NFL Week 13

The two most annoying words in sport today: fantasy points.

Mr. Bortles: “Trying to do too much (NFLN)” or just…plain…bad…judgment?

Larry Fitzgerald’s 2Q sideline handshake w/Redskins opponent DeSean Jackson was probably not the un-“selfish” play Cards’ coach Bruce Arians had in mind.

— — —

I don’t know who first uttered that buoyant phrase, ‘a win is a win is a win,’ but it’s point is pretty hard to dispute.

It’s the sentiment I expect was expressed by each and every Dallas Cowboys player & coach on their return flight home last Thursday nite following their narrow victory (17-15) over the hosting Minnesota Vikings.

cowboyshat-wc-5-16-8-dukeha-109ksb4That the Cowboys won their eleventh (11) straight contest and continue to have most people in the sporting biz thinking them colossal are morale boosters, for sure. That they won by the skin of their collective teeth is not all that disconcerting in that nearly every title team that’s hoisted the hardware had a close game or two on their road to Titledom.

The Minnesota win was valuable. Dallas won on the road, on short rest, topped a contender, a team that should’ve been highly motivated for victory to 1) keep playoff hopes alive that’ve been fast fading and, 2) win one for the Zimmer as head coach Mike was unexpectedly absent having emergency eye surgery (Detached retina?).

But how you win can be as important as how you lose.

‘Winning ugly’ has become a cute characterization today but in fact can be an omen, a warning sign of deficiencies that if not attended to forthwith will turn into big trouble down the road upon entering the playoff expressway.

The foreboding flipside to the Cowboys win last Thursday is in their failure to trounce a team that started hot (5-0) but has gone fairly frigid (1-5) since a week 5 win over the equally troubled Houston Texans.

garrett-j-wc-1998-user-archbridge-11kAdded to that, the host club’s home-field advantage was just lesser in that they were without their head coach and spiritual guide in Zimmer. Special teams man Mike Priefer, a key figure in the Chris Kluwe case, did a fine job filling-in and may’ve made identical calls to his absent boss but it’s just not the same.

In short, the Vikings were vulnerable, easy prey and the Dallas Dudes didn’t take full advantage. Cowboys’ failure to flex goes not only to the skill issue (do they have enough), but also to psychological aptitude as well, i.e., killer instinct.

Put more philosophically, does Dallas have the spirit of a champion?

Since their bye week, and setting aside the cakewalk win over Cleveland (35-10), in their five following victories, the Cowboys have won by an average score of 5.6 points. That’s less than a TD and that’s a close game. And had the Vikings game officials viewed the closing helmet hit on Vikes QB Bradford with an eye keener to protect passers from unnecessary harm, that average might even be lower.

Now comes the final stretch. All four of the Cowboys’ remaining opponents are contenders, some more serious than others but contenders, nonetheless.

First up are the Giants, a scheduled meeting whose timing is probably much to the liking of head coach Jason Garrett.

prescott-9-18-16-k-allison-187kThe division rival from New York (8-4), even with last Sunday’s loss in Pittsburgh, G-Men are the only team in 2016 with moxie enough to topple the ‘Boys, taking the win in opening week (20-19). Garrett would just assume play the re-match now in the Metropolis having enjoyed a 10-day rest in preparation.

Next up is an AT&T call from the Buccaneers, who are, at least this week, one of the hottest clubs in the League at 7-5, followed by a visit from the roaring Lions (8-4), at least this week. Closing out the regular slate is a rematch with division foe the Eagles (5-7) whose losing mark should not belie their competitive play and the fact they’ve chalked up convincing wins over the Steelers, Vikes and bad-luck birds of Atlanta.

If the Cowboys, who qualified for the post-season on their Minnesota win and Redskins loss (@ AZ), close out strong (3-1), do so with emphasis (8+) and hold home-field, Super LI may be just their size come February.

cherries-wc-cca-b-kua-6-1-08-3-3mCherry Picks Week 14

OAK (9-3) @ KC (8-5) GTW: 12.8 NFLN 8:25: Chiefs win
Steelers (7-5) @ Buffalo (6-6): 12.11 CBS 1:00: Bills win
Broncos (8-4) @ Tennessee (6-6): CBS 1:00: Denver wins
Washington Redskins (6-5-1) @ Philadelphia Eagles: Fox 1:00: Philly wins
Arizona Cardinals (5-6-1) @ Miami Dolphins (7-5): Fox 1:00: Cardinals win
Houston Texans (6-6) @ Indianapolis Colts (5-6): CBS 1:00: Colts win
New Orleans Saints (5-7) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5): Fox 4:25: NO wins
Seattle Seahawks (8-3-1) @ Green Bay (6-6) GTW: Fox 4:25: Seahawks win
Dallas Cowboys (11-1) @ New York Giants (8-4) GTW: NBC 8:30: Giants win
Baltimore (7-5) @ New England Pats (10-2): 12.12 Disney 8:30: Patriots win

Record: 58 – 68 – 2

......NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kbSteven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: J.Garrett, wc.cca, K.Allison, 9.18.16; Cowboys-helmet, wc, DukeHa, 5.16.18; Garrett, wc, User.Archbridge, 1998; RD.Prescott, wc, K.Allison, 9.18.16; cherries, wc, B.Kua, 6.1.08; NFL-symbol, wikiproject
Posted: 12.5.16 @ 4:20pm EST; Copyright © 2016

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NFL16: In Deferring to Dak, Tony Romo Fails the Grit-Test

17 Nov

He didn’t take many questions in Tuesday’s press conference. Instead, Dallas Cowboys starting quarterback for the past decade, Tony Romo, read a statement. He got goods reviews from the press corps and blogisphere bunch.

But place me about 800 yards west of the cheering section.

Grade given by this football fan for Romo’s blood-less abdication: D.

In his oration, Romo deferred to rookie back-up QB Dak Prescott on the starter question: “He’s earned the right to be our quarterback. As hard as that is for me to say he’s earned that right. He’s guided our team to an 8-1 record and that’s hard to do.” Very nice. Maybe too nice.

“Right” schmight. There are no “right(s)” in football, just ethical duties and contract obligations that some players will always meet, some will sometimes, some won’t but on their best day and a few don’t seem to give a damn at all.

romo-10-13-10-bigcatsliar-wc-343kOkay…you say you believe in rights. That should make you a Thomas Jefferson fan (BoR). For the sake of argument, let’s say rights do exist in football. Then I’d say, Tony Romo’s earned a BIGGER right to re-claim his starters job than has Prescott in retaining it, and with ten years of All-Pro play, sound character and seniority, shouldn‘t have to convince his owner of it, not if the Cufflink appreciates loyalty, anyway.

‘Seniority is lame,’ say some, but just wait until you start having to look over your shoulder at the young Turks coming to take your job. It won’t seem so silly then.

And I don’t want to read any hearsay from captured scribes or Cowboys’ brass (Steve Jones) on how Tony supposedly asked politely for his job back. Straight from the horses mouth (TR) or save it. Even if, this you don’t ask, you demand. If you lose the argument you take your lumps and stay a team-player, giving advice / support as needed. But you don’t ask.

And therein lay the wild-card in this hand of high-stakes football.

What would Jerry Jones have done if Tony had pushed hard to get back his starters spot, made an issue of it, would Jones have conceded, admiring the veteran’s moxie and taking it as good sign that maybe now Tony finally has the wherewithal to lead Dallas back to the Super show? Test of tenacity, as it were.

Apparently Romo never pressed the point, never handed in his exam.

Leaders, champions, they don’t defer to hot-streaks, popularity contests or young Tom Brady analogies. The greats will advocate, argue, fight tooth n’ nail for that starters spot and slot-to-glory, with both fists-a- flyin’ if necessary, Ty Cobb style when you had to fight for the right to play. And they did.

prescott-9-18-16-k-allison-187kIf I were Jerry Jones or Jason Garrett I’d likely tab Dak Prescott the starter myself. Stick with the hot hand and healthier frame than the oft-injured Romo.

I wrote, ‘likely.’ I’d need convincing that three good wins (DC, @GB, PHI), one pretty good win (@ PIT (Ben still bunged)), four walkover wins (CHI, SF, CIN, CLE) and one loss (NYG) gives a first-year guy the nod over a 4-time Pro Bowler.

But Tony Romo’s not an owner, he’s not a coach, he’s not Cowboys PR person, he’s not a GM implementing a youth movement or authoring a masters thesis on ‘Diversity and the NFL.’ He’s a man who dresses in shoulder-pads, cleats and rides point for America’s Team, or used to, anyway, the top job on the planet, a man with great passing stats in line for Cowboys’ Ring of Honor but posts a pedestrian playoff mark that raises doubts about his clutch-capability.

A man with that Dallas record and deep well of gridiron knowledge should NOT willingly hand over the starters spot. NEVER. And that’s Tony Romo all over.

From his first year as a starter when he bobbled that FG snap late in a playoff loss v. Seattle in Parcells final season (’06), you wondered about Mr. Romo. The bobble was a blip. Things like that happen. But with Romo it’s always something, something to derail the run. In fairness, Dez did (catch it (See; GB 2015)).

It doesn’t matter that Romo may be the only man in these United States who thinks he should start over an 8-1 rookie. Henry David Thoreau wrote, “any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one.” Some players, those imbued with spirit of competition and personal achievement, would understand and give their backing. Great quarterbacks have great big egos. They’d better.

jones-12-7-15-k-allison-wc-339kAnd if Romo had been given his job back and his ‘mates had tanked in protest, tanked on the team, tanked on the fans, that’s their problem. You go out with your head held high knowing you’ve done what a leader does: Take charge, give it your best, give it your all until that final gun goes off.

‘But what about the team,’ you say, ‘Dak’s got ’em believing?’ Sure he has, but Romo’s a master-craftsman in the pocket who’s won a playoff game or two, had Dallas believing in prior campaigns and could likely do it again. It’s theory but as sound as the Dak strategy.

I wish Mr. Prescott well. Youth must be served, elections excepted.

As for Tony Romo, I hope you like your Ring-of-Honor ceremony. When you get back to the fairways say ‘hey’ to President Obama and remember this link lesson: Drive for show, put for dough, Canton covets moxie that few come to know.

......NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kbSteven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: T.Romo, wc.cca, 12.7.15, DC, K.Allison; Romo, wc, bigcatsliar, 10.13.10; D.Prescott, wc, 9.18.16, K.Allison; J.Jones, wc, 12.7.15, DC, K.Allison; cherries-cloth, wc, picdrome, 6-2011; NFL-symbol, wikiproject
Posted: 11.17.16 @ 5:07pm EST; Copyright © 2016

NFL16 Cherry Picks W7: Dallas QB Dilemma Asks, ‘What Would Tony Do?’

19 Oct

If you like to write and then have habit of coupling that hobby with a love for everything that is the NFL, everything, that is, except Disney (ESPN) and Deion Sanders FaceTime chats (NFLN (ugh)), this particular hour in the week is one that either has you grooving with good thoughts or fumbling for a feature.

That time is Sunday afternoon around 4 o’clock (EST). It’s when everyone and their Grampa should be taking it easy, when NFL’s early slate of games have come to a close and the twilight tussles are just about to kick-off. It’s also when themes begin to emerge from the game results to work a collage of motifs that’ll be used in promotion of next weekend’s match-ups.

Side-bar: If you want to read a good definition for ‘Grampa,’ …this is difficult, go to urbandictionary.com (“sm1l3 (8.21.8)”). Too often a post place for petulance and porn-obsessed whatevers, this person’s insightful, heartfelt, humorous and non-conforming rendition gives UD a much needed injection of class.

hammock-wc-9-13-07-bjorn-som-tenger-45kSome topics are on-going but in the course of the game crystallize into a clear controversy (Dallas QB, hot-seat sizzle, etc.), others having just sprouted and quickly blossomed into fragrant fodder for the media to breath-in and exhale (injuries, officiating).

A few toppers from Week 6:

Did Kaep Krusader meet his Lionheart (or Saladin) in Buffalo loss? It wouldn’t take clouty customers the caliber of Richard or An-Nasir to expose the limited repertoire emanating from Colin-of-the-Crude-Socks (27-21 W-L / 57t – 26i).

Will Chuck Pagano, Todd Bowles, John Fox and any number of other struggling NFL coaches last the duration of campaign 2016?

Big Ben injured again (“I’ll be back”) while Ryan Tannehill staves off boyish boo-birds for one more week, keeping GMs around the League wondering ‘what if.’

Are the Packers in full throes of decline and rapid exit from the juggernaut category? Maybe, maybe not, but the Chicago Bears in this newish century (W7 @ GB 10.20) are the cure for whatever ails any NFL team.

How did the Cardinals’ David Johnson (UNI) fly under so many radars in D15?

But Ben hurts his knees near every season now, Pack’s been trending down since Cheese-Melt (@ SEA 1.18.15) and Oddball Odell is strictly Disney (ugh).

prescott-helmet-9-18-16-k-allison-thmSo that leaves the Dallas quarterback quandary at the top of the topic pile until Cowboys come off their bye to take on visiting division rival, the Eagles (W8).

With rookie Dak Prescott leading Cowboys offensive charge in timely triumph over Green Bay (30-16) (fifth consecutive W), a place steeped in sad outcomes for the Dallas gang, and deep-rooted veteran All-Pro Tony Romo set to return from his injury in the not too distant future, owner Jerry Jones and HC Jason Garrett are presented with that most wonderful of all coaching conundrums, having two capable QBs at the ready.

Nobody, not Jerry nor Dak, was happier post-Packers rout than was Mr. Garrett whose doubters could line the length of the old Chisholm Trail.

The Cowboys’ 2015 divisional playoff loss at Lambeau (Sometimes the sporting gods do take a hand (See: Cheese-Melt above)) still sits wrong in the saddle for Dallas dudes and dudettes and this win buries a few of those Fox Valley demons.

Yet the demons in Dallas still remain, those that’ve been keeping America’s Team from putting together their first Super Bowl run since 1996. And as every football fan knows, the decision to fill that quarterback slot is too important to be swayed by public opinion poll or political fronts that move in and out.

Many have been weighing in on this Texas-sized topic, including former signal-calling stalwart, Mr. Brett Favre, he now of the Cantonese sect (2016) and most recently uniformed with the Minnesota Vikings (‘09-10).

favre-dugan-wc-11-15-9-mn-ng-1-8mFavre backs Dak, who happens to wear the same #4 jersey and did his pro apprenticeship, like Brett (USM), in the great State of Mississippi (State).

Stepping into the Fox telecast booth last Sunday, “Mississippi” claims friendship and respect for Tony but believes you don’t mess with chemistry.

But then Brett in his playing days was not the sort to happily concede to another (Rodgers?), team chemistry or whatnot, not as long as the NFL ironman could walk upright. Had a former QB the likes of Jay Schroeder been invited to step on the Dak-Romo scale, you could expect a whole different take on the topic.

Inconsistent views aside, Favre was a gridiron king, and a demigod to boot in the grand State of Wisconsin, oh my gosh. Such players can return to action anytime they choose, damn that chemistry thing. ‘I‘ll take it from here, Sport, so you take a seat and watch how it’s done!’

Had Jim Garoppolo remained healthy and taken Pats to 4-0 during Brady’s 2016 susp’n, nobody would’ve begrudged Tom’s return to the starter role no matter if Jim had tossed 20 TDs to that point.

Tony’s not a king. He’s a prince among men and Jerry loves him dearly but he has no throne upon which to sit (stand), i.e., a record-of-note, an MVP nor Super Bowl title. The ring-bearers are about the only guys who can make that long-standing (lame) line on ‘injury won’t lose your starter’s job’ make any sense.

What Would Tony Do (WWTD)?

jones-12-7-15-k-allison-wc-339kThis might be how the decision goes down:

The braintrust will call Romo into Jones’ office for a chat. They’ll talk about his health status (back), his thoughts on team chemistry and the Dak dynamic since the rookie took the ball and Tony’s eagerness to getting back in the saddle.

Tone’s been a performer for Dallas (‘04) and deserves his say, maybe even the final version. And that’s just what Jerry and Jason will likely to do: Holding off any public discussion – announcement on the matter until Romo is in full re-possession of his health and is game ready (to do otherwise would only ding Dak’s confidence), J&J will play out the Romo string and ask Tony to make the call. Meaning, the long-time Cowboy will get back under center to resume the starter’s job when fit and expect to continue that good chemistry at the first opportunity.

Recent reports have Romo continuing his rehab beyond the bye and Cowboys’ game against the Eagles (W8), meaning, Dynamic Dak will likely have at least one more start to either enhance his aura of invincibility or expose an Achilles heel.

Not as unpredictable as portrayed, Jerry Jones loyalty can be counted upon, at least that’s the perception. And if Prescott progresses as Cowboys hope, the Louisiana native can expect the same treatment.

I too got caught up in Dak-delirium. ‘If it works don’t fix it’ is one of my favorites and Prescott is working just fine (5-1, 69 C%, 7t-1i, only 3.5 rush per (man’s poise-n in the pocket)). But also mindful that the Dak-led-Cowboys have topped five teams with a collective 14-16 record, minus the five Dallas drubbings.

romo-10-13-10-bigcatsliar-wc-343kAnyone with a winner’s heart, a champion’s spirit, will take the reins when given the chance and damn any torpedoes that come their way on knowledge that that‘s your duty. With numbers like Tony has put up in his ten years riding Cowboys‘ point, even as his clutch capability has been questioned (127 GS, 74-49, 65+ C%, 247t-117i), he holds ample depth-charges to drop any naysayer’s way. Ka-boom!

How would rookie Dak respond to clipboard duty? Like a trooper, I’d suppose, making the standard pitch to play but having wherewithal to accept the switch (demotion), tune out the nincompoops captured in his moment, know his day will come again soon enough and even appreciate the reduction in pressure. Consider DP still has alot to learn, much of which Tony Romo can teach.

A key to success in Romo’s return (and giving him the choice essentially tabs him to start) is that Dak is fully supportive. That helps keep the junior media in check when Romo has an off game and the squawking ensues for their new fantasy fave and lessens likelihood that socially-driven teammates will take to brood.

As to those teammates, if possessing of a champion’s heart they’ll take to Tony’s return like a professional and play with gusto. That’s the Cowboys’ way. If not, Jerry knows where to ship-off a sour-puss. Somewhere with lots o’ snow.

cherries-wc-cca-b-kua-6-1-08-3-3mCherry Picks Week 7: Tussle in Twickenham

NYG (3-3) @ Rams (3-3): 10.23 (L) NFL 9:30a: LA wins
Saints (2-3) @ Chiefs (3-2): Fox 1:00: Kansas City wins
Vikings (5-0) @ Philadelphia (3-2): Fox 1:00: Eagles win
Washington Redskins (4-2) @ Detroit Lions (3-3): Fox 1:00: Detroit wins
Buffalo Bills (4-2) @ Miami Dolphins (2-4): CBS 1:00: Dolphins win
San Diego Chargers (2-4) @ Atlanta (4-2): Fox 4:05(GTW): Bolts win
Seattle Seahawks (4-1) @ Arizona (3-3): NBC 8:30 (GTW): Cards win
Houston Texans (4-2) @ Denver (4-2): 10.24 Disney 8:30: Texans win

Record: 30 – 33

......NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kbSteven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: T.Romo, ProBowl, wc.cca, EV.Gonzales, USN, 2.10.08; Romo, hat, wc, K.Allison, 12.7.15; Man-in-hammock, Bjorn-Som-Tenger, 9.13.07, wc; D.Prescott, wc, K.Allison, 9.18.16; B.Favre-Dugan, wc, 11.15.09, MN-NG; Favre, wc, M.Morbeck, 10.24.10; J.Jones, wc, 12.7.15, K.Allison; T.Romo, wc, bigcatsliar, 10.13.10; cherries, B.Kua, 6.1.08, wc; NFL-symbol, wikiproject;
Posted: 10.19.16 @ 5:38pm, edit @ 7:50 EST; Copyright © 2016

NFL15 Cherry Division: Echoes of ’67, with Gloves

9 Jan

Reconstructing Legacies

It’s won’t be the Ice Bowl (‘67), and the “tundra” won’t be “frozen” when Dallas takes to Lambeau Field Sunday to face long-time rival Green Bay, not unless the forecast takes an icy turn for the worse (-13° ‘67). Weather folk expect seasonal cold on game-day (20°) w/partly cloudy skies, a slight warm-up from a frigid 11° predicted on Saturday before.

............IceBowl.Gorham.HMoA.2013.W.Pearl.1871.thmb

But the cartels of Cowboys, Packers, assorted fandoms and production personnel that’ll fill the historical echo-chamber to its rafters this weekend (1-11 Fox 1:00 EST), will likely feel plenty snug, no matter the chilly climate.

In pre-game build-up, the hallowed history shared by the Pack and Lone Star bunch will hang heavy in the crispy & crackly Wisconsin air (unless, hace viento) as both squads fully fixate on trying to simultaneously reconstruct past winning ways while hoping to break with some losing legacies, old and not so old.

..............dallas.cowboys.wordmark.wc.cca

For the Cowboys part, they’re making their first post-season visit to Packerland since that bitter cold day (and they were all day-timers back then), December 31, 1967, armed for bear and cheese, and bent on avenging the late-game, sneaky loss (QB Starr) to the host Packers (21-17) in a game many aged 50 & up consider the greatest ever played.

Some of the participants, on both sides, might disagree, saying, ‘It was no game, it was a frozen farce.’ But such a titanic test of wills, courage & creativity may never again be put to two squads, championship venue or otherwise.

What Cowboys coach Jason Garrett hopes to resurrect is two-fold: 1) a playoff prowess they’d had versus the Pack, all in Texas, that began in their next PS meet post-Ice Bowl, the strike-shortened ‘83 win over Bart Starr’s bunch (37-26) and ending in a barn-burner win over Holmgren & Co., 38-27 (‘96); and 2) locate their America’s Team playbook and return to the Super State that made them beloved, coast-to-coast (’72, 78, 93, 94, 96).

...........Packers.logo.1959.wc.cca.thumb

While Dallas is America’s Team, Packers are most certainly History’s Team. Mike McCarthy looks to re-establish home-field advantage that’d made City-County-Lambeau fields graveyards for the title-dreams of visitors for 50 years. Of their last 9 playoffs, 5 have ended in home loses (‘14, 12, 08, 05, 03), something unheard of in days of Curly, Vince and even Bart (STL WC ’83).

So, what will Sunday’s frozen fist-a-cuff have in common with the Ice Bowl?

Besides the obvious (DAL @ GB, cold, etc.), these Packers, though not taking to tundra as defending champs (SEA), still can, like their brethren of yore, claim a superior status (SB ‘11) to Dallas who haven‘t supped champagne since ‘96. In ‘67, Tom Landry had not won an NFL title, having lost their chance (and trip to SB1) earlier the same year (1-1-67) in Big D, losing NFL championship to the Packers (27-34) to whom they’d fall yet again less than a year later in Green Bay.

............Romo.10.13.10.bigcatsliar.wc.thmb

Another resemblance: the QBs. Like Starr, the greatest field tactician in the history of pro football, Packers current signal-caller Aaron Rodgers has an NFL title to his credit going into Sunday‘s match, whilst his Dallas opposite, Tony Romo, like Cowboys colorful and talented ‘67 signaler, “Dandy” Don Meredith, still seeks his own clutch-charm (ring).

What will be different?

Again, besides the obvious (more TV ads, crowd goofs, muscle-mass explosion), the field condition will be much improved.

In 1967, high-tech maintenance had just been hatched and through a series of miscues the installed technology, well, laid a hard, slippery egg. Today, it’s an art form and the turf will be playable, i.e., no razor-sharp ice shards or cement-bounce, the type of ricochet that sent GB’s top-hands in Boyd Dowler out early w/concussion from the legendary game.

..............gloves.USMC.Iraq.7.27.06.wc.cca.Cpl.R.Lewis.thmb

And then there’s the hand-wear.

It’s become part of Ice Bowl lore: Vince Lombardi’s refusal to allow sideline heaters and glove-wear for his men in this coldest of contests. Different days, indeed.

That didn’t stop Cantonese linebacker Dave Robinson from using his noggin. Cleverly, Dave donned a pair of dark hand-mittens in hopes the coach wouldn’t notice. He didn’t, or didn’t squawk about it, and Robinson saved his digits from frost-bite, a malady many would sustain and suffer lingering pains from for the rest of their days (See: J. Pugh).

But no such worries today, no sir-ee, Bob. Those cozy & comfy symbols of sissified man-hood, and sticky solution to the butter-fingered ball-hawk, that make a small mint ($) for a handful but a mockery of the sport, have practically everything covered. But admittedly, at this time of the year, in northern Wisconsin, a little C&C can be excused.

..........A.Rodgers.wc.cca.M.Morbeck.08.thumb

Two questions leading up to Sunday‘s juggernaut joust, apart from how Aaron Rodgers calf injury plays out (“The secret is not minding that it hurts (O’Toole (LoA)):”

Who will be Chilly Bowl’s Chuck Mercein, Packers little used full-back (‘67: 14a, 56y) who was co-hero with Starr in breaking big runs in Green Bay’s final scoring drive?

And, will convalescing Bart and his former on-field nemesis, Bob Lilly (“Mr. Cowboy”) be watching the game? None better than those two. And yet the broadcast won’t be the same w/out Ray Scott (d. ’98) calling the action. Should be a “dandy,” Don (d. ’10). We remember.

Deconstructing Victory

It’s become the new, annoying tradition following football contests where questionable calls, and referees who make ‘em, are run through the ringer by faux-football media and easily excitable patrons, as it were a national crisis.

Simultaneous-gate (‘12) may’ve triggered this endless, post-game paralysis.

That’s when the visiting Packers were defeated in Seattle on a last-second hail Mary from QB Wilson to Golden Tate for the game-winning TD. Grab was upheld, offensive PI noted, the striking refs relieved the replacements and looming disaster was averted.

Last Sunday it was a no-call on a flagged pass play in Detroit – Dallas game that ruffled feathers. The hosts caught a break and media went bonkers, deconstructing the win and in the process, pinned a scarlet F (favored) on Dallas’ uniforms for the rest of their run.

Bottom line: Titlists overcome, or avoid adversity altogether. Just ask Jerry Kramer (Instant Replay (‘67)).

Deconstructing by Injury

“Got (Health)?” It matters, especially to those who put their bodies on the line, week in, week out. Football season takes its toll, oh Mama. Three of the four wild-card contests last weekend were shaped by injury outs.

Repairing the human body is not like a race car pulling into pit-row. Can’t just put on a new set of Goodyear® tires. And even if you could, it takes time to figure their form, learn game plan and develop synergy with mates.

...............bengals.wc.cca.wordmark.71-96.thmb

Cardinals, Steelers and Bengals all got bounced in the wild-card round but have injury excuse. That doesn’t mean Indy, Baltimore and Carolina were undeserving winners, just that it aught provide cover from Monday morning ne’er-do-wells who dish out harsh.

Case-in-point, ESPN’s Stephen Smith, co-host of First Take. The bombastic one stated that Cincinnati is “accepting mediocrity…not Marvin Lewis, but Mike Brown.” Oh.

............ESPN.Jkinsocal.wc.cca.2.1.13.thumb

Only Smith and the new ESPN could spout silly, then leap-frog a black coach to get to the white owner, and get away with it, raising no racially-insensitive, red-flag.

Injuries late season can deconstruct a team. Replacements need time to acclimate to the scheme. Wiser football fans, players and brass will shrug & bear it when the wheels come off and look to next season in hopes of a healthier run.

This doesn’t necessarily mean Andy Dalton is, or is not, the long-term future for Cincy. He just wasn’t given a fair, and what some were figuring to be a final, playoff test in Colts game. Gotta let it play out in smart fashion.

Roger the Dodger

Mueller Report (in brief), released 1.8.15:

..........Goodell.thumbnail.flag

Winners: Roger Goodell, NFL and football fans;

Losers: Anti-Rogerians (AP, select media scribes, TMZ, ESPN (Disney) elite, Ray Rice, anti-Redskins, NFLPA leaders, on-line trolls, minions, etc) and the Committee to Promote Condoleezza Rice for NFL Commissioner;

Unaffected (or lost in analysis): victims & perpetrators of domestic violence and / or abuse, and a “criminal justice system” which, curiously, Mr. Mueller apparently believes should not be template for private sector.

.........Cherries.on.cloth.thumb

Cherry Picks Divisional Rd: “No funny business”

Ravens @ New England: 1-10 NBC 4:35 EST: Pats win
Panthers @ Seattle: 8:15 Fox: Seahawks win
Cowboys @ Green Bay: 1-11 Fox 1:05: Dallas wins
Indianapolis @ Denver: CBS 4:40: Broncos win

Steven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: IceBowl, art, wc.cca, JL1Row, GBHoF, ’10; Icebowl, Gorham, 1871, HMoA, Pearl, ’13, wc.cca; Dallas.cowboys, wordmark, wc.cca; Packers, wc.cca, ’59, word-mark; Romo, wc.cca, bigcatsliar, ’10; NFLgloves, USMC.Iraq, 7.27.06, Cpl.Lewis, wc.cca; Rodgers, Morbeck, wc.cca, ’08; Bengals, wc.cca, wordmark, ‘71-96; ESPN, CT, Jkinsocal, ’13, wc.cca; Goodell, wc.cca, 8.30.12, SSG.T.Wade, USMA; cherries, wc.cca, ’11, picdrome.
Posted: 1-8-15 @ 11:59pm EST