Friday, February 26, 2010

No changes: Cowboys trio to stay intact

by Josh Harvey / Sports
Posted on February 26, 2010 at 3:31 PM


If Cowboy fans thought that they would see a trade involving one of their running backs this off-season, it appears that it's not going to happen.

"I can tell you right now I don't see it a whole lot different than last year," said Cowboys Executive vice president Stephen Jones to ESPNDallas at the NFL scouting combine. "All of these guys have gotten opportunities to help us win games. That will continue to be the case."

There had been rumors that the San Diego Chargers offered cornerback Antonio Cromartie for Tashard Choice, but Jones dismissed the rumors.

One player in the backfield still in limbo is fullback Deon Anderson. Anderson was arrested last month for deadly conduct.

"I don't know what our time line on that is,'' said Jones, to the Dallas Morning News. "He will obvioulsy be part of our discussion as we head toward the start of the league year.''

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cowboys and Bengals to play Hall of Fame Game

New York, NY (Sports Network) - The Dallas Cowboys and Cincinnati Bengals will open up the NFL's 2010 preseason when the teams play in the annual Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio on August 8, the league announced on Wednesday.

Cincinnati is making its first appearance in the contest since 1988, when it topped the Los Angeles Rams. Dallas last played the game in 1999, and were edged by the Browns in overtime.

Both teams won their respective divisions in 2009.

The game will follow the inductions of the 2010 Hall of Fame Class that includes Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith, Russ Grimm, Rickey Jackson, Dick LeBeau, Floyd Little and John Randle enshrined as the 2010 Hall of Fame class.

Tennessee topped Buffalo by a 21-18 score in the 2009 game, which kicked off the 50th anniversary celebrations of the American Football League.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mock drafts predict Cowboys will take tackle or safety

11:01 AM CST on Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Compiled from Staff Reports

The NFL draft is April 22-24, but it's never too early to start thinking what the Cowboys might be looking for in the first round. Dallas owns the No. 27 pick.

Dallas Morning News writer Todd Archer says the Cowboys' three needs are offensive line, safety, wide receiver.

Hopefully, Jerry Jones and Co. have learned not to draft receivers in the first round (cough: Detroit Lions).

Drafting offensive line help might make the most sense. Left tackle Flozell Adams will be entering his 13th season if he comes back. Left guard Kyle Kosier will be in the final year of his contract. The backups are unrestricted or restricted free agents. Finding a tackle for the future is never a bad bet.

But many drafts also like Earl Thomas at a free safety spot. Some highlights of recent mock drafts' picks for the Cowboys first-rounder:– FS Earl Thomas (Texas): At first glance the Cowboys don't appear to have many major, glaring holes on their depth chart. This is especially true after the emergence of Miles Austin at wide receiver. However, the safety position has been a problem in Dallas for years now and it sounds like they intend to make bringing in an upgrade a priority this off-season. Not only did the Cowboys rank 20th in the league in pass defense but they were also 26th in interceptions so a playmaker like Earl Thomas of Texas would be a welcomed addition. The Longhorns usually do a good job of keeping their underclassmen in school but Thomas was coming off such an impressive redshirt sophomore campaign that he just couldn't resist the lure of the pros. Thomas doesn't have great size but he is very athletic and rangy with a nose for the ball and a real playmaking streak. After the appalling performance of their offensive line in a playoff loss to Minnesota, the Cowboys could definitely be in the market for a blocker such as Idaho's Mike Iupati here as well. A five-technique defensive end like Jared Odrick of Penn State could also be an option, especially since Marcus Spears is going to be a free agent next year. As a darkhorse don't completely rule out a wide receiver either. Roy Williams' struggles have been well documented so no one knows what his future holds and there should be some great pass catchers on the board to choose from late in round one. Banks) – G-OT Mike Iupati (Idaho): The Cowboys offensive line needs help in light of its playoff-game meltdown at Minnesota, and Iupati is a prospect who really helped himself with his showing in this week's Senior Bowl practices. He has good feet and plays with a mean streak. Another intriguing possibility that can't be overlooked for Dallas is if USC safety Taylor Mays tumbles to No. 27. But the offensive line should take priority. – FS Earl Thomas (Texas): The inability to cover the deep middle exposed the Cowboys' defense against the Vikings in the playoffs, and Thomas' range and playmaking ability on the back half could complete the defense. Schrager) – OT Bruce Campbell (Maryland): Though not confirmed by the AP, I'm fairly sure Flozell Adams and Marc Colombo's jockstraps are still lying around the Metrodome 50-yard line. Neither player is getting any younger and the Dallas offensive line needs some reinforcements. Doug Free's shown glimpses, but there's got to be more. Some of the things I've read have Campbell as high as a Top 10 pick. I was never that impressed with him at Maryland, but think the Cowboys would be pleased to see him sitting there at 27. And I'm putting this out there now – can we call him Bruce "Evil Dead" Campbell? Or Bruce "Old Spice commercials" Campbell? One of the best actors of the past 20 years deserves to be mentioned somehow after each and every pancake block by this kid.

CBSSports (Ron Rang) – G-OT Mike Iupati (Idaho):The Cowboys haven't spent a first-round pick on the offensive line since 1989, but may elect to do so with valued backups Montrae Holland and Cory Procter potentially entering free agency. Iupati struggled with his footwork during the Senior Bowl, itself, but his combination of size, strength and foot quickness made him one of the best players on the field during the week of practices. Iupati could step right in for Dallas at guard. Some believe he'll eventually slide out to left tackle.

CBSSports (Chad Reuter) – OLB Sean Weatherspoon (Missouri): Veteran Keith Brooking brought some intensity to the Cowboys defense, and Weatherspoon is a similar player with better athleticism. The former Tiger's performance in the Senior Bowl may have earned him a spot in the first round.

Scouts Inc. (Todd McShay) – S Nate Allen (South Florida): Allen is far from a first-round lock, but the Cowboys need to improve their athleticism at safety, and Allen has the right combination of speed and fluidity in coverage to help fix the problem. – FS Earl Thomas (Texas): The 'Boys often expect their safeties to run with receivers in tight man-to-man coverage and this could be the best safety in this class at achieving that. Another possibility here is Bruce Campbell, but we'll stick with the best player on our board. – G-OT Mike Iupati (Idaho): Upgrades Kyle Kosier's spot. Can play OT if needed – a mauler that fits in with the rest of DAL's lumbering OL.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Jimmy Johnson: Dallas Cowboys are in Super Bowl picture

By ANTHONY ANDRO / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Former Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson believes the team has a shot to play in the Super Bowl it will be hosting next year.

"They made progress," Johnson said. "I don't think they're that far away. They are in the mix when you pick the better teams for next year."

Johnson, a football analyst for Fox who was at the Daytona 500, thinks the Cowboys still need game-breaking threats, including a quality wide receiver opposite Miles Austin.

"With Roy Williams, the jury is still out. But I'm beginning to believe maybe he's not the guy," he said.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Fox Sports: Cowboy's Offseason Preview

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys have only one unrestricted free agent, guard Montrae Holland, who is a backup and not a top priority.

Their focus will be retaining restricted free agent Miles Austin, who will likely draw interest from a number of teams — including the Miami Dolphins. The Cowboys would like to sign Austin to a long-term contract and could put the franchise tag on him to restrict his movement. He would be guaranteed a $9.5 million contract next season if he is franchised. Teams would also have to give the Cowboys two first-round picks to sign him. The highest free-agent tender would only require a first- and third-round pick.

Cowboys at a glance

Looking for more dirt on the Cowboys? Get the inside slant, stats, scores, schedules and more scoops right here.

1. Kicker: The Cowboys were undone by Nick Folk's sudden decline. He cost them games and affected how they called games. It didn't get any better when he was cut and replaced by Shaun Suisham. The Cowboys must find a kicker they can rely on. Look for them to consider Colts free-agent kicker Matt Stover.

2. Offensive tackle: LT Flozell Adams is getting old and RT Marc Colombo is coming off injury and a horrible performance in the playoffs. The Cowboys need to address the position for the future. They also might look at a guard to replace Kyle Kosier on the inside.

3. Safety: One area of the defense that needs addressing is safety. Ken Hamlin is good at getting players lined up but he makes few plays.

Bob Ford: A power shift in Eagles' hierarchy? Differences between the Eagles and Boys

Bob Ford: A power shift in Eagles' hierarchy?
By Bob Ford

Inquirer Sports Columnist

As the Eagles' organization digs out from the depressing avalanche that buried it on consecutive weekends in Texas to end the 2009 season, there are growing indications that a true sea change is taking place at One NovaCare Way.

Whether that change will also lead to a change at the top of the quarterback depth chart - which seems the only real topic of interest - is still unknown and, more interesting, still undecided.

Andy Reid, while saying he expected Donovan McNabb to return as quarterback, did hedge a bit, adding that he "hadn't gotten to . . . comparing players, contracts, and everything else," which not only leaves wiggle room on that subject but could herald a second act in Reid's tenure, one in which he can be overruled by a number-crunching consensus in the front office.

The weight on the seesaw - and we'll leave alone the observation of what it takes to offset Reid's side - was redistributed when general manager Tom Heckert Jr. decamped for Cleveland and was replaced by Howie Roseman, a Joe Banner protege who began his career here as a salary cap wonk.

We will never know if Heckert read the shifting sands and decided his future was rosier elsewhere or whether, as advertised, it was merely a case of going to a better opportunity. On the face of it, the opportunity is almost the same. He has the same title, but will operate essentially as a player personnel director working under a boss with all the power, in this case Mike Holmgren.

In Philadelphia, Reid has held all the real power, but as the seasons without championships pile one upon the other, there is room for other voices in the front office to be heard. With an alignment of team president Banner and Roseman, the critical mass needed to influence decisions has probably been reached.

Even the parties involved don't know how it will play out yet, and won't until the stove gets hot with the opening of the free agent season March 5 and just before the March 10 deadline when the Eagles either extend Michael Vick a $1.5 million roster bonus or cut him loose.

By then, we will know more. Until then, getting real information from the organization is like getting soup in a hardware store. You have to work at it.

The Eagles put a series of interviews with Banner on their Web site this week. They are promotional vehicles, of course, and easy targets because the "anything goes" promise of the host is quickly broken by the thin answers given by Banner, who is the one who decides what goes and what does not.

If you pay attention, though - as if looking for the hidden Ninas in an Al Hirschfeld drawing - there are some interesting things.

Picking apart the differences between the Eagles and the Cowboys, for instance, Banner noted that Dallas might have done a better job putting together its roster, which gets back to the whole player-personnel business. If the president wasn't satisfied with how that side of the operation worked, from draft day to free agent scouting to formulating trades, then it's no surprise the Eagles have a new general manager.

"They have a quarterback [Tony Romo] who was an undrafted free agent, an all-pro defensive tackle [Jay Ratliff] who was a seventh-round pick, a wide receiver [Miles Austin] who didn't have a lot of [attention]," Banner said. "All the good teams have that. You have to have a player-personnel department that understands it's not only about hitting the first-round pick . . . but looks at all potential resources to find players, whether that's the draft, whether that's free agency, whether the CFL. Beating the bushes and finding ways to upgrade every position on the roster."

He didn't mention, but could have, that one of the fellows sacking McNabb in the wild-card loss was linebacker Anthony Spencer, whom Dallas obtained when the Eagles swapped 2007 draft picks, moving up to get Spencer while the Eagles moved to the second round and took Kevin Kolb. (The Heckert defenders would point out that the third-round pick obtained in the deal was used to draft Stewart Bradley. So, there.)

In all likelihood, however, the new year will not be defined by the identity of the seventh-round draft pick but by the disposition of the McNabb-Kolb-Vick conundrum, a Bermuda Triangle in which they will try not to get lost.

It makes sense that Vick will be retained and traded. Both St. Louis and Buffalo appear to be willing suitors. As for the other two, it makes sense that one of them will be traded as well, particularly if this is an uncapped season in which the free-agent market is dry and the trade market becomes the place to be.

Some of the decision will depend on what offers the team receives for McNabb and Kolb. The front office will be listening and, as near as can be determined, nothing is off the table yet.

"Andy's the final decision maker here," Banner said. "But as far as, do we trade any of the quarterbacks? Do we keep all three? What do we do with their contract status? Each is in the last year of their deals. The uncertainty of the collective bargaining agreement going forward. Those are also parts of the decision. It just isn't who's the starter and who's here? There are different levels of complexity about the decision. We'll have to sit down and figure that out."

Reid clearly would prefer to keep McNabb, who did just make his sixth Pro Bowl, even if he got there through the side door. In the end, the quarterback decision might not be a referendum on whether Reid still gets everything he wants. But it might.

One thing is certain, however. When the franchise powers assemble at that meeting table, Reid can look around and know he doesn't have as many votes in his pocket as he once did.
for more updates visit

National writer: Cowboys could be a fit for linebacker Joey Porter

From Staff and Wire Reports
The Dallas Morning News

Joey Porter’s wish was granted Friday by the Miami Dolphins: They released him.

The four-time Pro Bowl linebacker campaigned last week to be waived, saying in broadcast interviews he was frustrated about his reduced role in 2009 and doubted his relationship with coach Tony Sparano could be repaired.

Mike Florio of thinks Porter could be a good fit for the Cowboys.

"The Cowboys could be an alternative, if Porter is willing to accept a backup role behind DeMarcus Ware or Anthony Spencer. Former Dolphins defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni, who worked with Porter each of the past two years, has returned to the defensive staff in Dallas.

"Of course, there's a chance that anyone who has worked with Porter will want to have nothing further to do with him."

As his role diminished, Porter said, he talked with Sparano only on Sundays and stopped speaking with general manager Jeff Ireland and football czar Bill Parcells. Porter said he was the Dolphins’ best outside linebacker and unhappy about being replaced by pass-rush specialist Cameron Wake in some situations. He said he wanted to go to a team where he could play every down.

Porter said he saw less playing time after Sparano held him out of a midseason game at Tampa Bay because he “went out to get something to eat” two nights before the game. The defense deteriorated at the end of the season, and Miami failed to make the playoffs, finishing 7-9.

After Porter vented publicly, his departure was considered inevitable. By releasing him before March 4, the Dolphins save a $1 million roster bonus they would have owed him. He joined the Dolphins in March 2007, signing a five-year deal for $32 million, with $20 million guaranteed.

The team announced the move in a three-paragraph news release without comment from Sparano or Ireland.

An 11-year pro, Porter led the AFC in 2008 with 17 1/2 sacks. His sack total in 2009 fell to nine, still the Dolphins’ high, and he was named to the NFL’s All-Decade team for the 2000s in January.

His departure increases the likelihood the Dolphins will retain 35-year-old Jason Taylor at outside linebacker. He and Porter were often ineffective as a tandem, and it was expected at least one of them would not return in 2010.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Odds on Cowboys hosting Super Bowl XLV?

By Matt Mosley

As we pointed out earlier in the week, ESPN analyst and former coach Herm Edwards decided the Dallas Cowboys are the team to beat in the NFC. And if the Cowboys somehow make it to Super Bowl XLV, they will become the first team to play the game in their home stadium.

Dallas Morning News columnist and "Around the Horn" stalwart Tim Cowlishaw thinks the Cowboys have a 30 percent chance of making that happen, in part, because he believes in the Mirage sportsbook. They have the Cowboys at 7-1 to win Super Bowl XLV.

"Many pieces seem to be in place for Dallas," writes Cowlishaw. "The uncapped 2010 season helps in some ways. The Cowboys, as a team that made it to the conference semifinals, are limited in free agents they can pursue. But the pickings are slim, anyway.

"The rule that turned so many unrestricted free agents into restricted players keeps wide receiver Miles Austin in that group. The Cowboys nearly lost him to the Jets a year ago. They aren't letting anyone grab their go-to wide receiver this offseason. The lack of real movement around the conference should help the Cowboys. Teams will undergo less change this offseason than any time since the arrival of real free agency more than 15 years ago. Only the draft will produce major alterations, and the Cowboys' competition won't be picking that much higher than they are."

Well, I guess that depends on who you consider to be the Cowboys' competition. We know from recent history at least six new teams will likely make the playoffs in 2010. With Mike Shanahan taking over the Redskins, don't those two matchups seem a little more worrisome for the Cowboys? The Skins will pick fourth overall and the Giants will pick at No. 15. Both clubs should land an impact player at those spots.

The Cowboys could improve as a team in 2010 -- and end up with a worse record than last season. Maybe I'm showing Tom Coughlin and Shanahan too much respect, but let's recall the Cowboys were swept by a Giants team that wound up finishing 8-8. And Dallas was outplayed by the Redkins at Cowboys Stadium before winning the game in the fourth quarter.

I'm not ready to make any predictions for 2010, but at this point, saying the Cowboys have a 30 percent chance to make the Super Bowl seems a bit too optimistic. Where do you guys stand?

"I Want To Be In Dallas:" Choice

By Scott Crisp

Amid rumors suggestive of a deal that would send running back Tashard Choice to San Diego in exchange for cornerback Antonio Cromartie--rumors that have since been more or less debunked--the Cowboys' runner made clear his wishes to remain a member of the Dallas Cowboys.

"I thought [San Diego] was where I was going when I came out [of the draft]," Choice said, per the Dallas Morning News. "You never know, man. I want to be in Dallas. It's a great place. I really want to be here. Of course I want to run the ball more and contribute, but it's a tough situation. All those guys can play. I love those two boys (Marion Barber and Felix Jones) to death."

There are few (if any) Cowboys fans who would argue that Choice doesn't deserve a greater role; in limited time--and mostly out of pure necessity--Choice has stepped in and performed like a capable NFL starter. But how to get him an increased load represents something of a conundrum for Dallas, with the explosive Felix Jones and the still (at times, at least) effective Marion Barber ahead of him on the depth chart.

But the very natural desire for more carries, Choice said, hasn't affected his relationship with his running mates.

"We're always our best fans," Choice said. "We want each other to do well. It's never anything between us. All three of us want to run the ball and we all can run the ball. We don't care if we share it. We just want to run the ball more as a team. If they put the ball in our hands, we can make it happen. That's how I feel."

Offseason burning questions: Dallas Cowboys

By Don Banks

DALLAS COWBOYS -- Is it time to for Dallas to part ways with offensive left tackle Flozell Adams, the longest-tenured Cowboy?

With all questions about the future of either head coach Wade Phillips and quarterback Tony Romo cleared up for now, the Cowboys should be facing a remarkably status quo offseason. But there is that not-insignificant matter of how the Dallas offensive line was overwhelmed by Minnesota in the playoffs. Adams will be 35 in May, with 12 NFL seasons already in the books. The Cowboys were very high on the seven starts they got from third-year reserve tackle Doug Free in place of injured right tackle Marc Colombo, and may feel that Adams' game has slipped and he's no longer worth the big money he's in line for in 2010.

*And another thing: After going through Nick Folk and Shaun Suisham last season, who's going to kick in Dallas? Maybe a bid for Raiders free agent Sebastian Janikowski is in order.

It's realistic Cowboys could become first to play at home in Super Bowl

By Tim Cowlishaw
The Dallas Morning News

At some point, the streak of Super Bowls played at neutral sites is going to end. Can it happen in 2011? Are the oddsmakers in Las Vegas on to something?

I saw one Vegas book that lists the Cowboys as 12-1 to win the first Super Bowl ever played in Cowboys Stadium. Another from the Mirage has the Cowboys at 7-1 behind only the Indianapolis Colts at 5-1.

Are the Cowboys as close to their first Super Bowl in 15 seasons as they appeared the night they whipped the Saints in the Superdome? Or did the 34-3 beating in Minnesota expose Dallas' flaws?

For three reasons, I think Dallas has a real chance to be playing in Arlington next February. That's either an NFL nightmare if you think in terms of Super Bowls belonging to neutral sites or an NFL dream come true if you think in terms of the gaudy TV ratings the Cowboys generate.

What's truly amazing about this 12-month journey the Cowboys are about to try to undertake is that it has never before been completed.

Of the 44 Super Bowls, 38 were played at some team's home field or, in one case, hometown (Houston's Rice Stadium).

Dallas is not the first playoff team to have a home Super Bowl in its sights a year later. The Dolphins had the same opportunity this season. They didn't reach the playoffs, but Miami has made the postseason four times in which their home field was the Super Bowl site.

Mostly, the Dolphins have been victims of bad timing. They hosted Super Bowls V and X. They played in Super Bowls VI, VII and VIII.

The Atlanta Falcons (oddly enough) are the only team ever coming off a Super Bowl trip to have that host opportunity dangling in front of them the next season.

They went 5-11.

But Atlanta and a Dolphins team that went 11-3 in 1974 are the only teams that produced better records in the season prior to Super Bowls coming to their stadium than the Cowboys' 11-5 record in 2009.

Many pieces seem to be in place for Dallas.

The uncapped 2010 season helps in some ways. The Cowboys, as a team that made it to the conference semifinals, are limited in free agents they can pursue. But the pickings are slim, anyway.

The rule that turned so many unrestricted free agents into restricted players keeps wide receiver Miles Austin in that group. The Cowboys nearly lost him to the Jets a year ago. They aren't letting anyone grab their go-to wide receiver this off-season.

The lack of real movement around the conference should help the Cowboys. Teams will undergo less change this off-season than any time since the arrival of real free agency more than 15 years ago. Only the draft will produce major alterations, and the Cowboys' competition won't be picking that much higher than they are.

If you're looking for the negatives, well, those exist, too. I think Wade Phillips wanted to prove something this year. In a sense, he did, at least in terms of winning the East and finishing a season with a decent December.

Do you really view him as the kind of creative coach that can get his team to a Super Bowl like Sean Payton?

I don't either, but then, Ken Whisenhunt and Tom Coughlin won the NFC the two previous years, and I don't know that they are any more ahead of their time than Phillips.

Questions remain as to how much of a load running back Felix Jones can carry. We know how explosive he is. There are no doubts about that. But can he be the 1,200-yard back this team would love for him to become as we monitor Marion Barber's decline?

That's uncertain.

And I don't think the Saints are going away. No one really thinks Brett Favre is going away either, which keeps Minnesota in the mix. Winning the East is still the kind of thing that will likely go to the final week of the season.

So there's work to be done, but everyone understands that. The Super Bowl journey is that way for every team.

And some day, maybe soon, 100 million people will watch a Super Bowl with a true home team.

The Cowboys' chances of being that team in 2010?

Let's put the number at 30 percent. No need to curb your enthusiasm on that figure. It's pretty . . . pretty . . . pretty good.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Opinion: First of many...

The Landry Hat
By Joe D.

Despite the Cowboys having won their first playoff game in 13 years, there will still be a contingent of fans who believe that Tony Romo is unable to play consistent turnover free football in the playoffs. Consequently, the Cowboys will be relegated to the also rans, a title that 31 teams share every year.

But don’t worry, Romo is young, he’s still growing as a QB, and he will continue to develop a rapport with the players surrounding him. Maybe most of this is true, but Romo is 29 and in April he will be the ripe old age of 30. Sure he plays with a “Favre-ian” abandon, but Favre is one of the great exceptions to the rule of QB.

For running backs the line of demarcation is 30; the line for QB’s is a bit hazy. Few QB’s play at a high level late into their 30’s, especially behind a suspect offensive line. While it is just conjecture, the Cowboys’s offensive line, as presently constituted, may have another 2 years, though many agree that it needs an immediate overhaul. Developing an offensive line isn’t like setting a Madden roster – there is a silent communication developed over countless hours of practice. Maybe Free replaces Columbo, we trade up to draft a left tackle, and we replace Kosier with Brewster or a 2nd tier free agent.

What does all of this mean? It means that you should gather ye rosebuds while ye may. Romo is 30 next year and may play behind the same offensive line that had him running for his life against Denver, Green Bay, and Minnesota. The following year, Romo is 31 and while no one predicts the entire season will be lost, a lockout (or even replacement players) certainly can affect whether a team will make the playoffs. 2012 arrives, Romo is 33 and the Cowboys are 13-2 entering the final week of the season, and the Mayans were right. Not only is my front yard on fire, but I can’t get a DirecTv signal. As a quick side note, my 2010 calendar only has 12 months on it? I wonder if stupid people believe the world will be coming to an end annually?

The point is, and yes there is a point, Romo has another 6 or so good years remaining, and to waste those years behind a suspect and rebuilding offensive line would just be heartbreaking. Unless you are 13, we all remember the post-Aikman “ERROR”. Maybe Romo isn’t your preferred QB, but how can you not be content with 10+ wins per year, playoff appearances and victories, and maybe even a trip to the Super Bowl?

We all better hope that Dallas’s next QB is in high school worrying about choosing the right zit cream. Would it be too greedy to ask that the next Cowboys’ QB be in junior high with a cracking voice?

Early 2011 Super Bowl odds plus five sleeper NFC teams

Posted by Anthony Stalter

According to, the Colts are 6/1 favorites to win the 2011 Super Bowl. Ironically enough, the team that beat the Colts in this year’s Super Bowl, the Saints, is 8/1 to win in 2011.

Seeing as how no NFC team has made back-to-back appearances in the Super Bowl since the Cowboys did it in the early 90s, there is value on throwing some change on a couple of sleeper teams for next season.

For example:

Dallas Cowboys 12/1
The odds on the Cowboys winning the Super Bowl may never be better. Wade Phillips had their defense playing outstanding football at the end of the year and if Jerry Jones can find Tony Romo another playmaker to go along with Miles Austin and Jason Witten in the passing game, then the Cowboys will be dangerous again next season. This team got the playoff monkey off its back last year and assuming they have another solid offseason, they could easily win the NFC East again and possibly earn one of the top two seeds in the postseason.

Green Bay Packers 12/1
The Packers averaged almost 30 points a game last year thanks to an explosive passing attack that featured quarterback Aaron Rodgers and receivers Greg Jennings and Donald Driver. If they can find a way to upgrade their offensive line in the offseason, they could have a top 5 offense next season. And assuming the defense grows more comfortable in Dom Capers’ system, they should be improved in that area as well. If Brett Favre doesn’t come back and the Vikings don’t find a capable replacement for him under center, then the Packers will be the team to beat in the NFC North.

Philadelphia Eagles 12/1
It’s hard not to love the talent that the Eagles have on their roster, but they have to answer a huge question this offseason pertaining to their quarterback situation. Do they go with Donovan McNabb or shift into the Kevin Kolb era? Also, will they ever live up to expectations or will they always be a team that is destined to fall flat with McNabb and Andy Reid? Still, a team with that much talent is a bargain at 12/1.

New York Giants 30/1
This team is only three years removed from winning the Super Bowl and they still have a top 10 offense. If new defensive coordinator Perry Fewell can clean up the mess that Bill Sheridan left last year, then the G-Men will have the opportunity to be right back on top next season.

Atlanta Falcons 30/1
Fair warning: I’m a Falcon fan, so I’m well aware that this could just be my optimism shining through. That said, this is a team on the rise and they should challenge for a playoff spot next season. Injuries to Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, Brian Williams and Peria Jerry hurt them throughout the year but they still found a way to finish 9-7. They need a couple more playmakers on their young defense, but they have more than enough offense to be dangerous and assuming Ryan and Turner bounce back, the Falcons could be a deep sleeper in the NFC next season.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Scouts Inc.: Cowboys offseason needs

By Gary Horton
Scouts Inc.

In early February, ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper released his team needs by conference, first the NFC version, then the AFC version. With the 2009-10 season in the books -- congrats, New Orleans Saints -- Gary Horton of Scouts Inc. is doing the same. While Kiper's articles focus on college players who may be good fits in Rounds 1-3 of the 2010 NFL draft, Horton focuses on the three key needs for each squad, by conference. This is the NFC version. To access the AFC version, click below. Keep checking back throughout the busy offseason and NFL draft season for more information from a variety of Insider voices on team needs, draft buzz and more.

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys

Top needs:
1. OT: The Cowboys are old and slow on the perimeter of the offensive line and they are really susceptible to speed rushers off the edge. Both tackles, Flozell Adams and Marc Colombo, lack quickness and they are near the end of their careers. Backup OT Doug Free could possibly step into this lineup, but even if he turns out to be a good player the Cowboys need better and more athletic guys at both OT positions.

2. DS: Starters Ken Hamlin and Gerald Sensabaugh are solid veterans who do not make a lot of mistakes, but they also don't make a lot of impact plays. They need a free safety with range who is a big-play difference-maker -- and in today's NFL those guys can make a defense!

3. WR: Roy Williams has not lived up to his $9 million a year salary, but the Cowboys did get good years out of surprise WR Miles Austin and No. 3 WR Patrick Crayton, and they have high hopes for young Kevin Ogletree ... but where is the guy that holds it all together, is on the same page as QB Tony Romo, and makes the clutch catch when they need one?

Other needs: ILB, CB, DT

Herm says 'Boys team to beat in '10

By Matt MosleyFormer NFL head coach turned ESPN analyst Herm Edwards said the Dallas Cowboys and New York Jets will be the teams to beat in 2010. Edwards, a defensive-minded coach, admires what Wade Phillips has done on that side of the ball. He thinks the Cowboys cleared a major hurdle by performing well down the stretch and finally winning a playoff game.

Of course, no team has ever appeared in a Super Bowl being played in its home stadium. And with Super Bowl XLV headed to Cowboys Stadium, Dallas will try to end that streak. I'm not sure they'll be able to overcome the well-known Edwards jinx.

This man makes the SI cover jinx look like child's play. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones did not immediately return phone calls regarding the Edwards prediction. We'll keep you posted throughout the offseason.


Cowboys have NFC's toughest road to Super Bowl next season

Full Article at Dallas Morning News

From Staff and Wire Reports

For now, here are the Cowboys' 2010 season opponents (2009 record in parentheses).

Home games
■ New Orleans Saints (13-3): Super Bowl Saints will seek revenge for loss at Superdome to Cowboys.

■ Chicago Bears (7-9):Brian Urlacher will return after being injured for most of the season, and Jay Cutler (we think) will throw fewer interceptions.

■ Detroit Lions (2-14): Don't laugh. Last time Lions came to Dallas (final game of 2006 season) they won.

■ Jacksonville Jaguars (7-9): Usually a tough defensive team; made a poor switch to a 3-4 defense and couldn't pressure the QB. Will move back to 4-3 for 2010.

■ Tennessee Titans (8-8):Scarier than their record might indicate. After an 0-6 start, Longhorns alumnus Vince Young took over and led a five-game winning streak and an 8-2 finish.

■ Washington Redskins (4-12):Mike Shanahan takes over and is bringing back Jason Campbell because he has no other option.

■ N.Y. Giants (8-8):New defensive coordinator Perry Fewell charged with restoring pride to disgraced defense. The Giants gave up 427 points last season, their most since 1966.

■ Philadelphia Eagles (11-5):Coach Andy Reid claims Donovan McNabb is his starter, but do we really believe him with Kevin Kolb wanting his chance?

Road games
■ Green Bay Packers (11-5): Cowboys go back to Lambeau for second straight year (they lost 17-7 in 2009).

■ Minnesota Vikings (12-4):Brett Favre retired (yeah, right), and if it's really true, the Vikes have no other options other than Sage Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson

■ Arizona Cardinals (10-6):Kurt Warner retires (more confident) and new QB Matt Leinart hasn't looked great yet.

■ Houston Texans (9-7):No longer a laughingstock. Matt Schaub is the real deal.

■ Indianapolis Colts (14-2): Easily the toughest game on the schedule.

■ Washington Redskins (4-12): New defensive coordinator Jim Haslett might switch to a 3-4 defense to be more like Dallas.

■ N.Y. Giants (8-8): Though Eli Manning is getting better, they need to re-establish rushing game that led team to Super Bowl.

■ Philadelphia Eagles (11-5): Can Eagles recover from three losses to the Cowboys?

Monday, February 08, 2010

Rex Ryan will lead New York Jets to Super Bowl XLV against Cowboys in Dallas

By Gary Myers

MIAMI - They say everything is bigger and better in Texas, so Super Bowl XLV will have an all-time first: The Cowboys will be the first team to play the game on their home field.

And their opponent? The J-E-T-S.


Now that the 2009 season is over, it's time for our annual day-after look at what's going to happen next season.

It would be just the Jets' luck that after a 41-year Super Bowl drought they finally make the game and then have to deal with playing in Jerry Jones' billion-dollar palace in Arlington with 80% of the 100,000 fans rooting against them.

What happens in one NFL season in the free-agent era usually is not a good forecaster for the next year - the Saints finished last in the NFC South in '08 - but with the restrictive changes in free agency in the upcoming and presumably uncapped year, player movement is going to slow down. That would allow teams a better opportunity to keep their rosters intact and build on strong finishes. Since free agency began in 1993, rosters have turned at about 30% per year.

The Jets and Cowboys each finished the regular season on a hot streak. The Jets won five of their last six games, then beat the Bengals and Chargers on the road in the playoffs and had a 17-6 lead two minutes before the half in the AFC Championship Game before Peyton Manning stepped on the gas.

That gives Rex Ryan something to build on as long as he can control himself and not flip off any more fans in the offseason. Mark Sanchez took a giant step in the playoffs and if Leon Washington is able to rebound from his broken leg and Mike Tannenbaum can find Sanchez a big-time receiver in the draft (Notre Dame's Golden Tate or USC's Damien Williams), then the Jets should be able to open up the offense.

If it's not the Jets, then I like the Steelers and Colts in the AFC next year.

Dallas finished the season by getting blown out in the divisional round by the Vikings, one week after winning its first playoff game since 1996. The Cowboys ended the regular season by spoiling the Saints undefeated season in New Orleans, then shutting out the Redskins and Eagles before beating Philadelphia again in the wild-card round.

The Cowboys are loaded with talent and if Tony Romo can play like he did in December, the Cowboys could be big-time players next season.

"I can dream that our team has a chance, and I don't think it's an empty dream, to be a big part of the process what the Super Bowl is about next year," Jones said.

If it's not the Cowboys, then I like the Packers and Falcons next year.

Super Bowl XLV prediction: Cowboys 31, Jets 20.

COACHES' REPRIEVE: Coaching turnover runs in cycles. Going into the 2009 season, there were seven new coaches plus two interim coaches were retained. This year, there are only three: Mike Shanahan (Redskins), Pete Carroll (Seahawks) and Chan Gailey (Bills). There are several coaches who enter 2010 needing to win, but there's one thing that can save them: The uncertainty of a lockout in 2011.

Unless there is a new collective bargaining agreement in place by next March, the threat exists that the owners could lock out the players, which could potentially run into the regular season. Owners are going to be reluctant to fire coaches who are owed money on their contract and then spend money on replacements when a lockout will hurt their cash flow (season tickets, sponsorships deals, etc.) even if they will still have the network television money coming in.

Labor problems aside, here are the coaches who need to win:

Tom Cable, Raiders: Only Al Davis knows why he kept Cable, who has been an embarrassment to the organization. Maybe because nobody else wants to work for Davis.

Tom Coughlin, Giants: After the playoff disappointment of '08 and the collapse of '09, Coughlin needs to show he hasn't lost his fastball getting his players motivated.

Jack Del Rio, Jaguars: They've been a big disappointment the last two years and the stadium has too many empty seats.

John Fox, Panthers: He didn't get fired after a very strong finish to a bad season, but he didn't get an extension, either. He's going into the final year of his deal, a rarity in the NFL. Carolina can fire him after the season with no financial repercussions.

Eric Mangini, Browns: He's on a one-year trial with Mike Holmgren.

Josh McDaniels, Broncos: He's made a mess by trading Jay Cutler and alienating Brandon Marshall.

Raheem Morris, Bucs: The OT victory over the Saints in the 16th week saved his job. He looked overmatched in his rookie year.

Wade Phillips, Cowboys: His deal now runs through 2011, which means the job security questions will come up again by November if the Cowboys underachieve.

Steve Spagnulo, Rams: Spags took over a terrible team and deserves time after his 1-15 rookie year. But the team is for sale, which often leads to big changes.

Lovie Smith, Bears: He's put Cutler in the hands of Mike Martz, one of the best offensive minds in the league.

MARKET PEEKING: The free-agent season opens March 5, but with the unrestricted requirement jumping from four years to six in an uncapped year, the market would not be quite as rich as in past years. Restricted free agents can shop the market, but their own team retains right of first refusal with draft-choice compensation as long as they tender one-year contact offer.

Top five UFAs: Panthers DE Julius Peppers, Patriots DT Vince Wilfork, Raiders DE Richard Seymour, Colts LB Gary Brackett, Cardinals LB Karlos Dansby.

Top five RFAs: Broncos LB Elvis Dumervil, Broncos WR Brandon Marshall, Cowboys WR Miles Austin, Texans LB DeMeco Ryans, Saints G Jahri Evans.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Urban Meyer To Cowboys??

Todd Davis/Editor Bio | E-mail | News tips

The Dallas Cowboys signed Wade Phillips to a 2-year deal, and Urban Meyer has said that he is happy as the head coach at Florida.

But that hasn't kept some in the SEC from using the possibility of an opening with the Dallas Cowboys to sway recruits away from Florida.

Mack Brown, not that one but a running back out of Lithonia (Ga.) Martin Luther King, told the Orlando Sentinel that one recruiter told him Meyer had a spot at Valley Ranch waiting for him.

"They would say, he's tricking ya'll -- he's going to the NFL to coach the Dallas Cowboys," Brown told the paper. "I was like 'What?' There's no way."

Brown wouldn't say who said that, but Tennessee and Florida State had been on his heels to sign over the last month.

"I wasn't too worried about it anyway, but coach Meyer told me he's a Gator," Brown said. "He's coming back."

Jones floats idea of Cowboys playing in Hall of Fame game

The Dallas Morning News

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The Cowboys could join running back Emmitt Smith for an August weekend in Canton, Ohio.

Smith was selected Saturday for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The ceremony will be held Aug. 7 in Canton. The annual Hall of Fame game will be played the next day. Owner-general manager Jerry Jones warmed to the idea of having the Cowboys participate.

"I was enjoying Emmitt being noted, and I thought, 'I guess I want these Cowboys to go to Canton and be up there when he's there,' " Jones said. "Certainly we could make that work."

The Cowboys last appeared in the game in 1999. By playing in the Hall game, the Cowboys would have five exhibitions and would start camp a week earlier, in late July.

Briefly: Jones said he has not yet spoken with fullback Deon Anderson, accused of pulling a loaded gun during a dispute outside an Addison restaurant last week. Jones declined to comment, citing the legal process.

Rice, Smith Among Seven Elected To Hall Of Fame


FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida (Reuters) - Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith, two record-setting offensive powerhouses, were elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday in their first year of eligibility.

Also elected to the Class of 2010 on the eve of the Super Bowl were Russ Grimm, John Randle, Rickey Jackson, Floyd Little and Dick LeBeau.

Rice, 47, owns virtually every significant receiving record, including receptions (1,549) and yards (22,895), and has scored more touchdowns (208) than anyone.

Smith, 40, rushed for a record 18,355 yards during his 15 NFL seasons, most of them spent with the Dallas Cowboys.

"My father instilled in me hard work and appreciation for the game," Rice, a 13-time Pro Bowler widely considered the top receiver to the play the game, told reporters.

"And I love this game. It was really everything to me. I am honored to be here, to be in front of all of the legends who made football what it is today."

Rice played with the San Francisco 49ers from 1985-2000, before finishing his career with the Oakland Raiders (2001-04), and the Seattle Seahawks (2004)

He was not the most gifted receiver athletically but his work ethic was unparalleled.

"There is a sacrifice you have to make if you want to be the best. I respected this game. I had two great Hall of Fame quarterbacks, Joe Montana and Steve Young, a great owner Eddie DeBartolo, and a great coach. I really loved (the late) Bill Walsh.

"We went out there and we worked and we played the game the right way."


Smith was a bruising running back despite being only 5-foot-9. He rushed for 164 touchdowns, won three Super Bowls with Dallas, and was the MVP in the Cowboys' title-winning 30-13 triumph over Buffalo in 1994.

He often spoke of breaking Walter Payton's all-time rushing record, which he did in 2002, but never mentioned making the Hall of Fame.

"I was so busy wanting to focus on the things I needed to do from that point on to whenever God said my career was going to be over," he said.

"I believed in that little giant inside of me that said, 'I can.' Coupled with the people that I was able to play with, I felt at the end of my career all of this would be added unto me.

"This is such a special moment. This is one that you don't think about. When you add this cake, and the icing, and the ice cream on top of that, it makes it very, very special."

Smith began crying when he recalled a conversation with his father, an outstanding high school running back in Florida, just before the Hall of Fame results were revealed.

"He said: 'I'm proud of you. I had the dreams of doing what you're doing. But my mother got sick and I never did go to college. You're living my dream.'"

The enshrinement ceremony at the Canton, Ohio, museum will be held on August 7.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Forbes: Dallas Cowboys fourth biggest brand in world

10:32 AM CST on Friday, February 5, 2010
From staff and wire reports has ranked the top sports brands by team, and the Dallas Cowboys are the fourth biggest brand in the world. The Cowboys' brand value is $208 million -- $128 million more than the average NFL team and $52 million more than football's next most valuable team brand, the New England Patriots. To determine the list, Forbes ranked teams based on the portion of their overall value not a result of market demographics and league.

Forbes' top 10 sports teams in brand value

No. 1 Manchester United (English Premier League)
Brand value of $270 million

No. 2 New York Yankees (MLB)
Brand value of $266 million

No. 3 Real Madrid (Spanish La Liga)
Brand Value: $245 million

No. 4 Dallas Cowboys (NFL)
Brand Value: $208 million

No. 5 Bayern Munich (German Bundesliga)
Brand Value: $200 million

No. 6 Arsenal (English Premier League)

No. 7 AC Milan (Italian Serie A)

No. 8 Barcelona (Spanish La Liga)

No. 9 New York Mets (MLB)

No. 10 Boston Red Sox (MLB)

Trade Rumor: Choice for Cromartie

Written by Ralph Mancini Thursday, 04 February 2010 13:33 PDF Print E-mail

Charger linebacker Shaun Phillips has just reported via his Twitter account that San Diego and Dallas are working on swapping cornerback Antonio Cromartie for running back Tashard Choice.

Mancini’s Take: Holy blockbuster deals, Batman! I really like San Diego’s end of the bargain if the trade ends up being consummated. Choice is a hard-nosed back who exercises patience and utilizes tremendous vision in tight quarters. His instincts, ability to fight for extra yardage, and pass-catching skills make him a three down back. The Georgia Tech product has risen to the occasion in his limited opportunities, and most certainly deserves a bigger role. Those who were concerned about his durability coming out of college might want to remember how he performed for the Cowboys down the stretch in 2008. Choice gained over five yards per carry against some very stingy defenses. As for Cromartie, his talent is off the charts. He’s a fluid athlete with size, speed, and ungodly leaping ability. However, he hasn’t always played to his potential. In fact, he has underachieved due to his lack of discipline. How many times have we seen him freelance and get burned? His overaggressiveness has led to too many big plays for the opposition in recent times. In addition, Cromartie hasn’t exactly been a good soldier off the field either. The man needs a change of scenery, but so does Choice. Overall, it’s a good deal for both parties.

Dallas Cowboys now in same conversation with Super Bowl teams

LINK: Dallas Cowboys now in same conversation with Super Bowl teams
1 hr ago Keller Citizen

... asking for opinions. Which brings me to my asking-around question for this Super Bowl: How close are the Dallas Cowboys in all areas to Sunday's two participants? Up front, allow me to stress that, based on that question, Jerry Jones needs to know...

Izenberg: Never mind stats, it's power, skill, and courage that will put former Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith into Hall of Fame

By Jerry Izenberg/Columnist Emeritus
February 06, 2010, 7:30AM

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Go tell it from the top of the NFL mountain. Beat it out in Morse code on a set of George Halas’ old cardboard shoulder pads. Spread it from deep in the heart of Texas on up through the rust belt corridor that leads to what once was Giants Stadium.

Today is the day they will vote Emmitt Smith into the Professional Football Hall of Fame.
If he doesn’t make it on the very first ballot today, then God didn’t make little green apples and Peyton Manning doesn’t play for Indianapolis in Sunday’s Super Bowl.

The Hall is where Emmitt was ticketed to go ever since he played for Escambia High School in this state’s panhandle region and finished each touchdown run by courteously handing the official the ball without a single celebratory gyration. His father, who still drives a bus in Pensacola, demanded that kind of respect for the game.

For what seems like light years, he was the legs of the Dallas Cowboys, a low center of gravity kind of bulldozer who might as well have designed the star in the Cowboys logo.

In power and skill and courage, he is the equal of any running back that now calls the Hall of Fame home.

I am reminded of a frost-bitten kind of day in January of 1994 when Smith took each of those qualities to a new level. It was the right weather for what Emmitt did that day. Such performances do not belong in the sunshine. They belong under dishwater gray skies and in the teeth of a Jersey Meadowlands wind.

It was against that kind of backdrop that Emmitt ran the ball the way it was meant to be run back in the day by pro football’s early mill-town teams.

He was hurt, which is about as much of an understatement as a Custer scout returning to General Yellow Hair’s command post and saying “I think I saw an Indian.”

Two or three times in the second half, Jimmy Johnson, the coach, walked slowly over to where his running back was sitting on the bench, leaned over and told him: “We’re thinking of playing the kid (a rookie named Lincoln Coleman) some.”

But it was more of a question than a statement. Each time he said it, he stared into the running back’s eyes and tried to see past the pain mirrored there. He was looking for the answer that all coaches look for in such situations, and because it was Emmitt Smith, he got it every time he asked.

“No,” the running back would say, and then he would shake his head. “I want to finish. I want to be the guy.”

And then the ball would change hands, and the Cowboys’ offensive unit would be jogging back onto the field, and he would bite his lip and hold his right arm close to his body and try to ignore the pain that ripped through his entire right side as he jogged along with them.

By the time this day would end in the frustration of a near-miss overtime defeat for the home team and the Dallas Cowboys would leave town with the division title and home-field advantage for the playoffs all wrapped up, Emmitt Smith would have rushed for 168 yards (38 yards more than the entire Giants’ ground game) and he would have caught 10 passes for another 61.

“You see other guys making the kind of money he makes,” Smith’s teammate, Jim Jeffcoat, said down the hall in the Dallas dressing room, “and with something like this, they won’t play. But not Emmitt. He’s going to play through anybody and anything.”

And if that isn’t a Hall of Fame reference, what is?

The cliché is probably as old as the Flying Wedge: “You have to be tough to play this game ... you have to suck it up and play hurt.” And there isn’t a guy who makes his living in this business who hasn’t heard its siren call and responded at one time or another in his career.

But not like Emmitt Smith did every time.

In the first half, on a short-yardage play, Smith landed on his shoulder. “The pain,” he would say later, “it’s like nothing I ever felt ... I mean ever in my life. I mean, I thought I heard my bones breakin’ all afternoon. But I never thought of not playing.”

In the second half, each time he got hit on the shoulder and each time his body hit the ground was the equivalent of reaching into a furnace barehanded to sift through hot coals. And when it came down to overtime and Dallas got the ball on its own 25 after the Giants had failed to move it, nobody talked about “playing the kid.”

That was Emmitt Smith’s game. The Cowboys would run 11 plays before they kicked the winning field goal. Three times Troy Aikman threw to Smith and six times he carried it. On one of those receptions, he would somehow raise his right arm, straighten it and stiff-arm a defender.

Just one game, but put it in the copying machine as often as you like.

He did.

It added up to a Hall of Fame career.

Gholson: Miami lucky for Colts, not so for Cowboys

By Nick Gholson
Posted February 6, 2010 at 1:18 a.m.

If Dallas Cowboys fans were to look back and pick out their worst Super Bowl memories, Jackie Smith’s drop would have to be at the top of the list.

This guy is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame for all the great things he did with the Cardinals.

But in his one season with the Cowboys, he literally dropped the ball and lost Super Bowl XII.

Then there was Lynn Swann’s acrobatic catch against Mark Washington. How many times have you been forced to watch that replay?

How about John Mackey’s three-cushion billiard 75-yard touchdown catch in Super Bowl V?

Fred Swearingen’s blown call?

Mike Curtis’ interception?

Jim O’Brien’s game-winning field goal.

The Cowboys have won five Super Bowls.

That could easily have been eight.

The three losses were only by a combined 11 points.

All three games came down to the final few seconds.

And all three were in Miami — which on Sunday will be hosting its record 10th Super Bowl.

Beaches and bikinis make for great scenery.

But South Beach has been a Bermuda Triangle for the Cowboys over the years.

No tears were shed in Dallas when the Orange Bowl was blown up two years ago. All three of the Cowboys’ Super Bowl losses were in Miami’s old landmark stadium.

The Baltimore Colts, who were upset by the Jets at the Orange Bowl in Super Bowl III, returned to the scene of Joe Namath’s “crime” two years later and scored a 16-13 win over the Cowboys.

Two teams — supposed to be the best of the best — turned the ball over 11 times.

Curtis’ late interception of Craig Morton set up O’Brien’s winning field goal with five seconds to play.

The Colts threw three interceptions and lost four fumbles — and still won the championship.

The Cowboys would play in four more Super Bowls before the end of the decade.

They won Super Bowl VI and XII in New Orleans.

But the Steelers and that old Orange Bowl stadium in Miami were too much for them to handle in Super Bowls X and XIII.

The Dirty Dozen — 12 rookies who made the roster — and Hail Mary helped Dallas make it to the Super Bowl during the 1975 season.

Swann set a Super Bowl record with 161 receiving yards on just four catches in Pittsburgh’s 21-17 win.

Roger Staubach had the Cowboys poised for another miracle finish, but Glen Edwards’ end zone interception on the final play of the game ended that.

The two teams returned to Miami three years later.

This time Terry Bradshaw threw for a personal-high 318 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Steelers to a 35-31 win.

Pittsburgh scored two TDs in a 19-second span of the final quarter. Franco Harris ran 22 yards for a touchdown with 7:10 to play. On the first play following a fumble by Randy White on the kickoff, Bradshaw and Swann hooked up for a 18-yard TD and a 35-17 lead with 6:51 remaining.

The Cowboys responded. After Staubach’s 7-yard touchdown pass to Billy Joe Dupree, Dallas recovered an onside kick and Staubach threw a quick touchdown pass to Butch Johnson.

Rocky Bleier recovered the next onside kick to let Pittsburgh escape with a four-point win.

Smith’s drop was very costly.

From 1965 through 1995, the Cowboys were 1-7 in Miami.

Not only did they lose those three Super Bowls there, they also lost two of three “Playoff Bowl” games played in Miami.

The Colts blew them out 35-3 in the game matching conference runners-up following the 1965 season.

The Cowboys also were routed by the Rams 31-0 in the Playoff Bowl that followed the 1969 season.

Dallas’ only win in Miami in the first 37 years of the franchise was a 17-13 Playoff Bowl victory over the Vikings after the 1968 season.

Not only could the Cowboys not win Super Bowls in Miami, they also couldn’t win regular season games.

In their first two road games against the Dolphins, they lost 23-16 in 1978 and 28-21 in 1984.

Dallas’ first win in Miami didn’t come until 1996.

By that time the Cowboys already had their five Super Bowl championships.

The Colts, on the other hand, have won both of their Super Bowls in Miami.

On Sunday, they will be going for three in a row.

Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith are virtual shoo-ins for Pro Football Hall of Fame


It is often never safe to assume any player is a lock to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, no matter the career or the position. This year, an exception can be made.

San Francisco 49ers legend Jerry Rice, considered the greatest wide receiver in NFL history, will find out today at 5 p.m. if he will take his place in Canton, Ohio, as one of between four and seven players who will make up the Class of 2010. Think he's nervous?

Rice is among a group of 17 finalists that includes only one other virtual certainty, former Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith. Outside of Rice and probably Smith -- who are on the ballot for the first time -- the decisions should be much more interesting.

Tim Brown, WR, Raiders (1988-2003), Bucs ('04) Cris Carter, WR, Eagles ('87-89), Vikings ('90-01), Dolphins ('02) Don Coryell, Coach, Cardinals ('73-77), Chargers ('78-1986) Roger Craig, RB, 49ers ('83-90), Raiders ('91), Vikings ('92-93) Dermontti Dawson, C, Steelers ('88-2000) Richard Dent, DE, Bears ('83-93, '95), 49ers ('94), Colts ('96), Eagles ('97) Russ Grimm, G, Redskins ('81-91) Charles Haley, DE/LB, 49ers ('86-91, '99), Cowboys ('92-96) Rickey Jackson, LB, Saints ('81-93), 49ers ('94-95) Cortez Kennedy, DT, Seahawks ('90-2000) *Dick LeBeau, CB, Lions ('59-72) *Floyd Little, RB, Broncos ('67-75) John Randle, DT, Vikings ('90-2000), Seahawks ('01-03) Andre Reed, WR, Bills ('85-99), Redskins (2000) Jerry Rice, WR, 49ers ('85-2000), Raiders ('01-04), Seahawks ('04) Shannon Sharpe, TE, Broncos ('90-99, '02-03), Ravens (2000-01) Emmitt Smith, RB, Cowboys ('90-02), Cardinals ('03-04)

Super Bowl With a Smirk: Preview of Pro Football Hall of Fame vote A panel of 44 sports writers, including The Miami Herald's Edwin Pope, will meet for as many as eight hours Saturday to pick anywhere between four and seven finalists to have their careers immortalized in the Hall.

It's among the greatest honors in professional sports, but Smith said it's not necessarily a goal he strived to reach during his playing days.

``It's not something I can say I ever really dreamed about,'' Smith said. ``I never said, 'I have to make the Hall of Fame.' If I could make steps that could set me apart in my career, then I've had a successful career.''

No doubt, making it into the Hall of Fame would be another way to set him apart.


This year's group includes only one former Dolphins player, wide receiver Cris Carter, who spent only his 2003 season in Miami. Carter was better known for his tenure from 1990 to 2001 with the Minnesota Vikings.

The rest of the list includes:

Wide receivers Cris Carter, Tim Brown and Andre Reed; running back Roger Craig; center Dermontti Dawson; tight end Shannon Sharpe; guard Russ Grimm; defensive ends Richard Dent and Charles Haley; defensive tackles Cortez Kennedy and John Randle; linebacker Rickey Jackson; and coach Don Coryell.

There are also two senior nominees: defensive back Dick LeBeau and running back Floyd Little. In order for either senior nominee to be inducted, they must get 80 percent approval from the voting panel.

However, the selection process for the finalists is a different, separate deal.

The 15 modern-era candidates will first be narrowed down to 10, then five. Finally, those five finalists would need 80 percent of the votes (36 total) -- just like the senior nominees -- to enter into the group.

The group must select at least four total, between senior nominees and modern-era nominees. They will not select any more than seven. At 5 p.m., the NFL Network will air the announcement of this year's class.


There is little question about whether Rice or Smith will make it, of course, because of their dominance over the game while they played -- as well as the historical marks they set along the way.

The tandem holds three of the most coveted career-long records in sports. Smith ran for more yards (18,355) than any other NFL player -- breaking Walter Payton's record -- while Rice caught more passes (1,549) and rushed for more touchdowns (208).

Earlier this week, Rice sarcastically said he doesn't believe he's the best wide receiver in NFL history, a superlative he gave to Terrell Owens. Responding to comments made by Owens last week, during which Owens said he'd be close to breaking Rice's records if he had better quarterbacks, Rice had a few laughs about the topic.

``Here's the thing,'' Rice said. ``I'm not the greatest receiver. Terrell Owens is the greatest receiver. That's what I heard. He made a statement saying that if he had Joe Montana and Steve Young, he'd probably be breaking my records now. So Terrell is the greatest receiver.''

In a vote that is likely to be unanimous when the panel of voters decides whether Rice belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, we have a feeling there will be a few people who might disagree.