Monday, December 29, 2008


Days since the Dallas Cowboys beat the Minnesota Vikings 40-15 on December 28, 1996. The Cowboys' last win in the NFL playoffs.

Just over 12 years to the day since America's Team last tasted a postseason victory.

I have but one word, well, three letters: LOL!

I use this internet initialism maybe two to three times in any given year, but this is the most appropriate instance yet.

The Cowoys have blown it again. Jerry Jones' 'Boys are the example of fiscal futility in professional football. Money can buy winning talent; not the intangibles of a winner. Unless player contracts start including "team chemistry, composure and leadership" as bonus incentives, it will likely remain as such.

Lets do a quick dissection of some of Big D's biggest assets (or liabilities):

Dallas head coach, Wade Phillips (above right), is a defensive coordinator, not a head coach. He looked like Elmer Fudd on the sideline when Tony Romo made the call to go for it on 4th down Sunday night in Philly. Terrell Owens (left) is a one man circus complete with popcorn. Tony Romo is a good quarterback; not a great quarterback. Romo will never win a Super Bowl as a starter in Dallas. Adam "Pacman" Jones lacks common sense, has too much money and is a constant liability to any team.

Pacman should know it's difficult to win games and develop team chemistry on the field when you're in court off the field - he can ask Chris Henry, Plaxico Burress or Michael Vick.

New Year's resolution for Jerry and his Cowboys: Go back to the drawing board. Seriously. Shake that Etch-A-Sketch long and hard, then start over. The picture has become indistinguishable in Irving, Texas.


The college football postseason has evolved quite a bit since the Rose Bowl was first played in 1902*. The "Granddaddy of Them All" should be preceded by "great" several times at this point.

To put things in perspective...

1938: Five major bowl games - the Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Orange Bowl and Sun Bowl

2008: Thirty-four college football bowl games (and counting...)

The more football the better. More opportunities to extend your favorite team's season, more excuses to eat greasy food and drink beer, more money for more college programs. Bring on the bowl bonanza!



Put the brakes on the bowls. While all of the above may be true to some degree, the state of NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) bowls is an insult to the spirit of competition and to college football. It's rewarding mediocrity for money. Period.

With 68 teams receiving invitations to bowl games, more than half of NCAA FBS programs will play a postseason game in 2008. It means more to not play in a bowl game now then it does to compete in one.

Scenario: A 6-6 team loses four of its last five games, finishes tied for last in its conference, and the best team they beat all season was 5-7. They are then invited to a bowl. Wow. That really rewards excellence and encourages competition. By the way, it's a true story, look up Kentucky Wildcats football in 2008.

Even the most avid college football fan will find it difficult getting pumped to watch two unranked teams at or just above .500 play a game that means nothing on a national scale. It's a macro solution that's only effective on a micro level.

To elaborate, the NCAA says, "Give a bowl to every team and more college football fans will be happy (and more money will be made)!" Not really - to the first half.

I'm an East Carolina Univerity alumni and I know something of the new breed of bowls. Since 2000, ECU has played in the Bowl (now defunct), the GMAC Bowl, the Bowl, and the Hawai'i Bowl respectively. If you don't have a personal relationship with East Carolina or their bowl opponents, these games meant nothing to you. Why would they?

I'll watch that one smaller bowl that my alma mater plays in, but I'm still not tuning in to the PetroSun Independence Bowl with Northern Illinois and Louisiana Tech.

Bowl games used to mean something. All of them. With new sponsors/bowls like the Magic Jack St. Petersburg Bowl and Eagle Bank Bowl joining the list in the past few years, it's getting harder to keep up with - or care about - all of the bowls.

Ever wonder what happened to the Peach Bowl? It's now the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. The Copper Bowl? Better known as the Insight Bowl. Did you even notice? Gotta love sponsorship.

Candus Thompson with writes of bowl sponsorship:

Major bowl sponsors include "Citi ($45 billion in taxpayer bailouts this year), GMAC ($38 billion in debt), [and] FedEx (5 percent salary cuts and elimination of the 401(k) match for workers). Glad they have their priorities in order."

Good point. Lord help us if we just had an Orange Bowl or Sugar Bowl without a FedEx or Allstate sponsoring the game.

*The first "Rose Bowl Game," originally titled "The Tournament East-West football game," was played January 1, 1902 between Michigan and Stanford University. The Rose Bowl was not played continuously until 1916.

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Here are a few ideas to expand the field of bowls by 2010.
  • The AMF Gutter Bowl
  • The General Mills Cereal Bowl
  • The Pepto Bismol Bowl (movement) - annual tie-in with the ACC and Pac 10 (Duke-Stanford rivalry?)
  • The Disney Incredi-Bowls - ESPN and ABC develop a series of magical Christmas Day games featuring halftime shows by the cast of High School Musical and other favorites
  • The Arm & Hammer Toilet Bowl - if they don't want to add a bowl, A&H can just purchase naming rights to the Texas Bowl

Ridiculous? Take a look at what exists today.