Thu, 03 Dec 2020

Mick Shots: Some Encouragement Moving Forward

Dallas Cowboys
21 May 2020, 20:24 GMT+10

FROM HOME, Texas - Maybe for a change these days, we have some unaccustomed good news moving forward.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones led the partial charge back into The Star on Tuesday, the first time personnel was allowed into the facility since the final week in March when the NFL mandated all team headquarters shut down, which they still are for all coaches and players, though with the exception of those rehabbing from surgeries and injuries.

Then, the NFL's May owners meetings took place on Tuesday, of course thanks to being virtually streamed, the head honchoes expanding minority and female interviewing requirements for head coaching jobs, coordinator positions and front office personnel opportunities.

And Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, in a national interview, proclaims himself good to go when and if teams are allowed to conduct offseason workouts at their practice sites after neck surgery ended his 2019 season.

On top of all that, the NFL is working on personal protective breathing protection for player use during any sort of practice or when and if games begin.

So all steps, all be them cautiously, in the right direction since everything came to a screeching halt back on March 24 from a facility standpoint 58 days ago.

Helping greatly for more shots coming your way.

Good News/Bad News: Came across this the other day: NFL Network's Top 100 plays in the 100-year history of the league. You will be glad to know the Cowboys were involved in five of the top 16 plays. Bad news is, all but one of those five were to the detriment of the Cowboys. The good one? Of course, The Hail Mary, No. 15 all time, Roger Staubach's playoff-winning pass to Drew Pearson back in 1975. The painful ones? Start with No. 16, Odell Beckham's one-handed, falling-backward, 43-yard touchdown catch behind Brandon Carr, who actually was flagged for interference, causing NBC's Al Michaels to remark, "That's insane. How do you make that catch?" Then there is No. 12, Super Bowl X, with Pittsburgh quarterback Terry Bradshaw, standing on his goal line, throwing deep for Lynn Swann, only for Cowboys cornerback Mark Washington to tip the ball first and forward for Swann's falling-down, 53-yard reception. And the other two are no-brainers, unfortunately for Cowboys fans, at No. 8, Green Bay's Bart Starr sneaking in for the winning touchdown in the final seconds of the 1967 NFL title game known as the Ice Bowl, and at No. 2, all-time, The Catch, Joe Montana's NFC title-winning touchdown pass to Dwight Clark. Not always great to be "known" for something. Touching Tribute: Sure was nice for all those tributes to come pouring in for Phyllis George, who passed away at the young age of 70 on May 14 from a blood disorder. George, the former Miss Texas and Miss America from Denton and TCU, opened the door for females in the sports broadcasting industry as a co-host of the then most famous The NFL Today show starting back in 1975. And in case you haven't seen it, one of her most famous interviews involved Staubach, when asking him, "Roger, you have an All-American image, you're kind of a straight guy. Do you enjoy it or is it a burden?" Replied Roger, not dodging this one for a second, "You interviewed Joe Namath. Everyone in the world compares me to Joe Namath, you know, the idea as far as off the field. He's single, bachelor swinging, I'm married and a family, and he's having all the fun. You know, I enjoy sex as much as Joe Namath, only I do it with only one girl, you know, but it's still fun." She did possess this innate ability for causing these rough and tough football players to open up. Record Sale: Gil Brandt dutifully reminds us that 36 years ago Monday, May 18, 1984, Cowboys original owner Clint Murchison Jr. sold the Cowboys for an NFL record $80 million to Bum Bright's 11-member partnership. Bright at the time said, "I'll be more involved than (Murchison) was," but then said when asked about his lack of team ownership experience, "It's like owning a good piece of art. You don't have to paint it to own it." Bright then would sell the team on Feb. 25, 1989, to current Cowboys owner Jerry Jones for $140 million, a franchise that he has since stirred to a value of $5.5 billion. Still a dirty-rotten shame Clint is not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. As I've said, no Clint, possibly no Cowboys, or at least as they became known. Tag, Not It: So here we are, May 20, and the inability of franchised quarterback Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys to agree to a long-term contract continues to dominate the national news. But by my count, only eight of the 14 franchised players have either signed for the one-year guaranteed tag or a long-term contract. So it's not as if the Cowboys are the lone wolves out there, and knowing teams have until July 15 to sign these franchised guys to long-term deals. Otherwise, the franchised players either eventually sign for the one-year guaranteed tag number or they don't play at all. As you might expect, of all the tagged players this year, Dak's guaranteed $31.409 million is the highest number. First Dance: You know, while an avid watcher of the 10-episode The Last Dance - Michael Jordan winning six NBA titles in eight years with the Chicago Bulls - struck me having grown up in Chicago with the Bulls since their inception that 1966-67 season, it was the First Dance, if you will, that put the Chicago and Illinois sports scene back on the map. Think about this: From 1963 until the Bulls won that first title in the 1990-91 NBA season, there had been a serious championship drought in the city. Only the Chicago Bears had won a title in between, Super Bowl XX that 1985 season. That's it. Not the Bulls. Not the Blackhawks. Not the White Sox. And certainly not the Cubs. No college team either. In fact, you had to go back to 1963 when the Bears won the NFL championship and Loyola of Chicago won the NCAA basketball title. That was it. Heck, the Blackhawks had last won the Stanley Cup in 1961. The White Sox had last played in a World Series in 1959, losing to the Dodgers. And the Cubs had last played in a World Series in 1945, when many of the players in the league were off in World War II, losing to Detroit. But how I remember that 1970-71 Bulls team, advancing to the Western Conference semifinals against the Lakers, with Chet Walker, Bob Love, Jerry Sloan and coached by Dick Motta. Game 6 with the Bulls trailing three games to two, was a Sunday night at Chicago Stadium. One of our high school coaches had two tickets he couldn't use. Me and a buddy went scrambling to Chicago Stadium. Bulls won, 113-99, to force a Game 7 back in Los Angeles that the Lakers would win. But what I remember most about that game was our seats, court corner, far back underneath the second-deck overhang. So far back, we couldn't see the lone scoreboard. We had to keep score ourselves, and every once in a while someone would run down the aisle to check the time. But left chanting, "Beat LA! Beat LA!" So Dallas do not despair. At least the Stars and Mavericks have each won a title since the Cowboys' last Super Bowl victory that 1995 season. That's at least two titles in the past 25 years, though 2020 in delay, is not over yet. Shorties: At least the coaches and players have been able to hook up streaming meetings during this shut down, Cowboys Pro Bowl guard Zack Martin during a media conference call saying, "I think we're lucky being able to do this," pointing out a few years back technology might not have been as advanced ... Already a Rising Stars retail sales projection is out, and among the top 50, Cowboys first-round pick CeeDee Lamb at 17 is projected to come in fourth, behind just No. 1 pick Joe Burrow, No. 2 pick Chase Young and No. 5 pick Tua Tagovailoa, but ahead of No. 12 Henry Ruggs, No. 8 Isaiah Simmons, No. 6 Justin Herbert, No. 22 Justin Jefferson and No. 32 Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the top 10.

And let's finish with not great, but sorta good news in CBS Sports Pete Prisco's annual top 100 player ranking: Ezekiel Elliott was the highest-ranked Cowboys player at 17, and the second-highest running back behind Christian McCaffrey at No. 5. Hard to argue with No. 1 Patrick Mahomes after his past season. Including Zeke, the Cowboys had seven players in the top 100: Dak (46), Martin (47), DeMarcus Lawrence (58), La'el Collins (77), Tyron Smith (80, but with an asterisk, injuries) and Amari Cooper (81). Don't think he left any deserving Cowboy out of the top 100. Maybe just-departed Byron Jones, included in the extensive "just missed" category, but for what Miami paid him, bet he's not offended. What you guys think?

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