A Bum No More!

For the first time since before this blog was even created, I have an honest-to-goodness permanent full-time job!  I actually was made (and accepted) the offer back on Thursday, but it’s taken me two days to come back down to Earth enough to finally post this to the blog.  It certainly couldn’t have come at a better time, with Thanksgiving mere days away.

Well, actually it COULD have come at a better time…any point in the previous five months would have been great.  It’s going to take a really long time to right the ship financially, and there may even be certain aspects which are too far gone to keep from sinking, but at least I’m gainfully employed once more.  And that alone is enough to give thanks for this year!

Providing Romotivation

Tony Romo continued his brilliance by passing for four TDs in engineering a 31-20 win that, for all intents and purposes, cliched the NFC East title and relegated the rival New York Giants to competing for a Wild Card berth. Romo’s stellar play is great news for all Cowboy fans, but has proven even more meaningful for me on a personal level.

As I’ve mentioned before in this blog, I was laid off from my job back in June, and remain unemployed five months later. To say it’s been tough would be a massive understatement. With each passing week, I find it harder and harder to pick myself up and dust myself off. Other than the ongoing support of family and friends, and my faith in the Lord, the only thing that has kept me going have been the fantastic performances week in and week out by Tony Romo. He never quits. He never takes his foot off the gas, no matter how dire the situation (remember Buffalo?). He’s truly been an inspiration to me, and has provided me with that extra motivation needed to absorb five months worth of repeated rejection. My ego has been sacked dozens of times, but Romo keeps inspiring me to come back to play another day.

Thanks for giving me a reason to smile and helping me focus on the ultimate goal, Tony!

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We Don’t Need No Stinking Helmet!

jwitten

Jason Witten’s a man…and he’s not even 40! His 53-yard catch after being virtually decapitated by a pair of Eagle defenders epitomized both this game and the Cowboys season to date. When Witten made the catch, the game was already over, for all intents and purposes. It was the fourth quarter and Dallas had a beyond comfortable 21-point lead, yet here is their starting tight end absorbing a brutal double hit that would have jarred the ball loose from about 95% of the other receivers in the NFL — but instead of the ball, it was his helmet that flew off. Now at that point, about 99% of all other PLAYERS in the NFL would have gone down quickly or scurried to the sidelines to avoid exposing their unprotected head to further violent collisions. Not Witten. Not these Cowboys.

It was, in my opinion, the single finest total team effort from start to finish by the Cowboys yet this season. Tony Romo was one interception away from absolute perfection, T.O. took advantage of numerous opportunities to spread his wings in front of the angry Philly crowd, and the offensive line absolutely dominated the previously-touted Eagle front seven. Bring on the Giants!!!

Middies Leave Irish Shipwrecked

After 43 straight losses dating back to before the JFK assassination, Navy finally righted their ship and torpedoed the Flailin’ Irish in triple overtime. Notre Dame could have won the game in regulation, had the world’s most brilliant offensive strategist, Charlie Weis, chosen to kick a 40-yard field goal with less than a minute to play. But Weis is much smarter than us mere mortals and our flawed “conventional wisdom.” Why win the game in regulation, when a failed 4th and 8 attempt could send the game into overtime?

Then, Weis once again proved his superior offensive intellect by calling a run up the middle against a stacked line on a two-point attempt that needed to be converted in order to force a fourth overtime.  Most other humans probably would have attempted a pass or outside run, but Weis instead relied upon his infallible offensive genius to catch the opponent off guard by losing the game…THIS year.  Don’t you see?  It’s all a set-up for next year’s game!  BRILLIANT!!!

I, for one, look forward to the start of another 43-game winning streak in 2008!

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Back 4 Back 2 Back

The 2007-08 NBA season has gotten off to a magnificent start as my beloved San Antonio Spurs got their fourth championship rings and proceeded to commence their quest for title number five (and their first back-to-back) with a 106-97 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Duncan, Parker and Ginobili all looked great, as did Francisco Elson and rookie back-up point guard Darius Washington.  There appears to be virtually no rust on this well-oiled championship machine.  Might this be the start of a dominating Patriotesque march through the regular season?

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Team Recovery

It wasn’t easy, but my beloved Dallas Cowboys recovered from their loss to New England the previous week by defeating the Minnesota Vikings 24-14.  But while it was definitely encouraging for them to bounce back with a win, and also to finally score an opening drive touchdown, I can’t escape this “blah” feeling about the slippage — however minute — this team seems to be suffering in recent weeks.

It definitely all started with the Buffalo game, which though ending in an exciting comeback win for the Cowboys, also appeared to reveal many previously unseen flaws.  Tony Romo was the main offender in that game, with six turnovers that likely would have been nine or ten, had Bills defenders not had such hands of stone.

Then, last week we saw the return of the white elephant that’s really been in the room the entire time: the horrible Cowboy pass coverage.  Granted, Tom Brady is playing better right now than Montana and Elway at their peaks combined, and a key member of the Cowboys secondary (Anthony Henry) was out with injury, but it immediately brought back to mind the season opener against the Giants (which the Cowboys only won because Romo was very Brady-like in that game) and the even more nightmarish memories of last season’s eviceration at the hands of the Saints.

Minnesota isn’t a bad team, per se, because they have one of the league’s best running backs in Adrian Peterson, as well as a very stout defense.  However, Tarvaris Jackson is, without a doubt, the single worst quarterback ever to don a uniform for an NFL franchise.  Yet despite Jackson completing only six passes THE ENTIRE GAME (while Romo completed almost 30 in THE FIRST HALF), the Cowboys only managed to beat the Vikings by 10 AT HOME…and that was largely on the strength of a blocked field goal return?!?!?

See, this is what has me concerned.  Yes, they are 6-1 going into the bye week alone atop the NFC East.  BUT, they return from the bye with three straight games against division foes, including two straight on the road.  In fact, if you look at their schedule the rest of the way, it looks much, much tougher than the primarily soft path they coasted through during the first seven games (excluding the Patriots and Giants, of course).  Only the Jets on Thanksgiving appear to be a slam-dunk at this point.

That being said, even if they only go 5-4 after the bye, they’ll still finish 11-5 and will almost certainly make the playoffs (perhaps even with a first-round bye).  Even so, I would really like to see them return to their pre-Buffalo form.  I want to see the same Romo who won NFC Offensive Player of the Month for September.  I want to see the same defense that held opponents without a touchdown for nine consecutive quarters.  I know they have it in them, because I’ve already seen them do it.  Let’s just hope they get refocused and rededicated during the bye week, because this team can and should be something really special, and not just another first-round playoff loser.

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It’s Not Easy Bein’ Green

I haven’t posted a blog entry after the last couple of Notre Dame games. Frankly, I was so stunned by their flabbergasting win over UCLA that I couldn’t even begin to form a sentence, much less a coherent blog entry.  Then last week, they actually put up a semi-respectable showing against #4 Boston College.  I was almost starting to let myself believe that the first five games of the season were simply a nightmarish aberration.  Then, came the hated Men of Troy…

A 38-0 whipping later, and the Flailin’ Irish now stand 1-7 in jeopardy of having their record 369-year win streak over Navy torpedoed by the Midshipmen.  Notre Dame seriously needs to give up the green jersey schtick.  It was a great one-time idea, combined with the Trojan Horse, as part of their blowout win over USC in 1977 which propelled them to the National Championship.  It’s worked maybe once since, despite being trotted out dozens upon dozens of times by a series of increasingly desperate (and proven unworthy) Irish coaches.

Remember when Gerry Faust was universally considered the worst coach in Notre Dame history?  I don’t.

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