I take great pride in crafting entertaining and informative articles. My goal is not just to deliver accurate and factual reports, but to do so with a bit of creative flair and inventive use of the English language. So I have worked long and hard to come up with the perfectly nuanced summary of the events today surrounding the Dallas Cowboys:
It should have been a lot better, of course, being the first day of the first OTA. News was out that everyone except DeMarcus Ware (who was excused for a personal matter and would attend on Wednesday) and the suddenly shy Mike Jenkins were at the "voluntary" session. But then came word that Danny Coale was hurt. Broken bone kind of hurt.
You have to understand this in context. This was not just a mid-round draft choice who has shown some moves in the rookie minicamp. This was not merely someone that was looked at to possibly challenge for that third wide receiver spot that we seem to obsess about so much here at BTB.
THIS WAS MY PET CAT!
What cruel jest of the football gods is this? I carefully select one of the rookies to invest my hopes in, and he breaks his left foot. He will require surgery, and is not expected back until after training camp gets underway.
All right. I have seen how it is. I am officially announcing that I will not select a replacement pet cat for this season. I would not want to jinx anyone else.
And of course, that was hardly the worst news to come out today.
More on that other thing after the jump...
Before the report about Coale came out, I had, of course, to deal with the disgusting news that the arbitration case brought by the Dallas Cowboys and their strange bedfellow, the Washington Redskins, had been dismissed. After weeks of anger at Roger Goodell and John Mara, mixed in with an eager desire to see justice wrought and retribution rained down on the heads of Goodell, the NFL owners who went along with this, and DeMaurice Smith, who sold out to save his job with the NFLPA, we see it end with a bit of a whimper.
In addition to the towering sense of frustration over what is still seen almost universally as a smarmy and corrupt move by the league to punish teams for not participating in illegal collusion, I felt a lot of confusion at first, trying to sort out what exactly the ruling was and what it was about. The initial headlines said that the arbitrator had ruled against Dallas and Washington. As the reports continued, it seemed more that the request for arbitration had been denied, which seemed to be more in tune with the reports that came out about the first (and now only) hearing. It had focused primarily on whether the cap penalties were even covered under the CBA.
Now the full ruling is available. The arbitrator, Stephen Burbank, did dismiss the case rather than rule in the NFL's favor on the basic questions the Cowboys and Redskins were raising. He based the dismissal on two things. The first:
Burbank rejected the teams' arguments that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was not authorized to act on behalf of the NFLMC (the management council that John Mara heads - TR),the unit of the NFL that gave strident verbal warnings about their cap maneuvers and suggested discipline. Burbank intimated -- but did not expressly hold -- that the articles and bylaws of the NFLMC contemplate the commissioner acting as an agent for them. Thus, the commissioner's powers may extend past the playing field into the contract and cap decisions made by teams and their ownership.
In other words, he handed Roger Goodell a free hand in going in and monkeying around with the contracts teams negotiate with their players. For whatever reason he wants. Or that someone cunning and evil can persuade him of.
The second thing:
With the NFLPA signing off, the March 27 resolution by 29 NFL teams (the Bucs abstained) to ratify the reallocation letter became, in Burbank's eyes, a valid amendment to the collective bargaining agreement . . . The key line from the decision reads in part: "the March 27th Resolution effectively ratified the Reallocation Letter, which therefore is binding on the Redskins and Cowboys as an amendment to the CBA."
So the Cowboys and Redskins are the only teams besides the Buccaneers that did not vote for the cap penalty that affected only the Cowboys and Redskins. And all this is enforced in a retroactive amendment to the CBA. Well, that certainly seems fair.
Anyway, rather than bring on a pro football Ragnarok, Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder have decided to weather the storm and put up with the ache they undoubtedly feel in a place most men don't like to ache.
I was unhappy about Danny Coale having to miss so much time. But the denouement of the cap penalty mess was downright depressing.
Injuries happen. In the big scheme, a broken bone in the foot is not the end of the world, and it can be an opportunity for someone else, like UDFA Tim Benford (Coty is planning on having more to say about him in another post). But the salary cap thing just gnaws away at me. It makes me want just one thing.
Revenge. And in the NFL, revenge means one thing: Winning. This season now has a new urgency for me. I don't just want to see the Cowboys win. I need to see it. I need to see some butt-kicking, faces-ground-into-the-turf, slobber-knocking play out there. I need to see the Star administering some beatdowns. I need Rob Ryan to unleash the Kraken, and Jason Garrett run up the score. And most of all, I need to see Jerry Jones laugh in John Mara's face.
Then I will be at peace. Until then, I am going to be ticked off.