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The anatomy of a rumor

The anatomy of a Dallas Cowboys rumor. First, Pro Football Talk, who are the carpet-bombers of rumors, reports a story about Sergeant Slaughter, I mean Bill Cowher, returning to football next year and names a few NFL teams who might be interested. One team being the Redskins, who promptly deny the story. No big deal; rumors from Pro Football Talk are like start-up discs from AOL, there are well in excess of a million of them that have been distributed to the public over the years. So, like the AOL discs which make excellent coasters, the rumor dies a natural death. Or so we thought.

But it is revived in an article by a columnist in Pittsburgh given they are still a little obsessed about the Chin’s departure. Not content to just repeat the rumor, the columnist decides to add a little extra-sizzle to the column, and drops a few more teams into the mix. Wanting maximum exposure for the article, he throws Jerry Jones and the Cowboys into the rumor-stew, knowing that the mention of the Jerry and the Cowboys might draw the national news interest. Notice the subtle way of phrasing the rumor.

Any number of NFL teams could take a run at Cowher. It wouldn't surprise anyone if Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones fired Wade Phillips after just one season to make a pitch for him.

See, he didn’t actually say there was any interest in Sargeant Slaughter Bill Cowher, just that no one would be surprised. Well, Wade Phillips might be surprised, but that’s another story. But the Cowboys angle works, it gets the column the national exposure the writer was hoping for when it ends up on as part of its Truth and Rumors section. never really distinguishes between the truth and the rumor in that section of its website, but now we have national play for the rumor.

Finally, BTB-regular dunkman has posted the rumor in a diary here, and now we have a full-blown discussion running on the subject.

God bless the offseason, the Internet, and the rumors spawned.

As I was checking through articles with Cowboys references, deciding what to write about today, I kept coming across articles about Ken Griffey, Jr. I was curious what Griffey had to do with the Cowboys so I read this article in a Seattle paper and found the connection.

"As an athlete, you always want to retire with the team you started with," Griffey said. "You look at (former Dallas Cowboys star) Emmitt Smith and anybody else that moves on. You want to come back and retire with the same organization. I'm no different than anybody else."

Griffey was talking about returning to the organization where it all started for him, the Seattle Mariners. That was followed by this blurb:

[Emmitt] Smith signed a one-day contract with the Cowboys in 2005 after being released by the Arizona Cardinals, in order to retire with the team he played 13 seasons for in his prime.

I always thought the "one-day contract to retire" thing was bogus. I mean, really, it’s not like we’re going to forget that Emmitt was in Arizona for the last years of his career, and it’s not like he won’t be associated with the Cowboys in the future. I guess it gives the athlete some sense of closure, but it’s kind of silly when you think about it. Then again, I never really think about it.

Remember the Backyard Drills videos that were always being hyped in commercials that featured ex-coach Bill Parcells? Here’s a long story on how that whole thing came together and how it’s going today.

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