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FISH on FOOTBALL: A Full-Pads Top-10 List For Cowboys-at-Broncos


It's a FISH on FOOTBALL Top 10 List as we get you padded up for Cowboys-at-Broncos and beyond ...


1. I'm terribly troubled by any media suggestion that Jerry Jones "doesn't know where to put'' Tony Romo in "the NFL's quarterback hierarchy,'' or that the Cowboys owner might view his quarterback as something other than "a franchise quarterback'' ... and rather, as something closer to "the ultimate tease'' and "a coach-killer.''

Let me be clear here: I'm not troubled by the notion that the media thinks this about Romo. It is the media's right to be wrong, you know?

What I'm troubled by is that a media member would espouse HIS theories on Romo as "coach-killer'' or whatever ... and then link HIS theories to what Jones might be thinking. There are, I'm quite certain, more than Six Degrees of Separation between the brain stem of Jerry Jones and the brain stem of most writers.

If Jerry thinks this ... and somehow intimated this thought to a reporter, a crafty writer would know how leave that impression. But no such thing happened. So instead, we get this ham-fisted attempt to denigrate Romo for the crime of having lost a game, and an irresponsible attempt to stir up viewership.

That media habit is far more troubling to me than a Romo interception.

2. This weekend we're going to see football players wearing pink shoes. In fact, Bradie James is going to wear pink shoes all month. It's for a terrific and meaningful cause - Breast Cancer Awareness - but let's not pretend it isn't going to look a bit  ... odd.

On the other hand: I remember seeing kids wearing this weird yellow rubber band around their wrists. Next thing you know, everybody is sporting a Livestrong band.

So maybe, in regard to NFL shoes, pink will someday be the new black. Or what. Or whatever.

3. You can see it better from a distance now. The Terrell Owens Experiment in Dallas was a smart play. But so was letting him go. Admit it (again, with the perspective of being able to observe the stage in far-away Buffalo from a perch in Dallas): Is it absolutely exhausting watching this man attempt to cope with the rules, the questions, the spotlight, the trials and tribulations, the ebb and the flow ... not just of football, but of life.

And if you think T.O. exhausted you just via television waves, think what he did and does to the people who have to live with him?

4. As noted earlier this week, Michael Wilbon of ESPN (but more pertinent here, of the Washington Post) picks the Broncos over the Cowboys. I love Wilbon, but this is either shock value or wishful thinking. The Cowboys are a three-point favorite as a road team. And while going on the road after a short week is a little scary, those odds come from people who put their money where their mouth is.

When it comes to Michael taking Denver over Dallas, here's betting he's not betting on it.

Shock value or homerism, I guess it's better that a certain ESPN colleague of Wilbon's, who on a Saturday will pick the Broncos, on a Sunday will Skip over to picking the Cowboys, and then on Monday, no matter who wins, will be able to claim he was right.

5. Roy Williams is expressing some trepidation regarding playing in the Mile High City. Having lived in Colorado for a long time, I can tell you: The "altitude problem'' is 99-percent psychological. Now, for long-term training for long-distance runners and such, the altitude is a valuable tweak. But it's akin to the swimmer who shaves the hair from his legs to be one-skillionth of a second faster.

To play wide receiver in a football game, which is largely a series of 50 sprints of 10 yards spread out over the course of three hours? That's not problematic ... except inside a person's head.

Of course, that doesn't mean we shouldn't keep a lookout here. Because there are all sorts of zany things going on inside Roy Williams' head!

6. Marion Barber's planned return to the lineup isn't just timely because Felix is hobbling; it's inspirational to his teammates. The fact that those guys know this guy was trying to gnaw his way onto the field last week - combined with his running style - stokes the fire in the Cowboys' souls.

7. Funny how Michael Crabtree had so many hangers-on and "cousins'' ... I mean, friends and advisers ... including some high-profile people with Cowboys associations. ... and now the only advice he's getting is bad advice.  And the only quarterback he's catching passes from is Trent Dilfer, who occasionally works out with him while the unsigned Texas Tech-turned-49er hangs out in Florida.

Michael Irvin, where are you here?

Deion Sanders, where are you here?

8. New Denver coach Josh McDaniel deserves all sorts of credit for plowing through a confounding and tumultuous Broncos offseason and having his club at 3-0. To me, he's still no Shanahan (which is fine by young Josh; he emulates his own mentor, Bill Belichick). And to me, some of the moves - even the ones that seem to have worked - still don't pass the Pedigree Test.


Kyle Orton has thrown at least one TD pass and no interceptions in his first three starts, all victories. Since the inception of the AFL in 1960, only four QBs have done that stat of the week?

That's interesting. It's maybe even impressive.

But Kyle Orton still isn't a better football player than the guy who was jettisoned for him, Jay Cutler.

9. Denver has given up 16 points in three games. I say this week Denver gives up 16 points in three quarters.

10. It's a "diamond surrounded by trash'': Amid the harsh criticism of this era's Cowboys by a collection of their Super Bowl-winning older brothers comes Troy Aikman very casually mentioning in a Fox chat that he believes the Cowboys are a Super Bowl contender.

"Boy, it's awfully early and teams are just now beginning to separate themselves,'' Troy writes. "Having said that, I really believe that the NFC Champion is going to come from the NFC East and as I said earlier, I can see New York, Philadelphia or Dallas winning that division. Not that the division winner is the one that makes it but I like one of those 3 teams to go to the Super Bowl.''

Now, as always with Troy, he wraps bold statements in protective headgear. (Example: During this weekend's telecasts, listen as Aikman gives a harsh opinion by couching it in the catchphrase "I don't know that ...'' As in, "I don't know that the Giants should've thrown the ball there.'' That's the Oklahoma Gentleman's way of saying, "The Giants were stupid to throw the ball there!'') But when you remove the padding, Aikman's chat statement amounts to this:

"I really believe that the NFC's Super Bowl representative  will be either New York, Philly or Dallas.''

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