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FISH on FOOTBALL: A Post-Denver, Pre-KC Cowboys Top 10


At this moment, we don't feel very "America's Team'y,'' do we? Yet we march on, from midweek to Sunday, with this FISH on FOOTBALL Cowboys top-10 list.

1. I've often said that Jerry Jones prides himself on being equal parts "businessman'' and "sportsman.'' With this week's Harris Poll that shows the Dallas Cowboys are for the third consecutive year the top vote-getter among U.S. citizens who are asked to name their favorite NFL team, we learn a couple of things.

We learn that the Cowboys really are "America's Team."

And we learn that so far this year, in Jerry's pursuit of being a successful "businessman'' and a successful "sportsman,'' he's half-successful.


2. You've probably played slow-pitch softball or rec-league basketball with this guy: He's the biggest dude on the team. He's a cool guy. Good-looking. Alpha-male. Well-liked. He's so obviously gifted that he bats third and plays shortstop.

But there is a problem: When it comes time for a huge hit, he flies out to the warning track. When it comes time to throw a guy out at first to end the inning, he follows up a great backhand in the hole by firing one into the dirt.

You know that guy?

Right now, Anthony Spencer is that guy.

There Spencer was in Denver, ready to make a sack. And he almost did it.

There he was, closing in on another sack. Almost.

There he was, tackling the quarterback at the line of scrimmage. It was almost effective, except that he got called for a 15-yard facemask.


And biggest of all, there he was, slicing into coverage to zip in front of Buckhalter for an interception, an interception that Spencer - with all those alpha-male athletic skills - just might have returned coast-to-coast for a Pick-6.


Like you, I've watched the replay of Anthony's non-interception 100 times. How did the ball end up in Buckhalter's hands for a TD? How did the ball slip right through Spencer, like the ball was a submarine and like Spencer was made of water?

Right now, Anthony Spencer is that guy.

3. Forget the "fifth-down territory'' story. You know what gets me the worst? With those final four downs, all four throws should've been into the end zone. Instead, you got a short-range dump to Patrick Crayton and then a spike. That's two downs wasted. The Cowboys inexplicably turned "four-down territory'' into "two-down territory."

4. I'm sure this is Wade's demeanor more than it is his intellect, but I hope this week he has his finger on the pulse of Marion Barber's quad.

5. Another outrageous accusation leveled this week by the Dallas Morning News columnist. This time, he's accusing Jason Garrett of "arrogance.'' We are all free to hate the person's actions, but we aren't supposed to hate the person. I've known Jason Garrett for 18 years, and while I'm sure he's got a negative character trait or two, I bet nobody who knows him has ever in his life called him "arrogant.''

6. The Cowboys usually start fast and finish slow. So maybe they're just flipping the script and come December, all will be well?

7. What we know for certain about the Cowboys offense is this: When playing against good defenses while on the road, they just can't score.

8. I'm a little disappointed in T-New for bothering to tell the media that Brandon Marshall illegally tugged on his jersey to get position for the game-winning catch. On that play, everything Marshall did was better than everything Dallas did - and if that includes a clever little undetectable football trick, so be it.

9. I mentioned the Bill Parcells coaching tree yesterday, which of course includes Chiefs head coach Todd Haley. A closer look at that Chiefs coaching staff includes a foursome of former Cowboys assistants with ties that go all the way back to Jimmy Johnson.

On the KC staff: Assistant head coach Maurice Carthon (a Parcells guy in Dallas from 2003-04), defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast (a Campo guy who was a Jimmy guy, here from 1996-02), linebackers coach Gary Gibbs (the former OU head man and linebacker coach in Dallas from 2002-05) and special teams coach Steve Hoffman (the brilliant kicking coach brought to the NFL by Jimmy and a Dallas aide from 1989-04).

10 I know this is a small consolation, but the teams the Cowboys have lost to are a combined 8-0.

Hey, I told you it was a small consolation.