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Cowboys FanPost Of The Week: Dallas At The Poker Table

The Cowboys have a "5," a "6" and and, in Tony Romo, a "9." Can they draw a straight flush?
The Cowboys have a "5," a "6" and and, in Tony Romo, a "9." Can they draw a straight flush?

Happy Wednesday, BTBers. As you all know, humpday marks another edition of the eagerly-anticipated FanPost of the Week. I know y'all are chomping at the bit to see which of your peers have been awarded a much-coveted "Rabbie"--and whether that FanPost that you labored over (or dashed off in an inspired or substance-driven fit) might merit honors. So, I'll dispense with my usual lengthy preamble and get to recognizin' the past seven days' best efforts.

Honorable mentions first: after the second preseason game, against San Diego, my boy ChiaCrack started a new--and more palatably named--series, in which he distributed game balls. After the Vikings tilt, he once again reached deep into his ball bag to recognize several players. My favorite? Jesse Holley, who I think made the team with his performance in Minnesota (what is it about Minny with this guy?). Not to be outdone, Rhodri 2112 picks up on Crack's theme, but opts for distributing beers instead of balls. The beauty of his piece is that he assigns each recipient a special brew. To wit:

The Stone (Escondido, CA) Imperial Russian Stout is released in the 2nd quarter of every year, which is perfect timing for Igor Olshansky, who'll be released in the 3rd quarter of 2011. Of the two, the beer was by far the stouter Russian...

Nice touch, Rhodri! I urge all of you to raise a glass in his honor.

more FanPost goodness after the break...

As you all know, I am a huge fan of the statistical derring-do practiced by 2010 FanPoster of the Year, Fan in Thick and Thin. Thick has been regrettably absent from the FanPost pages in recent weeks but, as the players have prepared for the season opener, so has Thick. And, unsurprisingly, he's in midseason form. In his latest "WMQB," as he often does, Thick asks an uncomfortable question: what, other than undiluted optimism, makes us think the Cowboys will have a winning record. To further prod us, FiTaT offers a histogram showing that the average number of wins for teams following 6-10 seasons, eight, is lower than the 9-11 wins that most BTBers have predicted. In response, NY Horn makes a shrewd distinction, looking at the records of teams that had winning seasons before their 6-10 campaigns. Horn concludes:

Among these teams the year after, the average win total was about 9.2, which is slightly skewed by the atrocious 1-15 2007 record for the Dolphins. If we extract that 1record, teams the year after average 10.8 wins.

Both guys have interesting, and important, takes, so check out both of their posts in full--and let the debate begin!

Our last honorable mention goes to another of my favorite posters, I am Ironman!!. This week, Iron forges a fascinating take on the difference between Rob Ryan's defense in Cleveland and his Cowboys group. The key distinction, Iron argues, is that the Browns had no players that opposing offensive coordinators had to gameplan for; as a result, it made them more difficult to defend, as all eleven guys were equally likely to rush the passer. On the other hand, the Cowboys, who rely on Ratliff and Ware, have more difficulty presenting a faceless mass of defenders. I'm not sure I'm buying what Iron is selling here (I mean, wouldn't you rather have those guys than Matt Roth and Ahtyba Rubin?), but I found his thesis provoking. As I tell my students: you don't have to agree with me; I will always reward a compelling argument or a new idea. Iron, you get an "A" from the professor this week.

On to this week's winner: Like this week's winner, I am not a poker player. Unlike him, I'm not even a Poker watcher (frankly, I find gambling a bit dull, in all its forms--but that's just me). However, one needn't be a card-shark to appreciate the analogy this week's top FanPoster, greatwhitenorth, develops between poker and our beloved Cowboys. Throwing around a set of poker terms with which I am unfamiliar, North plays on the notion of Jerry Jones at the table, as a "riverboat gambler" who builds his team much like a poker player builds a winning hand.

As a fan, North's strategy is to go for the "slow play." I'll allow him to explain:

I’m invested, but I’m not putting all my chips in.  I’m expecting something around 9-7, and perhaps some fireworks down the stretch run.  In poker terms, I think we'll end up where we started, with our pair of 10s not getting enough help from the community cards to make a play for the pot.  Long-term, I’m putting some trust in the Garrett Way of taking it one day at a time, hoping that they’ll string together enough excellent days to have a really big stack of chips to play with next year.  We’re playing smart poker now, and hopefully smart football as well.

 …and if you’re reading this and thinking "this all sounds quite out of character for Jerry the Riverboat Gambler," you just might be onto something.  Something big for the Cowboy Way.

Great stuff, GWN! I'll have your Rabbie delivered via Mountie.

Congrats to all this week's winners. And let their success be a lesson to you: post like a madman, and watch the Rabbies roll in!

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