Whether you’ve reached the end of your rope or merely the end of your week, welcome to Whitt’s End:
*Sure Monday night’s blown call in Seattle re-shaped the NFL season. But there’ve been worse calls on bigger stages. Some even involving our local teams: The Cowboys lost Super Bowl V because, in part, referees awarded a Duane Thomas fumble to the Colts even though Dallas center Dave Manders came off the bottom of the pile with the ball. The Mavs were hosed by official Bennett Salvatore’s phantom foul call on Dirk Nowitzki against Dwyane Wade in the final seconds of Game 5 of the 2006 NBA Finals. And last Fall the Rangers turned a double play in the 4th inning of Game 3 of the World Series, only to have umpire Ron Kulpa rule Matt Holliday “safe” and open the door for a 5-run Cardinals’ inning in a pivotal loss for Texas. It does, however, work both ways. Lest you forget Game 6 of the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals. The Stars’ Brett Hull was in the crease, wasn’t he?
*I’m a big Jason Garrett homer. We became friendly when he played for the Cowboys in the early ‘90s. I’ve known his wife, Brill, since then as well. Went to his going-away party at Sipango when he left Dallas for the Giants. But at this point even I’ll admit he’s been a disappointment as head coach of the Cowboys. Not that 2-1 sucks, but I don’t see a disciplined team like I expected. And those were his calling cards: Discipline, Accountability and Offense. The Cowboys have the NFL’s 2nd-most penalties (31) and the 32nd-fewest points (47). He might have tweaked the culture at Valley Ranch, but not the performance. Yet.
*Oh stop it with all this “The replacement refs will leave a stain on this season.” In Green Bay, maybe. But I’m thinking the Packers are good enough to overcome 1 game. Besides, some of us remember the NFL in 1987, which featured 3 games not of replacement refs, but 3 games of replacement players. Compared to that, this season is a hiccup.
*You can count down the Rangers’ Magic Number to win the AL West if you wish (it’s 3), but the more important chase is with the Yankees. Rangers need to finish with a better record, so to have Games 1 and 2 and possibly 7 at Rangers Ballpark in a potential ALCS matchup.
*We can knock soccer all we want, but we can’t deny its popularity. World-wide. Of the 10 most popular athletes on Twitter, 8 of them are soccer players, topped by Cristiano Ronaldo and his 13.4 million followers. Only non-soccer players in the Top 10: Shaquille O’Neal (6.2 million) and LeBron James (6.1 million). NFL No. 1: Chad Johnson (3.7 million); MLB No. 1: Nick Swisher (1.5 million) and No. 2 Yu Darvish (733,000). Check it out.
*I was rudely reminded this morning at how dependent I am on the Internet. When it’s down and you need to do research for a radio show or write a snarky sportsy column, sorry, you’re screwed. And, by the way, why is the Internet ever “down”?
*Rare occurrence this weekend: I’m rooting for Tiger Woods. Golf’s Ryder Cup is one of my favorite sporting events and Tiger needs to be the old Tiger for the U.S. to beat Europe. If you’ve played golf and ever choked or sucked or yanked a drive left into the trees off the nervous 1st tee, you’ll love watching the world’s best do the same. Among the American’s following the players in Chicago: Justin Timberlake and Michael Jordan. Nothing on the line except for pride, and it is intense, pressurized and beautiful. It’s not, however, sports’ best cup. My faves, in order: World Cup (soccer); Sprint Cup (NASCAR); Stanley Cup (hockey); Ryder Cup (golf); Davis Cup (tennis); Apple Cup (Washington vs. Washington State); America’s Cup (Yachting); Grey Cup (Canadian Football League).
*It’s Media Day for the Dallas Mavericks. What time is Deron Williams talking? Wait, oh really? Darren Collison instead? Yawn.
*For all the “Cowboys Stadium is getting a Victoria Secret!” buzz. My radio sidekick Sybil Summers went shopping there during the first home game. Been open for a while now. Weird how sometimes news travels so slow.
*QUARTERBET 2012: The NFL, more than ever, is a quarterback league. Gonna try an experiment. Regardless of site or line or team, I’m going to bet a mythical $100 on every NFL game versus the spread this year merely by picking the best quarterback in the game. Through 3 weeks the theory is 22-23-3. After WEEK 2: -$330. So far, so bad.
*Props to Matt Harrison and his 18 wins. Best season ever by a Rangers’ lefty starter. Yes, better than Kenny Rogers. Because, far as we know, Harry hasn’t punched a cameraman.
*The Cowboys are 32nd in scoring, 29th in rushing, 28th in turnover margin (-3), 31st in penalties and they’ve fallen behind in every game. How the heck are they 2-1? Defense. Rob Ryan’s unit is ranked No. 1 in the NFL, allowing only 250 yards per game. I’m not saying they are the best defense, because we all saw Seattle shove it down their throats via 90- and 88-yard drives. But Dallas has surrendered only 54 points, and that includes the blocked punt for a TD in Seattle, Felix Jones’ opening-kickoff fumble, the first-possession interception that set up shop for Tampa Bay, and the Giants’ interception return to the 1 in the opener.
*Before you feel too bad for the poor ol’ real refs, remember that the new agreement increases their annual salary to $173,000 next year. Makes you wish our society cherished educators as much as referees.
*If you missed my CBS column asking you to Pray for Rayne. 1. Shame on you. 2. Here’s your second chance.
*If you say “Da Bears!” in advance of Monday night, please don’t hang around me. Matter of fact, if you replace “the” with “da” anywhere, anytime, I’ve got no use for you. Go away. Shoo.
*Silence is golden. Rookie corner Morris Claiborne hasn’t made a positive play yet, but he also has yet to be burned.
*Cowboys might get 2 players into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in January. Larry Allen is a no-brainer and Charles Haley was a finalist who’s back knockin’ on the door again. But then again, when I think Haley is it 49ers or Cowboys? Or asshole? Or all 3?
*Failure Jesus is back in business. I’ve summoned him onto the Seattle Seahawks in general and Golden Tate in specific. Coach Pete Carroll and his receiver were disgusting in the wake of Monday night’s Fail Mary. Don’t get handed a win and then strut around like you earned it … or else. Amen.
*If you’re looking for Dallas Cowboys’ news, don’t go to www.Cowboys.com. You’ve been warned.
*The Cowboys have had 3 opening drives on offense this season. The combined result? 10 plays, -5 yards, 0 1st downs, 1 penalty, 1 sack, 1 interception, 1 blocked punt and quarterback Tony Romo is 0-5 with a pick. Vomit. Garrett says he scripts the initial plays. May I suggest flipping the script?
*It was 1 year ago that I left the Dallas Observer. Yeah, time flies.
*Cowboys 13, Bears 10. Another ugly, grinder featuring two of the NFL’s worst offensive lines.
*This weekend? A rare couple of free days during football season. Saturday it’s early tennis and then Oktobertfest on McKinney’s downtown square. Sunday is for NFL, with some Ryder Cup sprinkled in. Don’t be a stranger.
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