Friday, March 30, 2007

Hold it there, Romo

I don't want to dwell on Tony Romo's bobbled hold from last January ... in the playoffs ... on a potential game-winning field goal. As a Cowboys fan, however, I'm stuck with it.

And I certainly don't want to hear about how "had he made it into the end zone..." because if you look at all the if only's in the history of the Dallas Cowboys, they would have seven or eight Super Bowl titles, not five.

But when ESPN reported Tony Romo will not be the holder next season for the Cowboys, I was forced to revisit this painful memory of the past NFL postseason.

Romo did a great job this past season stepping into the starting quarterback role for America's Team. He stuggled at times, but for his first full season as a starter, the future looks bright in Big D. More importantly, he didn't bobble any other snaps all season.

So on a rainy night in Seattle (then again, every night in Seattle is a rainy night), he dropped one ball. And I don't think the Cowboys should hold that against him. I know the club is reportedly saying that the move is because he is now the starter (Romo began the season as a backup, thus the role as a holder). But I think everyone knows what this is really about.

One bad hold.

Regardless, the Cowboys should keep Romo as the holder because he is the quarterback. He's the one guy the organization trusts with every snap of the game. Well, okay, it used to be every snap, but next year it'll be just most of the snaps.

Not only does having your QB hold open up the possibility of well-executed fake field goals, but it puts the ball in what should be the most consistent hands on the team.

In regards to this new "Romo rule" where ball-boys cannot hold onto the balls used for field goals - allegedly a ball-boy gave the refs a slicker ball for that final field goal attempt - I don't think that's the reason they lost. I like the new rule, but I'm not pointing fingers at a ball boy.

The Cowboys should hold on to Romo as their holder ... as long as he can hold onto the ball.

Monday, March 26, 2007

A tournament full of losers

Florida, UCLA, Georgetown and Ohio State.

These are the survivors of this years madness that is the NCAA tournament. I say survivors because in all honesty that's what it comes down to. You don't have to win. You just have to not lose.

There is a difference.

Most of the teams that advanced to this week's Final Four did so by simply not losing their games. But just look at the teams that didn't make it, and you'll understand my point. Here's just two examples.

North Carolina -
The Tar Heels held an 11-point lead over the Hoyas in the second half, and decided that they had it won. They took the rest of the night off. Seriously. They made two field goal - two! - in the final seven minutes of regulation and overtime. With all due respect to Georgetown, UNC just flat out lost this game.

Kansas -
I love my Jayhawks. I picked them to win it all. But I've never seen a team lose it like KU did against UCLA. Missed lay ups. Fumbled passes. Blown dunks. Was I watching a JV game? It sure seemed like it. UCLA did play a solid game, but Kansas didn't come close to providing a challenge once the Bruins made a second-half surge. UCLA didn't win that game. Kansas lost it.

Similar things can be said for Texas, because even though USC played one of their best games of the season, the Longhorns not named Durant didn't show up. Losers. Hell, one round later, USC blew a 16 point lead to UNC. Foul trouble and sloppy basketball contributed to USC losing.

Xaiver had beaten Ohio State. They were up by three and Ohio State had only a prayer of a chance to force overtime. Foul a Buckeye, they shoot two free throws and Xaiver advances to play Tennessee in the Elite Eight. Instead Xaiver doesn't foul, Ohio State gets a buzzer-beating three pointer. Buckeyes advance, Xaiver lost it.

The one team that got to the Final Four without the help of another team just flat out losing is Florida. I know they've had close calls, and as a 1-seed they should be winning these games, but their opponents have all played them tight. Their opponents haven't purely folded like a cheap plastic chair you set out for a PTA meeting in the school cafeteria. There hasn't been amazing wins so much as there have been catastrophic loses. The loses are defining this tournament.

So congratulations to the final four participants of the tourney. Florida, UCLA, Georgetown and Ohio State. Perhaps this weekend it won't be a court full of losers.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Seeds of doubt not to be found in this tourney

Half of the Elite Eight is set.

No. 1 Ohio State versus No. 2 Memphis. No. 1 Kansas versus No. 2 UCLA.

I still don't know what to make of this tournament. I guess it's easy to say that the seeding committee "got it right" this postseason. But with the possibility of all four top seeds making the Elite Eight, this tournament seems a little bland.

Don't get me wrong. The games are still exciting. It's fun to keep track of the whole tournament on my now scratched up, screwed up bracket. But with the lack of upsets in this tournament, it really does make you appreciate the George Mason-type teams that make completely unexpected runs to the Final Four.

If USC gets past UNC, or Oregon or UNLV can upset Florida, that will bring about the same effect. But if the Elite Eight consists of three 1 vs. 2 match ups and a 1 vs. 3, this NCAA tournament will have one thing that you don't see when Cinderella schools are still playing at this point in the tournament.

Better match ups. Tighter games. More exciting outcomes.

In the Final Four last season, Florida essentially pulled down George Mason's pants. Of course, it wasn't really an embarrassment for an 11-seed who I believe was just happy to be there. But the game was never close. The only people who were happy about the blowout in the championship game last season live in Gainesville.

Maybe that was just because Florida was that good, or that George Mason and UCLA weren't the complete teams that we see in this year's tournament. The complete teams had been upset earlier in the tournament.

But with no major upsets (except No. 7 UNLV over No. 2 Wisconsin) in this tournament, the Elite Eight and Final Four games will be a lot closer and a lot more exciting for the fans.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

What's in a name

I'm not the biggest baseball fan, but if I'm rooting for any team it's the Texas Rangers. I'm a Dallas boy. But for years there hasn't been anything to root for. Finally, today the Rangers got what I consider to be their biggest win of the new millenium (and why not, they haven't made the playoffs since the last one).

The Rangers no longer will play their games in a name-sponsored building. Ameriquest Field is dead. I don't know if I particularly like the newest name: Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. I think the original name (The Ballpark in Arlington) was just fine without the Rangers name in it. But anything is better than the sponsor-dominated arena name.

I always loved Reunion Arena, home of the Mavericks and Stars until the new American Airlines Center opened and left Reunion for dead. At least the jewel of all Dallas (and perhaps all Texas) stadiums never waivered in its name. Texas Stadium never went the way of Candlestick Park (which became 3com and Monster Park) or Jack Kent Cooke (FedEx Field).

I never liked the over-sponsorship as I call it in major sports. I know it's become an irriversible trend, but I'm glad to see it broken. This may be the best move the Rangers have made in a while. I hope the Cowboys are able to retain their own naming rights for their new stadium when they make the move in 2009.

For once, the Cowboys should follow the example of the Texas Rangers. Don't sell out the name of the new stadium. Hell, I'd even be okay with "Texas Stadium 2.0" or even the "Cowboys Corral" - which may become the new nickname anyway. But if I have to go to watch America's Team at Frito-Lay Field or Southwest Stadium I will snap.

This blog has been brought to you by ... no one. And that's how it should be.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Determining a champion

It's crazy. It's insane. It's pure madness. The NCAA men's basketball tournament is set. But this week - before the tourney tips off - is arguably more fun for fans than some of the actual games. Now is the time to make your picks and determine your bracket.

Some analysts (and some of my friends who think they could be analysts) will spend the next few days reading all sorts of online articles, studying scoring trends, and double-checking game-sites to make sure they have the correct picks to win their particular pools.

Others I know - mostly females - who still like to participate in the pools will be using a few different methods.

The coin-flip: heads, the higher seed wins; tails, the lower seed wins.

Style: which uniforms look the best (so much Oregon making a run at it).

Mascots: determining which animals or mascots would win in a fight (who knows, maybe the Davidson Wildcats will pull off that upset against glorified turtles in Maryland).

Geography: Texas, Texas A&M, Texas A&M - Corpus Christi, and - eh - Kansas (close enough). And if A&M or UT can't make it, perhaps the Mean Green of UNT or the Red Raiders of Texas Tech could fill in. Talk about state pride.

And there's just so many other ways to do it. How did I pick my bracket? The same way I do it every year: not straying from my roots of being a homer. I have several Texas-based schools in the elite eight. I have Kansas winning it all. This year the guy at the Jayhawks hotel better make sure they get their wake-up calls.

But with all these other "creative" and seemingly ridiculous ways of determining a March Madness bracket, I decided to give it a shot. So this year, I'm going to try to have a few bonus brackets I fill out - just for me, just for my own amusement - to see just what would happen if I leave it up to a penny to decide, or who my "fashion sense" tells me who will win. Sorry, Longhorns, but burnt orange ... it's not looking good. Then again, nothing looks better than Cardinal and Gold.

Let the madness begin.

Hit Counter

Everyone's visiting the NO JOSHIN' blog. Tell your friends to take a look!
Hit Counter