Tag Archives: Michael Irvin

A Season to be Proud Of

13 Jan

Cowboys and Cowboys fans have nothing to be ashamed of. They should be proud of the season that they had. No matter what the scoreboard read yesterday, it was a success. Big ups to my people out in Dallas who never gave up on the team.

Those were the days

11 Nov

College Football was a lot better when the U was relevant.

Got my Swagg back.

9 Oct

The Playmaker. One of the forefathers of that winning tradition at the "U". Football is back. That extra edge I needed is back along with it.

Most importantly the “U” is back.

Coincidence?? I think not.

When Randy Shannon was hired as the head coach of the University of Miami football team, I told my buddy Roach that in a couple years the team would be back on top. I knew the next two years would be tough, transition years. It was tough watching those lossed to Florida and Cal last year. But I knew this year ahd to be different.

They are still not ready for the big time, too young and too undiscilpined, but next year is their year I believe.
I knew the year before their last championship that they’d be ready back in 2000 when they got hosed out of the championship game by the NCAA when they had beaten FSU head to head (and Washington had the same record and had beaten Miami that year).

You could just tell they had the horses. Clinton Portis, Jeremy Shockey, Santana Moss, Andre Johnson. Ed Reed, Jonathan Vilma. Maybe the greatest of all their championship teams.

Yes I’m from Texas. But my biggest fantasy (besides getting laid) as a kid was to go to University of Miami and be the team mascot, Sebastian the Ibis. Running out on the field with team from the tunnels amidst the smoke to all of the fans at the old Orange Bowl.

I also wanted to be a professional baseball player. Neither dream was realized. the best I could muster was a visit to Navarro Junior college in Corsicana, Texas and a pamphlet from the U of M a few days later. I saw the price of out of state tuition and my jaw dropped. My parents hadn’t planned on me going to college and I was barely able to graduate high school anyway, so I settled for a 500 dollar booster club scholarship and went to community college.

But still I watched with interest. Since I’ve been a fan of football I’ve been a Canes fan. ’92 was a rough year, the loss to Alabama, ’93 wasn’t easy to take with teh Fiesta Bowl loss to Arizona, ’94 was the Orange Bowl loss to Neberaska, ’95 they were a non-factor and also had their 58 game home winning streak snapped by U-W, and the losses kept piling on……but they hired Butch Davis eventually and he brought the program back into the spotlight.

So after Davis left and they won, the next year the wins were becoming harder to eke out, and though they were undefeated going into the Fiesta Bowl game of ’03, I had a weird feeling that something was wrong.

First, for whatever reason, whenever they go out to Arizona, things go bad, even going back as far as 1987 when they lost to Penn State. So I took the halftime “kick the field goal” competition between the school’s fans as an omen (even watching Edggie George hog the mic from Warren Sapp during the halftime show seemed prophetic).

So what happened? Miami claws back only to get screwed at the end by a bogus pass interference call.
But you can look back at a lot of reasons besides that call of why they lost.
1. they didn’d get the ball to Kellen Winslow enough
2. The Maurice Clarret strip of safety Sean Taylor (R.I.P.) on a key interception cost them some points.
3. The Roscoe Parrish fumble early in the 4th quarter was costly as well.

The fact that I am still holding onto this loss is a testament to my love for the “U”.
Also my favorite football of all time, Michael Irvin went to college there. I’ve seen all the key games on ESPN Classic. I’ve beaten everyone with the ALL time Miami teams on the NCAA Football video games (even got it down on lock with the classic teams from ’87, 89,’91, ’01, and ’02 teams).

So I’m just happy that they are competitive again. With Coker (who seemed like a nice guy) as the coach, they seemed to have lost that edge they always had.
People hated the “U” players because they were too breash, too much celebrating, and dirty.

But that was why I liked them. Those championship teams were vicious, nasty and the defense had some of the hardest, quickest linebackers and safeties you’d ever seen. Sean Talyor had the potential to be the greatest safety in NFL history before his life was tragically cut short (one of the saddest days of my life).

I liked the fact that no one liked the Canes, it made me like them more. I’ve always considered myself one of those polarizing kinda characters as well, either people absolutely love me or hate me. I can dig it.

But they lost that Ali-esque-swagger along the way, and you could see it slowly seep away and soon they were settling for the Emerald Bowl and going 9-4 instead of 12-1 or 11-2.

So when they hired Shannon I was excited, here was an alum. He had won a championship in ’87 as a linebacker. He knew what it took to win. He also had a piece of the legacy.

Somewhere along the way old players and supporters were not on the sidelines anymore to cheer their old school on. Their was no accountability to uphold the winning tradition, and it showed.

But now I think Michael Irvin has a reason to be proud. You see former players on the sideline again. You see former players as coaches (former great Michael Barrow is the linebackers coach).

And with the latest win (albeit sloppy) over Ou this past weekend. There is a sense that this crop of players is getting it. The old Canes teams knew that no matter how things were going, they were still going to win. They had that P.M.A. (Positive Mental Attitude) that carried them through games. They KNEW they had it. They had that swagg going.

Stud quarterback had “USWAGG” cut into his fade last week and a reporter asked him about it. He said that it was about getting that swagger back, that “U” magic. It was something that needed to be brought back to the program.

It was exactly what I wanted to hear. This year a BCS bowl. Next year, a BCS championship.

Can’t wait for December when Billy Corben’s documentary on the “U” comes out. The timing couldn’t be better.

I’m 30, after one of the most successful years professionally, and most disastrous romantically, I’ve recovered my own swagger. I’m ready to dust my shoulders off again, get my swagg on and do this thang. And every Saturday each Miami win, will make my week just a little bit better.

Why I cried when the Cowboys lost on Thanksgiving on Pete Stoyanavich’s last second field goal

20 Mar
thanks for ruining my Thanksgiving Leon

thanks for ruining my Thanksgiving Leon

Why I cried Thanksgiving Day When Pete Stoyanavich Nailed a Game Winning Field Goal

*Taken from the march 20, 2009 entry of my blog “The Nuclear Polio Vaccination”

When I was four years old my parents bought me a Cowboys T-shirt. There were these cool little cartoon drawings pictures Ed “Too Tall Jones”, Randy and Danny White, and Coach Tom Landry. One time I accidentally got a smidgeon of poop on the tail of my shirt. I was too young to consider the ramifications of not washing the shirt immediately and the stain dried. When the smell became too much for me days later, I discarded my beloved T-shirt.

 

My allegiance to the Cowboys started then before I was old enough to realize what happened. I couldn’t tell you if they were even a good team back then (Danny White was the Tony Romo-esque whipping boy then so probably not).

 

In some ways the years 1991-93 were the best of my life. I knew practically nothing about girls during this three year span. It was a wonderfully latent period, where my adolescent development coincided with the Cowboys going from a NFC Wild Card team to back to back Super Bowl champions.

 

Those teams were incredible to watch. The offense was unstoppable. Michael “Playmaker” Irvin still to this day remains my favorite football player of all time. And I was treated every Sunday to greatness of Jay Novacek, Emmitt Smith, Henrietta’s own Troy Aikman, and Daryl “Moose” Johnston.

 

The defense consisted of the deepest defensive line to take the field. Tony Tolbert, Charles Haley, Tony Casillas and Chad Hennings were such a force that they made things very easy for the secondary of Kevin Smith, Thomas Everett, James Washington, and Larry Brown.

 

The Cowboys also had one of the greatest coaches in football history, Coach Jimmy Johnson. He was also the only coach to win both an NFL title and a National Championship. He orchestrated it all and I learned so much about football from watching those championship teams and reading the books that followed.

 

Nate Newton had his own show on 1310 (“The Ticket”) which often had Michael Irvin as a guest. The laughs would last forever and I’d get a little melancholy when the clock read 6:50 and the show started winding down. I was consumed by the Cowboys success because my life and its awkward hormonal adjustments didn’t seem so awkward on those lovely Sundays, when it was time for the Cowboys to exert their dominance.

 

This of course was before egos got involved, mainly Jerry Jones’ ego. Jimmy Johnson was getting too much credit (deservedly so in my opinion) and Jerry couldn’t handle someone stealing the spotlight from him. So he ran Jimmy out of town after back-to back Super Bowl titles. Well, we all know the rest of this story. Jones hires Switzer to show just how easily replaced Johnson could be and the team went from disciplined and prepared to getting untimely penalties and turnovers.

 

During the second title defense they’d go down in the NFC Championship game 21-0 with three consecutive turnovers to start the first quarter againstSan Francisco. They would battle back but would get ruined by a non- pass interference call on Deion Sanders, and an in-excusable personal foul against Barry Switzer that wrapped up the game for the 49ers. This caused me one of the worst nights of my entire teenaged life (well before I’d wreck my dad’s pickup truck while he was at work.

 

The next year Jerry Jones hastily signed Deion Sanders and pissed away cap space during the first off-season of the salary cap era- free agency. The depth of tremendous talent was dwindling as their unsung heroes went on to better paychecks with other teams. The Boy’s were suddenly vulnerable at every position…….

They won the Super Bowl that year but you could smell what was in the water. They started losing more winnable games every year, drafting poorly and going through a head coach every three years when they’d only had two in the team’s history up to 1994.

 

The legendary players retired year after year and soon the Cowboys were just mediocre….They had taken a public image hit so badly from off the field incidents that they compromised what was a sure fire hit (Randy Moss) to get someone with character (Greg Ellis?). This could be one of the biggest sport’s what-if’s in football history. It is arguable that the Cowboys would be a different franchise and Randy Moss might have been a different player under the tutelage of Michael “Playmaker” Irvin. This pick may have extended the careers of many of the Cowboys players (Who knows, maybe the hit that ended Irvin’s career never happens if Moss is on the field taken attention away from Irvin).

When the losses started piling up, and I found better ways to waste my time, I quit watching altogether. Perhaps I can thank that mid-nineties slump for me being a well rounded person. Yet there was that part of me that missed getting excited about every upcoming season. Instead my predictions were “they’ll still suck just you watch.” People thought I was ‘being a hater”, but I always wanted to be wrong. I was just protecting myself.

Then the Tony Romo era arrived. And though I never agreed with the signing of Terrell Owens, he definitely brought a presence to the offense that had to be accounted for. Once again I was paying attention as the ‘Boys were back in the spotlight.

 

I was sucked in again–just enough to get sick when Romo fumbled in the Seahawks playoff game (thank God I missed the Giants game last year when they spit the bit). This year when everyone was saying Super Bowl or bust, I wanted to just see if they could win a playoff game.  I wasn’t surprised at all when things went south this year.
I was at a party one time and I overheard someone say that Jones was a southern version of AL Davis. A woman of all people had said this (had I any sense at all, I would have started dating this insightful young lady—but that’s another story for another time).

 

A fish stinks from the head down as they say, and I for one blame Jerry Jones. Because of his tomfoolery the Cowboys have had nothing but cream puff coaches (except Bill Parcells), bad drafts, and even worst free agent signing.

 

No self respecting coach will work for him as long as he keeps meddling in the football operation. The man knows how to make money but he has no idea how to run a football team. He needs to hire a legit coach and get out the way. Until then I won’t watch another Cowboys game–no matter how well they are doing because I (we?) ultimately know how it’s going to end.

I can’t stomach losing. It’s a sickening feeling to see them when lose one stupid way after another during the biggest games. I care too much and have seen too much championship football. Anyone who watched those early ’90′s teams understands what winning means and 10-6 and a first round exit in the playoffs doesn’t cut it for most Cowboys fans. It doesn’t matter how much Jones spent building that state-of-the-art luxury stadium. What does matters is who plays in it.

Like a man who still in love with a gal because he remembers the good old days of how it used to be, I had to learn to accept the present circumstances. Sometimes people grow apart and go in different directions. Even though there may still be a hint of hope that she might stop going out to the bar, getting toasted and spending all my money frivolously; things can’t change for the better unless there is a fundamental change from within.

Those glory days are gone. They will probably be gone forever. It has become a very unhealthy relationship with my Dallas Cowboys. My expectations are just unfair and unrealistic. While I was once a recovering Cowboy fan, I now identify myself as simply a football fan.

“There you were. Everybody watched you play. I just turned and walked away. I had nothing left to say. Because you’re still the same.” ~Bob Seger~