SHELTERED IN PLACE, Texas – Thank goodness for history.
And for recorded replays.
Like, how else would we be getting our competitive sports fix these trying days?
Last night, watched the replay of Ali-Frazier III. Reminded me of back in the good old days, those championship fights went 15 rounds, not this sissy stuff over just 12 rounds. And those two warriors beat the living daylights out of each other in the fight dubbed the "Thrilla In Manila" before Joe Frazier's corner threw in the towel after 14. Unbelievable he still was able to walk back to his corner that round after the beating he took. And Muhammad Ali, he took a seat in the middle of the ring, basically collapsed from utter fatigue, with his corner men fanning him with a towel.
Also watched the majority of this year's National Championship game, LSU-Clemson, that was able to attend in New Orleans. Never had seen the TV broadcast. Couldn't believe they were saying in the third quarter that Joe Burrow looked sick, that he was struggling. Heck, the only sick thing about his game that night were the passes he was dropping on those other Tigers.
And now we are like two weeks from the NFL Draft. Think about it, other than the occasional horse race, this will be the first live sporting event, of sorts, virtual car racing notwithstanding, that we'll have seen since, like, March 11.
So between history and draft anticipation and preparation, boy we've still got ourselves some shots.
- Rest Of Story: Thanks to binge watching Peyton's Places this past Saturday on ESPN, was reminded the Cowboys nearly won the very first Lombardi Trophy. That's right, the Super Bowl Trophy over the first couple of years was actually awarded with the declaration "World Professional Football Championship." Thanks to Peyton Manning's episode, that trophy was much like the Stanley Cup, winning team's name inscribed on it and passed around from year to year. Until 1970, the NFL naming the championship trophy after former Green Bay coach Vince Lombardi, who passed away following the 1969 season after coaching the Redskins that one year. Yep, the 1970 season Super Bowl champs then received the "Lombardi Trophy" to keep, and went to the Baltimore Colts, beating the Cowboys in their first Super Bowl appearance, 16-13, in Super Bowl V. And when the Colts up and left Baltimore for Indianapolis on March 29, 1984, in an agreement with the city of Baltimore, that trophy was retained by the city. And in the episode shown on ESPN, Peyton was brought to the trophy in, of all places, the basement of the Babe Ruth Museum in Baltimore. Go figure.
- Realization II: This week while researching Tom Dempsey's then record-setting 63-yard field goal, and former Cowboys president and GM, the late Tex Schramm, ensuing remarks, realized a midseason, two-game losing streak left the Cowboys at 5-4 in 1970 with five games to play. The local scribes were burying the Cowboys. Got so bad, head coach Tom Landry also was under fire. Now, it was bad enough they lost 23-20 to the Giants that day of Dempsey's kick, but in the crucial showdown the following Monday night at the Cotton Bowl with the first place St. Louis Cardinals, the Cowboys got skunked, 38-0, prompting the fans in the third quarter to begin chanting, "We want Meredith! We want Meredith!" Of course, Dandy Don was in the ABC Monday Night Football broadcast booth for that game after retiring in 1969, remarking, "There is no way I'm going down there (on the field), I'll tell you that." That week, Landry said, "I feel like we have a shot at the fourth playoff berth. To do it, we need to win our last five games." I'll be, the Cowboys did, winning the NFC East at 10-4, beating Detroit in the first round of the playoffs, 5-0, and in the NFC title game San Francisco, 17-10, to qualify for Super Bowl V.
- Safety First: With the NFL Draft nearing, former Cowboys personnel director and now Pro Football Hall of Famer Gil Brandt was asked who his top safety is. His Twitter answer: LSU safety Grant Delpit. "He's such a good athlete with good speed. Not the best tackler. One weakness that can be worked on."
- Speechless: There are not many times when Cowboys owner Jerry Jones asks a question that the answer leaves him stumbling for words. Well, happened with this streaming interview with Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray on a long-distance hookup with the Cowboys staff. Jerry asks the projected first-round linebacker if there was a setback in his life that helped him become the football player he is. Talk about must-see TV.
- Rest Of Story II: When first reported the Cowboys signed Aldon Smith, deal was characterized as a two-year, up-to $4 million agreement. Well, first of all, Smith still is on the NFL's reserve/suspended list. So nothing counts unless he's reinstated. Second of all, details on the deal go like this according to spotrac: It's a one-year deal with a base salary of $910,000, with $1.09 million worth in earnable bonuses, such as: Per game active bonus: $40,625 ($650,000 total); reinstatement bonus $90,000; 30 days after reinstatement $50,000; training camp bonus $100,000; 2 preseason games $100,000; Week 1 bonus $100,000. Then after that, there are sack incentives ranging from eight to 10 to 12 and 14, starting worth $500,000 and going up to $2 million. And biggest thing, no cap hit until he is reinstated.
- Opposite Poles: Oh 'dem Ryans, always wanting to stir things up, especially when it comes to the Cowboys. Goes all the way back to Papa Buddy, who had a disdain for Landry. Well, now Rex with his ESPN disparaging remarks on the quality of Amari Cooper, basically saying the Cowboys are wasting their money, in no uncertain terms, but probably just looking to make a splash so someone knows he's still working. Well, a head coach who still is working, Washington new head coach Ron Rivera, had this to say after the Redskins' failed attempt to land "Coop" in free agency: "Amari was someone that we chased very hard, all the way to the very end. He decided to return to Dallas. We were in it, and we were talking about substantial money. But at the end of the day, he made a decision he felt was best for him and we respect it. … We would have loved to have him as part of what we're trying to do."
- Shorty Shots: Happy Birthday to Tony Dorsett, turning 66 on Tuesday. Hasn't played since that final season in 1988 with Denver, but the Hall of Famer's 12,739 career rushing yards still rank 10th in the NFL. And the only player with more rushing yards when he retired was NFL leader Walter Payton (16,726). The only two backs with more still active are Frank Gore (third at 15,347) and Adrian Peterson (fifth at 14,216), and the closet ones behind him being No. 22 LeSean McCoy (free agent) with 11,071, No. 29 Marshawn Lynch (free agent) with 10, 413, and then you have to go all the way back to No. 64 Mark Ingram (Baltimore) at 7,025 … Yes, Cowboys punter Chris Jones didn't have a great season, but when using his stats should be pointed out he punted through a bad back and a sports hernia. Probably should have been placed on IR … With Cowboys guard Zack Martin selected to the NFL's All-Decade team this week, wondering where Johnny Manziel is today.