FRISCO, Texas – Sweet and Sour Wednesday at The Star.
Sweet that Jimmy Johnson has been selected as one of the two coaches being enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2020.
Sweet that Cliff Harris has finally been selected as a long-overdue Hall of Famer for the Class of 2020.
But then sour, real sour, that Drew Pearson, once again on the doorsteps of being inducted into the Hall of Fame did not make the cut among the 10 Senior members being enshrined during this NFL Centennial class that also will include two coaches and three contributors and five modern era players, for a nice robust number of 20 in honor of the year 2020, the 100th in NFL history.
Sour, too, that Cowboys original owner, the man responsible for the very existence of the Dallas Cowboys, Clint Murchison, was overlooked in what probably was the father of this organization's best chance of being enshrined in Canton, Ohio.
In deference to Meat Loaf, cuz' two out of _four_ ain't bad, the Cowboys were one of three teams with two former members included in the first 15 announced of the 20 being inducted this year.
Still, the joy is seeing the Cowboys' former two-time Super Bowl- winning head coach, the guy who righted a Cowboys sinking ship within three years, and seeing their six-time Pro Bowl safety and 1970s All-Decade NFL first-teamer reach their rightful destination, is minimized by the overwhelming sorrow over the exclusion of Pearson and Murchison.
Jimmy? You had the privilege of watching his reaction Sunday on live TV, maybe the first time I've seen him speechless and so emotional, meaning overwhelmed with tears of joy in his eyes over something related to football.
And Cliff? This sooths the pain inflicted in 2004 when he made the cut to the final 10 the day prior to Super Bowl XXXVIII, only to be eliminated, along with the cruel elimination from the top six of Bob Hayes and Rayfield Wright when the selection committee only voted in four of the possible six that day.
"Gosh, man, it's just an incredible feeling," Harris said Wednesday afternoon. "I didn't really know what to expect, and (didn't want) to get my hopes too high because I'd been there before – something that's a great thing to happen and you just have to learn to deal with it if you don't.
"Just overwhelmed right now, just overwhelmed. It's a blessing."
As for Jimmy, we knew eventually he would get in. As for Cliff, why, he probably felt time was running out. Remember his last year with the Cowboys was 1979. And he had already lost out as a modern era selection in his final year of eligibility, and that was 16 years ago. It was a long wait.
"I've been a lucky guy," said Harris, the undrafted athlete out of Ouachita Baptist in 1970 turned safety. "Came out of pro football healthier than most. Got to play on a great team and have Tom Landry as my coach and Gene Stallings as my assistant coach and those great friends that I played with who are legends"
And while Harris said, "I'm really excited," he would point out after texting with Drew, his former teammate, "I feel for him."
The sweet and sour of this opening shot.
- Garrett Sighting: Remember, there were those who were skeptical when Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said late in the season that no matter if Jason Garrett is still coaching in 2020 with the Cowboys or not, "He'll be coaching in the NFL." Maybe Jerry was prescient, since Garrett is interviewing with the New York Giants for their offensive coordinator's job. While the Giants did hire 38-year-old Joe Judge with no head coaching experience as their next head coach, what better way to support him than with an experienced NFL head coach with ties to the Giants, Garrett their backup quarterback from 2000-03. Oh, and a guy who was the Cowboys offensive coordinator from 2007-12.
- Vegas Landing: Told you Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, not invited back to join Mike McCarthy's staff, still wants to continue coaching even though he's collecting Social Security at age 70. From Frisco to Vegas, the Raiders reportedly hiring the veteran coach to lead their defensive line – Marinelli served as Jon Gruden's defensive line/assistant head coach in Tampa where they won the Super Bowl in 2003. So Gruden getting the old gang back together again.
- L-S-U: What a great opportunity to attend Monday's CFP Championship game in New Orleans, watching No. 1 LSU recovering from a 10-point deficit to beat No. 3 Clemson, 42-25. Even with Heisman-winning quarterback Joe Burrow, the Tigers had problems dealing with the Clemson blitzes they knew were coming. Finally, LSU figured out, well, we might try running the football, turning things around while rushing for 165 yards. Sometimes "old-school" is wise-school. Also was able to attend the Football Writers Association of America ceremony awarding LSU coach Ed Orgeron the 2019 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award, which includes a bust of Coach Rob. "Coach Robinson was a role model for all of us," Orgeron said. "It doesn't happen by yourself when you get up here. Obviously I accept this for our coaching staff. I think I have the best coaching staff in America, and it doesn't hurt to have a great quarterback also." No kidding on that last point.
- Mike In Charge: There were those doubting Cowboys new head coach Mike McCarthy would have full say over his coaching staff, that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones would meddle. Well, Jerry responded by saying, "We wanted Mike to pick his owns staff if he wanted to. I mean, not if he wants to. We wanted him to pick his own staff. I've always thought that." And evidently, that is what McCarthy is doing. While nothing has been officially announced, judging from reports, the Cowboys will have at least eight new assistant coaches, if not more, the latest name a return of running backs coach Skip Peete.
- Short Shots: On this day, Jan. 15, 1978, the Cowboys won Super Bowl XII, squashing Denver, 27-10, the Cowboys becoming the only team with co-MVPs, defensive linemen Randy White and Harvey Martin … Glad to hear McCarthy point out running the football is important, evidenced in this past weekend's divisional round playoff games, with Tennessee beating the supposedly unbeatable Ravens, 28-12, behind 195 rushing yards from Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill completing only seven passes for 88 yards. And then the Niners beating the Vikings, 27-10, with 186 rushing yards to the Vikings' 21. Oh, and Houston's Dashawn Watson threw for 388 yards and lost, while four of the seven touchdowns in the Green Bay-Seattle game were on runs.
And not to leave on a bummer, but think the selection committee, one I hear worked their tails off with a 12-hour selection meeting after several two-hour conference calls beforehand, leaving out Murchison is a shame. Think about it, there is a very good chance that without his vision of putting a professional NFL football team in Dallas in 1960, who knows, there may never have been the Dallas Cowboys. Heck, none of us might be here today at The Star. Might never have been a Tom Landry or Roger Staubach or Troy Aikman or Emmitt Smith or those five Super Bowl trophies. I'm told Clint was a very behind-the-scenes guy. But his hands are all over the start of the world's most visible and richest sports franchise. Them others need to know that for posterity sake.