2014 Season Preview (Dallas Cowboys)

Dallas Cowboys, NFL

There’s the good, the bad, and even the ugly when it comes to discussing the outlook of the Dallas Cowboys’ 2014-2015 season.

In recent news, Dez Bryant has expressed his concern for a new contract, claiming that he deserves to be paid as much as the NFL’s top 5 receivers. On top of Bryant’s concern, the Cowboys have recently restructered OT (Offensive Tackle) Tyron Smith’s contract to an 8-year extension grossing up to $100 million.

Well, Dez…there goes your money.

In addition, Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones claims the Cowboys have the best offensive line in the league. This may be true, but Jones needs to get a new prescription of glasses to focus on the injury-prone defense.

I’m in agreement with building up our offensive line and hiring a new offensive coordinator to relinquish play-calling duties from Jason Garrett. However, our defense has taken some major hits in the offseason: Sean Lee’s season-ending injury and DeMarcus Ware’s departure to Denver. The only thing Cowboys’ fans should do is hope for the best as we place inexperienced players in the roster slots of last year’s defensive leaders.

Am I throwing in the towel yet? Hmmmm, maybe not.

Our offense looks promising and Jason Garrett is crossing his fingers to finish above average for the first time in his career as Head Coach. The pressure on Garrett may benefit the offense’s potential, which can balance out our sub-par defense. But as we all know (or should know), defense wins championships. The Cowboys may not win a championship this year, but their offense has the potential to be the prime catalyst to steer them to a playoff bid.

According to Jerry Jones, offense fills up stadiums…but that’s none of my business.

As we shift our focus to the NFC East, the Cowboys have a really good shot at winning this division. The Redskins and Giants should be the top two teams to give us a worthwhile challenge.

Robert Griffin III looks forward to stepping back onto the field and redeeming himself from those Adidas-sponsored injuries. To be honest, Griffin III is unpredictable at this moment but you never know what you get with RGIII.

Meanwhile, Eli Manning attempts to claw his way back to the mountaintop of champions. Eli Manning has a great deal of potential. It’s surprising how he can be an elite quarterback one season…and an Interception Machine the next.

Although this is not your father’s NFC East, the Philadelphia Eagles took the division under Chip Kelly’s high-powered offense. However, the Eagle do not pose a serious threat with Nick Foles still proving himself to the league.

Something to think about:

If the Cowboys dominated their rivals with a sub-par defense last season, there’s no reason to think they cannot compete in this year’s NFC East division.

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Surviving the NFL Offseason

NFL

It’s the end of July and football fans worldwide are currently enduring one of the longest breaks in American sports: the NFL Offseason.

Too often, fans find themselves in desperation…awaiting the next important NFL news to satisfy their athletic taste buds. The NHL and NBA crown new world champions, MLB and Golf make their way into full swing (pun intended), and every four years we are fortunate to toss aside American Football for world football (soccer).

These six months of the NFL’s absence have consisted of:

– trash-talk over the past season

– suffering consequences of bets

– convincing everyone (and yourself) that your team will “win it next year”

– watching replays of the Super Bowl (I prefer “Sounds on the Field” via NFL Network)

– yelling at the TV during the NFL Draft

Well, I have one word for the football fans: congratulations.

You’ve endured the grueling months of football’s absence, and now it is time to get ready for the fantasy leagues and NFL Sunday Ticket…and setting the DVR for those awfully-scheduled 12:00pm games.

Are you ready?

The NFL Hall of Fame (including inductions of Michael Strahan and Derrick Brooks) is right around the corner, then the NFL Hall of Fame Game takes place on August 3rd…ushering in an exciting NFL Preseason.

The NBA’s New Balance of Power

NBA

Carmelo stayed in New York. LeBron took his talents back to Cleveland. Chris Bosh is the leader of the Miami Heat. Meanwhile, the Washington Wizards can possibly win the Eastern Conference.

Regarding the Western Conference: Chandler Parsons has signed with the Dallas Mavericks. The Spurs look forward to winning another championship. And other Western powerhouses (OKC Thunder, LA Clippers, Portland Trailblazers) patiently await their opportunity to represent the West in the NBA Finals.

With LeBron moving back to the great state of Ohio (hey, Johnny Manziel is there, too…so it has to be exciting), the competitve balance of power has greatly shifted; not only affecting the Eastern Conference, but the West as well.

We’re at a point to where the Dallas Mavericks are back in championship conversations. Plus, who would have thought the Washington Wizards would be a possible, top-5 finisher in the East? Even the Charlotte Bobcats Hornets have received a facelift in the hopes of becoming a playoff contender.

Once again, I extend a congratualtions to the San Antonio Spurs for sending LeBron back home…the NBA needed it.

It’s a breath of fresh air to bring back the “up-for-grabs” atmosphere in the Eastern Conference..

Now, I know we can’t travel back in time but the make-up of today’s NBA brings me back to the last days of Jordan in Chicago (I was born in ’92 so that’s the only “MJ” I can remember lol).

There was a time when guys would compete for 48 minutes and even trash talk each other in the process. This was the era of hard fouls, debates with the referees, throwing basketballs at people, pushing the cameramen, taunting the opposing team’s coach…this was THE ERA.

However, this era reached a stopping point when Jordan retired (his second time); which is where the NBA currently stands. There are not as many hard fouls or taunting (with the exception of the uncouth behaviors of Lance Stephenson); but one aspect from the 90s that today’s NBA possesses is the balance of power.

Yes, Jordan and the Bulls won six titles. When we dig deeper into MJ’s journey to his championships, we find out Jordan battled against some of the greatest guys to ever touch a basketball (Pat Ewing, Charles Barkley, Dominique Wilkins, Isaiah Thomas, Larry Bird, Karl Malone, Magic Johnson, and even John Stockton). These guys were not on “all star teams.” The league was arguably balanced, where every year the NBA title was up for grabs (Chicago just received a head start).

Well, even though the competitive balance of power is not tipping as much, the elite of the NBA has greatly changed. Cleveland, Washington, Los Angeles (Clippers), Dallas, and San Antonio are among the NBA’s elite, which would be unimaginable over twenty years ago.

Since there’s a new elite, there are also more teams taking on different roles. The New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers have officially been put at the back of the line for championships.

Kobe doesn’t even want to be seen.

Pretty soon, the majority of LA is going to be painted in Clippers gear. And New York fans – such as the majority of East Coast fans – may jump ship and cheer for the Brooklyn Nets.

The 2014-2015 NBA season looks promising, but you never what new moves will occur between now and the Season Opener. Until then, we’ll keep our eyes open and remain hopeful for an exciting season.

The McIlroy Wager

General Sports
Gerry (left) and Rory McIlroy (right)

Imagine placing a wager on your child to win a golf championship (British Open) and beating the odds, 500-1.

Gerry McIlroy’s imagination became a reality this past Sunday when his son, Rory, captured the British Open for his third major golf title.

In 2004 when Rory was only 15 years of age, Gerry placed a 200-pound ($340.71, in U.S. dollars) bet at 500-1 odds on his son to win the golf tournament within ten years. In addition, family friends placed bets in 2005 at 250-1 odds.

In addition to Rory’s $1.66 million in prize money for winning the British Open by two strokes, Gerry McIlroy’s friends pocketed over $80,000 apiece — with Gerry earning close to $171k.

I’m sure this has been an unforgettable weekend for the McIlroy Family.

The victory moved McIlroy three-fourths of the way to golf’s modern career Grand Slam. He won the U.S. Open in 2011 and the PGA Championship in 2012 and now needs a victory at the Masters in Augusta, Ga., to become the sixth man to complete the feat.

Fueling the I-45 Rivalry (Dallas vs. Houston)

Dallas Mavericks, NBA
Since the 2005 NBA Playoff Matchup with Dallas vs. Houston, this rivalry between the Mavericks and the Rockets has lost its sting over time. Tracy McGrady and Dirk Nowitzki would literally go shot-for-shot, and Yao Ming dominated every center the Mavs could offer. Those games always provided great entertainment.

Now, the on-court I-45 Rivalry may have a chance to (again) live up to its potential. To be honest, Dallas can only talk about the Spurs for so long. Come on, we’ve been complaining about the same group of guys (Duncan, Ginobili, and Parker) for over 10+ years now. And, quite frankly, it’s time to move on and bash another team in our division.
With Houston’s acquisition of small forward Trevor Ariza and Dallas’s pivotal pick up, Chandler Parsons, the atmosphere of this rivalry has the potential to shake up the Western Conference. 
Get your popcorn ready.
What adds even more fuel to the fire is the fact that Chandler Parsons played a key role in Houston’s playoff bid, but now he will join the lineup with Dirk and company to represent Big D.
I knew something was up when I heard Mavs owner Mark Cuban was showing Chandler Parsons around the city last week.

Furthermore, the Rockets’ owner was reported to have texted Cuban about trading Dirk to Houston shortly afterward the Rockets picked up Dwight Howard in 2013. Hopefully, Mark Cuban did not take this as an insult. Or maybe he did.
Rivalries only thrive when the fan bases, teams, and offices have some friction on and off the court. After a decade of arguably meaningless, regular season games between the Mavs and Rockets, it looks like the two camps are bound to collide at some point very soon.
Remember how much fire and drive DeJuan Blair brought to the Mavericks in this year’s playoff series against his former team (San Antonio Spurs)? Well, expect the same from Chandler Parsons and even more tension between the two as the days count down for one of the Western Conference’s premier matchups.