Strahan yells at the media …for quoting him correctly?
In one bizarre hour - strange even by the standards the Giants have set over the past week - Tom Coughlin's crew unraveled once again. It started when Plaxico Burress delivered a subtle rip of teammate Michael Strahan, and ended with Strahan delivering a not-so-subtle rant at the media in general while trying to bully a female reporter from ESPN.
Asked about his comments regarding Burress, Strahan demanded that ESPN's Kelly Naqi step to the front of a media pack and "look me in the eye."
And the cause of all the turmoil was Strahan's own words during his regular spot on WFAN on Monday, when he appeared to chastise Burress for quitting on a play during Sunday's Music City Meltdown. When Burress heard that Strahan had said, "You can't give up and you can't quit, because you're not quitting on yourself, you're quitting on us, you're quitting on everybody," it was enough to trigger the latest round of discontent from the Bickering Blue.
"Wow, that's tough for a teammate to come out and say that about you," Burress said after he was read Strahan's comments, word for word, by Naqi. "But if that's the way he feels, that's the way he feels. I'll talk to him about that personally. I'm not going to get into a pushing or shoving match with you guys. I'll just talk to him personally because that's the type of person I am. I wouldn't go on TV or radio and criticize my teammates.
"If that's the way he feels, hey, that's sad."
That response was quickly relayed to Strahan by a member of the Giants' PR staff, and a few minutes later, the defensive end - who usually speaks to the media only on Thursdays - burst into the locker room and began his tirade. First, he singled out Naqi and berated her for not asking questions "in the appropriate manner" and, beckoning her with his index finger, loudly ordered her to come forward and "look me in the eye."
"I know you're going to ask it in a way that there's more division and more of a negative way than what it was, so come here, I want to see your face," Strahan said. "Are you a responsible journalist? Look me in the eye and ask me this question, please, the way that you want to ask it. Come on. Look a man in the eye before you try to kill him or make up something."
Eventually, Strahan was asked if he had spoken to Burress. Strahan said he had, even though Burress insisted he had not. Strahan added, "Do you think one play by Plaxico lost us the game? No."
Then he redirected his rage toward the media at large. "If you want to come here with the negative, you're coming to the wrong guy, because I'm not a negative guy," said Strahan, who is recovering from a sprained foot. "I don't kill my teammates. I'm a man and I talk to my teammates. So if you're going to talk to me, don't stand in the back behind 10 other people. You come here and look me in the eye. And if you're going to ask Plaxico about something, you ask him in the appropriate way, not the negative way so it seems like I'm attacking my teammates, because I don't do that.
"(The WFAN comments are) being portrayed that way because that's the way you guys portray them. We've lost three games in a row. You're not going to do anything positive. That's not how you guys operate. You don't sell papers by being positive. OK? You just don't - especially when a team has lost three games in a row."
Strahan's rage, of course, came seven days after Tiki Barber criticized the Giants' play-calling, six days after it was revealed that Barber was reprimanded by Coughlin, five days after Coughlin fired back at Barber, and three days after the Giants (6-5) blew a 21-point, fourth-quarter lead in Tennessee.
Meanwhile, more bulletin board material for the Cowboys …
Plaxico Burress has more to worry about than just Michael Strahan.
Terrell Owens remembers how Burress called him a "coward" who purposely slipped on the turf to avoid a potential hit during the Giants' 36-22 win in Dallas last month. Owens says Burress will want to watch out this Sunday, particularly for hard-hitting safety Roy Williams.
When reminded yesterday that Owens had joked a few weeks ago how Williams would take care of Burress for him, Owens said, "Yeah, we'll get him this week. We'll get him this week. All I know is, everybody, that defense has been hitting some people, kind of laying the wood a little bit," Owens said after practice at the Cowboys' Valley Ranch base. "I'm pretty sure they have been watching the film so he better watch out."
The Cowboys' bulletin board should be overflowing with motivation for their rematch with the Giants at the Meadowlands. Bill Parcells already has Jeremy Shockey's "there is no way they have a chance in hell to beat us when we play our football" boast from a week ago to work with.
"He was just popping off at the mouth," Owens said of Shockey. "Whatever he needs to do to spark that team and probably try to get a rise out of us. He is not going to do it. Right now he is frustrated. What they should really be focusing on trying to do is get off that losing streak. And I don't foresee it happening this weekend."
Williams, who was not available for comment, has incentive to target Burress. After that Monday night Giant win, Burress criticized the Dallas safety for complaining about how he was impeded by an official from making a play on Burress when the Giants' receiver caught a 50-yard touchdown bomb. Williams collided with the back judge on the play. "He couldn't have made that play if he wanted to," Burress said after the game. "He can't cover and No.25 (rookie safety Patrick Watkins) can't cover. It wasn't a surprise. That's been (Williams') rap since he came in the league. He's a 250-pound ankle tackler. That's what he is. And horse collars, too."
"He wouldn't have made that play if he was on a skateboard," Burress added.
Lebreton on the case …
Once they were giants...
But that was, like, six weeks ago.
Before the young quarterback went sour. Before the lame duck running back began to complain. Before the New York Giants began to topple and limp.
And before somebody turned up the heat in the head coach's office.
It was that noted philosopher/physicist, Jeremy Shockey, who put his finger to the wind -- presumably, the same thumb that he eats his peas with -- and recently declared, "There is no way [the Cowboys] have a chance in hell to beat us when we play our football, and that's the truth."
And I agree with Dr. Shockey wholeheartedly. The Giants proved as much when they outclassed the Cowboys 36-22 at Texas Stadium back in October. The Giants moved the football at will. The New York defense confounded quarterback Drew Bledsoe so much that night, he lost his job.
But the two teams turned out to be ships passing in the NFL night. The Giants veered left three weeks ago and have been taking on water ever since.
When the Giants whipped the Cowboys that night, they gave evidence that they were the best team in the NFC. Better than the Chicago Bears, even. Better than anyone.
Cowboys coach Bill Parcells admitted to the New York media this week that the defeat brought on its personal brand of pain.
"Sure, when you're on Monday Night Football and you get embarrassed, and your team looks like some ragamuffin team, it hurts," Parcells said Wednesday at Valley Ranch.
What does TO think of Vanderjagt being cut? …
Don't count Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens among those in favor of Mike Vanderjagt being cut.
Owens was close to Vanderjagt and talked with him after his release Monday.
"Obviously, he hasn't played well, but I didn't think that warranted him to be cut," Owens said. "Personally, I don't agree with it."
Owens pointed to Vanderjagt's statistics of making 12 of 15 (80 percent) field-goal attempts before the Indianapolis game. But Vanderjagt , missed two kicks against the Colts and barely made a 22-yarder against Tampa Bay.
Owens supported Vanderjagt on Wednesday, unlike many of his teammates who agreed with the decision.
"I hope it doesn't come back to haunt us," Owens said. "Whoever made that decision, I'm pretty sure they're hoping the same thing. I hope he doesn't regret it."
Owens also pointed out he has cost the Cowboys in games this season and is still on the roster. He dropped a potential touchdown pass against the Washington Redskins.
"I feel like I have lost some games and I'm still here," Owens said.
Interesting tid bit …
Fast Fact: The Cowboys have been swept in a home-and-home by the Giants in 10 different seasons (2004, 2002, 2000, 1997, 1990, 1989, 1988, 1984, 1963, 1962) and have never made the playoffs in any of those campaigns.
I heard this on Sportscenter this morning, and since they are the world-wide leader in sports I assume they got this right:
In the last 3 seasons, the Giants are 22-10 with Michael Strahan in the lineup, and 1-10 without him. He is not expected to play this Sunday.
In other news, not related to Cowboys – Giants:
Jevan Snead to TCU? …
Texas freshman quarterback Jevan Snead has asked for a release from his scholarship in order to transfer, a source close to Snead said Wednesday.
Snead's availability for Texas' bowl game could be in question because Snead wants to enroll at a new school in January, the source said.
That would leave Texas with starter Colt McCoy and walk-on third-string QB Matt McCoy, who has never attempted a pass in a college game. The only other scholarship quarterback on the team is Sherrod Harris of Arlington Bowie, who is redshirting.
The source said TCU was a leading candidate to land Snead, a Parade All-American from Stephenville, although the source said Snead would like to take visits to other schools once he is released from his scholarship.
Snead completed 26 of 49 passes (53.1 percent) for 371 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions in backup duty this season. Snead will have to sit out a year after transferring, but because he played this season, he can use his transfer year as a redshirt season and still have three years of eligibility left.
Snead lost the battle for starting quarterback to Colt McCoy, who was getting consideration for Heisman Trophy votes before suffering a stinger in the first quarter of a loss at Kansas State.
Aggies big day in San Diego …
The Texas A&M football team will spend Christmas in San Diego as a reward for its turnaround 9-3 season.
The 22nd-ranked Aggies accepted an invitation Wednesday to play the California Golden Bears in the 29th annual Pacific Life Holiday Bowl at 7 p.m. Central Time Dec. 28 at Qualcomm Stadium.
"It's a blessing to end the season like this to go away to California," said linebacker Justin Warren, one of the team's 13 scholarship seniors. "Most guys from Texas don't leave Texas or don't get to leave very often, [by] playing football all year. It's just a wonderful gift at the end of the season."
A&M, which played in the Cotton Bowl two years ago, didn't qualify for postseason last year with a 5-6 record.
This year's team became bowl-eligible in mid-October, capping off a four-win improvement with a 12-7 victory against the University of Texas Longhorns the day after Thanksgiving.
Most of the players were at the Bright Complex when the invitation was accepted. They were lifting weights or studying in the academic center, since the team didn't practice.
"The majority of our guys have never been to California, so they are thrilled," A&M head coach Dennis Franchione said. "I know the California Golden Bears will be a great challenge, and we look forward to the hospitality of the good folks in San Diego. Having coached in the WAC [Western Athletic Conference], I know that area is terrific, and I have always wanted to coach in the Holiday Bowl."
It will be A&M's second appearance in the Holiday Bowl. In 1990, the Aggies defeated Brigham Young, 65-14.
Mavs win #11; Suffer Dirk Scare …
the biggest concern was Nowitzki, who suffered cloudy peripheral vision in his right eye from a bruise suffered in Monday's game against Minnesota. He left Wednesday's game with 1:46 left in the first quarter.
After a trip to the Mavericks' optometrist, Dr. Maurice Syrquin, it was determined that the injury was not serious and that Nowitzki could be back in action Friday against Sacramento.
But that didn't mean there weren't some anxious moments.
"I never had anything like that," he said. "I was a little nervous, so we got it checked out. And it was just a bruised eye, bruised retina. I'm clear for activity.
I can practice if I want to and play. So we'll go from here.
"Obviously, it was definitely a scary moment. Somebody on one play was driving baseline and I was looking where everybody else was, and I couldn't see the guy on the baseline driving. That was definitely a freaky moment. I couldn't see out of the right side of my eye."
Ironically, Nowitzki hit three of his first four shots, including a layup with 2:28 left in the first quarter when he couldn't see what he was shooting at.
"I kind of looked up at the rim and didn't really see the rim," he said. "Once I made the layup, I just tried to sub myself out as quick as I could. I had to get this checked out. Something's not right."
A battery of tests revealed the bruise, and Nowitzki returned to the arena.
Mavs Central looks at streaking! …
It’s time to go streaking and no, we aren’t talking about Will Ferrell in Old School. After losing the first four games of the season, the Mavs have now reeled off 11 consecutive wins.
Dallas won game #11 tonight, 117-98, against the Raptors despite Dirk Nowitzki leaving the game in the first quarter with “blurred vision”. Hopefully it will not be anything serious.
But for now, the Mavs are still streaking along without their tall German and here are some fun facts/stats after tonight’s game:
+ Dallas has now won 11 games in a row, tied for their third longest winning streak in franchise history. They won 11 straight during the 1987-88 season, a season where they lost to the Lakers in seven games in the Western Conference Finals.
+ The more impressive part of their current 11-game winning streak is the fact that it came after a four-game losing streak. In the history of the NBA, the Mavs current streak is the fifth longest winning streak following a losing streak of four games or more. The 1993-94 Knicks lost four games in a row before winning their next 15 games. Dallas’ previous record was a seven-game winning streak after losing five games in a row during the 1989-90 season.
Stars do it again …
For the Stars this week, taking a 1-0 lead into the third period on the road has been like taking a lighted match onto an oil tanker: One wrong move and you're sunk.
Wednesday night at the United Center, just as in Detroit on Monday, ungainly mistakes cost the Stars a 2-1 loss and gave the Blackhawks their first victory over the Stars in the past 16 meetings, dating to March 18, 2002.
The crucial miscue Wednesday came with less than two minutes left. Stars center Mike Modano grabbed the puck behind the Chicago net and carried it to the blue line -- where he slowed and turned it over, setting up an easy breakaway winner for Tuomo Ruutu at 18:12 of the third.
Cowlishaw wants some results from JD …
The roster today looks to be worse than it was at this time a year ago.
The team is not gaining ground on Oakland. It's losing ground to Anaheim.
I don't think that makes Daniels a bad hire.
I just wish I could tell you why he's a good hire other than the fact that he returns phone calls more frequently than his predecessor.
If you are a Rangers fan and not a member of the media, being more accessible than John Hart really doesn't mean you're doing your job. Daniels needs to step up to the plate.
If not soon, then before it's too late.
Tony Romo love
10 minutes to get to know the Cowboys
Nice Jay-Z Remix (language)