Never a slow sports day, and It appears that the Cowboys have a new coach.
Well, I have to hand it to Jerry. He went slow. He talked to everyone. He did not allow preconceived notions to make up his mind.
I don’t know that Wade Phillips makes me too excited, but I really like the fact that this makes more sense than Norv for the simple reason that Jason Garrett was hired 2 weeks ago. Did Norv actually mess up this deal with his demands? Doubtful. Did the expertise of the 3-4 get Phillips the job? Likely.
At the end of the day, this is all about the Cowboys defensive collapse in December. And if they had hired an offensive minded coach, nobody would have bought that the defense is better off. But, now, it appears that they have addressed their needs.
Look, it is just Wade Phillips. But, I am ready to give this a chance:
Clarence Hill on the case …
Former Chargers defensive coordinator Wade Phillips flew from San Diego to Dallas late Wednesday night and is working out contract details to become the seventh coach in Cowboys history.
A formal announcement is expected later Thursday.
Phillips, 60, emerged from a group of 10 candidates -- the most ever interviewed for the Cowboys job.
In the end, he edged out 49ers offensive coordinator Norv Turner, who served a similar role with the Cowboys on the 1992 and 1993 Super Bowl title teams and was considered the favorite for the position after Bill Parcells' retirement Jan. 22.
Turner had hoped his close relationship with the Jones family and familiarity with organization would make a difference -- especially because Jones was seeking a coach with whom he could be comfortable and someone he could have fun with after four years with the grumpy Parcells.
The laidback nature of Phillips, a native Texan and son of former Oilers coach Bum Phillips, proved to be good enough for Jones.
Phillips had previous successful experiences as a head coach with Buffalo, Denver, New Orleans and Atlanta and his expertise with the 3-4 defense. The Cowboys made the switch to the 3-4 two years ago and have spent considerable resources drafting and signing players to play the defense. Jones did not want to change schemes.
Considering that the continued development of Pro Bowl quarterback Tony Romo was a key factor in the coaching search, the choice of Phillips also means that the Jones is comfortable with former Cowboys backup quarterback and recent hire Jason Garrett running the offense.
Garrett has been coaching only two years -- as quarterbacks coach of the Dolphins. But he spent 12 years in the league as a backup, including seven behind Hall-of-Famer Troy Aikman in Dallas.
Jones believes Garrett is one of the league’s bright offensive minds and sees him as a potential head coach one day. Garrett was initially interviewed for the head coaching job, but two days later he joined the staff as offensive coordinator.
Turner has a strong relationship with Garrett and would have been a willing tutor. But there is no question who would have been in charge of the offense in that scenario. With Phillips as coach, Garrett is in complete charge of the offense while being prepped to become the team’s next head coach.
Phillips’ age and experience suggests that he won’t have a long tenure in Dallas.
Wikipedia’s Wade Phillips bio …
Wade Phillips (born June 21, 1947 in Orange, Texas) is the current head coach for the National Football League's Dallas Cowboys. He is also a former head coach of the Denver Broncos, where his record was 16-16, and the Buffalo Bills, where he was 29-19 and led the Bills to the playoffs in 2 out of 3 seasons. His winning percentage as a head coach is 56.25. He is considered one of the great defensive minds in football, and served as defensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers from 2004-2006. Wade is the son of former NFL coach Bum Phillips.
Phillips' most successful coaching stop was at Buffalo. He always kept the team competitive and in the playoff hunt. A stunning loss to the Titans in the 1999 playoffs haunted Phillips for the rest of his time at Buffalo and the team never fully recovered. In this same season he caused a controversy when he inserted Rob Johnson as starting quarterback, despite the fact that Doug Flutie had led the team to the playoffs. His recent success as the Chargers' defensive coordinator and his desire to be a head coach again prompted some rumors that he might get his wish, and it was announced on February 7, 2007 that Phillips would be named the seventh head coach in Cowboys history, replacing the retired Bill Parcells.
He also has the dubious distinction of having been replaced by a father and a son from two head coaching positions – by Jim Mora I from the New Orleans Saints and by Jim Mora II from the Atlanta Falcons.
You may recall that last week, we found out that Galloway has never heard of me. This week, we find that the criticism extended to him about his “Norv” campaign has apparently struck a nerve …
Turner, however, goes into today's decision as probably the leading candidate for the job. He is also the one candidate, based on all the existing circumstances, who makes the most sense.
Those who disagree with that speak or write in mumbo-jumbo, either throwing hopeless alternative names up against a wall, or not having a name to offer, or maybe they can't hear themselves think because of loud mufflers roaring in their ears.
I love the rebuttal by these mice on Turner:
That if you knew the man back in the day, the days of local glory, and if you admired and respected his work, and if you liked him as a human being, and if you've followed him for the 13 years since then, including through his down years as a head coach in the NFL, and if you stayed in contact, and if you have his cellphone number, then, by gawd, it must be a case of cronyism if you like Turner for this job.
Personally, I don't apologize for any of the above.
Nor do I think Troy Aikman does, or Mike Irvin, or even Jerry Jones himself. Poll anybody who worked for and with Norv back in the day, and the backing is 100 percent. Except that doesn't mean Jerry will hire Norv.
Turner is good at what he does. Offense and quarterbacks and a running game.
Turner will never be out of work in the NFL when it comes to an offensive coordinator's job.
The irony is that West Coast voices speak of a new contract and huge pay raise the San Francisco 49ers have on the table for Norv. If he will stay as offensive coordinator with the 49ers, his pay, at least according to what the voices say, will be in the $1.5 million range.
Today is when we find out what Jerry Jones does. Jerry has been known to trick us, and trick himself. He probably will again.
But Norv Turner makes the most sense.
And I don't apologize for having his cellphone number, nor will I lose that number if Jerry goes in another direction.
Can anyone explain the line about “loud mufflers roaring in their ears”? Also, thanks for assuring us that you won’t lose his cellphone number. That will teach us.
Dirk puts on a show to pound Memphis …Avery tries to get mad about 2nd half…
They say the perfect game has never been played, and that's true, of course.
But the perfect quarter?
Dirk Nowitzki may have come close Wednesday night in the first quarter of a game in which the Mavericks took advantage of the worst team in the NBA.
It was short of a full-fledged demolition of the Memphis Grizzlies, but probably only because the Mavericks lost interest after building a 27-point lead.
As it was, Nowitzki's 18-point first quarter – on 7-for-7 shooting – set the tone for a 113-97 blasting of the Grizzlies at American Airlines Center. The Mavs' fifth win in a row came after three days of rest. They looked full of energy for a half, then began sleepwalking the rest of the night, which left the coach in a grumpy mood.
Nowitzki, however, refused to let anything go haywire. He finished with 38 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, four blocks and three steals. After making his first eight shots, he settled for 14-for-20 by night's end.
And it was a night interrupted several times by serenades from the sellout crowd of "MVP, MVP, MVP."
Yet when it was done, Avery Johnson saw a glass half empty.
"We just weren't very good in the second half," Johnson said. "We looked like a team that came off a layoff. We weren't very good defensively at all."
So, what was the problem?
"You name it," he said. "You know that show Deal or No Deal? It was always a deal for them. We didn't put them in any situation where it was no deal – 50 points in the paint, it was layup city. We weren't very good defensively, but those on the outside will probably just think we're crazy."
The Mavericks did some positive things on offense, particularly early. Nowitzki's first quarter staked the Mavs to a 40-24 lead.
Later, they let their 27-point first-half lead dwindle to seven in the third quarter, but Nowitzki was the anchor leg of a 21-4 blitz to end the quarter that put the Mavs back up, 89-65, and render the fourth quarter moot.
"Lackadaisical," Johnson said. "Not focused. I could give you a bunch of words. But we have good men and a good team. But we were just lethargic defensively, and it's just not good enough."
Dirk 4 MVP …
John Amaechi is a gay …
John Amaechi's admission that he was a gay player in the NBA seems courageous, except he shouted it from London, where he lives in retirement. That's like challenging the neighborhood bully while backpedaling furiously.
No doubt, it's rather admirable for Amaechi -- a journeyman center who was waived by the Knicks in January 2004 and called it quits after five seasons -- to be so open in his upcoming book. In some respects, his announcement was refreshing, different, honest and even welcome in a society in which some folks raised hell about two men sharing a candy bar in a Super Bowl commercial. But courageous? We haven't seen that yet.
And my hunch says we never will.
Team sports have changed tremendously over the years, in many ways, to reflect the mood of modern-day society. We've seen women earn as much as men, two black coaches in the Super Bowl, barriers broken almost every year and so forth. But what's unlikely to change is the homophobia surrounding the major male-dominated sports, especially on the professional level. Asking male athletes to totally shed this mentality is like asking them to stop sweating.
Therefore, it's no surprise that someone who was, at most, a functional NBA player would keep an index finger pressed against his lips and leave well enough alone while playing for Utah and Orlando. Amaechi insists his lifestyle wasn't such a secret in those places, where he lived less guardedly away from the court. But in a recent interview, he did say he knew the risks of going public while he played, describing the "fear" and "panic" it would cause.
"It would be like an alien dropping from space," he said. "They just wouldn't know how to handle it."
He's absolutely correct. As much as we may think society has moved on and become more tolerant of lifestyles, the male sports world of football, basketball and perhaps baseball would stop spinning. Those are the sports that embrace the whole macho image and strict code.
Those are the sports that would snicker at two guys sharing a Snickers.
Meanwhile, in England, they are still trying to figure out if Tom Hicks will spend the pounds to keep up with Chelsea (I can tell them). But, instead they asked Hicks employees Lites and Cogen (Cohen) …
But the track record of Hicks with the Texas Rangers baseball franchise and Dallas Stars ice hockey team has gone some way to assuaging fears of Liverpool's traditions being trampled over. Stars' president Jim Lites has given Hicks a glowing reference.
"Tom is fiercely competitive and did whatever it took to win a championship. His spending was in the top four or five in the league and he probably spent more than he should have. He will spend whatever Rafa Benítez feels he needs to become competitive. We won the Presidents Trophy twice, went to two Stanley Cup finals, won the championship in 1999 and were runners-up in 2000. He turned this club into a southern United States phenomenon."
Hicks has a proven track record of throwing money at his sporting projects, having sanctioned a then world record $250m (£127m) 10-year contract to take Alex Rodriguez to the Texas Rangers in 2000. Although that experiment proved an expensive failure Lites believes that it will not alter his big-spending approach.
"He [Hicks] likes to look to the long term and I think Benítez will be the man to make the decisions," Lites said. "He has just signed our top player, Mike Modano, on a long-term contract to keep him at the Dallas Stars. I have worked in the industry for the last 23 years with a lot of different guys, though, and Tom is the best we can offer. I think the management at Liverpool will appreciate him."
Jeff Cohen, president of the Texas Rangers, echoed Lites's comments by admitting that Hicks' desire for success outstrips any obsession with the balance sheet.
Cohen said: "He cares so much about winning that he will spend whatever. The general manager goes to Mr Hicks and makes representations then they go back and forth. A-Rod [Alex Rodriguez] is a case study of the boss's passion to win. He was willing to invest heavily in the pay roll to bring a winner here. It didn't quite work out in the end but that doesn't mean the passion wasn't there to invest and bring a winner to that community."
Faceoff.com did a guide to the NHL Trade deadline ….Here is what they say about the Stars…
They win games because Dave Tippett is a heckuva coach and their team defence is terrific, but they won't go very far in the playoffs unless they get a scoring rental winger for Mike Modano. They only have $1.8 million of cap room. The usual suspects -- Todd Bertuzzi, Keith Tkachuk -- come to mind as trade possibilities, although Tkachuk has played more centre lately in St. Louis. They've got kids like Junior Lessard, Antti Miettinen and Loui Eriksson to maybe move. They would listen if somebody calls on Eric Lindros, and they might want a veteran backup goalie for Marty Turco.
Sure, it was just a friendly; But is there ever a bad time to beat Mexico? …Congrats to Landy Cakes…
The United States national soccer team is still a long way from finding its identity for this next four-year cycle.
What some saw Wednesday certainly won't be the same product two or three years from now - at least, it better not be if the U.S. intends to reverse its fortunes in the next World Cup, if it makes it to South Africa in 2010.
It's early, but after two matches under coach Bob Bradley, the U.S. national team is following its coach's footsteps - it didn't appear to have a chance, but it somehow remained in the running and got the result it wanted. This is certainly a resilient bunch.
The U.S. team's opponent, Mexico, outclassed the Americans in the first half with a more veteran squad, but it left University of Phoenix Stadium annoyed that it didn't score after wasting several good chances in its 2-0 defeat.
Mexico also left its national hero Hugo Sanchez to answer why he didn't win in his national team coaching debut in front of a partisan Mexican crowd of 62,462 fans, and when is his team going to break the 753-minute scoreless streak on U.S. soil.
"The first thing is how proud I am of the effort," Bradley said. "The players went through a hard camp. The players had put a lot into it."
The U.S. team beat Denmark 3-1 after it trailed 1-0 in Bradley's debut last month.
"Unbeaten," said U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati when asked before Wednesday's match to evaluate his interim coach.
Bradley still has a job with an interim tag but remains unbeaten, so not much has changed.
"Everything is possible," Gulati said.
It almost seemed impossible that the U.S. squad would come out victorious.
Following the script of its first match, the Americans trailed, not on the scoreboard this time, but on the field, where Mexico was always one step ahead of the U.S. team in the first half. The U.S. player with the most international experience, forward Landon Donovan, hardly touched the ball until a late shot in the first half.
Donovan more than made up for his disappearing act in the first half with a memorable second-half performance. Donovan's corner kick in the 52nd minute found an open Jimmy Conrad, whose header from about 10 yards almost grazed the post but went past sprawling Oswaldo Sanchez, Mexico's goalkeeper. It was Conrad's first goal in his 19th appearance with the U.S. team.
Donovan isn't known for being physical, but don't underestimate his speed, which was on display for a highlight-reel goal around the 91st minute.
After receiving a pass, Donovan used his quickness to split two defenders in the center circle then confront Sanchez on a breakaway. Donovan's feint let him leave behind a falling Sanchez inside the box before finishing the easy part of the play - the goal, Donovan's 26th for the U.S. team.
we need to book this guy for our show ….
How do you spell Scott Wiese?
In a few weeks, that'd be P-e-y-t-o-n M-a-n-n-i-n-g.
Wiese, a die-hard fan of the Chicago Bears, signed a pledge in front of a crowd at a Decatur bar last Friday night that if the Bears lost Sunday's Super Bowl, he'd change his name to that of the man who led the Indianapolis Colts to victory.
Final Score: Colts 29, Bears 17.
So on Tuesday, Wiese went to the Macon County Courts Facility and started the process of changing his name.
"I made the bet, and now I've got to keep it," said the 26-year-old, who lives in Forsyth, just north of Decatur.
Wiese will now have to advertise his intention in the local newspaper -- the Herald & Review -- for several weeks and then have a judge give him the OK to become, legally anyway, Peyton Manning.
The men have little in common, Wiese acknowledges.
Manning the quarterback is 30 years old, stands 6-foot-5 and has a contract with the Colts worth more than $100 million.
Wiese is 5-foot-11 and works at a Staples office-supply store for somewhat less.
"I think I kind of represent all Bears fans," he said. "Not that I'm saying they're all idiots like me, but I represent their passion because I really care about my team, you know?"
Wiese's lawyer and friend, Andy Bourey, is handling the paperwork. He said he admires Wiese's sense of honor.
"I never doubted him," he said. "He's a man of his word."
While he pledged to take on the new identity, Wiese isn't sure how long he's willing to keep it.
Say, maybe, until the Bears' next Super Bowl appearance? Not likely, given that their last trip to the big game was in 1985.
"I mean, well, it may be another 21 years."
EW looks at Lost …
Landon Donovan Highlight Film (Mostly MLS, since he won’t play in Europe)
Survivor Fiji tonight
Phaneuf vs Seabrook