I've always enjoyed connecting dots.
I loved coloring books as a kid, but what I really loved were those pictures that could only be seen by that beautiful connecting of the dots.
When the Cleveland Cavaliers hoisted the Larry O'Brien on Father's Day Evening in celebration of the first Championship the city of Cleveland has seen since the 1964 Cleveland Browns, my brain went into dot-connecting mode. LeBron James, the Finals MVP and Cleveland-crowned King, is a Cowboys fan... how long until the team he roots for shares the same jubilation that he brought to his hometown?
The honest answer is, who knows.
We're all rooting for the Cowboys to deliver the franchise its sixth World Championship, and perhaps that will indeed come in 2016. What about those dots, though? What do they say?
I'm going to be frank with you and say that everything from this point out is:
- 100% factual
- In no way an analysis of any kind
- Nothing more than a connecting of dots
There are three dots that I found relative to LeBron James bringing a championship to Cleveland, and the surrounding elements from a few tangents, that I believe bode well for the 2016 Dallas Cowboys.
popcorn pencils ready.
Tony Romo And LeBron James: A Road Begun In 2003
The 2003 NFL Draft was held April 26th and 27th. The first overall pick was Carson Palmer, but the top signal caller from the class would not hear his name called at all. No, Tony Romo would have to watch 262 players get drafted and then answer his Undrafted Free Agent phone call from the Dallas Cowboys.
Tony Romo rises above, becomes a sensation, and is now one of the more famous figures in the world of sports. Some would argue that he's the pre-Father's Day 2016 version of LeBron James. His talent is acknowledged worldwide, but he hasn't won the games that mattered most, or delivered a championship to his team.
The latter portion of that statement is forever invalid when referring to the player drafted first overall 62 days after Tony's phone never rang. LeBron James, then a young and upcoming superstar, began his professional career in the same year as Tony Romo.
So Tony Romo and LeBron James both set out on missions to bring their respective cities glory at the same time. LeBron may have gone astray for a few seasons, but his bringing a championship to Cleveland is that journey coming around full circle. Tony Romo and the Cowboys? There's dot one.
Houston, We Have a... Super Bowl
We already discussed how 2003 is an important year and common denominator for these two athletes. It's the point at which their quests began.
In a year where both LeBron James and Tony Romo were rookies, the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers were busy asserting their dominance across the NFL. They took that level of prestige to the highest possible level - Super Bowl XXXVIII (fun fact: that's the Super Bowl with the most Roman Numerals in NFL History), played on February 1st, 2004.
Super Bowl XXXVIII is not only long in length, it's long in pomp and circumstance, too. I've said many a time that I believe its National Anthem is the greatest that sports has ever seen, a beautiful rendition courtesy of Beyonce. After Queen Bey did her thang, the New England Patriots followed suit with a victory, leaving the Panthers clawing at the jaws of defeat.
Come back to the future with me to 2016. LeBron James' journey has come full circle from the beginning in 2003. You know what already happened in 2016? Beyonce performed at the Super Bowl (Super Bowl 50 took place February 7th, 2016). Weird, isn't it? Oh and who lost that game? Anyone? Bueller? The Carolina Panthers (Steph Curry's team, talk about salt in wounds). Hmm.
Here's what we're working with now:
- The 2003 Super Bowl was in Houston, as is the Super Bowl the season that LeBron won his title with Cleveland (2016)
- Beyonce performed at the 2003 Super Bowl and in the Super Bowl the same year that LeBron won his title with Cleveland (2016)
- The Carolina Panthers lost the 2003 Super Bowl and the Super Bowl the same year LeBron won his title with Cleveland (2016)
If it lined up that perfectly for King James, why can't it for Tony Romo? There's two dots. Let's do what Steph Curry couldn't and hit the game-winning three.
"The Most Democratic Golf Tournament In The World" -Roy McAvoy
Shortly before tip off of Cleveland's triumphant Game 7, Dustin Johnson won the 2016 U.S. Open in the face of some serious drama. If you paid attention to the final round on Sunday then you know that Dustin's victory came at a steep price - some serious mental focus.
The USGA decided when DJ was on the 12th at Oakmont (one of the most difficult golf courses in the world) that they were going to consider assessing him a penalty stroke for a possible infraction that occurred way back at the 5th. The fiasco cast a gigantic wave of doubt and confusion over the field, and the USGA has since apologized for its misstep.
That apology didn't come without one last jab, though. The USGA did in fact hit the champion with a one-stroke-penalty, bringing his championship-earning score to -4 for the tournament.
This came in the same year, on the same day, that LeBron tied a bow on his Cleveland journey that began in 2003. And remember that the 2003 Super Bowl took place in Houston during 2004, similarly to how the 2016 Super Bowl will actually be played in 2017. Since Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston technically took place in 2004, we'll use that year as our reference point. Who won that U.S. Open? The South African wonder, Retief Goosen. What was his championship-earning score? Oh, just -4.
These are facts.
There's no quantifying the impact of the title that LeBron James just delivered to the city of Cleveland. It cannot be measured. It will transcend sports, history, and the culture of that community. James put the exclamation point on a Cleveland career mired in doubt and ridicule.
Sounds a lot like the man under center for America's Team, doesn't it?
Tony Romo can't close. Tony Romo can't win. Tony Romo can't stay healthy... We've heard them all.
Just like LeBron, if/when Tony Romo delivers a World Championship to his Dallas Cowboys, the impact will reach levels we've never seen in sports. Unlike LeBron though, Tony was never supposed to do it. He wasn't the chosen one. He didn't anoint himself, in the words of Sara Bareilles, King of anything. He was undrafted and still ascended to the same status and level of expectation.
Now that the King has been crowned in Cleveland, it's time for Tony to get his own hardware. These two heroes started their journey at the same time, so it seems fitting that they should experience glory at the same time as well. Vamonos, amigos.
What are your thoughts? Does LeBron James winning a championship in Cleveland bode well for Tony Romo and the Cowboys? Let us know! Comment below, Email me at RJ@RJOchoaShow.com, or Tweet to me at @rjochoa!
Cowboys en Español: El Futuro Incierto de David Irving
En una agencia libre muy callada de parte de los Dallas Cowboys, como es costumbre, lo más interesante hasta ahora se revuelve alrededor de un talento increíble en la línea defensiva: David Irving. El joven de la línea defensiva de Dallas recibió un tender de segunda ronda (con un costo de casi tres millones de dólares) de parte de los Cowboys, lo cual significa que vestirá la Estrella Solitaria un año más... ¿o no?
No, no es tan sencillo.
A diferencia de la etiqueta franquicia que recibió DeMarcus Lawrence hace unas semanas, un tender permite a un jugador recibir ofertas de otros equipos. Si Irving llega a recibir una oferta externa, sin embargo, los Cowboys tienen la oportunidad de igualarla.
Pero no sólo eso, sino que si no quieren igualar la oferta, pueden dejar ir al jugador y en cambio, el otro equipo tiene que compensar a los Cowboys con una selección de segunda ronda. Así como el tender de segunda ronda que se le otorgó a David Irving, hay tender de primera ronda o tender de "selección original."
Sin embargo, Irving no fue seleccionado en el NFL Draft, así que esta última opción hubiera tenido poco sentido.
Ahora, pensando en el 2018 y una temporada ya incierta, nos sentamos preguntando: ¿No valía la pena cubrir a Irving con un tender de primera ronda? Al final de cuentas, sólo hay aproximadamente un millón de diferencia entre ambos. Irving es un jugador lleno de talento, y podría llegar a estar entre los mejores en su posición próximamente.
Sin embargo, si somos honestos, es una buena decisión de la administración. Irving ha tenido sus cuantos problemas y quizá este tender ayude a definir su valor en el mercado. Si ningún equipo alrededor de la liga se atreve a ofrecerle un contrato, los Cowboys mejoran su posición en las negociaciones y quien sabe, quizá consigan un acuerdo más amigable para el equipo.
Además, si un equipo decide llevárselo... ¿qué tan malo sería?
Con el pick #19 en la primera ronda del Draft de la NFL, no están en una posición muy cómoda. Como bien algún jugador talentoso como el DT Vita Vea o el WR Calvin Ridley pueden caer a las manos de Stephen Jones, Will McClay y compañía, bien puede estar vacía la tabla.
Con jugadores como el S de Florida State Derwin James o el LB de Georgia Roquan Smith, deberían considerar realizar un trade para subir algunas selecciones y llevarse a uno de estos talentos que no estarán disponibles en el #19.
Con las selecciones globales 19, 50 y una segunda ronda extra que conseguirían por Irving, es fácil visualizar a este equipo dispuesto a hacer un movimiento así el día del Draft.
A pesar de una mala temporada en el 2017, los Dallas Cowboys son un equipo que están cerca de ser contendientes.
Cowboys Free Agency: FB Keith Smith Signing with Raiders
The Cowboys have lost an important role player from the offense as fullback Keith Smith is reportedly signing with the Oakland Raiders.
The #Raiders and FB Keith Smith have agreed to terms on a 2-year worth $4.2million, source said.
Smith, who has been with Dallas for four seasons, was the team's fullback the last two seasons. He started as a linebacker after going undrafted in 2014.
Whether on offense or defense, Keith has been a regular part of the special teams units. The Cowboys' previous special teams coach, Rich Bisaccia, just left this offseason to join the coaching staff in Oakland. That is a likely cause for Smith heading to the Raiders.
Dallas elected not to give Smith a restricted free agent tender, which made sense given his position. Even the lowest tender of $1.9 million would have been too rich for a part-time player.
Even with Keith gone, Dallas may not need to sign a new fullback. Backup RB Rod Smith has experience in that role. They could also use tight ends James Hanna or Geoff Swaim.
Fullback is obviously not the position it used to be in the days of Daryl Johnston, but there are still times you need that lead blocker out of the backfield. Given their reliance on the run game and the success that Ezekiel Elliott had with Keith Smith, Dallas will have to find a solid replacement plan.
Will Another Team Snag David Irving Away From Cowboys?
It was somewhat surprising to learn that the Dallas Cowboys only placed a second-round tender on David Irving. A first-round tender would have likely dissuaded any other team from signing him to a contract and giving up a first-round draft pick, but signing Irving to a contract and giving up a second-draft pick is much more plausible.
I can almost guarantee there are teams around the league right now who are discussing the pros and cons of trying to acquire David Irving. The Dallas Cowboys likely know this which means one of two things:
- The Cowboys are hoping someone sets David Irving's market value with the hopes of matching.
- The Cowboys are willing to part ways with Irving for a second-round draft pick.
There are teams out there who have more salary-cap space than the Dallas Cowboys who could easily sign him to a contract the Cowboys can't match. And, giving up a second-round draft pick for a dominating, yet inconsistent, defensive tackle is probably better than anyone they can draft.
It's not completely out of the realm of possibility Cowboys fans have seen the last of David Irving with a star on his helmet. But, it seems like a risk Dallas is willing to take, whether fans agree or not.
In 2017, David Irving recorded 22 tackles, seven quarterback sacks, six passes defensed, and one forced fumble. He did this after missing the first four games of the season due to a suspension and the last four due to a concussion. That's pretty impressive!
There is no denying Irving's impact when he's on the field, but it's all the other stuff that makes Dallas hesitant to commit fully to the 24-year-old DT.
I'm not going to sit here and pretend that I know what kind of person David Irving is in the locker room or off the field, but his past behavior and inconsistencies are concerning. Yes, he has immense upside, but that doesn't look as if it's enough for the Dallas Cowboys, at least not yet.
I think this ultimately comes down to the Cowboys not fully trusting David Irving just yet. Placing the second-round tender on him is more of a "prove it" kind of deal, if another team doesn't sign him away. The Cowboys probably want to see he has his head on straight and more consistency before fully committing. It's completely understandable.
It just doesn't seem as if David Irving is in the long-term plans for the Dallas Cowboys right now. I think they would be perfectly content receiving a second-round draft pick, but that decision might not sit well with a lot of Cowboys fans.
There is really no way of knowing if another NFL team will snag David Irving away, but I think the possibility of that happening is pretty high.
Will David Irving remain in Dallas in 2018?
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