John Elway is as a part of the Denver Broncos as the horse that serves as their mascot. Through his total tenure with the team he's taken them to the top of the mountain three different times, but his resume includes so much more than that. Among many other things, John Elway's mantle has the following decorations:
- Super Bowl XXXII Winner
- Super Bowl XXXIII Winner (after which he famously retired)
- Super Bowl XXXIII Most Valuable Player
- His #7 Jersey is retired by the Denver Broncos
- Member of the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame (Class of 1999)
- Member of the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame (Class of 1999)
- Member of the College Football Hall of Fame (Class of 2000)
- Pro Football Hall of Famer (Class of 2004)
- After some experience with the Arena Football League's Colorado Crush (of which Elway was a co-owner) he decided to pursue the business side of football and was named General Manager of the Denver Broncos in 2011
- Super Bowl 50 Winning General Manager
Now I know that you're a smart cookie... so I know that you knew most of, if not all, of that before I took my time typing it out for you (I didn't even hear a thank you, but whatever).
What you might not have realized by now is that everything on that list up there... has all been accomplished since the Dallas Cowboys last won, or even appeared in for that matter, a Super Bowl/NFC Championship Game.
Think about that.
And I mean really think about it.
How sad did you just get?
Since the Dallas Cowboys last sniffed even the game before the big game John Elway has won two Super Bowls (as a quarterback), a Super Bowl MVP (as a quarterback), retired, been given tons of accolades, been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, decided to get into football operations, climbed the ladder in that avenue of his life to the point of the General Manager of an NFL team, and won a Super Bowl in that capacity.
I know this hurts, but it's important. We can't run from the truth.
The Dallas Cowboys are one of the most successful franchises in the history of the National Football League, but they haven't been for the last 20 seasons (which is 40% of such history).
If the Elway statistics aren't enough for you let me emphasize just how embarrassingly long it's been since some Cowboys glory.
Marvin Harrison was just elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Well you know what? Marvin was drafted in 1996 - the first Draft after the last bit of serious Cowboys success.
So that means that Harrison was drafted, played his whole career, won a Super Bowl of his own, retired, waited more than the five-year minimum, was elected to the Hall of Fame, and will be enshrined in Canton all since the days of the Dallas Dynasty.
When the Cowboys were last at the top of the mountain John Elway had zero Super Bowl rings (not to mention was still an NFL quarterback) and nobody had ever even heard of Marvin Harrison. These are facts.
There wasn't a whole big deal made about how the Broncos appearance in Super Bowl 50 tied the record for the most big game appearances in NFL History. Denver joined the likes of Dallas, Pittsburgh, and New England with the big ocho.
The Cowboys last appeared in a Super Bowl in Super Bowl XXX against the Pittsburgh Steelers at the culmination of the 1995 season. That game marked Dallas' 8th and Pittsburgh's 5th while the Broncos had 4 and the Patriots 1, respectively.
So those three teams that are now tied with the Cowboys in appearances? Since Super Bowl XXX all four have:
- Dallas - 0
- Pittsburgh - 3 (XL, XLIII, & XLV)
- Denver - 4 (XXXII, XXXIII, XLVIII, & 50)
- New England - 7 (XXXI, XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLII, XLVI, XLIX)
A lot of those (8/14) can be directly attributed to Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. But you know what? The last time Lombardi took a trip to D-Town nobody had ever heard of either of them. Now? They're considered "old" and "about to retire."
What is particularly astonishing about the other franchise's appearances is that there have been 20 seasons since the Cowboys were last in the Super Bowl and these appearances from the other three add up to 14.
They all play in the AFC which means that they have taken out each other on their way to the Super Bowl, meaning that it's not like they even took out the Cowboys.
These three teams have fought tooth and nail against one another to accomplish what they have while the Cowboys have had a road free from all of them and still have that big goose egg next to their name. I don't even think that "pathetic" is a strong enough word to describe that.
Cowboys haters like to say that we live in the past. I'm not saying that they're right, I'm saying that they have a point. Sure there are some recent days in Dallas that have been good, but we have to be honest with ourselves regarding the last 20 years.
If you want to take one positive out of all of this... it is a testament to the utter dominance of the Dallas Cowboys through the first 30 years of the Super Bowl era that they are still at the top of the list even considering everything that you just read. Teams have just caught up.
The 2016 Dallas Cowboys will hopefully be a good football team, but we desperately need some Super Bowl success. We had an absurdly large lead on the field and it's time to get it back.
Did a Year Away Help Rejuvenate TE Jason Witten’s Game?
Jason Witten is 37 years old, retired from the NFL after the completion of 2017 season to try his luck as an announcer in the booth, but has now decided to come out of retirement to rejoin the Dallas Cowboys? It seems a little unrealistic to think he can come back after a year away from the game and pick up where he left off, but it sounds as if he's like a Phoenix rising from the ashes.
Jason Witten has been the talk of Dallas Cowboys OTA practices so far. These practices are unpadded and basically just an opportunity to do install some of the offensive and defensive plays, but that doesn't make them any less important. One of the things that has been somewhat surprising though is how talked up the future Hall of Famer has become.
Here is what Head Coach Jason Garrett had to say recently about Jason Witten's return:
“Yeah, absolutely. He’s been excited about every part of it ever since I met him and that hasn’t changed,” coach Jason Garrett said. “The work that he’s done in the weight room in the off-season program has been outstanding. His testing numbers and all of that are what they’ve been or even better. And he just has an unbelievable way about him. Tremendous passion for the game. And he demonstrates that every day. Witt looks good. He’s excited to be back and we’re certainly fortunate to have him back.”
The main thing that stands out from Garrett's quote to me is how Jason Witten looks just as good, if not better after not playing at all in 2018. To think that his testing numbers are possibly even better is unfathomable. We typically don't see NFL players in their mid-30s retire from the game and then return just as good, or maybe even better than they were before.
Maybe that's just what Jason Witten is, a little inhuman. Maybe he's found the secret to turning the clock back just a little bit. Or, maybe he found the fountain the youth and didn't tell anybody. Regardless, there's no doubt Witten will be a welcomed addition to the Cowboys offense, especially if he's gained a step.
I don't know about all of you, but I'm hoping the year away from the game did him some good. I honestly thought he made the right decision to retire prior to the 2018 season. It just looked like father time was catching up to him in 2017. But, hopefully all he needed was a little time away from the grind he's been putting his body through for over a decade.
Whatever he's done hasn't gone unnoticed though. Even Quarterback Dak Prescott has noticed and said he's on to Witten's scheme.
“I guess the trick is to take a year off because he’s definitely gotten better, stronger and faster,” Prescott said. “He hasn’t lost a step.”
I'm not afraid to admit I wasn't too excited to see Witten come out of retirement and rejoin the Cowboys at first. I was skeptical he could be the player he once was after a year away from the game. But, all of this talk about him looking as good as he once was, perhaps better, has me really looking forward to seeing him on the field once again.
Do you think a year away has rejuvenated Jason Witten's game?
Cowboys en Español: El Verdadero Cambio en La Ofensiva
Los Dallas Cowboys tuvieron un interesante 2018. La ofensiva dejo mucho que desear toda la primera mitad de la temporada cuando carecían de un receptor número uno. No fue hasta media temporada cuando consiguieron a Amari Cooper de los Oakland Raiders, que la ofensiva comenzó a verse realmente amenazante. Siendo sinceros, el cuerpo de receptores de los Cowboys lucía muy débil al inicio y Michael Gallup aún no conseguía mucho tiempo de juego en el emparrillado. Incluso una vez en el equipo, a pesar de las grandes hazañas de Cooper en Dallas, la ofensiva no terminó de dar el siguiente paso.
Sí, con Amari en el equipo vimos un equipo de Cowboys que movía constantemente las cadenas e incluso se convirtió en una de las mejores unidades en tercera oportunidad en la liga, pero no fue suficiente. Los problemas en zona roja persistieron y continuamos viendo una selección de jugadas muy cuestionable semana tras semana.
Es por eso que al finalizar la temporada, la administración de los Cowboys finalmente tomó una decisión muy anticipada. El entonces coordinador ofensivo, Scott Linehan, fue despedido.
En cuanto a talento, los Dallas Cowboys no verán un cambio mayor en su ofensiva. Cole Beasley, uno de los mejores WR slot en la NFL, firmó con los Buffalo Bills durante la agencia libre. A pesar de la llegada de Randall Cobb, la ofensiva probablemente extrañará bastante a Beasley. Además está el regreso de Jason Witten al campo, quien se repartirá el balón mucho con los jóvenes del equipo, principalmente con Blake Jarwin. Por último, Travis Frederick podría estar de regreso como el centro titular. Fuera de eso, no se anticipan cambios de jugadores en la ofensiva.
Y a pesar de esto, la afición de los Cowboys espera ver un cambio grande entre la ofensiva del 2018 y la de 2019. Si las cosas salen bien, así será. Pero más que por el talento del equipo, que ya está ahí y es un muy buen talento, deberá ser por el hombre al mando.
Kellen Moore ha tomado las riendas como el nuevo coordinador ofensivo y finalmente podremos ver su potencial. Muchos han criticado a Moore, en gran parte por nunca haber sido un quarterback exitoso en la NFL. Sin embargo, hay muchas razones por las cuales deberíamos estar emocionados.
Desde que Moore salió de la universidad de Boise State, se le veía como un prospecto muy inteligente. Incluso analistas como Jon Gruden (en ese entonces conductor del programa de ESPN Gruden's QB Camp) mencionaban que Moore probablemente no sería un gran mariscal, pero que tenía la mente de un coach.
En Boise, Moore trabajaba con la ofensiva del actual coach de los Washington Huskies, Chris Petersen. Esta ofensiva es una muy complicada que le exige al mariscal saber casi tanto como un jugador profesional. Muchos han descrito a Moore como un genio ofensivo que será un gran coach en el futuro.
Para los Cowboys, Kellen Moore será una pieza clave en 2019. Si vemos una ofensiva realmente diferente, será gracias a su creatividad y filosofía que implementa a un grupo bastante talentoso en Dallas. Los jugadores están ahí, ¿sabrá el coordinador ofensivo de 30 años aprovecharlos?
NFL to Study Marijuana Use, Will It Impact Randy Gregory’s Status?
The NFLPA and the NFL have reached an agreement to research alternative pain-management tools for the players. They'll form joint medical committees to study different strategies, among which will be the use of marijuana. It's important to make it clear that said committees will not be exclusively about marijuana, but a lot of different issues related to pain-management in the league. However, it'll likely be one of the most important aspects of their work.
Marijuana continues to be a highly debated topic and it's no different when discussing the NFL. Dallas Cowboys fans should be very familiar with the situation. Earlier this year, David Irving "quit" on football during an Instagram live stream while smoking weed. In the video, Irving talks about how he thinks it's better to be addicted to marijuana rather than certain medications used by NFL teams to treat their players.
Although David Irving is not an authority on substances, that is where all of this debate centers around. Throughout the league, players are given strong medication to deal with injuries and the physical pain of playing pro football. I'm not an expert either, but it's more than fair to say there's a strong argument here. Specially in a country where marijuana has already been legalized in 10 states and the trend points toward legalization continuing.
The current CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) between the NFL and NFLPA will expire after the 2020 season and how the league's drug policy looks like in the new agreement will be a huge factor for reaching a satisfactory CBA for both sides.
Of course, the fact that the NFLPA and the league are working together on such an important task doesn't mean we will see any immediate changes or that the NFL's ban on marijuana will be lifted anytime soon. Many big question marks will have to be answered before we hear about teams implementing this substance as a pain management tool.
For the Dallas Cowboys, this will be a relevant narrative down the line. Pass rusher Randy Gregory was reinstated after serving an indefinite suspension due to substance abuse prior to the 2018 season. After a dominant year, Gregory was suspended again by the NFL and it all points toward him sitting out this upcoming season and perhaps even more.
Even still, the Cowboys are still standing behind their 2015 second round pick. If the league ends up lifting its ban on marijuana, they'll have to decide what they will do with players already serving a suspension for this reason. Guys like Randy Gregory, for instance. If it's decided they'll be reinstated to the NFL, the Cowboys will sure be glad to have supported Gregory all throughout the process.
Last year, the pass rusher proved how effective he could be even with a short period of time training. Hopefully, the Cowboys are able to get him back on the field eventually, where's been consistently dominant. In the meantime, we'll see how recently acquired Robert Quinn does in Dallas.
The NFL won't be lifting its ban anytime soon, but it's good to know they're at least open minded to changing the league's policy and consider alternatives that could benefit the players' health. We'll see how these new medical committees work and keep you updated here at Inside The Star.
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