I love Inside The Star. I love everything about it and the chance its given me to lend my thoughts about the Dallas Cowboys, the National Football League, and the occasional tangent.
We preach the notion that Inside The Star is the "voices of a nation" for a reason. We strive to deliver content that will resonate 100% with the fans - you are our target audience.
This platform allows us to speak our thoughts with full honesty, and that's what I'm doing right now.
Tony Romo's National Fantasy Football Convention (NFFC) has officially been postponed. No, this isn't a headline from a year ago. This is news as of Tuesday, June 14th, 2016.
The articles you'll read and the tweets you'll see will tell you that it just couldn't work. They'll say that sponsors dropped out, players dropped out, or some hybrid of everything here.
The truth of the matter is that the NFL put their foot down for the second year in a row and won't allow this to happen. Why? They want a piece of that pie.
The National Football League is one of the most successful businesses on this planet, and to be honest part of the reason is because of this mentality. They carve every penny out of every single one of their properties, this time at the expense of the fans (again).
If you're unaware, I've alluded to this already, this happened last year. The NFFC was set to go down in Las Vegas, but the NFL had a problem with casinos being involved. As silly as that is I think we can all semi understand that, and that's why the NFFC moved to Pasadena, California for 2016. No problem, right?
The NFL is still not running this show. That's the problem. So what do they do? They nip it in the bud.
It's Not Just Business, It's Personal
So many people have sacrificed to make this happen: the coordinators of the NFFC, the players involved, and most personally to us... the fans who have spent non-refundable money on travel, lodging, and tickets.
I can say personally because it is personal. I've been talking about it on Twitter, Periscope, and the #RJOShow how Bobby Belt (Host of Cowboys Cast) and I were going to be there. Our objective? To deliver the highest quality content for you to enjoy from afar.
If you'll allow me, I'll get even more personal for a second. I'd already planned in my head how the first article I wrote from Pasadena was going to go. It was going to be titled I Hopped Off The Plane At LAX For The NFFC in tribute to the ballad Party In The USA by Miley Cyrus.
I was going to include a funny song written to the theme of hers with words that matched our situation. The best part was that I was going to at one point take a shot at DeMarco Murray, reference him being a Titan now, and drop it right before she says "This is definitely not a Nashville party" so that it all made sense. That joke will never happen now!
And it's not going to happen because the NFL is once again putting potential (and modest) profits over their fans.
The NFL: A Business Above All Else
As a young boy watching football, I absolutely loved the game. Everything about it. I mean everything. Down to the most minute detail of the jerseys. I assumed that everything the league did was done in fairness. The most important thing is the fans, right? That's what matters most!
When we grow up, the naiveties of life reveal themselves to us, but they do it softly. In due time. The NFL does it with a punch to your gut.
They are intentionally standing in the way of hundreds - if not thousands - of fans interacting with their favorite players in ways that have never been done before. The experience that they are halting is not achievable in any other way. I'm not exaggerating when I say that they are crushing dreams.
Why? Because the money you're paying for that once in a lifetime deal isn't going into their piggy banks. Not one dime. The sad truth is that even if it was just one dime, they'd still do this. Money is that important to them.
Let's assume that an average ticket to an NFL game is $300. This seems fair for the average considering there are box seats, blah blah blah. Let's also assume that each stadium can hold 70,000 people. This all feels fairly conservative, but hey let's keep math simple.
There are 256 games in an NFL regular season. Right there that's $5,376,000,000. Just on tickets for the regular season games. The most expensive ticket to the NFFC was $745. Say they sold 10,000 of them. That's a gross exaggeration, but hey. Let's roll. The NFFC would have then made $7,450,000.
Say the NFFC donated 100% their profits to the NFL. That would be 14% of what the NFL makes during the regular season. That's not counting playoffs, not counting sponsors, not counting TV deals, not counting jersey sales.
So the NFL wants to rip off the fans over what could, in an intense exaggeration, be at maximum 5-10% of their annual income. That's it!
Word trickled out that Commissioner Roger Goodell made $34.1M in 2014. Money talks.
It's a sad reality that the NFL is such a greedy monster. It really is.
We Love Football: No Matter What
While we're all disappointed that they are putting such a small amount of dollars ahead of the satisfaction of fans, let's remember why we love this game for a second.
We love football. We love the action. We love the drama. We love the debate. We love the touchdowns. We love the broken tackles. We love that feeling when we wake up on Sunday and our team's got a big game going. We love when we get the win we needed most.
We love football. No matter what. While some corporate entities are choosing to take advantage of that fact, I propose that in spite of that we celebrate this game.
Ultimately the NFL can't stand in the way of that, right? They can't stop us from loving football. That's ours.
That's how we triumph.
We love football.
For now. And for always.
As the late Steve Sabol once said, "Life is great. Football is better."
Cowboys Will Tag DeMarcus Lawrence; What’s the Plan?
February 20 is an important day for NFL clubs this year. Why? It's the first day in which teams can franchise tag any player. Since 2015, when the Dallas Cowboys tagged Dez Bryant before they were able to work out a long-term deal, Jerry Jones & Co. haven't used the franchise tag. In 2018, though, that will change.
DeMarcus Lawrence just played his best season yet in 2017, and he's looking to get paid big time. Through three years, he had been able to rack up nine sacks, 52 tackles and three forced fumbles. In just 2017, he sacked opposing quarterbacks 14.5 times, had 35 tackles and managed to force four fumbles.
Not only did Lawrence look like an elite pass rusher, but he also improved as a run defender a lot. The Cowboys have been looking for a "War Daddy" for a long, long time and Lawrence seems to be the answer for this football team.
After such a big year, one would expect the Cowboys to sign him to a multi-year enormous contract. But there's a catch. Lawrence failed to remain healthy early in his career and really didn't make as much of an impact until last season.
There's no question that D-Law will be wearing a star come the 2018 NFL season, but will he be doing it under a long-term deal or under a franchise tag?
Cowboys will not place franchise tag on DeMarcus Lawrence tomorrow as that window opens but will do so by March 6 w/ understanding the goal is to reach a long-term deal. Both sides have until July 16 to make that happen.
For now, according to David Moore from Dallas Morning News, the Cowboys will franchise tag Lawrence with the objective of getting a deal done in July. The tag however, is not expected to be placed as soon as possible.
In 2015, the Cowboys didn't place the franchise tag on Dez Bryant until the final deadline day. This year's deadline is March 6th, so it may be two weeks before they make it official with DeMarcus Lawrence. #CowboysNation #DallasCowboys
What would franchise tagging DeMarcus Lawrence mean for this team?
First of all, they'd make sure he doesn't hit free agency in March. This gives the front office time to get to work and restructure players' contracts if they have to in order to open up as much cap space as they can before giving him a deal.
It's worth mentioning as well, cap savings from players who are designated as post-June 1 cuts will already be available. If you want to be more familiarized with the Cowboys' cap situation, I highly recommend you read John Williams' deep dive on the matter.
It'll continue to be a very interesting story for this offseason, as handing a franchise tag to a player tends to become a non-friendly situation for both parties. Let's hope that's not the case for the Cowboys and Lawrence this year and that everything works out fine.
Here at Inside The Star, we'll continue updating you and the rest of Cowboys Nation throughout the offseason.
Watch: Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith Goes Bowling for First Time Since College Injury
Dallas Cowboys Linebacker Jaylon Smith did not just defy all odds and return to normalcy in 2017, starting as the Cowboys' middle linebacker for a full 16 games. He became one of the team's and NFL's brightest success stories, earning the right to celebrate everyday activities returning to his life - as football did this season.
This is exactly what Jaylon Smith did on Twitter Friday afternoon, posting a Snapchat video of himself bowling. The caption on Twitter adds that Smith was enjoying his time at the lanes for the first time in two years.
It was January 1st, 2016 when Jaylon Smith's injury in the Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame changed his outlook forever. In that moment, Smith went from a projected top ten pick in the 2016 NFL Draft to a LB that would need a team to take a chance on him - and be patient.
The Dallas Cowboys proved to be that team, using the 34th overall pick on the Notre Dame star and supporting his efforts to return to the field from day one. The entire Cowboys' organization was rewarded by Smith remarkably playing every game this season, inspired by his constant determination to do just that.
So, a normal offseason for Jaylon Smith is anything but right now. Still battling the drop foot condition (one that is reportedly healing well and "fading") which limits his movement ability in the lower body, Smith is a normal Dallas Cowboys football player from this point forward.
He can say he's already defined all odds, can expect to take an even bigger stride forward in 2018, and Jaylon Smith can go bowling again. You can't help but be happy for #54.
Dak Prescott’s Accuracy Stands Out in Final 2017 Stats
2017 was a season that left the Dallas Cowboys with a ton of questions to think about. Dez Bryant's contract, Sean Lee and Tyron Smith's availability, and the future of DeMarcus Lawrence and David Irving are some of those questions.
But there's another more pressing question for the Cowboys. How can they get the most out of Quarterback Dak Prescott and avoid another struggling year for him?
Also, what if he has another rough year? At what point does quarterback become a position that needs to be evaluated if he continues to struggle?
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that will be the case. In fact, I have a lot of faith in Dak. I think he's shown a lot to be excited about and I definitely believe there's a "quarterback curve" in the NFL. Hopefully, #4 finds a way to get back on track in 2018.
A reason to be optimistic about Prescott's future is an impressive stat from NFL Next Gen Stats. Turns out, Dak Prescott ranked first in the NFL in "tight window throws" completion percentage with 45.8%.
According to Matt Harmon from NFL.com, a "tight window throw" is defined as a pass in which the intended receiver has less than a yard of separation from the defender.
Dak Prescott is far from a perfect quarterback and he's constantly bashed about his throwing accuracy. Just recently, he took part in a passing competition with David Carr before the NFL Honors and well... it's fair to say Carr completely beat him.
David Carr 6, Dak Prescott 1 pic.twitter.com/rV532Q3Cob
— uSTADIUM (@uSTADIUM) 6 de febrero de 2018
Cowboys Twitter was anything but forgiving for the young quarterback, but at the end of the day, I'm not sure a casual passing competition at an event like that one is the way you judge an NFL starting quarterback who has a 22-10 record in his career.
Dak has a long way to go before being considered an excellent quarterback in the league, but a bad season like 2017 doesn't mean it's the end of his career and that the Dallas Cowboys should start Cooper Rush over him.
It's not the first quarterback who struggles one year and he won't be the last one to bounce back from one. As of right now, Dak Prescott rightfully is the Dallas Cowboys QB1. Hopefully he has a better year next season.
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