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."
Report: Dallas Cowboys to Sign Free Agent Wide Receiver Brice Butler
The Dallas Cowboys look to be making a move at the wide receiver position as they attempt to bring some life to the position. No they aren't trading for Cleveland Browns Wide Receiver Josh Gordon, but bringing back former Wide Receiver Brice Butler.
According to a report from Saad Yousuf from The Athletic, the Dallas Cowboys are set to resign the former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver but first have to release someone from the 53-man roster.
Cowboys officials are in the process of signing wide receiver Brice Butler, multiple sources tell @TheAthleticDFW. The team has to make a roster move to bring Butler onto the 53 and is trying to decide whom to release to make room for Butler before a final decision is made.
Brice Butler was signed in the offseason by the Arizona Cardinals but was released after training camp. It was a surprising move for the Cardinals. They don't have a ton of wide receiver depth aside from future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald.
Butler's caught 73 passes on 133 targets for 1,177 yards and eight touchdowns in his five career. In 36 games with the Dallas Cowboys Brice Butler caught 43 passes on 81 targets for 794 yards and six touchdowns. In his time in Dallas, he averaged 18.5 yards per reception.
He never really got a lot of playing time with the Dallas Cowboys who had Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley and Jason Witten on the team for the duration of his time in Dallas. The Cowboys coaching staff placed a higher premium on Terrance Williams' run blocking than Butler's big play ability.
To the coaching staff's credit, Butler was never a consistent enough player to be relied upon week in and week out. In 2017, his last season in Dallas, Brice Butler was never targeted more than three times a game and he never caught more than two passes a game. Butler, however, only played 24.51% of the Dallas Cowboys' offensive snaps in 2017.
If the Dallas Cowboys do make this move it's at a curious time. Sources tell 247 Sports' Mike Fisher that the Dallas Cowboys have zero interest at the moment in Cleveland Browns Wide Receiver Josh Gordon. You'd think their lack of interest would be because they still like the wide receiver room as it is.
If they do complete the signing of Brice Butler, you'd have to expect that Deonte Thompson would be the wide receiver on the chopping block. They cut him at the end of the preseason and then brought him back during week one.
This signing is unlikely to have an impact on the Dallas Cowboys week two matchup with the New York Giants, but will probably be completed early Monday to get Butler to Frisco to begin preparing for their week three matchup.
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I don't think this is a move that makes a lot of sense for the Dallas Cowboys. They've been down that road before and haven't received the results they wanted. Brice Butler does offer some big play ability, but it was thought that is why they brought in Deonte Thompson and Tavon Austin. Is it possible the Dallas Cowboys are already down on those two players after one game? They wouldn't be bringing Butler back if they didn't have plans for him.
Good or bad, do you think bringing Brice Butler back is the right move for the Dallas Cowboys?
Cowboys, 49ers Are WR Josh Gordon’s Preferred Teams in Trade/Free Agency
It's Sunday morning and the Cleveland Browns are expected to make a questionable decision by tomorrow, which is far from news for a Dallas Cowboys team waiting around for a crucial Sunday Night Football home game tonight. With Cleveland expected to part ways with troubled wide receiver Josh Gordon though, the Cowboys have understandably been linked to Gordon, even more so now with the talented pass catcher stating his own interest in America's Team.
As teams discuss potentially trading for outgoing #Browns WR Josh Gordon, I'm told he's got his eye on two in particular: The #Cowboys and the #49ers.
Before looking into this any further, it's necessary to point out an all-important missing detail. Without any reports of the Cowboys own interest in Gordon, the soon-to-be free agent is simply the latest player to say he'd like to play for the Cowboys - hardly anything new for the Jones.
The Cowboys need for a player like Gordon has never been more evident though. Heavily criticized throughout the offseason for how they handled their wide receivers, the Cowboys passing game was a non-factor in the team's 16-8 week one loss.
Signing or trading for Gordon could do little to fix this, but the risk may also prove worthwhile for Dallas. The Baylor Bears product did put up 1,646 yards in 2013 with minimal talent around him, and has a career 17.3 yards per reception.
His ability to take the top off a defense is something the Cowboys are sorely missing. What they won't miss from not acquiring Gordon is the off-field trouble, taking on a player that missed all of 2015 and 2016 due to suspension.
Last season, Gordon was reinstated for the Browns final five games.
The NFL is, at least cautiously, easing their policy on players suspended for marijuana usage. Look no further than the Cowboys own Randy Gregory to prove this, as Gregory has already become a success story for the league by being with the Cowboys this season.
Whether or not Gregory plays on Sunday night (officially listed as DOUBTFUL) after suffering a concussion in his long-awaited return last week is yet to be determined. So too is Josh Gordon's future as the latest player on his way out of Cleveland.
From @gmfb Weekend: The #Browns plan to release Josh Gordon after he showed up late, injured his hamstring during a photo shoot, and in general completely lost their trust. https://t.co/cX2HGZPBXi
I'm of the belief that Gordon won't last long on the open market, meaning this won't be the latest Cowboys story/non-story to drag through the presses. Any fan looking to pass time between now and kickoff against the Giants could probably find me saying the same about free agent WR Dez Bryant however.
Thanks to Bryant still being a free agent along with former Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey, the team has looked smarter than expected in the long-term on moves like these.
If there's a smart way to bring on Josh Gordon, Dallas should be considering that too.
Is Dak Prescott’s Relationship with Scott Linehan Broken?
As the final whistle sounded last Sunday with the Carolina Panthers coming away victorious over your Dallas Cowboys, it was pretty clear there were a lot of things wrong with the offense. Many pointed to Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan and the play calling. Others to the offensive line. Others to Quarterback Dak Prescott. And others to the wide receivers.
There was plenty of blame to go around in an offensive performance that left Cowboys Nation struggling for answers. Simply put, there wasn't much good from that side of the football in their 16-8 loss.
Well, as this week has gone on in preparation for the New York Giants Sunday night, there have been answers to questions from within the organization that make me, an outsider, feel really awkward about the relationships inside the organization. Particularly on the offensive side of the football.
There was this from Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan responding to Troy Aikman's critique of a lack of creativity in the play calling of Linehan.
"People have their own opinions. It's hard to be super creative when you're having loss-yardage plays, to be honest with you. But I thought we had some really good stuff for the game that we couldn't use. But he's entitled to whatever opinion he has about that. It's our job to go out and show him that we have some stuff that maybe he'll be impressed with."
Scott Linehan - via Jon Machota, Sports Day DFW
Then this from Wide Receiver Allen Hurns.
Cowboys WR Allen Hurns on loss to Carolina: "Statistically people are going to say we didn't play well. If you really break down the game, we created separation. That's what you want to do as a wideout.
With Dak Prescott speaking to the media on Thursday, some interesting nuggets of information came out about the communication that takes place on game day between Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan, Quarterback Coach Kellen Moore, and Quarterback Dak Prescott.
Namely Dak described Kellen Moore as a "mediator" between the quarterback and the offensive coordinator.
“Kellen, I guess you call him the mediator at that point, when I come to the sideline. Me and him talk about what we saw and then he gets on the headset and he’s talking with Linehan. Then he’ll get back to me with what Linehan’s thinking with the plays and stuff that we’re working towards, so it’s been great.”
Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys Quarterback
Count 1310 The Ticket's Bob Sturm as one of many confused by Dak's statement about Moore as the go between.
Thought it was really interesting to day that Dak said he talks to Kellen Moore and QB coach Kellen Moore talks to Linehan. Linehan doesn't talk directly to his QB during the game. I think that is weird.
It's becoming clear that there is a huge disconnect between the play caller and his quarterback and this disconnect is affecting everyone on the offensive side of the ball.
Everyone, after one week, appears to be placing blame on someone else, which is really odd to me. Normally, when a unified group of players is asked a question that may lead to finger-pointing, they don't really answer the question.
Above, you can see that Hurns basically said, it wasn't the wide receivers' fault. Linehan, reacting to Troy Aikman's comments about the lack of creativity in the offense, placed the reason for the lack of creativity on the players. And Dak Prescott appears to allude to a really odd communication structure.
It has me wondering, and I'm sure I'm not the only one, if there is a trust issue with the Dallas Cowboys offensive staff and players.
Trust is a very important aspect of any group of people who work together to meet a common goal. Football is no different. As far as team sports go, the NFL requires a strong sense of trust and commitment to one another to make the intricacies of an NFL offense work.
The coach has to trust that the player he's calling the plays for. If the play caller doesn't trust the players to execute, he's going to be much more conservative than he should be. A play caller who trusts his players will allow them to play and will be aggressive in his game planning and play calling.
The player has to trust that the play caller is putting the player(s) in the best position possible to succeed. If the players don't trust the play caller, they aren't going to buy in to the offensive scheme. If they don't buy in to the offensive scheme then there may not be the necessary effort put in to see the scheme succeed.
From the outside looking in, the relationship between quarterback and play caller seems fractured. It's not a good sign for the relationship of the two men tasked with guiding this offense that there is a mediator involved in their communication. If there is an issue in the relationship that is leading to poor communication, then the Dallas Cowboys leadership structure -- Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, and Jason Garrett -- need to make a change to better enhance offensive communication.
They aren't going to change quarterbacks at this point in the season. The move they can make that Head Coach Jason Garrett appears unwilling to make, is changing who calls the plays. If the relationship between Linehan and Prescott is such that Kellen Moore needs to act as "mediator," then the time has come to change the play caller. Whether it's Moore who takes the reigns or Garrett who returns to calling plays, the change may need to be made soon to salvage this season.
Trust is a very valuable resource in any organization. It's the reason that Jason Garrett has remained head coach for as long as he has. The ownership trusts him.
The lack of trust that appears to exist between Dak Prescott and Scott Linehan is something that not only hurts their relationship, but the chemistry with the entire offense.
Football may be the greatest team sport in the world. And as such it requires a high level of chemistry . It requires everyone on offense and defense buying into their respective schemes and trusting each other to execute those schemes.
Obviously a win against the Giants would go a long way toward healing whatever wounds exist between Prescott and Linehan. A loss however could potentially deepen a divide between the quarterback and his coordinator.
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