Whether you’re at the end of your coffee, your day, your week or even your rope, welcome to Whitt’s End 10.2.20 …
*I can’t be the only Dallas Mavericks’ fan getting nauseous/furious at the NBA Finals’ TV announcing crew crowing about “Playoff Rondo.”
Here’s DFW’s experience with Rajon “Playoff Rondo.”
In 2015 the Mavs acquired him from the Boston Celtics, but he never meshed with head coach Rick Carlisle. The two didn’t see eye-to-eye, and in one game yelled at each other on the court after the coach wanted up-tempo and the point guard stubbornly strolled.
In Game 2 of the Mavs’ first-round playoff series against the Houston Rockets, Rondo visibly quit on his team. In the first half, he committed a 10-second violation while slowly walking the ball into the frontcourt. In the third quarter’s first 34 seconds, he threw a bad pass, twice fouled James Harden and picked up a technical foul.
Carlisle benched him. Rondo sat on the court. He was never seen in a Mavericks’ uniform again, and his teammates voted not to award him a share of their playoff money.
So please, Mike Breen, etc., spare us the warm-and-fuzzy tales of how “Playoff Rondo” always raises his level of effort and production in the postseason. Rondo will win a ring with the Los Angeles Lakers. But he’ll never redact how he sabotaged the Mavericks five years ago, yes, in the playoffs.
*Though the Dallas Cowboys are only a quirky onside kick from 0-3, their quarterback is on pace for the most prolific passing season in NFL history. If you love the Cowboys, you’re frustrated by two last-minute losses and what could have been. If you’re a Dak Prescott stan, you’re giddy at his eye-popping statistics and what could evolve.
As in records. And as in a record payday?
Through three games, Prescott leads the NFL in passing completions (96), attempts (143) and yards (1,188). No Cowboy has thrown for 5,000 yards in a season. Prescott is trending toward not only smashing that franchise threshold, but also obliterating the NFL record. Averaging 396 yards per game, he’s on pace for 6,336. Peyton Manning set the record of 5,477 in 2013.
Prescott’s current production would also set new league records for completions with 512 (topping Drew Brees’ 471 in 2016) and for attempts with 762 (bettering Matthew Stafford’s 727 in 2012). The Cowboys’ marks were all established by Tony Romo (425 of 628 for 4,903) in 2012, a year in which they finished 8-8.
Said Dak: "No doubt this is the most explosive offense I've been a part of, with the playmakers, with the players to make it happen, starting up front. Obviously in the backfield and getting out there to the receivers. Everybody is capable of making a big play, especially when we all lock in.''
All this, but ...
Despite Prescott’s productivity, he is only 18th in completion percentage and 13th in touchdowns.
*Reasons for Prescott’s prodigious performance aren’t all positive. Sure he has an embarrassment of talented targets in Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, CeeDee Lamb and now Cedric Wilson.
But, just as telling, in three games the Cowboys have led for only 10 of the 180 minutes. If Ezekiel Elliott was on a similar record-breaking rushing pace, they would be 3-0.
*Sitting in a line of cars for four hours just to drive onto the State Fair of Texas grounds and sample some sorta triple-fried food? Have we officially lost our 2020 minds? Yes. Yes we have.
*Fan criticism can be, um, fickle. Complaints about the Cowboys: “Jerry Jones is too meddling!” Complaints about the Texas Rangers: “They don’t have strong ownership!”
The Rangers just finished their fourth consecutive losing season and, according to the plans outlined by ownership group main voice Ray Davis, it will likely plummet to franchise-record five in 2021.
Davis, who unlike Jones shies from the public spotlight, said on a conference call in the wake of Texas’ 22-38 disaster that he’s keeping general manager Jon Daniels, lowering the roster payroll and committing to a youth-infused rebuilding.
*Evidenced by the 73 million viewers who watched last Tuesday night, America is united by two things: Super Bowls and Presidential Debates. But to call that debate a “dumpster fire” is an insult to dumpsters and fires, both of which actually serve a purpose in our country.
*As of Wednesday, DFW will be a two-horse sports radio race. 103.3 FM ESPN will no longer be a local radio station.
You can still hear Mavericks games, but because Cumulus is surrendering control back to Disney there will be no familiar local voices or shows in the dayparts.
Though ESPN’s local content never really competed with The Ticket and The Fan, this isn’t good for Metroplex sports fans. It's Reminiscent of 1991 when the Dallas Times Herald folded, leaving readers with only two options.
I have some good acquaintances at that station and it’s never good to be laid off. Especially in the middle of pandemic. Good luck to those boys and girls.
*For my money, Sunday at AT&T Stadium will feature the NFL’s best (Cowboys) and worst (Cleveland Browns) uniforms.
*Every year I get a physical exam. Just because I don’t ever want to get seriously ill and lament “I wish we woulda caught it earlier.” This year, because my flimsy insurance coverage hasn’t met its deductible, I paid for it out of pocket.
The physical. The lab work. The follow-up to review the results.
Good news: Healthy. Bad news: $935. It’s an effed-up healthcare system that doesn’t covet, promote and provide compensation for “preventative” measures. It would’ve cost me much less to visit the doctor while sick than healthy. Think about that.
*If, like a lot of folks around here, you’re a fan of the Cowboys, Texas Longhorns and Dallas Stars, you are a zombie this week. Understood. Late September went like this: 20-point comeback. Overtime loss. 15-point rally. Overtime win. Overtime win. Loss with :14 remaining. Overtime loss. If you know, you know.
*Props to Mavs owner Mark Cuban for personally taking care of – and potentially saving the life of – former player Delonte West. Give me a big heart over a big bank account.
*In three games, the Cowboys have gone for it on fourth down seven times. In 16 games in 2019, they went for it on fourth down 16 times.
*Our problem isn’t ballot integrity. Our problem is voter suppression. Evidenced again this week with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s inexplicably ruling that all 254 counties in the state have only one designated drop spot for ballots. One! Dallas County covers 2,500 square miles and encompasses 2.5 million people. I honestly don’t care who you vote for. But I care a lot that, deterred by leaders that are fearful of a fair, inclusive election, you might not vote at all.
*Some dude named “Ryback” from the fake WWE is threatening a fake lawsuit against Zeke. “I’ll tie him up for years,” Ryback said on his YouTube channel.
“He ain’t using it. So he better get a good tattoo artist to go have him cover that sh*tty tattoo up on his stomach.”
Zeke’s mantra, now inked on his body, is “Feed Me!” Ryback owns the rights to “Feed Me More!” Which, of course, isn’t the same. At all.
*Because we need something to believe in amidst 2020’s disbelief, how about a DFW mentalist who can read your mind? No, really. He’s beyond freaky.
*NFL TV ratings for the season are down only 5%. Compared to everything else measurable in 2020, that is minuscule.
*Remember Shelly Luther? Yeah, that one. She’s in an election run-off for Texas senator of a county in the middle of rural nowhere. What I find funny isn’t the fact that she’s a fraud that misrepresents her journey, it’s that her calling card is “Shelly Luther, the salon owner who went to jail after violating a court order for opening her business during a pandemic.”
As a voter, I’d see violating and flaunting the law as a negative. But to some …
*Try as they might, the Stars couldn’t catch Lightning in a bottle. Or, as it were, a frozen bubble.
*The Leaning of Tower of Dallas came down. So, too, will Shingle Mountain. For years, construction companies and roofers have discarded their old shingles into an empty field in south Dallas. It’s like a 50-foot tall pile, so big that the City of Dallas is now having to pay $450,000 just to have a company move it from the vacant lot to the proper dump.
*Prescott at home: 23-10; on the road: 18-16.
*Cooper in 14 home games: 93 catches for 1,520 yards; in 14 road games: 64 catches for 661 yards. Dak’s wins and losses I can explain, but Cooper’s production disparity is mystifying.
*COVID-19 may have us drinking more alcohol to cope (guilty), but it’s punctured a hole in the local bar industry. Dallas’ collective bar tab at watering holes in August 2019 was $73 million. This August? Only $31 million.
*You and the rest of America saw the Cowboys’ inept safety play last week in Seattle. Blown coverages. Wide-open receivers. Keystone Cops stuff. Now, imagine how bad Ha Ha Clinton-Dix must have been during training camp to get him and his $2.25 guaranteed salary cut in favor of what’s left.
Darian Thompson almost makes me miss Jeff Heath. Almost, I said.
*Your 2020 sucks? Same, same. But you know who’s having the greatest year of his life? Patrick Mahomes. Won a Super Bowl in February. Got engaged to long-time girlfriend, Brittany Matthews, days later. Signed a $500 million contract in July. Announced this week that he and Matthews are having a baby. Oh, and his Kansas City Chiefs are 3-0 and look unbeatable.
*NBC5 weatherman David Finfrock was bitten by a rattlesnake this week and was like “no biggie.” Weird.
*With some teams having multiple games canceled by COVID-19 and conferences not starting play until late October, college football should not award a Heisman Trophy in 2020. Unless, that is, the famed runner is holding not a football but instead an asterisk.
*With Pittsburgh Steelers-Tennessee Titans canceled this weekend, reiterates how unfathomably successful the NHL and NBA were in their respective bubbles.
*COVID-19 kills. And not just the elderly. Even big, strong, tough, young hockey players from Dallas.
*Went to a middle-school football game this week and, off in the distance, a track coach was teaching about 10 kids something archaic and wholly irrelevant.
Pole. Vault. How is that still around?
We see it – at the most – once every four years when some American is sniffing the leading in the Decathlon in the Olympics. I used to know the name of world champ Bob Seagren. Bruce Jenner excelled at it in Montreal in 1976. Otherwise? Nope.
Do colleges offer pole vault scholarships or has it been fittingly downgraded to a hobby? Cornhole and eSports have much brighter futures than pole vaulters. I’m not saying it doesn’t take guts and athleticism, it’s just so … prehistoric.
For what it’s worth, in the last 30 years the pole vault world record has climbed only three inches to 20-3¼.
*Adding insult to injury to illness in 2020, Rangers fans must now absorb the fact that the first fans to watch a baseball game inside Globe Life Field will be there not for a Rangers game, but the NLCS. Around 11,000 are expected to be allowed inside next week. With Jones and the Cowboys hosting fans across the street at AT&T Stadium, the Rangers probably could’ve pulled off having fans at its last handful of games.
But, understandably, they want to pretend 2020 never happened.
*Though still not real confident on the pronunciation, I could eat an Acai Bowl every morning for breakfast and be a happy man. Ah-kuh-ee? Ah-see? Whatever. Deelish.
*The Cowboy’s three games have been decided with :31, :00 and :14 on the clock. If they are to win more comfortably Sunday they’ll somehow have to stop the run. Problem: Their run defense is ranked 27 in the NFL, while the Browns bring a Nick Chubb-Kareem Hunt combo that has amassed 500 yards in three games.
*This Weekend? Friday it’s golf in the perfect Fall weather. Saturday it’s tennis in the perfect Fall weather. Sunday it’s watching Cowboys-Browns in the perfect, um, media room weather. As always, don’t be a stranger.