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Dallas vs. Bucs: Can Healthy Dak Prescott Give Tom Brady 'The (Cowboys) Boot?

America's Team alive and well, Mavs disrespect, Rangers three-year drought and picky parking, all in this week's DFW sports notebook.

WHITT'S END 9.9.22

Whether you’re at the end of your coffee, your day, your week or even your rope, welcome to Whitt’s End …

*A year ago Dak Prescott passed for 403 yards and three touchdowns and it wasn’t enough to beat Tom Brady. Will Sunday night’s game crack my list of the 10 Most Memorable Openers in Cowboys history?

Maybe ... if he can get his shoes on properly.

For now, we believe we have a healthy Dak (despite his midweek shoe/ankle discomfort. And tonight at AT&T? He started in the afternoon while wearing these "Cowboys boots'' ...

Yes. We will monitor.

*RIP, England’s Queen. Long live, America’s Team. Sure, the Dallas Cowboys haven’t won a Super Bowl since Elizabeth II was a spry 70-year-old (she died Thursday at 96). But that hasn’t stopped the marketing magician/boffo businessman known as Jerry Jones from making them the most popular, profitable sports franchise on the planet.

Notice I didn’t say “one of the most”. THE most.

First team worth $8 billion. And this week, re-confirmed as the country’s favorite team. Yes, literally.

We can debate Jerry’s confounding 1+1 = 3 math and harpoon his team’s unprecedented lack of on-field success, but there’s no denying that his “no news is bad news” philosophy body slams everyone else in the industry.

Website researchers analyzed Google data for all 152 major U.S. league sports teams over the last 12 months to determine the most popular team in all 50 states. To no one’s surprise, the Cowboys own Texas. But, um, how about also Arkansas, New Mexico, Mississippi, Virginia, New Jersey and even Idaho?

Seven states. No other professional sports team owns more than three.

While neither the Dallas Mavericks, Texas Rangers or Dallas Stars sniffed a state, the Cowboys – powered by their almost 17 million social media followers – are searched on Google in Texas 2.2 million times per month. That’s the equivalent of almost eight percent of the state’s population Googling the Cowboys once a month.

A-m-e-r-i-c-a-’-s-T-e-a-m-!

*Apparently the Mavs’ run to the NBA Western Conference Finals last Spring didn’t leave a lasting impression. Oddsmakers are establishing way-premature rankings on how this year’s West will be won and the Mavs come in … sixth! If that is a nod to the value of dearly departed Jalen Brunson, then USA Today misspelling Luka Doncic’s name is unabashed disrespect.

*As Rangers owner Ray Davis so eloquently reminded us upon firing manager Chris Woodward and general manager Jon Daniels last month, “We’re not good.”

But just how bad are they?

On May 31 they beat the Tamp Bay Rays to improve to 24-24. That remains the one and only day this season they didn’t have a losing record. Worse? Same for 2021, when they again spent only one day at .500 (18-18). The last time the Rangers had a winning record: Aug. 15, 2020 when they were 10-9 in the COVID-shortened season. They haven’t been two games over .500 in three years, since being 58-56 on Aug. 7, 2019. Add it all up and over the last 3.5 seasons the Rangers have been above .500 for a total of five days. 

Spot on, Ray. Spot on.

*There was a time when getting 20 points at home with the Texas Longhorns was unheard of and – if it ever happened – a slam-dunk gambling winner.

That time is not Saturday. Since at least 1975 – I admit, I got tired of researching – Texas has never been bigger than a two-touchdown underdog at home. That was in 2014 when they lost to Baylor, 28-7, as a 14-point dog. But now comes Alabama, rolling into Austin with more talent, a better coach and a distinctly superior quarterback (Bryce Young over Quinn Ewers, anybody?)

If Texas somehow wins, it will be its biggest point-spread upset since beating Baylor as a 20.5-underdog in 2015. The Longhorns also shocked No. 3-ranked Nebraska as a 20.5-point dog in the 1996 Big 12 Championship Game. But, let’s be honest, considering where the Crimson Tide has been recently and where most experts believe they are headed again come January, this would be THE biggest upset in Texas’ history.

For what it’s worth, Nick Saban’s teams are 10-5 against the spread as 20+-plus road favorites.

UPDATE: UT didn't win. But Coach Sark is talking very proudly about the close loss.

*Sign some of us – ahem – are getting old. The iPhone 14 was unveiled by Apple this week. Question to myself: “Which iPhone do we have, again?” Answer to myself: “One that works perfectly fine. Don’t even think about it.”

*Well, whatd’ya know? It seems some in the Bible Belt are cherry-picking which of the Ten Commandments to follow and which to conveniently ignore. Dallas, among the nation’s Top 30 most “Bible-minded” cities, championed overturning Roe v. Wade but yet finds itself as the most – No. 1 in America – unfaithful city.

The 7th Commandment is something about adultery. The Commandment about abortion doesn’t exist.

*Queen Elizabeth II met 14 American Presidents, outlived eight of them, transcended the reigns of five Popes, witnessed the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall and yet, sadly, never saw the Rangers win a World Series.

*Hot.

*Not.

*Serious question: If he had to choose one, would Luka pick winning an NBA championship with the Mavs or a gold medal with Slovenia? He has a $215 million contract urging him to choose one, but my gut says his heart says the other.

*If you’ve followed my mentoring journey with Ja over the last two years, you know he’s a fantastic kid that just needs a little, well, mentoring. There are lots in DFW just like him. Ahead of North Texas Giving Day on Sept. 22, please consider a donation to Big Brothers Big Sisters. $50,000 and counting …

*Not surprisingly, Sunday night’s Cowboys-Buccaneers ticket is one of the hottest in the NFL all season. According to this website, the median price for a seat at AT&T Stadium is a cool $420. Only Cowboys game more expensive this season in their visit to Lambeau Field in November ($491, No. 3 on the list). Priciest? 49ers at Raiders in Las Vegas: $680.

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*Talk about leg room! A DFW passenger – who just happens to be one of the few genuinely great guys in DFW radio – last week was treated to a private jet the size of 737. Question: If you had the whole plane to yourself, where would you sit?

*Rangers’ No. 1 prospect will share something with one of the team’s Hall of Famers when he makes his hyped debut Friday night in Arlington: No. 6. Much fuss has been made about Cowboys’ speedster KaVontae Turpin taking Tony Romo’s No. 9, but now Josh Jung has snagged the same number of Texas’ former outfielder and GM and current broadcaster Tom Grieve. 

The Rangers need Jung to be Grieve much more than the Cowboys need Turpin to be Romo.

*Wait, no way this parking job deserved a ticket. Did it?

*Can’t wait until Sunday night for your Cowboys’ fix? Simple. Just turn on your TV. Almost every network boasts a prominent analyst with strong Cowboys ties. Your blue-and-silver roster:

CBS: Tony Romo, Steve Beuerlein (college)

NBC: Jason Garrett

Fox: Jimmy Johnson, Daryl Johnston, Mark Sanchez, Marcellus Wiley, Micah Parsons, DeMarco Murray (college)

ESPN: Troy Aikman, Marcus Spears, Chris Canty, Joey Galloway (college)

NFL Network: Michael Irvin, Brian Baldinger

*Sad: Deep Ellum has become, in part, so dangerous that – after 28 years – the Deep Ellum Arts Festival is kaput. Seriously, what is Deep Ellum without art?

*Takes some mental gymnastics so I hope you’ve stretched, but hear me out. The last time the Cowboys won the Super Bowl: Their quarterback was in Year 7, LSU lost in their new head coach’s debut and the Super Bowl was in Arizona. This year: Dak Prescott is in Year 7, LSU lost in Brian Kelly’s first game and Super Bowl LVII is February 12, 2023 in … Arizona. 

Destiny or just dumb?

*Brady is 6-0 against the Cowboys. Only two quarterbacks had longer winning streak against them: Randall Cunningham (eight straight with Eagles 1987-92) and Frank Ryan (seven with Browns 1963-66). Brady’s six wins are the most against the Cowboys without a loss. Second on that list: 5-0 Joe Montana.

*When Brady was drafted by the Patriots (4.15.00), Cowboys’ rookie offensive lineman Tyler Smith was … a year from being born (4.3.01).

*Former Cowboys quarterback and current radio analyst Babe Laufenberg – who’s in the know as much as anyone in DFW about the team – says he’ll give $1,000 to charity if receiver Michael Gallup plays Sunday night

I’m pretty sure Babe can leave his checkbook at home. But not $1,000 sure.

*Former Mavericks’ shooting guard Jason Terry has himself a coaching career. The Jet has landed on the runway in … Salt Lake City, as an assistant on new coach Will Hardy’s bench.

*Emmitt Smith, football commissioner? Well, yeah. Sorta. Not sure what the Hall of Fantasy League is, but he’s the king of it.

*Labor Day: The holiday that marks when we stop doing and merely start watching. Rank the holidays? Sure, okay:

1. Memorial Day

2. New Year’s Eve

3. Fourth of July

4. Christmas

5. Thanksgiving

6. Halloween

42. Labor Day

111. Valentine’s

*This Weekend? Friday let’s sneak in some tennis. Sunday let’s visit the parents before Cowboys-Buccaneers. As always, don’t be a stranger.

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