Cowboys & Coronavirus: Dallas Was Just Robbed Of 2 Huge Advantages
FRISCO - This - April 6 - was going to be a very special time for the Dallas Cowboys, in two ways - both of which have been stolen away from "America's Team'' due to COVID-19 pandemic.
First came the NFL's decision to delay offseason programs. Teams with new head coaches - like Dallas and Mike McCarthy - are normally allowed to begin their offseason program well in advance of other clubs. This year, that was to occur on April 6, with April 20 as the date for the rest of the league's teams.
That extra time is designed as a "catch-up'' period for clubs with new head coaches. ... and worked properly, it's more than that. It's an advantage. And now it's gone.
"Based on the most recent guidance provided by leading health officials, and in consultation with the NFLPA and both our and the union's medical advisors, we believe this is the appropriate way to protect the health of our players, staff, and our communities," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a mid-March statement. "We will continue to make decisions based on the best advice from medical and public health experts and will be prepared to make further modifications as needed."
No argument here, just a factual acknowledgement of what Dallas has lost here.
Meanwhile, there is also no comparison here to "the importance of football'' vs. the importance of saving lives. Sometime, some way, some day, maybe the McCarthy Cowboys will be able to play catch-up in another fashion.
Now to the other lost advantage: "Dallas Day.'' In 2019, "Dallas Day'' was on April 5. It stands to reason that this year it might've been held on April 6, and what it offers (for all NFL teams) is a chance to go beyond the "30 Visits'' of national NFL Draft prospects to also visit with players with local ties.
So while other NFL teams wanting to bring into their facility a star from, say, Baylor or Texas A&M or Texas, must count him among their "30 Visits'' (unless that kid somehow has a tie to that team's region), the Cowboys - centered in one of the handful of richest talent pools in America - are offered the chance to dominate here.
A recent example: Two springs ago, Connor Williams - who is from Coppell and the University of Texas - was a hot prospect. If Buffalo or Seattle or Arizona wanted a sit-down with him? They had to use up a "30 Visit.'' But the Cowboys? They simply shifted him into a "Dallas Day'' guy, saving the precious "30 Visits'' for others who likely didn't have local ties.
People inside The Star credit the Cowboys personnel department for having done a masterful job in juggling ways to give Dallas the most legal visits possible - even though, again, there is a built-in advantage. (How many real local prospects are there at "Buffalo Day'' or "Denver Day''?)
But now that advantage is gone. The 30 Visits are being done by ZOOM or some other meeting technology. The get-to-know-you's with local kids will not happen the same way. And the veterans being in the building to get integrated into a new system? That's gone, for now, as well.
The best coaching staffs will prevail, once they get back to work. And more immediately, the best personnel staffs will do just fine in the April 23-25 NFL Draft, too. But every team needs every possible advantage, every possible edge, in this insanely competitive business.
And here, on April 6, the Dallas Cowboys have been robbed of two advantages.