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Looking at Tony Romo’s place in the history of Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks

Tony Romo(notes) gets a lot of grief just because he is the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. I guarantee, if he played for Cleveland or Seattle or Kansas City, they would love him. And it isn’t just because those teams are bad and need quarterbacks to fix them ASAP. Even if he played for a team like San Francisco, where greatness is measured by names like Joe Montana and Steve Young, I think Romo would be accepted wholeheartedly.

However, being a quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys means something completely different.

In the beginning…

Eddie LeBaron was the first quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, chosen in the expansion draft away from the Washington Redskins. LeBaron was a good quarterback but Dallas was a new team and had some growing to do. That is when they found a quarterback named Don Meredith. When Dandy Don broke out with Dallas in 1962, the fans ate him up. Meredith was exactly what a Dallas Cowboys quarterback was supposed to be like. He never won a Super Bowl, but Dallas loved him all the same. His career was short lived, only playing till 1968, and Dallas needed a new hero.

Craig Morton

Craig Morton was expected to be that man but Dallas fans never warmed to him. By 1969, he was the starter at Dallas and was serviceable. He was actually more than serviceable. He took Dallas to a Super Bowl in 1970, which the Cowboys lost to the Baltimore Colts and Johnny Unitas. Dallas fans should be happy to be in the Super Bowl, but they wanted more and demanded a change. Tom Landry was not quick to give them the change even with a man named Roger Staubach on the roster. He kept flip-flopping between them but finally pulled the trigger and brought in Staubach because some people believed Morton couldn’t get them back to the Super Bowl. In 1977, Morton did make it back with Denver and lost to Staubach and the Cowboys.

Danny White

After Staubach hung it up in 1979, Danny White took over at quarterback. He led Dallas to three straight NFC Championship games but the Cowboys were older and slowing down. Landry was not refilling the tank as well as he used to and White was left with Tony Dorsett and an aging receiver corps to play with. White had a great statistical career, throwing for over 3,000 yards four times. Despite his solid play, Dallas was slipping and Landry wanted a replacement. He tried Gary Hogeboom and Steve Pelluer, both of whom were nowhere near as good as White. Finally, Jerry Jones purchased the Dallas Cowboys and drafted a man named Troy Aikman.

Tony Romo

When Aikman’s career ended early, Dallas was looking for their next big star. It never took long in the past. LeBaron lasted two years, Morton a few more than that, and Danny White through much of the ’80s. With the exception of the times that Landry tried to replace White, Dallas had five quarterbacks over their first 27 years. However, after Aikman retired, Dallas lost their way. Quincy Carter led to Chad Hutchinson to Vinny Testeverde to Drew Hensen to Drew Bledsoe. Finally, in 2006 Dallas found their quarterback in Tony Romo. People who complain about him now need to remember what it was like from 2001-2005. Romo wins games and almost any team in the league would kill for that consistency.

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Champion Mavericks Arrive Home In Dallas

DALLAS – The Dallas Mavericks returned home in triumph on Monday, cheered by hundreds of fans celebrating the franchise’s first NBA title and the first professional championship of any kind in the area in more than a decade.

Owner Mark Cuban walked off the plane at Love Field carrying the championship trophy he was handed after Sunday’s Game 6 win over the Miami Heat.

Next came forward Dirk Nowitzki with hardware of his own: The NBA finals MVP trophy that was awarded after he overcame a finger injury, illness and smothering defense from the Heat to power fourth-quarter comeback wins.

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Cuban, the Dallas billionaire who bought the team in 2000, had the championship trophy in a seat next to him on the plane and he apparently kept it close throughout the Sunday night celebration.

“This will sound weird,” he wrote on Twitter. “I’m laying in bed. With the trophy next (to) me.”

Cuban will keep the party going at least through Thursday morning, the date set for the team’s victory parade through the streets of downtown Dallas.

Team spokeswoman Sarah Melton confirmed the date Monday, but said the precise route and other details would be announced Tuesday. Cuban has said that he will pick up the tab for the city’s parade costs.

The championship, the first in the 31-year history of the Mavericks, represents a breakthrough. The franchise was once one of the worst in the NBA and, even after Cuban’s infusion of cash and energy, had a reputation of failing to win big games — including a loss to Miami in the 2006 Finals after leading the series 2-0.

The title is city’s first since the Dallas Stars won the Stanley Cup in 1999 and it comes four months after the Super Bowl in suburban Arlington included not the hometown Cowboys but Green Bay and Pittsburgh along with a spate of bad weather. The Texas Rangers advanced to the last World Series, but lost to San Francisco.

As the Mavericks wore down the Heat, fans crowded into downtown Dallas on Sunday night to celebrate. Police reported 14 arrests, including six for public intoxication, four for disorderly conduct and four people taken into custody on outstanding warrants.

By Monday, attention had turned to the homecoming.

The team charter passed under a water cannon salute after it landed. Cuban, a cigar in his mouth, walked off first, followed by Nowitzki, both holding the trophies high. They then went across the runway to a security fence, touching off a celebration that lasted about 30 minutes and allowing fans who spent hours waiting in 90-degree heat to get a taste of the title.

Cuban eventually handed off the championship trophy to members of the team, who walked along the fence as fans held cell phones high to take photos. As Nowitzki was driven away, he held the MVP trophy aloft through the sun roof of his sport utility vehicle.

Mavs Watch Party Tickets Sold Out – Watch it at Big Racks BBQ

It took 45 minutes for Dallas Mavericks fans to buy up all the tickets to watch the Mavs take on the Heat in Game 6 of the NBA Finals at the American Airlines Center on Sunday.

The Mavs say about 16,000 tickets were up for sale at 10:00 a.m. Friday and were sold out by 10:45 a.m.

Tickets for the Mavs watch party sold for $5 and fans were limited to eight tickets.

Proceeds from ticket sales benefit the Mavs Foundation which supports local non-profits that assist young people through programs that stress education, good health and skills needed for future success.

The Mavs Dancers, ManiacS and Street Team will watch the game along with fans on the full HD video boards inside the AAC.

Fans can enter American Airlines Center through all doors beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Fans can watch the game at Big Racks BBQ in Grapevine

Big Racks BBQ in Grapevine to watch the Mavs tonight

NBA.com provided a preview of tonight’s game.

Need a great sports bar in Grapevine to watch the game with family and friends? Check out Big Racks BBQ and Sports Grill

Don’t want to look ahead, sure the Thunder could come back, but I will look ahead, looks like a Heat vs Mavericks NBA Final. Lets go Mavs!

Dallas Mavericks tonight!

i’m going to watch the Mavericks game over at my favorite BBQ spot in Dallas, Big Racks BBQ

I love barbecue, and sports, Big Racks in Grapevine is the best of both!

Who do you like in the series? The Dallas Mavericks have had a long wait for the Thunder, they are well rested but is that good? Maybe them will lose their momentum.  The OKC Thunder are led by Kevin Durant, a Longhorn who plays in the Sooner state. LOL. I hope the Mavericks win the series and then I’d love to see them beat Miami. Not sure if Miami can get past Chicago. Well here’s to a great series, lets go Mavs!

Mavericks!

LOS ANGELES — Commence the panicking Laker fans.

Lakers fans, who for years have freaked out over December losing streaks, finally have actual reason to prepare for nuclear winter. With the way the two-time defending champions are being outplayed and outhearted by the Mavericks in such a definitive manner, it’s Los Angeles crumbling from within. It was always supposed to be the other way around.

These are so many of the concerns crashing together at once — the mental toughness of Pau Gasol, the inability of the Lakers to handle dragster point guards (backup J.J. Barea, in this case) — but mostly there is the wonderment of how a team that knows (better than anyone) what it takes to win a title lacking the necessary intensity. They’re not just halfway to a shocking second-round elimination. Down 2-0 as the best-of-seven series shifts to Dallas on Friday, they’re zeroing in on the historic crash and burn of a roster that couldn’t be bothered to be motivated anymore.

The Mavericks finished the 93-81 victory Wednesday night with such a commanding presence that Video L.A. center Andrew Bynum afterward cited “trust issues” and Lakers VP Magic Johnson announced via Twitter that “The Mavs have the Lakers pointing fingers at one another. It’s going to be a tough climb to come back and I think their chances are slim.” Plus, Ron Artest is facing a possible Game 3 suspension Video for a cheap-shot clothesline on J.J. Barea that added to the sense of unraveling. Other than that, everything’s fine.

Coach Phil Jackson hadn’t even waited until after the game to admit concern. Speaking about an hour before tipoff, he conceded, “Yeah, we’re worried now.” There was no sense he was going for deadpan.

“You are?” one of the reporters asked in clarification, if not surprise.

“This [Dallas] is a good team,” Jackson said. “We know that they have the same record we have. They have a lot of options in scoring. We’ve got to play a lot better to overcome this team in the course of the series. Our strength is we’ve always become better and better against teams in series. We hope to do that.”

Jackson insisted this was not some Philesque motivational ploy, rightly noting that his players weren’t within listening range and might not have the comments relayed to them down the hall in the locker room while mostly unavailable to the media.

“I’m really straight with you on that,” he said of his assessment of worry.

He saw holes in the defensive and intensity issues, and then both jumped up into the Lakers’ faces by the end of the night. Jackson did miss on Pau Gasol. He stuck up for his All-Star power forward, noting the good Gasol had done in Game 1, only to have him get shown up by Dirk Nowitzki and eventually get booed by fans frustrated by a flailing attempt at a playoff game.

By the end of the night he will never live down if L.A. does get eliminated, the only question was whether Gasol would be better off bolting the locker room to avoid Kobe Bryant or staying in the locker room to avoid the rest of Southern California.

“Obviously down 2-0 you’ve got to be worried about staying in this series and making a run, coming down [to Dallas] and getting one game,” Jackson said. “Start with the first game and go from there. That’s what you do.”

That’s all they can do. The Lakers, their bravado nowhere to be seen, have been reduced to just trying to claw their way back into the series. It’s not December and it is time to panic.

Scott Howard-Cooper has covered the NBA since 1988. You can e-mail him here and follow him on twitter.

Dallas takes Game 1, 96-94

Dallas rallied late and Kobe Bryant missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer as the Mavs won Game 1

VIDEO

LOS ANGELES — The Mavericks will be glad to have that composure conversation, now that they survived the longest seven-tenths of a second in team history, now that, in the end, they did a lot more than survive Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.

They were on the road, in the third different city in as many outings, facing an opponent that knows all about winning in the clutch, and were down 16 points early in the third quarter and heading toward a blowout loss. Worst of all for the Mavericks, they were coming unhinged, making foolish decisions.

Then, they made a stand.

The big deficit disappeared, followed by the premature celebration around cavernous Staples Center. Dallas would beat the Lakers 96-94 in this West semifinal opener because it didn’t follow the first instinct of collapsing into the swamp that formed around both sides of halftime. It dug in for a comeback victory that has to be a confidence boost for a team that surely can use one in these situations.

The postseason has been tortuous territory for the Mavericks. From coughing up the commanding 2-0 series lead and a 13-point cushion in the fourth quarter of Game 3 against the Heat in the 2006 Finals, to shrinking into the history books with a meek showing against the Warriors in a first-round mega-upset in 2007, to as recently as April 23. That was the Brandon Roy Game, except it was also the day Dallas updated its resume by wasting a 23-point lead on the Trail Blazers in a loss.

There has always been another recovery for these Mavs, so far. They responded to the gut check in Portland by winning the next two games to advance and clinching that series on the road, before coming to Los Angeles and climbing off the mat again, and on the road again.

The flash moment at the end of the first half and the start of the second, that was more like it, the kind of disintegration that has come to define the postseason Mavericks. Jason Terry made a ridiculous decision by challenging Lamar Odom and fouling deep in the backcourt with seven-tenths of a second on the clock as Odom was flinging up a no-chance shot. Odom made three free throws. And when Dirk Nowitzki whipped an elbow while positioning for a potential rebound on the last attempt from the line, he was called for a technical, Kobe Bryant converted that, and Dallas had handed over four unnecessary points when it should have been in the locker room trailing only 49-44.

When the Lakers opened the second half with a 7-0 burst, the two-time defending champions had a 60-44 cushion in this one.

In perfect position to wilt again, the Mavs instead stepped up. They shot 61.1 percent in the third quarter, overcame seven turnovers, and closed to within three late in the period before trailing 78-71 heading into the fourth. Once there, they shot 52.6 percent, didn’t have a turnover and the Lakers managed just 31.8 percent. The comeback was complete as Dirk Nowitzki scored 11 of his team-high 28 points in the decisive 12 minutes.

Of course he did. In just the first round, Nowitzki hit the Trail Blazers for 18 points in the fourth of Game 1, 14 in the same stretch of Game 2 and 14 in the quarter of the Game 6 clincher, all Dallas victories. All moments of composure.

Mavericks visit the Lakers Monday

Monday, May 2, 2011

10:30 PM ET – Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA

Growing up in the gigantic shadow cast by the Los Angeles Lakers in Southern California, what’s next for the Dallas Mavericks is basically a dream come true for Tyson Chandler.

“I love it, I love it,” the fiery Mavericks 7-footer said after the Mavericks finished off the Portland Trail Blazers at the Rose Garden Thursday night to claim their first round playoff series 4-2. “I’ve been waiting on this all my life.”

Few people would call a date in the Western Conference semifinals against the two-time defending NBA champion Lakers a dream come true. But these Mavericks are different. They are neither in awe of nor in fear of the Lakers, or any other team for that matter. Picked by many to succumb to the lower-seeded Blazers, the Mavericks played with a ruthless energy and unbridled confidence that helped them thwart every run the Blazers made to stave off elimination.

“We’re such a confident team,” Jason Terry said. “We have so many veteran guys, starting at the top with Jason [Kidd] on down to Dirk [Nowitzki], that we believe. Especially in close ballgames, we’ve been winning them all season long. So we’re confident.”

The Mavericks won with three staples their coach, Rick Carlisle, said would be crucial to their playoff success.

Timing, Guts and Will were the words he uttered after their Game 1 win.

Those words had to echo in the ears of his players Thursday night as they battled back from an early 12-point deficit to take a 52-43 halftime lead, an advantage that they never relinquished. They had to withstand a maniacal comeback effort led by Blazers’ swingman Gerald Wallace, who played through back pain after halftime, finishing with 32 points and 12 rebounds in a losing effort. Nowitzki countered with 14 of his game-high 33 points in the fourth quarter. He also had 11 rebounds and four assists.

“We talked about it before, we talked about it during the game,” Nowitzki said of the sense of urgency the Mavericks played with, “how we just had to keep fighting.”

It was the sixth game in this series decided in the fourth quarter, and the first in 10 games the Mavericks and Blazers have played all season won by the road team.

The team capable of turning it up at the right time, gutting out those clutch minutes and being strong enough to will their way to a win earned it the hard way. And Game 6 was no different. The Blazers outscored the Mavericks 34-28 in the fourth quarter, but Nowitzki, with some timely offensive help from Shawn Marion, Jason Kidd, Terry and Jose Barea, helped the Mavericks push through.

It was the sort of performance that led Marion on an energetic postgame tirade about all that he and his NBA brethren have to deal with from critics, far and near, nit-picking their every move on and off the court.

He also made sure to remind anyone willing to listen that just because the Mavericks were written off by some — losing in the first round of the playoffs in three of the past four years has a way of inspiring those sorts of things — doesn’t mean they give a … “the word-he-used-wasn’t-suitable-for-print” … what any of their critics say. Since the start of the 2006 NBA Finals, which began the Mavericks’ recent run of postseason futility, they’d gone just 2-18 on the road in the postseason.

“The playoffs are all about matchups,” Marion said. “You could have the best record in the league and you can come up against a team that really causes bad matchups for you and what can you do? Do you put it on coaches? Do you put it on the players? If it’s a bad matchup it’s a bad matchup. It is what it is.”

So how do these Mavericks match up against the Lakers, a team they haven’t faced in the postseason since 1988?

“I think we match up very well with them,” Marion said. “(Andrew) Bynum might be just a little taller than everybody else, otherwise … but it’s about our bench, pretty much, that’s where we have to come in and our bench has to outwork theirs and we have to go out there and play. But this is going to be a good challenge. They are the defending champs and really, what more can you ask for?”

The Mavericks certainly are not asking anyone to join their bandwagon. When they blew that 23-point lead in the fourth quarter of Game 4 against the Blazers, plenty of folks jumped off.

They didn’t sulk. They didn’t lose focus. They just kept grinding and won Game 5 to set up Thursday night’s close-out game.

“I choose not to look back,” Carlisle said when asked if he felt like that Game 4 loss was a character building exercise this team needed. “A big part of life is acceptance of your situation, whatever it is. You have to make the best of whatever is thrown your way. I’ll tell you this … walking into this place and playing a playoff game is no fun. This is the loudest place I’ve ever been, and I’ve been a lot of places in 27 years.

“For our guys to hang in and be able to win in this environment is really huge for us. To go through what we went through in Game 4, these things happen for a reason. But we feel our work has just begun.”

Now comes a series dealing with Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson and the Lakers’ mystique.

“Not a lot of people picked us to win this (Portland) series and not a lot of people are going to pick us to win the next series,” Nowitzki said. “We’re just going to go out there and keep competing, play smart and play off each other the way we have all season and we’ll see what happens.”

We shall see.

Oh well: Mavs know they could be resting

DALLAS — After the impressive Game 5 victory, Jason Kidd was asked if two days off prior to Thursday’s Game 6 will help keep him fresh.

Kidd just smiled and said, you play ’em when they schedule ’em.

Thing is Kidd knew darn well that the NBA wouldn’t have had to schedule Game 6 at all if the Dallas Mavericks had protected a 23-point lead in the final 13:16 and a 10-point lead in the final 3:33 of Game 4.

Monday’s Game 5 win would have eliminated the Portland Trail Blazers and the Mavs would have become the first team in either conference to advance in the playoffs.

And after the NBA on Tuesday night released a start date of Monday for the Dallas-Portland vs. Los Angeles-New Orleans semifinal series, the Mavs and Kidd would have been sitting pretty with a week to rest up, most likely for the two-time defending champion Lakers, who took a 3-2 lead over the Hornets late Tuesday night.

But doing it the hard way seems to be the Mavs’ way. Dirk Nowitzki said it’s tough knowing they could be watching everyone else play, but he figures the way the rest of the West has gone, it’s not surprising they’re still going, too.

“Yeah, I mean I think coming into the playoffs the way it already shaped up down the stretch, the West is wide open,” Nowitzki said. “I think that’s what you see now in the playoffs. Teams can be beaten. No team really looks unbeatable right now. So we’ve just got to keep on plugging and keep on fighting and hopefully get a big win on Thursday and go from there.”

The Los Angeles Lakers will conclude Game 6 at the New Orleans Hornets Thursday night before the Mavs tip at Portland. If Dallas fails to clinch the series, Game 7 will be back at American Airlines Center on Saturday night.

If the Mavs win it then, they will fly to Los Angeles on Sunday and begin the second round Monday night.

Tim Donaghy Has A Theory On Danny Crawford And The Mavericks

Tim Donaghy joined ESPN Radio Dallas with Galloway and Company to discuss his reaction to Crawford being assigned the game, why it’s not a coincidence the Mavs are just 3-16 in playoff games reffed by Danny Crawford, the story he tells in his book about the situation, why it could be different now that he’s called attention to it and the general performance this season by NBA officials.

His reaction when he saw Danny Crawford was officiating Game 2 in Dallas:
“You think that the league would put him on a game maybe in another series, but to put him in this situation, teams like that, for some reason they still enjoy tormenting Mark Cuban a little bit.”

Could it be that it was just coincidence that the Mavs were 2-16 in games reffed by Crawford before Tuesday night?:
“No, absolutely not. I think that would be absolutely impossible to put that as a mere coincidence. It’s no secret that when Ed Rush was supervisor of officials, he had a hatred for Mark Cuban and Danny Crawford was one of Rush’s right-hand guys. So he carried out what he thought would be in the best interest of him being in the good graces with the supervisor of officials. Some guys enjoy sticking it to Mark; it’s no secret.”

On the stories he tells about Crawford and the Mavs in his book:
“It’s in the book, he would laugh about his record. I think at the time I was around it was nine or 10 wins in a row that the opposing teams had. It’s funny stuff because now I’m actually working for a sports handicapper as a blogger and radio co-host and we talk about that all the time … how these personal relationships come into affect and still seem to be out there.”

If things will be different now that this story has come out and Crawford is in the spotlight:
“I can tell you this, right now David Stern’s not too happy that the focus is on Danny Crawford being a referee for this game. … It’s bad for the league if Danny Crawford makes a couple of calls in favor of Portland that are wrong. I think Danny Crawford is a quality referee and I think he’s going to do his best to be as [unbiased] as possible knowing that the spotlight is on him. That’s why they put a lot of these stop-gaps in there where things are reviewable. Those quick out-of-bounds plays that he could just easily give to Portland, they’re reviewable now. It’s not as easy as it was in the past for him to just give those marginal plays to the other team.”

Reflecting on the state of officiation overall in the NBA:
“I’ve watched a couple games the last couple nights and there’s pivotal calls that are taking place at pivotal times that are just flat-out wrong that are just standing out. They’re bad enough they’re taking place during the game, but in the last two or three minutes of the fourth quarter, it just buries teams. … It takes the credibility further away from the league.”