WHITT’S END: 2.18.22
Whether you’re at the end of your coffee, your day, your week or even your rope, welcome to Whitt’s End …
*We’re numb to the lunacy of Luka Doncic stats, but this one sticks out in a week in which he scored 51, 45 and 49 points: Only 22 times in NBA history has a player produced a game of 45+ points/ 15+ rebounds/ 8+ assists.
Doncic has done it twice in the last four days.
*Once upon a time the Dallas Cowboys tried to mimic the 2021 Los Angeles Rams, pushing all their poker chips to the center in a go-for-broke ploy to finally win a championship.
It was 2006 and at training camp in Oxnard, California Jerry Jones brought in the likes of receiver Terrell Owens and kicker Mike Vanderjagt, while putting his trust in Hall-of-Fame coach Bill Parcells who sported a T-shirt that read “Who’s All In?”
Said the owner that Summer, “We’ve made decisions that indicate we’re going for it this year. It’s pretty obvious we have high expectations.”
Quarterback Drew Bledsoe was a house of cards. Plans changed. Tony Romo emerged. Ultimately, a bobbled field-goal hold snuffed Jones’ strategy into another Texas Fold ’Em.
After watching the Rams hit the Super Bowl jackpot 15 years later, should Jones – who will turn 80 next season – make drastic do-or-die moves again in 2022? Or, has he already? A year after breaking the bank to keep quarterback Dak Prescott and seemingly preparing to re-sign receiver Michel Gallup, he retained both coveted coordinators and coach Mike McCarthy, if not in an “unusual” work environment.
While the Rams added players such as Matthew Stafford, Odell Beckham Jr., Von Miller and Eric Weddle on the fly, the Cowboys pieces are seemingly ready to fit into a puzzle. Against a first-place schedule in 2022, it might be difficult for Dallas to replicate 12 wins, 27.5 points per game and 34 takeaways.
Nonetheless, I wouldn’t blame Jones if called up Parcells and asked to re-introduce those vintage 2006 tees.
*Despite Thursday night’s rout of the Pelicans in New Orleans, there’s just nothing to suggest this Dallas Mavericks team is championship caliber.
At the All-Star breaks of the two seasons they advanced to the NBA Finals, the Mavs were winning at least 70 percent of their games. In 2006 they were 41-11 (78.8); in 2011 40-16 (71.4). As Luka Doncic heads to Cleveland this weekend, these Mavs are only 35-24 (59.3).
Good news: Since New Year’s Eve they are 19-6.
Bad news: Four of those six losses came against teams below .500, including inexplicable losses to 13-47 Orlando and 18-40 Oklahoma City.
I’d feel great about their chances of winning a playoff series for the first time since 2011 … if in the first round they played the Pelicans. On Dec. 1 they scored a season-high 139 points in New Orleans and Thursday night made nine 3-pointers and scored 45 points in the first quarter of another easy win.
*This is the week that … pitchers and catchers did not report. And looks like it might be a while before we see new Texas Rangers Marcus Semien and Corey Seager. One of these days they’re going to be the best Christmas gift we all forgot about.
*Lotsa talk about Matthew Stafford’s Hall-of-Fame resume being boosted by a Super Bowl win. Current Cowboys that would get a whiff of Canton with a championship? Zack Martin (7 All-Pro, 7 Pro Bowls, 2010s All-Decade). Tyron Smith (4 All-Pro, 8 Pro Bowls, 2010s All-Decade). Ezekiel Elliott (2 rushing titles, 2 All-Pro, 3 Pro Bowls). Even Mike McCarthy (1 Super Bowl, 143 Wins, 10 Playoffs in 15 Seasons).
*Not a great week for DFW wildlife. Cockfighting roosters in Dallas. A venomous cobra in Grand Prairie. But, mostly, the sad saga of a fallen eagles’ nest at White Rock Lake. In the latest episode in “The Wind is Good For Nuthin’”, this week’s 25-mph gusts blew a 100-pound nest out of a tree that belonged to Bald Eagles “Nick” and “Nora”. It appears the couple is trying to rebuild, hopefully on a more sturdy branch.
*Though we butted heads professionally more than a couple times during my five decades covering Jones’ Cowboys, I was floored this week to learn that the perpetrator of alleged voyeurism that prompted the team to award a $2.4 million settlement to four cheerleaders was media relations director Rich Dalrymple.
He denies pointing his cell phone at undressing cheerleaders in 2015, but a couple curious coincidences: If he was totally innocent, why would the team pay the settlement? Why would he receive a disciplinary letter? Why did he abruptly retire – without a retirement party, press release, anything – a couple weeks before this story broke?
I wrote a couple weeks ago that a tell-all book by Jones’ right-hand man the last 30+ years would be juicy. The chapter about Dalrymple’s alleged voyeurism would be even more compelling.
*Hoping the statue of limitations has long expired, I’m going to tell on myself. In 1991-92, a long-time friend got me involved in a pyramid scheme called “Friends Network.” Pay some money in, bring in three “friends” below me and – voila – one day I drove to a cabinet company outside Denton and walked away with a manilla stuffed with $12,000 cash. So I kinda sympathize with the Dallas police officer indicted this week for making almost $50,000 in a similar system. Still not sure there are “victims” in those schemes, only risk-acknowledging “losers.”
*Was watching ESPN this week when forced to listen to NFL “reporter” Kimberley A. Martin. During an NFL roundtable discussion she was asked if she thought Mike McCarthy would be the Cowboys coach at the end of the 2022 season. Her answer (and, no, I’m not kidding): “Ehhhhhh, hopefully … for his sake? Honestly, I mean, that’s, I, I just feel like this situation … this is not going away. They have to not just start off strong they have to, like, continuously win all season.” Hopefully? For his sake? Sorry, but that’s embarrassing amateur “analysis” I can get on any barstool in America.
*Would you polar plunge into a 40-degree swimming pool? No. Then, how about doing it for charity? See ya Saturday (maybe).
*After a two-year absence because of COVID, one of the coolest events in DFW returns next month. And this year the St. Patrick’s Day Greenville Avenue Parade should be more festive than ever with Grand Marshal Dirk Nowitzki. Immeasurable upgrade from 2012 when the co-Marshals were dorks named Mark Elfenbein and Richie Whitt.
*Price of success, er, popularity: Good chance the Cowboys – who opened the 2021 NFL season playing in the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers home opener on a Thursday night – serve as the same fodder for the 2022 opener in L.A. in seven months.
*Wait, since it’s powered by your hormones shouldn’t it be “hormy”?
*This Weekend? Saturday let’s celebrate “little” brother’s 52nd birthday. Sunday let’s visit the folks down in Johnson County. As always, don’t be a stranger.