In this week’s edition of Rob’s Rants we delve into the enemy among us, an egomaniac with an agenda, and one of the more overhyped athletes in Philadelphia sports history.
Local Cowboys fans
It’s that time of year again when the Eagles and Cowboys meet for the first time. I’ve never been shy about my hatred of the Cowboys. It was bred into me at a very young age by my father and has not dissipated one bit all these years later. It’s a tradition I’ve happily passed down to my kids. It would be easy to reel off some of the individuals over the years that continued to fuel my fire ... Mr. Fedora himself, Tom Landry and his fraudulent, gentlemanly persona. Behind that façade he was a coach who harbored arrogant, cheap shot artists of players. (See: Dennis Thurman). Landry actually ran up the score in a replacement game.
Next up was Jimmy Johnson and his “How Bout ‘Dem Cowboys.” The rap sheets ran deep for old Jimmy’s squad. Michael Irvin, Leon Lett, Nate Newton, just to name a few. There was Deion Sanders and his preening, Emmitt Smith taking off his helmet, Irvin and his first-down signal. Great team, great players, no question. But they also epitomized arrogance. Jump to the modern day and you have Jerry Jones, Dez Bryant and Ezekiel Elliott. Enough said.
So while the players own a piece of the Cowboys hate, they pale in jackassery comparison to the fan base. I don’t mean those from Dallas. I’m referring to ones born and raised in the Delaware Valley with no ties to Texas. You know them. We all know them. The agitator. The ones crying out for attention. The contrarians. The ”look at me” guys and gals. The “I have no sense of communal pride” peeps. They love the Cowboys because when they were kids they liked the star on the helmet. They are the ones who are constantly living in the past, referencing the '90s or rings.
The root of these frauds — aside from bad parenting — is that at their very core, they are front-runners. Most jumped on that bandwagon when the Cowboys were winning Super Bowls. They are the first to bail when the going gets tough. Dig deep into their closet and you’re likely to find Yankees and Lakers gear as well. They are the worst kind of fans. They have no civic connection. They are outliers, subversives. It’s not easy being an Eagles fan by any stretch, for reasons we know all too well. But it will be all that much sweeter when they finally win and this community can celebrate as one, something Philadelphia Cowboy fans will never understand.
Speaking of the Cowboys, if you believe for a second that Jones' attempted ouster of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell derives from anything else other than his anger over Elliott’s suspension, I’ve got some swampland in Jersey I’d love you to take a look at.
Does Goodell make a monster salary? Yes. Has he made massive mistakes along the way in his handling of issues such as “Spygate,” Ray Rice, and “Deflategate?” No question. But I didn’t hear Jerry voicing his outrage then. The other owners want and continue to keep Goodell in charge because he makes them boatloads of money, plain and simple. Jerry has been right there in support of Goodell with his peers for a very long time. Suddenly, that’s changed. I wonder why? If Zeke had won his appeal or gotten suspended a game or two, we’re not hearing about Goodell’s salary demands, private jets or lifetime benefits.
Jones has had a great deal of success in his life and he used to having things his way, on his own terms. He also knows his personal clock is ticking to win another championship. And he realizes without Elliott for six games, those chances are significantly hampered this season.
When the Sixers traded away Nerlens Noel last offseason to the Mavericks for what amounted to Justin Anderson and a first-round pick they were never going to see, there were people in town that were outraged. They couldn’t fathom how the Sixers didn’t get more for such a talent. Or they couldn’t comprehend moving a player with such value and skill. Fast forward to this past offseason where Noel reportedly turned down a four-year, $70 million deal and ended up settling for a one-year, $4.1 million contract. He’s since fired his agent.
Through 13 games this year, here’s his stat line: 5.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 0.8 blocks, 0.8 steals, 16 minutes a game. In the last three games, he’s played six minutes, gotten a DNP-CD, and played two minutes, respectively. He’s playing behind 31-year-old Salah Mejri on a team that is tied for the fewest wins in the NBA. There’s nothing special about Noel. His career stats aren’t overly impressive: 9.7 points per game, 7.3 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.6 steals. He’s a nice role player with defensive ability. He’s limited offensively and has never worked hard enough on his game to become good at that end. He may think he is but he’s not a centerpiece worth breaking the bank over.