Thursday, September 18, 2008

Dear Alex Marvez of Fox Sports

Alex Marvez is a perfect example of why people loath teams like the Dallas Cowboys; Boston Red Sox, Celtics, and New England Patriots; New York Yankees and Knicks; Los Angeles Lakers; etc. I cannot deny that another important factor is that these teams tend to be very good; nobody wastes time disliking a bad team unless we're talking college sports. But equally important is that these teams have obnoxious fan bases with national spokespersons who masquerade as "objective" sportswriters. All seem incapable of objectively discussing their chosen team.

In Marvez's latest piece about the Cowboys' shoot 'em up with the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night, he writes that Tony Romo was the hero. I don't know if Marvez is a Dallas fan, but I have to assume he is. Only a Cowboy (and subsequently a Romo) fan could watch that game and come away thinking that Romo was the best QB on the field, let alone the hero.

True, Romo put up good numbers and made some very nice throws. It is also true that McNabb was sacked a bunch while Romo was not. However, I don't see how these facts argue in Romo's favor. They both point to who the real heroes were for Dallas - the offensive line. It's not as if Romo was nimbly avoiding pressure all day (probably a good thing since the one time he did so, he proceeded to throw an ugly and ill-advised pick); those throws were possible because he could sit comfortably in an intact pocket courtesy of his earthmovers. If the only qualification for a great QB was to sit unmolested and hit open receivers downfield, there would be more elite QBs.

What is also true is that, although McNabb's supporting cast has vastly improved, it is still inferior to the Romo's. I've covered the o-line, but look at the skill players. Westbrook is superior to Barber, but the receiving corps is a no-contest. DeSean Jackson may mature into a game-changer, but he's not there yet. That's Philly's only bullet. Lining up on the other side, we have Terrell Owens and Jason Whitten. I have no love for TO as a loyal Niner fan, but there is simply no receiver like him. I don't understand why, but Whitten is one of the best tight ends in the game. Either would be the Iggles' best option (other than Westbrook, but he cannot be the option every snap).

But here is the thing that really gets me. Anyone familiar with football knows what I just typed; it is obvious from watching the game. Yet Marvez - true to the rabid fan's nature - delusionally tries to convince us that we did not see what we saw. It's as if Marvez is writing back in the '20s before there was a computer and television in every home; back when only the people at the game would think he's nuts. Yet his editor allows it to go to print and nobody calls him on it.

So it's not enough that we have to watch these teams win over and over. We have to watch them win and then watch again as the fans get to choose how and why through the anointed mouthpiece. It's not the o-line, it's Tony Romo. The $100+ million Red Sox' are somehow scrappy. Kobe is a hero for playing through a pinkie injury. Manny is just being Manny until he isn't. Jerry Jones and George Steinbrenner are to be congratulated for their passion and forgiven their "eccentricities." And that's off the top of my head.

The Cowboys won that game despite Tony Romo's fumble and interception. Once he relegated himself to sitting in the pocket and hitting wide open receivers, Philly was in trouble. Give most QBs that kind of time with those kind of weapons and the result would be the same, if not better.

Or buy Alex Marvez' version. It comes with a Tony Romo poster and Dallas foam finger.

No comments: