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McCowboys: Kellen & Payton Show Cowboys' McCarthy in Charge

Cowboy Maven on FanNation 2/3/2023 Richie Whitt
© Provided by Cowboy Maven on FanNation

DFW's GOAT, Mavs' three strikes, Rangers' leading woman, Cowboys' next coach and a radio ratings upset, all in this week's sports notebook.

WHITT'S END 2.3.23

Whether you’re at the end of your coffee, your day, your week or even your rope, welcome to Whitt’s End …

*Emmitt Smith’s 18,355 rushing yards. Cy Young’s 749 complete games. Wilt Chamberlain’s 50.2 single-season scoring average. Rafael Nadal’s 14 French Opens. Wayne Gretzky’s 1,963 career assists.

Tom Brady’s seven Super Bowls.

This week’s second annual “Tom Brady Retirement Announcement” got me to pondering his unbreakable record and his legacy in Boston over the lofty likes of Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Bobby Orr and Ted Williams. And made me consider … who is the GOAT of DFW sports?

Unlike Brady he doesn’t own a handful-and-a-half of championship rings, but Dirk Nowitzki is our slam-dunk poster boy. The Dallas Mavericks icon has a ring, a street, a retired number and, as of last Christmas, his own statue.

His combination of individual accomplishment, team success, unique humility, flawless citizenship, dogged philanthropy, unprecedented longevity and unwavering loyalty makes him the best, most consequential figure ever in Metroplex sports.

In our neighborhood he’s better than Pudge, Nolan, Byron, Hogan, Doak, Modano, Landry, Lilly, Roger and Troy-Emmitt-Michael.

Start with his resume.

In his first three decades he won a Most Valuable Player, a championship, NBA Finals MVP, 3-point shooting contest, 14 All-Star appearances, 15 playoff berths and, did we mention beating LeBron James and Dwyane Wade for the title in 2011? Dirk is simply one of the NBA’s best players of all-time. Still the only man to record 31,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 3,000 assists, 1,000 steals, 1,000 blocks and 1,000 3-pointers. He’s No. 6 on the scoring list, behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, LeBron James, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan.

But his immortal allure is deeper than numbers. He is substance over style.

Through hard work and diligent preparation, he avoided major injury. While critics fixated on how Nowitzki didn’t guard, he evolved offensively until he was simply unguardable. In doing so, he revolutionized the game for 7-footers and invented a new position – the “stretch four” – for a 120-year-old sport.

Dirk never demanded a trade. Never whined for more touches. Never slipped off to Cabo before a playoff series. Never blamed selfish, angry behavior on “passion.”

He deserves our GOAT distinction because he both made the right plays and did things the right way.

In music, there is Willie. In cycling, there is Lance. In appetizers, there is Queso.

In DFW sports, there is Dirk.

Just Dirk.

*Make no mistake, these are now the Dallas McCowboys. With Kellen Moore leaving and Sean Payton not arriving, 2023 belongs to Mike McCarthy. 

After another failed season, the Cowboys are further committed to Dak Prescott, still intrigued by Odell Beckham and eager to let McCarthy install a new offense and call the shots from his old Green Bay Packers playbook. Extending the quarterback’s contract (maybe 10 more years?). 

More control for the coach (maybe for as long as Tom Landry)? Let's put it this way: McCarthy is (even though he's hiring an offensive coordinator) his own offensive coordinator. The guy he hires will be largely an "administrative assistant.''

And while run-it-back Dan Quinn is a gigantic presence here, DQ defers to Mike as well.

Definitely moves associated with a team that made a deep playoff run. Oh, wait …

*The more I watch NBA teams smartly trap the ball out of Luka Doncic’s hands and the Mavs’ fate rest upon the 3-point shooting of Dorian Finney-Smith and Spencer Dinwiddie, the more I’m convinced they won’t win the title this season.


Barring trades for another playmaker and increased interior presence, this Dallas team is ultimately doomed to be entertaining and competitive, but unsuccessful.

To blame? Owner Mark Cuban. 

While Jalen Brunson flourishes in New York, his old team flounders without him. Cuban’s resume is now littered with three free-agent pock marks: Steve Nash. Tyson Chandler. Brunson. When the Mavs fall short this spring, it will mark 25 consecutive seasons with Dirk and/or Luka on the roster and only one championship to show for it. 

That’s not merely underachieving. That’s almost criminal.

*Screw pitchers and catchers, when does Margot Robbie report for Texas Rangers’ spring training? The fake-but-oh-so-viral Twitter story made its rounds last week and somehow lumped first baseman Nathaniel Lowe onto the heap of dudes supposedly dating the actress who, for the record, has been married since 2016. 

Lowe was the Rangers’ Player of the Year and a Sliver Slugger Award winner in 2022. He is not, however, enticing Lowe to Surprise, Arizona or Arlington this season. 

Shame. It’s been a minute since one of our players created a TMZ buzz with a sexy sidekick. Tony Romo/Jessica Simpson and Lamar Odom/Khloe Kardashian seems like eons ago. Troy Aikman/Janine Turner even longer.

*In the world of radio, “Holiday” ratings periods can be tricky. In December, mainstay hosts often take vacations, junior-varsity staffs take the airwaves and listener habits fluctuate with busy social agendas. But DFW’s numbers for the last month of 2022 are downright wonky. 

As in, The Fan beat The Ticket. In the two previous months, The Ticket held comfortable leads. 

Is it a holiday outlier? Likely. But for new station The Freak, unfortunately, December merely exposed more of the same. Ratings among Men 25-54 Monday-Friday 6a-7p for Dec. 8-Jan. 4:

Fan 6.1/ Ticket 4.9/ Freak 1.1

*I was half-kidding 15 years ago when I dubbed white pickups as the most dangerous vehicles on our DFW roads. But since then “White Truck Wednesday” has proven true … even on ice.

*With a tear in my eye – and admittedly a little chuckle in my heart – I’ll always remember Roger Staubach’s final completion. Because it was called by the late, great Vin Scully, and because it was caught by offensive lineman Herb Scott in a 21-19 playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams in 1979. 

The 212th and final interception of Brady’s legendary career? Caught – and still possessed – by Cowboys’ safety Jayron Kearse in Dallas’ Wild Card win in Tampa. 

Let’s be honest, when we saw Brady’s bad decision compounded by a horrible throw into the end zone, we knew it was time for him to hang ’em up.

*Despite missing five games this season Prescott threw 15 interceptions. In 23 seasons, Brady never threw more than 14.



*My bet for the next head coach of the Cowboys? Dan Quinn.

*Next week DFW Chick-fil-A restaurants will give away free 5-count nuggets to customers using their app. In keeping with its homophobic and discriminatory policy, however, the fast-food restaurant will offer nary a smile to anyone in the LGBTQ community.

*Cowboys this season had only two players who were the best at their position, at least according to a vote by the NFL Players Association. Zack Martin at right guard and KaVontae Turpin at punt returner, that’s it. Interestingly, Micah Parsons was voted only the fourth-best edge rusher while Tony Pollard is No. 3 at running back, ahead of Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley.

*Something that appears to be true but just can’t be true (can it?): Dinwiddie is better without Luka. 

Think about how good he was (alongside Brunson) in the first three playoff games against Utah last season. Then consider how great he was last week with Doncic out against the Suns (36 points) and Jazz (35). Dinwiddie joined Luka, Dirk, Mark Aguirre and Kristaps Porzingis as the only Mavs to produce back-to-back 35+ point games. Doncic returned last Monday and … poof, 12 points.

*Something I used to get giddy about but these days barely notice: The Rangers’ equipment truck leaves Arlington for spring training in Arizona Friday at Noon.

*The ability to navigate risk-reward is one of the most vital aspects of life. Or death. In a case this week in Arlington, the reward was the perceived joy, freedom and “winning” of driving fast, without a seat belt, on ice, over a bridge. The risk? Losing control, going airborne off the bridge and plunging to your death

Choose wisely.

*Said it before and I’ll repeat: Someone needs to take away Micah’s Twitter. 

I’m all for players having a voice, connecting to their fans and even communicating brands or messages. But – take it from me – it’s impossible to respond to every trend on Twitter without inserting foot into mouth. Or, in Parsons’ case, de-clawing yourself. 

Micah likes to portray himself as a ferocious “Lion.” But when he first becomes a Philadelphia Eagles fan – Pennsylvania roots notwithstanding – and then whines when called out for being a Philadelphia Eagles fan, he sounds less like the scary king of the jungle and more like a thin-skinned keyboard warrior. 

Mystery is intimidating. Mouthiness is emasculating.

*Inflation is not a “Biden thing.” It’s a global problem. Right, England?

*If you’ll still be Jonesing for football after next week’s Super Bowl, try out the new Arena League in Mesquite. The league will feature four teams – Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and Las Vegas – and play all games at Mesquite Arena beginning March 5.

*Monkeys stolen from the Dallas Zoo and found in a vacant house in nearby Lancaster? Where’s Ace Ventura when you finally need him? But, and stick with me on this, what if the man “collecting” animals by the pair inside the abandoned church building is named … Noah? dun-Dun-DUN!

*When LeBron James passes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar next week as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer and steams toward 40,000 points, folks will label his record “unbreakable.” 

Reminder that Luka already has 8,500 and won’t turn 24 until the end of this month. When LeBron was 23 he had 10,689 points. If Luka doesn’t catch him it won’t be because of productivity, but rather durability (and COVID). Through their first four seasons LeBron averaged 79 games; Luka only 66.

*In 2017, Sloane Stephens defeated Madison Keys in the U.S. Open women’s tennis final. Next week, they’ll play a match at SMU to kick off the Dallas Open. The second-annual tournament is growing, this year featuring top American men’s stars Frances Tiafoe, Taylor Fritz, Jenson Brooksby and defending champion Reilly Opelka.

*When I die I wanna be cremated and my ashes be put in an hourglass. That way I’ll still be around all the … time.

*Wintry mix in DFW … Brady retiring … Mavs hovering around .500 in need of help for Luka … Cowboys doubling down on Dak in wake of disappointing playoff loss to 49ers … Not a peep about Rangers despite free-agent spending and spring training looming … Sure enough, Groundhog Day 2023 felt eerily similar to Groundhog Day 2022.

*This Weekend? Friday let’s take a friend to the hospital for surgery. Saturday let’s visit Dad still in the hospital. Sunday let’s try our best to avoid hospitals. As always, don’t be a stranger.

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