What happened in Jerry's World last night on Monday Night Football was nothing short of a travesty, a calamity, a monstrosity, and an overall gut-punch to anyone who associates their fandom with the Dallas Cowboys. Your quarterback is presumably out for the season (and gets obliterated to the point that multiple folks start text messaging, tweeting, phone calling, and carrier pigeoning me asking if I'm going to write an obituary article on Tony Romo. This I now find hilarious.) Your coach is in a malaise, your owner only really cares about his marketing scheme and how he's going to fill the seats in Jerry's World, and the fan base are dealing with the five stages of grief laid out by Kenny just last week.
However, ever since the season started for the Cowboys, there has been one man who has sparkled when the light seemed dim. There's only one man on this team that looks like he actually gives a damn, and there is one man that is exuding the leadership and performance on the football field that should give hope to the Cowboy faithful...his name is Dez Bryant.
I've had the opportunity to watch Dez Bryant up close and personal since his days at Oklahoma State. I don't need to go into his death-defying catches he made at T. Boone Pickens Stadium, or the fact that he insisted that he wear #1 (which I will write an article about this one day, the fact that not every person on a team should be allowed to wear #1, don't you hate it when you see folks that are wack wearing that number? Or is it just me? I digress) during his days in Stillwater. The fact of the matter is this: Dez Bryant gave people a reason to believe in the Oklahoma State Cowboys that had not happened previously, since the days of the dynamic duo of Thurman Thomas and Barry Sanders, to the origination of the greatness/craziness that is the Mad Hatter, aka Les Miles.
Moreover, when searching for counsel, the man reached out to Deion Sanders and looked for guidance in how to play his role on his next move, the NFL. Yes, he lied about it, and yes, he probably should not have had those discussions with Deion Sanders, but at the same time, who ELSE would you really want to talk to other than the great Deion Sanders? The man spent 15+ years covering the greatest wide receivers of our generation and lived a life that few could imagine. If anyone could preach the gospel, it would be Deion.
The general public ridiculed Dez, and considered him a trouble-maker. Then the draft rolls around and they ask him crazy questions about his mother, asking if she's a prostitute and everything. Now, we had a discussion that reached a fevered pitch on Twitter, and cats were talking about punching Jeff Ireland in the mouth, having the homeboys from the hood take Ireland "out the game" and committing all types of tomfoolerous acts to the man. Dez Bryant admitted that he was highly upset, but didn't show his emotion at all. He bottled it up and kept it moving.
If you didn't before, let's do it now...can we give this man a standing ovation? Please and thank you.
(clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap)
So after all of this, Dez Bryant falls to the #24 selection in the draft and lands in the lap of the Dallas Cowboys. The same Dallas Cowboys who have always felt like they let one get away in Randy Moss, and they said that they wouldn't let that same opportunity pass them by again. Jerry Jones, being the mercurial and loquacious owner that only Jerry Jones could be, decided to bestow this young man with an honor that only a special wide receiver could be blessed with.
He assigned Dez Bryant the hallowed #88 that was only greatly worn by Drew Pearson and Michael Irvin.
"I know me having a chance to put on No. 88 really means a lot to Mr. Jerry Jones, I feel like I'm excited to wear it, and I'm very excited that he thinks I can be a great player and wear that number." - Dez Bryant
Well, what have we seen since the powers that be decided to give this man #88...
- The man refused to carry Roy E. Williams pads in training camp.
The fact that folks stood up and were glad that he took a stand against Roy Williams was amazing within itself. I think more than anything it showed that he wasn't bowing down to anyone on the team and that he came to the organization to prove that he wants to be the best wide receiver in the NFL.
- The man made amends with Roy E. Williams, swallowed his pride, and even bought the man the new J's when the came out.
This baffled me, but the man realized that the team is only as good as the chemistry that built between them. Plus, you've got to think that Bryant had some wise old men come into his life (Michael Irvin) and tell him how to go about this. The great thing for me was that he listened and wasn't too stubborn to let his ego get in the way of things.
- The man spent $55,000 on dinner for the entire team.
That's just absurd, but that's why the man is in the NFL. I guess.
- The man has a ton to learn, but there is no question that he is not only the most gifted athlete on the entire Dallas Cowboys roster, but there is no person on the team that has played with as much heart and tenacity as Dez Bryant.
This is not saying that the man is the best player on the team, and sure there is still a TON that the man has to learn about being an all-world wide receiver, but he has exuded a sense of professionalism, leadership ability, and sheer talent that in my mind makes him the new leader of this Dallas Cowboys team...
...and whenever the new coach of the Dallas Cowboys comes into town in 2011, he needs to look Dez Bryant in the eye, and put the "C" on his chest. Because there isn't a player on that team other than #88 that has exuded the qualities of leadership that Dez Bryant has. Shame on the general management for not finding players that come from that ilk, and shame on the players themselves for not stepping up and providing that type of example. Did anyone notice who the first person was that checked on Romo after his life almost came to an end? Yep, it was Dez. That's why the Dallas Cowboys are 1-5.
Keep doing work #88, I hate the Dallas Cowboys...but I've always rooted for #88 in blue and white. (Ok...other than Antonio Bryant.)
P.S. As a reminder, checkout the livest sports talk (and hopefully on the radio soon) show around, "The Unsportsmanlike Conduct Show" as we are live Wednesday's at 9pm Eastern at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/edthesportsfan! Download our podcasts if you missed the live show as well!