Mon March 4, 2013 5:28 am By Jason Cohen

There's construction being done at Darrell K. Royal-Memorial Stadium in Austin. Rebuilding. Football season is still months away, but certain aspects are a wreck.

This is not a metaphor.  

The work meant UT fans who came out to the Longhorns' two public spring practices this past Friday and Saturday were restricted to one end zone, not that it mattered: the low emotional temperature of the football fan base combined with UT's disappointing hoops season had a Twitter follower of the San Antonio Express-News' Mike Finger and the Cedric Golden of the Austin American-Statesman making the same joke one day apart.

The tweets:

 

And Golden:

So I went to Royal-Memorial Stadium for a spring football practice, and judging from the fan count, a UT basketball game broke out.

All jokes aside — and it’s a joke that just over 1,000 fans ventured out to watch their football team practice — the Horns are confronting a major problem this spring. 

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Tue February 26, 2013 12:59 am By Joe Nick Patoski

The passing of Jack Eskridge on Februrary 11 was noted by one of his former employers, the Dallas Cowboys Football Club, which cited Eskridge as the team's first equipment manager and one of Tom Landry's very first hires in 1960. But, arguably, Eskridge's most important contribution to the Cowboys was choosing a blue star to be the team's logo.

Eskridge's life was defined by numerous achievements, including witnessing the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima during World War Two, playing professional basketball for the Chicago Stags and the Indianapolis Jets, and coaching basketball as an assistant at the University of Kansas, where he recruited future superstar Wilt Chamberlain. But his simple choice of that star has resonated farther and wider than anything else he did.

It began as a blue star on the side of a white helmet—no white border around the star and not a spec of silver anywhere in the team's uniform. The Cowboys's other logo, a cartoon helmeted football player riding what appears to be a freaked-out miniature Shetland pony, was used to promote the team in print ads.

alternate Cowboys helmet

Before the 1964 season, there was some tinkering with the helmet logo that was credited to Tex Schramm, the Cowboys' first GM. The team experimented with a Cowboy boot with a star spur logo and considered a blue helmet with a white star, but neither gained traction. When the season started, though, players wore the now-familiar silver helmets with the blue star, which was now outlined in white.

Schramm continued experimenting trying to come up with the right shade of silver, according to Carol Hermanovski, who designed the football club's new offices at Expressway Towers at 6116 North Central Expressway and redid their bumper sticker to highlight the star.

"I'd meet with him, and he would say, 'Carol I want to show you something.' He'd say, 'What do you think about this color for the leggings for the pants?' He was obsessing constantly about that silver-blue color. He was so concerned about how that color looked on TV, and of course that was something you couldn't control because each person's TV was set differently. He was always trying to get that perfect silver blue. At times he got it a little much like a pale turquoise and I would tell him, 'No, Tex, it's got too much green in it. It looks too turquoise.'"

(Here's a year-by-year evolution of the Cowboys' look.)

This much is true: Eskridge's embrace of the star as helmet logo would have been called marketing brilliance, if such a term existed around pro football in the sixties. Of all the brands associated with the state of Texas, none is as well-known and instantly identifiable around the world as that blue star with the white border. No other sports franchise can claim a logo that's as simple and as instantly recognizable.

Helping to promote the star was the television show Dallas, which by 1980 was the most popular television show in the world, dubbed into 67 languages in more than ninety countries. No matter if viewers understood American culture, much less had an inkling about the city of Dallas—they knew the star, since the opening credits of every episode featured an aerial shot of Texas Stadium, zooming down through the hole in the roof to focus on the end zone where the letters spelled out "COWBOYS," accompanied by the five-pointed logo. The star said all that needed to be said.

Just think, it could have been that goofy cartoon player riding the midget pony, which is right up there with the oil derrick that ID'ed the Houston Oilers, or that silly patriot hiking the ball that Boston originally embraced.

Or it could have been just a big D, for the first letter of the city the team represented, which of could have been confused for Denver (although today, D might be more appropriate, since it could also be mistaken for Dysfunction, which pretty much sums up the current state of the franchise).

Whatever it represents, it goes back to Jack Eskridge. No matter what one thinks of the Dallas Cowboys, that iconic star represents the team, the city, the state, and NFL football better than any logo in sports.

(Stars from Chris Creamer's SportsLogos.Net, Boot helmet from Helmethut.com.)

Joe Nick Patoski is the author of THE DALLAS COWBOYS: The Outrageous History of the Biggest, Loudest, Most Hated, Best Loved Football Team in America (Little, Brown). Read an excerpt from it here

AP Photo/Aaron M. Sprecher 

Mon February 25, 2013 10:11 pm By Jason Cohen

Have you heard the one about the seven-foot tall wrestler who can't tell a decent Aggie joke?

Sunday, World Wrestling Entertainment came to College Station's Reed Arena, with Kevin Sumlin as the guest of honor. The A&M head football coach was either well-prepped or he really is a fan, judging from the tweet he sent out days before the SmackDown line-up got to town.

Sumlin was feted by current World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio. "Thank you for being such a great coach for this amazing university," the clean-cut Mexican blandly enthused.

"First of all, as a fan, it's a big deal to receive this honorary belt in person from you," Sumlin replied. "It's an even bigger honor to receive this belt in front of the Twelfth Man, THE GREATEST FANS IN THE WORLD! Y'know, sometimes, for us, it's kind of like you--you run into people that just talk too much..."

This, naturally, was Big Show's cue. Cancel that recruiting offer!

"Pardon me for interrupting this incredibly boring ceremony," he bellowed.

(BOO! BOO!)

"We've got an illegitimate champion in Alberto Del Rio passing out symbolic world heavyweight championships to people that don't deserve it."

(BOO! BOO!)

"Just because you're some kind of football coach at a second-rate university..." 

(BOO! YOU SUCK. S-E-C! S-E-C! GET HIM COACH!)

"Most of you people are so stupid you can't even chant 'Big Show Sucks' together. Why don't you have a seat ringside and I'm gonna show you how a true champion, myself, destroys the wannabe champion Alberto Del Rio."

Spoiler Alert: Del Rio and Coach Sumlin would prevail.)

Here's an audience-shot version which includes most of the fun (H/T, Brent Zwerneman of the Chron & Express-News).

And, via the WWE's official channel, a clip with better picture quality but much less action:

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Mon February 25, 2013 3:52 pm By Jason Cohen

“The University of Texas will change its colors to maroon and white before Texas goes purple, much less blue."

- Rick Perry, always thinking about college football (just like all of us).

(From the Wall Street JournalFor the back story, read Erica Greider's Thursday column.)

Thu February 21, 2013 4:44 pm By Jason Cohen

NFL quarterback Tim Tebow will no longer be appearing at First Baptist Church of Dallas April 28, news that was first released, as in all important matters of religion, sports and politics, via virtual tablet:

As CBSDFW.com reported, First Baptist leader Dr. Robert Jeffres

has claimed that Islam promoted pedophilia, said Judaism “leads people to an eternity of separation from God in hell,” and reportedly reduced Catholics, Hindus, Buddhists and others to members of cults....Jeffress denounced the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” by observing that "it’s a fact that [AIDS is] a gay disease so there’s a reasonable reason to exclude gays from the military.”

"I'm ashamed to like Tim Tebow now," Gregg Doyel of CBS Sports wrote when the appearance was still on, calling Jeffress "an evangelical cretin... who does the work of the Lord sort of like Westboro Baptist in Topeka, Kan., does the work of the Lord.I don't consider Robert Jeffress' theology to be Christianity, a religion built on love."

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