Daily Archives: December 5th, 2011

Super Bowl XLVI Halftime show will feature Madonna

Madonna, a multi Grammy Award-winning Universal Records recording artist, will perform in the Bridgestone Super Bowl XLVI Halftime Show on NBC on Sunday, Feb. 5, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, the NFL and NBC announced at halftime of Sunday night’s game between the New Orleans Saints and Detroit Lions. Madonna’s performance will be imagined by Cirque Du Soleil and Jamie King.

The Bridgestone Super Bowl halftime show is the most-watched musical event of the year. More than 162 million viewers in the U.S. watched last year’s show. The Super Bowl and halftime show will be broadcast worldwide.

Madonna joins an esteemed list of recent halftime acts that includes The Black Eyed Peas, The Who, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Prince, the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and U2.

A world class entertainer, singer, songwriter, producer, director, and video visionary, Madonna has sold more than 300 million records in the course of her three-decade career as The Material Girl. She is a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee. Her last tour was the most successful tour by a solo artist in history. Madonna is currently in the recording studio working on a new album scheduled to be released next year. Her new film W.E., which she directed, wrote and produced, is opening in a limited one-week release Dec. 9 in Los Angeles and will open nationally on Feb. 3, two days prior to Super Bowl XLVI.

Madonna has partnered with a creative team from Cirque du Soleil, Jamie King, and multimedia artists from Moment Factory, to create a signature performance for the Bridgestone Super Bowl XLVI Halftime Show.

This year marks the fifth time Bridgestone Americas has sponsored the Super Bowl halftime show. The tire company’s new brand campaign, fittingly titled "Time to Perform," will debut during the game.

The Bridgestone Super Bowl XLVI Halftime Show is an NFL Network production and will be executive produced by Ricky Kirshner and directed by Hamish Hamilton.

TEXAS TWO-STEP TURNS TEXAS TANGO: Playoff scenarios in the wild NFC East

Lets take at look at the remaining games to see what various outcomes would mean for the NFL’s playoff picture. As of today, the Dallas Cowboys would be the NFC East champion and No. 4 seed in the conference by virtue of their one-game division lead over the New York Giants.
 Who will be the BEAST of the EAST? 

But we know it’s not that simple, of course, since the Cowboys and the Giants have two games left against each other, and the outcomes of those games will go a long way toward determining the division champ. Due to the Cowboys’ loss Sunday in Arizona, we can’t even mathematically rule out the Philadelphia Eagles or the Washington Redskins, either of whom still could, technically, win the division with an 8-8 record. But let’s save those two nutty possibilities for last and focus on what appear to be the more likely outcomes. I looked through a few of the possibilities for the final four weeks and tried to let you know what would happen in each case.
Cowboys beat Giants twice
No matter what else happens in this scenario, the Cowboys would be the NFC East champions. They would be no worse than 9-7 and no other team would be able to win more than eight. If the Cowboys beat the Giants on Sunday and again on New Year’s Day, it doesn’t matter what happens in Weeks 15 and 16.
Giants beat Cowboys twice and beat EITHER the Redskins or Jets
If this happens, the Giants will be 9-7 and the Cowboys would be 9-7 at best. Even if the Cowboys win their other two games against Tampa Bay and Philadelphia, the Giants would be division champs by virtue of the head-to-head record.
Giants beat Cowboys twice, lose to Redskins and Jets; Cowboys win their other two games
The Cowboys would win the division outright with a 9-7 record, as the Giants would finish 8-8. However…
Giants beat Cowboys twice, lose to Redskins and Jets; Cowboys go 1-1 in other two games
The Giants and Cowboys would both finish 8-8, which means the Giants would win the division by virtue of the head-to-head tiebreaker as long as neither the Eagles nor the Redskins finish 4-0.
Giants and Cowboys split head-to-head games; Cowboys beat Buccaneers and Eagles
The Cowboys would be 10-6 and an outright division champ.
Giants and Cowboys split head-to-head games; Cowboys beat Eagles.
In this scenario, it doesn’t matter what the Giants do in their other two games or what the Cowboys do against the Bucs. The Cowboys would be 9-7 and would hold the tiebreaker over the Giants due to a better conference record.
Eagles finish 4-0, Dallas finishes 1-3 or worse and Giants finish 2-2 or worse.
The Eagles, Cowboys and Giants would finish in a three-way tie and the Eagles would be division champs by virtue of tiebreakers. They’d be 3-1 in games against Dallas and New York. The Cowboys would be no better than 1-3 in games against New York and Philadelphia. And the Giants would be no better than 3-1 in games against Philadelphia and Dallas. The second tiebreaker is division record, which would go easily to the Eagles at 5-1. If the Eagles finish 4-0, Dallas finishes 1-3 and the Giants finish 1-3, it’s a two-way tie between the Eagles and Cowboys, and the Eagles will have been 2-0 against Dallas, so they’d win on the first tiebreaker. Note: This happens even if both of the Giants’ victories are against the Cowboys.
Redskins finish 4-0, Cowboys finish 0-4, Giants lose to Jets on Christmas Eve
The Redskins and Giants would finish in a tie for the division title at 8-8, with the Cowboys 7-9 and the Eagles also under .500. The Redskins would claim the division title by virtue of having won both games against the Giants. Also, they’ll have finished 4-0 without two of their best offensive players, Trent Williams and Fred Davis, who are suspended for the rest of the season for drug policy violations. I’ll have to look up whether those guys would be allowed to play playoff games.

Is there a scenario I didn’t think of that you’d like analyzed? Either use the ESPN Playoff Machine or feel free to point it out. I’ll try and take care of it in the comments.

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CLOCK MANAGEMENT: Jason Garrett defends not taking timeout, then taking timeout

Dallas Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey watches his kick sail through the goal post for three points at the end of the fourth quarter, however, Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett had called a timeout.

Star-Telegram/Max Faulkner

Dallas Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey watches his kick sail through the goal post for three points at the end of the fourth quarter, however, Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett had called a timeout.

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Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett decided not to take a timeout to try to get his kicker closer, though he had two left, and then chose to take a timeout before Dan Bailey’s field goal. Monday Morning Quarterbacks are sure to debate Garrett’s clock management in Sunday’s 19-13 overtime loss to the Cardinals.

Dez Bryant caught a pass from Tony Romo for a first down at the Arizona 31-yard line with 26 seconds left in regulation in a 13-13 game. Instead of taking a timeout, the Cowboys had Romo spike the ball with seven seconds left to set up a potential game-winning, 49-yard field goal.

Garrett said it was their faith in Bailey, who has made four game-winners this season, including three on the final play, that prompted them to let the clock run down instead of attempting to get closer.

“We felt pretty good about where we were,” Garrett said. “Once you get to that 30-yard line, we felt that was a pretty good opportunity for us. You see every week: People get negative plays, so we felt once we got to that point, we could go ahead and give him a chance to get the game-winner.”

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, had criticized Garrett’s play calling after the 20-16 loss to the Patriots on Oct. 16, was testy when asked about why Dallas hadn’t used a timeout.

"The explanation was to let time run off the clock," Jones said. "I’m sure that’s what he gave you all. But we had an alternative. We could have run two, possibly three more plays there, but we have a lot of confidence in that kicker. It didn’t work. We all would have liked to have had 20 more yards. But that’s really speculating as to what we’d have done with the ball."

Bailey was short on the 49-yard attempt, which came after a timeout.

Bailey actually hit what many fans in the south end zone thought was the game-winner. But with the play clock running down, Garrett called a timeout before Bailey’s first attempt sailed through the goal posts.

Bailey took the blame for the miss, though Garrett will take heat for “icing” his own kicker.

"We felt like the play clock was running down," Garrett said. "We wanted to make sure he had a clean opportunity at it. It was at about six, and we were still getting settled in. So we banged the timeout to make sure we got the snap, hold and kick as clean as possible."

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BOTTOM LINE: A disappointed Jerry Jones said The Dallas Cowboys still control NFC East

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones encourages his team before the game as the Dallas Cowboys play the Arizona Cardinals.

STAR-TELEGRAM/RODGER MALLISON

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones encourages his team before the game as the Dallas Cowboys play the Arizona Cardinals.

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Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was obviously disappointed in Sunday’s 19-13 overtime loss to the Cardinals.

He understands the Cowboys blew a golden opportunity on Sunday to possibly take a two-game lead in the NFC East and clinch the division title with a victory against the Giants next Sunday at Cowboys Stadium.

But Jones said he never expected the Cowboys, who saw their four-game winning streak snapped, to win all their remaining games.

He said the Cowboys just need to show they can bounce back and play well against the Giants, all while understanding they made their job a little bit tougher.

“Certainly we can still control our destiny,” owner Jerry Jones said. “I think we can do look at it that way (with the Giants showdown next week.) The team has got to be able to do that. We know this thing is about getting setbacks. This is definitely can be a setback. But we’ve got to come back out here and play. So we’ve got a lot of work cut out for us.”

The Cowboys (7-5) remain one game ahead of the Giants (6-6) atop the division standings.

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MILESTONES: Dallas Cowboys vs. Arizona Cardinals

Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware (94) and inside linebacker Sean Lee (50) sack Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb (4) on his own two yard line

STAR-TELEGRAM/RODGER MALLISON

Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware (94) and inside linebacker Sean Lee (50) sack Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb (4) on his own two yard line

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Here are the notes compiled by the Dallas Cowboys’ staff:

The Dallas Cowboys had four first-half sacks today. It was the 11th time in team history the team had four-or-more first half sacks and the first since racking up five against Baltimore (12/20/08).

Dan Bailey missed his first field goal attempt today from 53 yards out. It ended his streak of consecutive field goals made at 26 to tie Chris Boniol (1995) for the second-longest in club history:

Consecutive

Player FGM Season

Chris Boniol 27 1996

Chris Boniol 26 1995

Dan Bailey* 26 2011

Richie Cunningham* 18 1997

Nick Folk 16 2008-09

*indicates rookie

Through 12 games of his rookie season, Bailey has been true on 29 field goals. His 29 field goals made in 12 games is second in team history over that span:

Player (Year) FGM FGA Pct

Richie Cunningham (1997) 31 33 93.9

Dan Bailey (2011) 29 32 90.6

Chris Boniol (1996) 26 30 86.7

Richie Cunningham (1998) 22 26 84.6

Dez Bryant caught his seventh touchdown pass of the season today to pass his total (six) from his rookie season last year.

Shaun Chapas made his NFL debut today on special teams and offense. He finished the game with his first career reception for nine yards.

Felix Jones had a 69-yard kickoff return in the first quarter of today’s game. It was the longest kickoff return of the season for the team.

Sean Lissemore logged his first career full sack with a second quarter takedown of Kevin Kolb. He registered a half sack as a rookie in 2010.

Mat McBriar came into today’s game tied with Mike Saxon for the club record with 166 punts downed inside the 20-yard line. He finished today’s game with four to establish the club record at 170.

DeMarcus Ware’s sack today was his 95th career sack to pass Jim Jeffcoat (94.5) for the official club record

Career sacks since 1982

Player (Years) Sacks

DeMarcus Ware (2005-11)…. 95.0

Jim Jeffcoat (1983-94)………. 94.5

Greg Ellis (1998-2008)………. 77.0

Tony Tolbert (1989-97)……… 59.0

Ed Too Tall Jones (1982-89). 57.5

Ware now has 15.0 sacks in 2011 which are the third-most in his career (20.0 in 2008 and 15.5 in 2010) and third in a season in club history:

Player (Year) Sacks

DeMarcus Ware (2008)……. 20.0

DeMarcus Ware (2010)……. 15.5

DeMarcus Ware (2011)…… 15.0

Jim Jeffcoat (1986)………… 14.0

DeMarcus Ware (2007)……. 14.0

Ware’s has now reached 15.0 sacks in a season for the third time in his career. His three 15.0-plus sack seasons tie for second in league history:

Career 15-plus sack seasons

Player Seasons

Reggie White……………….. 5

Lawrence Taylor…………… 3

Kevin Greene………………. 3

Simeon Rice……………….. 3

Michael Strahan…………… 3

DeMarcus Ware…………… 3

Jason Witten’s five catches today gave him 61 for the season – his eighth straight 60-plus catch season. His eight consecutive are the second-most in league history among tight ends while his eight overall are third:

60-plus catch seasons (Tight End)

Player Total Consecutive

Tony Gonzalez………. 12 12

Shannon Sharpe……. 10 6

Jason Witten…………… 8 8

Antonio Gates………….. 6 6

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MONDAY MORNING QB: Timeouts excluded, plenty of mistakes to go around for Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys at Arizona Cardinals NFL football game

Star-Telegram/Max Faulkner

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and his son Stephen before the game.

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Talk will abound about the Cowboys decision to not take a time out and then take a time out, essentially icing their own kicker, resulting in a missed field goal at the end of regulation of a 19-13 overtime loss to the Cardinals.

But there is plenty of blame to go around for the loss.

The offense gained only 75 yards on the ground and failed to score on five possessions inside Cardinals territory.

The Cowboys allowed just 49 yards in the first half and then 276 after intermission including a 52-yard touchdown catch by LaRod Stephens-Howling went untouched through the defense.

That is not including the block in the back penalty on cornerback Orlando Scandrick negating a 35-yard punt return by Dez Bryant that would have given the Cowboys a first down at the 25 yard line on their final drive.

The Cowboys possibly could have scored a game-winning touchdown of their own on the drive or set up a shorter field goal at the end.

And then there was cornerback Terence Newman’s interference penalty, bailing the Cardinals out of a second-and-19 situation on their game-winning touchdown drive in overtime.

This was not the stuff of a team looking to not only make a run to the playoffs but make some noise in the post season once it got there.

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UPON FURTHER REVIEW: Scandrick disagrees with block-in-the-back call

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb (4) runs past Dallas Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick (32) for a first down on a keeper during the third quarter.

Star-Telegram/Max Faulkner

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb (4) runs past Dallas Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick (32) for a first down on a keeper during the third quarter.

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Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones watched Orlando Scandrick commit two illegal blocks on punt returns and blamed coaching for it.

“You can’t touch people in the back,” he said. “That’s got to be coached. You cannot touch people in the back on kicking. And I’m not being critical of anybody. I’m just … the call was a good call. He hit him in the back.”

Scandrick’s second illegal block penalty wiped out a Dez Bryant punt return to the 25-yard line with 2:54 left in the game and the score tied 13-13. Scandrick said he pulled up to avoid the penalty but expressed frustration at the result.

“My hands were up here. My hands were here. And I pulled up,” he said. “What am I supposed to do? Next time, I’ll just turn around and stop.”

Scandrick was called for an illegal blindside block in the second quarter on a punt return. But he knew the second penalty hurt the most.

“It came at a very inopportunistic time,” he said.

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HEAVY HEART: Abe Elam plays three days after father’s death

Dallas Cowboys at Arizona Cardinals NFL football game

Star-Telegram/Max Faulkner

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Andre Roberts (12) fights for yards after the catch as he stiff arms Dallas Cowboys strong safety Abram Elam (26) during the fourth quarter.

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Abe Elam said his father’s funeral has been scheduled for Friday, and he is trying to decide when he will return to Florida. Elam’s father died Thursday.

“It’s been an emotional week for me,” he said. “I’m just blessed to have the support that I have here with the Cowboys family. I’m just looking forward to moving forward through everything.”

Elam had four tackles against the Cardinals.

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DALLAS DINGED UP: Robinson, Ware return from injuries; Bennett doesn’t

Wide receiver Laurent Robinson injured a shoulder in the second quarter but returned to the game. He said someone landed on his shoulder, and he thought someone else was stepping on it, so hard he expected a penalty. He said he will be fine for the next game.

Linebacker DeMarcus Ware suffered a neck stinger, left the game briefly and returned.

Tight end Martellus Bennett left the game in the first half with a rib injury and did not return.

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