by Mike Fisher    Fri, Jul 25, 2008, 07:14 AM
The opening of NFL training camps generally means teams concentrate on their business. This week, however, sees the camp of the defending-champion New York Giants concentrating on. … the Dallas Cowboys’ business.



"Maybe,’’ Giants defensive end Justin Tuck said by way of explanation, “it's because Dallas tried to buy a Super Bowl this year.’’

Gary Myers’ Big-Apple-biased column in the New York Daily News is full of such silliness, some of it generated by Tuck, some of it generated by Myers. For instance:

ITEM: Myers suggests that it is unfair that “every time they look up, somebody else is calling for the Cowboys to win the NFC East even though the Giants went into Texas Stadium in January and eliminated Dallas from the playoffs.’’

That is true – but just as Dallas’ two regular-season wins over NY did not impact what happened in January, what happened in January is not reason enough to project the same result in 2008-09.

ITEM: Tuck says, “That is America's Team. Dallas is America's Team. Obviously, they would love to see Dallas. I don't think anybody wanted to see us in there last year. I don't understand why. I really don't care.’’

We’re not sure who the “they’’ is. Fans? Yes, Dallas probably has more fans worldwide than the Giants do. Media? Nah. The league itself? Certainly the NFL loves marquee matchups. … but if the Giants, playing in the biggest media city in the world, cannot take advantage of its potential to be “marquee,’’ well, that’s the Giants’ fault.

ITEM: Myers points out that Terrell Owens’ post-game crying jag in January was “very entertaining’’ and “pretty funny.’’

We still don’t understand why showing emotion following a crushing loss is a bad thing – especially when that opinion is stated by media-types who we’ve seen near tears because the press-box lunchroom has run out of mustard.

ITEM: But here’s the big one, the centerpiece of Tuck’s monologue and the centerpiece of Myers’ article: The accusation that Dallas is “trying to buy a Super Bowl.’’

First, let us say that if such a thing is do-able, we fully endorse it. Was there a certain Cowboys joy in seeing late-round draftee Larry Brown develop into a cornerback worthy of winning Super Bowls? Damn right. Was there a similar Cowboys joy in recruiting big-money free-agent cornerback Deion Sanders to go win one more ready-made Super Bowl?

Damn right.

So there is nothing wrong with “buying a championship’’; the draft, street free agency, big-money free agency and trades, those are the four methods of player acquisition. The best franchises use all four methods.

Nevertheless, as a rule of thumb, we don’t believe that any team really “buys’’ a title – and we absolutely do not think that accusation applies to this year’s Cowboys.

The pickup of Adam Jones came in a trade, no “buying’’ there. In the cases of Owens, Flozell Adams, Marion Barber, Ken Hamlin and Terence Newman, all Dallas did was re-sign its own. Only the Zach Thomas signing (at a hardly outrageous $3 mil) counts as “buying’’ anything.

Meanwhile, what did the Giants do this offseason? They made one major trade, moving tight end Jeremy Shockey. (That’s the same number of major trades Dallas made.) They re-signed important vets like Chris Snee, Rich Seubert, Derrick Ward and Jeff Feagles. (Just like Dallas did.) And Zach Thomas-like FA signings? The Giants pulled off two or three of them, with Sammy Knight, David Carr and Renaldo Wynn.

Technically, the Giants tried three times harder than Dallas did to “buy a championship.’’

ITEM:  From Tuck: “We have the best football team and everybody wants to be that. Everybody hates us right now.’’

Actually, Justin, among fans from Dallas to Oxnard, nobody hates you. In this first week of training camp, the Dallas Cowboys aren’t thinking about the Giants. Geez, this year’s meetings aren’t until Nov. 2 and Dec. 14. Nobody in Oxnard is even THINKING about the Giants.

But because the Giants are thinking about the Cowboys. … Dallas has, in a sense, already won.



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