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by Mike Fisher    Sun, Jan 8, 2006, 09:53 PM

     It's now official: The most notable performer from last week's Rose Bowl, Texas QB Vince Young, is leaving the college football scene.

    Still no word yet on the second most notable performer from last week's Rose Bowl, venerable ABC voice Keith Jackson, who might want to consider leaving the college football scene.

      Now, I'm not much for casting my vote for the life-altering decisions of others; I was amused by the Dallas Morning News columnists who are lining up single-file to take their turns urging the NFL-bound Longhorm to do what THEY would do. (Believe me, nobody should care what Rick Gosselin says he'd do if he was an NFL prospect. I've seen him try to throw a football, and I'm not sure Rick even knows which hand to throw with.)

      But I might have to make an exception for the long-exceptional Mr. Jackson, who is suddenly Whoo-oooooooooooooooooold, Nellie.

      Mr. Jackson should've been in his element at UT's spectacular National Championship win over USC. Instead, he seemed -- dare I say it -- unprepared. Maybe befuddled. And yes, a victim of TheGameHasPassedHimBy-ism.

       I thought there was simply a generation gap (OK, two-generations gap) when Mr. Jackson mispronounced the name of ABC sitcom actor John Stamos. I thought it was sort of funny when he was required to read a promo for ABC sitcom "Emily’s Reasons Why Not.'' "Don’t miss the season premiere of ‘Emily’s Reasons Why Not.’ … Emily’s reasons … I don’t know," Mr. Jackson muttered.

      But I got worried when he made the call on a UT placekick: "That’s wide … Inside … Sailed down the middle … It’s good!" -- which followed an earlier description of a UT extra-point miss that went, "The kick is good.''

       And I got downright incensed when Texas scored its game-winning TD with 19 seconds left and then scored the two-point conversion, and Mr. Jackson intoned forcefully, "What’s that (scoreboard) say? 19 seconds left! Hey, the clock didn’t even move there."
     Mr. Jackson referred to "time outs'' as "times out,'' suggested that the game was once tied at 24-23, applauded his cameraman for getting a shot of Matt Leinhart's dad doing nothing, tried too hard with the good-ol'-boy hooey by saying, when Reggie Bush's mom was shown, "Mamma gonna fly right outta here!'' and then recalled a one-on-one visit he had with the supposed deity Bush:
      Said the yarn-weaving Mr. Jackson: "I saw him in the hall the other day and looked at him and said, ‘Wow.’ Ha-ha."
      The only part of Mr. Jackson's performance that I bought: Late in the dramatic game, Mr. Jackson feigned over-excitement and exclaimed, "I'm gettin' too old for this.''
       Um, no comment, sir.
      Oh, and one more thing: Not a "Whoa, Nellie!'' to be heard. I mean, geez, Mr. Jackson, it's your catchphrase!
       Unless you're going with a new catchphrase. Like, ‘Whoa, Emily’s Reasons Why Not.’ … Emily’s reasons … I don’t know."

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Jerry Shows Parcells the Money Print E-mail
by Norm Hitzges    Sun, Jan 8, 2006, 12:05 PM

The dance is finally over. The 2006 Cowboys have a coach. There was a lot of speculation. There were a lot of people with a lot of unnamed sources saying that Bill Parcells was going to hang it up. But in the end, we got to the truth of the matter. Like most things in this world, this dance was all about money.

The announcement of Bill Parcells’ new contract at least removes the shroud of uncertainty from Valley Ranch for this year.

But it removes if for this year only.

It was announced as an extension. Technically I don’t believe that’s true. This is a new contract of 2 years in length. And my sources tell me that Bill Parcells got a 7 figure raise for next season. And that is all the Cowboys are guaranteed next season.

A year from now we are almost certainly going to go through the same kind of dance. With Parcells suggesting he’s got to take some time to decide whether he wants to coach again. One wonders if there’ll be the same concurrent rumors that TV or other teams have interest in him.

What Bill Parcells did was get himself a spiffy raise for one year. And that is all. Forget the announcement that it was two years. Anyone employing Bill Parcells for the rest of his life lives with the very real possibility that he’ll walk away.

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by Mike Fisher    Fri, Jan 6, 2006, 07:35 PM

Friday at 4:06 p.m., Bill Parcells Time, the Cowboys announced that The Big Tuna would remain in Big D as the head coach. The contract extension doesn't exactly end the speculation about Parcells' future -- but it does delay it until two years from now, because owner Jerry Jones signed him to a deal that takes Parcells through 2007.

"I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to continue what we have started here," said Parcells in a statement. "The Cowboys organization has been the fairest of fair to me, and hopefully I can repay them with an improved performance."

"This is about continuity and building upon the pieces we have in place as an organization and as a football team," said Jones. "We aren’t where we want to be at this point, but we’re definitely moving in the right direction and feel very good about the future."

Parcells was already under contract to coach in '06, which would have been the final year of an existing deal that makes him among football's highest-paid coaches at $4 million-plus. The coach triggered speculation about his future by revealing a "need to evaluate'' his future, which is now secure.

Jones, for one, expressed again how much he believes Parcells is the right man for the job, both because of his energy level and his working relationship with the owner.

"As I have said for the past three years, I am encouraged by Bill’s enthusiasm and determination, and that hasn’t changed in any way," Jones said. "From a personal perspective I have enjoyed every aspect of our working relationship, and I am optimistic about the organization’s future."

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by Mike Fisher    Fri, Jan 6, 2006, 10:25 AM
A School of Fish exclusive: has learned that Bill Parcells and Jerry Jones met on Thursday afternoon at Valley Ranch to discuss a contract extension, possibly as long as three years.

The meeting can be assumed to be an indication that Parcells' "contemplation of retirement" may be behind him, our source said.

Parcells said he would need some time to evaluate his future following the Cowboys season, which ended Sunday. He has, in the ensuing four days, been in a business-as-usual mode at Cowboys' headquarters.

Meanwhile, Cowboys owner Jones is on record as saying he believed it would take only a brief meeting of the mind to cause Parcells to at least complete the final year of his deal, which calls for him to make $4-plus million for 2006.

Parcells, 64, has coached the Cowboys to a 25-24 record during his three years with the team.

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Vince Young a True MVP Print E-mail
by Norm Hitzges    Thu, Jan 5, 2006, 01:54 PM

I had some serious questions about Vince’s ability to be a successful NFL QB. But his performance last night changed my mind. Sure it is easy to praise Young the day after he was named the Rose Bowl MVP for the second consecutive year. His performance last night is definitely one of the best individual performances in a big game that I can remember.

But more than stats and numbers, Vince Young proved something to me last night. I knew that he had the ability to run. I knew that he had the ability to pass. I knew that he had the ability to put up some gaudy numbers. But, last night Young proved that he can manage a game and a team. He proved to be a great leader throughout the season and he topped it off last night.

I did not think that Vince Young could beat USC by himself. And, with all respect to his teammates at UT he did it. There was a point in the game last night where Vince looked at his offensive teammates and said, “…you do your jobs the best you can, and I will make sure we win this game…”

His utter command of the game was remarkable last night. In a National Championship game, with a team riding a 34 game winning streak, if Vince Young had been tackled before he scored the winning touchdown, he still would have been the game’s MVP. That’s right, even on the losing team, Vince Young would have still won his 2nd Rose Bowl MVP.

Yes, the rest of the Longhorns deserve credit. There is no doubt they played a great game. But Vince Young was extraordinary.

I was not a Vince Young “quarterback” fan. I still have some concerns about the way he plays quarterback. But something has changed about Vince Young. He now has a combination of touch and accuracy. He now makes the throws that he is supposed to make. Last night Vince Young only had 9 incomplete passes. Yes, there were some wide open receivers. But it takes a good QB to find them and get the ball to them.

Young’s NFL stock definitely rose last night. It is possible to get way too ga-ga over an individual game. But the Vince Young I saw last night is much much closer to being an NFL caliber QB.

In my eyes, Young is no longer a Michael Vick wannabe…Mike Vick may now be a Vince Young wannabe. Young has become an accurate passer. He is able to complete passes and he is able to run like the wind. And most of all, he has proven that he can mature into a complete QB.

If Young chooses to turn pro, I believe that he will be chosen first or second. That is a major shift from my thinking going into the bowl season. One performance usually is not enough to change my mind but that was one hell of a performance.
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