The Dallas Cowboys will make football history of a kind Monday night when they become the first NFL team to play regular-season games on both Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day the same year.
In a Nashville stadium, simultaneously, the Tennessee Titans
will also be searching for a piece of history.
If, as expected, they beat Dallas to finish first in the
American Conference with an NFL-best won-lost record, 13-3, the Titans will be on the high
road to the Super Bowl and recognition as the only champion in nearly a decade to win
without a high-powered pass offense.
Titan passer Steve McNair unloads once in a while, but Coach Jeff Fisher much prefers to run Eddie George, and Fisher's goal is to win a Super Bowl that way, ending what NFL conservatives call the passball monopoly.
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Passing Teams Win Super Bowls
During the great days of the Cowboys, they won back-to-back Super Bowls with Troy Aikman's powerful passes in 1993-94, and, since then, no team has dominated pro football any other way.
Passing teams have won eight consecutive Super Bowls, first
with Aikman and Steve Young of San Francisco, then with Brett Favre of Green Bay, John
Elway of Denver, and Kurt Warner of St. Louis.
By contrast, Tennessee, which now leads the league both in
number of wins and in number of quality players enrolled, is an old-fashioned defensive
team with an old-time ball-control offense, having shown it again Sunday by shutting down
Cleveland, 24-0, with 79 yards passing by McNair and 176 yards running by George.
So falling snow covered Cleveland that day.
It's in the record that Hall of Fame passers from Bart Starr
to Brett Favre have won big games on off tracks that bad or worse.
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This Is the Wind-Chill Season
A California viewer who went out in the sunshine Sunday,
carrying a portable TV set to the patio, couldn't locate the wind-chill number there but
did note that the temperature had reached 77.
Thus it was a little strange seeing all that snow in Ohio,
where the wind chill in Cleveland was minus 10, and where the temperature got up to 9 in
Cincinnati, a place with a wind-chill reading of minus 20.
As it happened, two Southern teams had been invited to play
in the Ohio snow, Tennessee at Cleveland, and, at the same hour, Jacksonville at
Cincinnati, where the Jaguars found the freeze and the footing impossible, losing, 17-14,
to a team they could have shut out at Jacksonville.
At Cleveland against the same sort of team--the Bengals and Browns are both 2-8 in their division--the Titans romped, three touchdowns to none, with Eddie George.
Since football was invented a century or so ago, the best of the ballcarriers have nearly always run effectively on any kind of track; and this time, on a field that the Ohio freeze had converted to green concrete, George demonstrated that he is an artist in that tradition.
OATES ON FOOTBALL
Top team Tennessee trying to prove that in the Super Bowl race, defensive plays and runs by Eddie George are enough.
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