News: Woodson makes the calls -

Discussion in 'News Zone' started by Lord Sun, May 7, 2004.

  1. Lord Sun

    Lord Sun New Member

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    Brian Baldinger, Special to

    (May 6, 2004) -- As a former member of the Dallas Cowboys, I had the privilege of playing with many great players. In addition, I had a great deal of respect for the players that came before me who helped build the Cowboys into one of the premier organizations in sports.

    The defense during the Super Bowl years of the 70s under Tom Landry was known as the 'Doomsday Defense.' The names roll off my tongue like the names of the Beatles to a music critic -- (Bob) Lilly, (Lee Roy) Jordan, (Chuck) Howley, (Cliff) Harris, Randy White, and (Ed) "Too Tall" Jones. The championship years in the first half of the 90s featured more defensive legends: (Charles) Haley, (Jim) Jeffcoat, (Tony) Tolbert, (Larry) Brown, (Leon) Lett and (Darrin) Smith.

    Out of all of the great defensive teams and defensive players in the Cowboys' proud 35-year history, one has emerged as the all-time leading tackler. That powerful distinction belongs to Darren Woodson. Now entering his 13th season, he will continue to put distance between himself and the ghosts of the past. He will also add leadership and wisdom to last year's No. 1-rated defense in the NFL.

    Woodson has done pretty well for a guy with such humble beginnings. He left Maryvale High School in Phoenix, Ariz., to walk on at Arizona State University. He would eventually earn a scholarship as a starting linebacker. When he was drafted with the Cowboys' second selection in the second round in 1992, he was told that he would be moved from linebacker to safety. After five Pro Bowls and three Super Bowls and the record for most tackles in Cowboys history, Woodson is moving on to tackle the broadcast booth.

    He is now in Europe preparing for his second NFL Europe telecast. Last week he was in Frankfurt, Germany, for the Galaxy-Centurion matchup, won narrowly by the Galaxy. This Sunday on the NFL Network, he will add insight and wisdom to the Admirals-Fire contest in Gelsenkirchen, Germany.

    For years, FOX Sports sent current and former players to NFL Europe to gain experience in the broadcast booth. All of our present analysts for FOX -- Troy Aikman, Bill Maas, Tim Green, Tim Ryan, (Daryl) "Moose" Johnston, and myself, have gone abroad to build reputations. Even Detroit Lions president and general manager Matt Millen called games back when he was a top analyst at FOX.

    Woodson will be better in his second game than he was in his first. We all got better in Game 2 than in our inaugural call. We were all amazed at how little we knew when we were forced to jam a lifetime of knowledge into a 12-second sound bite.

    Larger than Woodson's analysis is his presence. While he remains a warrior on the field, he is a first-class citizen off of it. He is also very approachable.

    To the 250-plus players trying to refine their skills for the upcoming NFL season, they would be wise to seek Woodson out for everything from advice to encouragement, to understanding what it means to be a professional. Players should line up to gain his insight at practice, on the field before the games and in the film room. And not just defensive backs. He has covered the league's finest receivers, stared into the eyes of the best QBs, and has had offensive linemen try to roll him up downfield. He can help any position on the field.

    A second reason he can aid any position on the field is because as a safety, he was the only player that on almost every snap can actually see all other 21 players. That is unique. A few years back, the networks and the NFL experimented with the helmet cam. A miniature camera was attached to the lid of the umpire's hat. I always said that the camera should be on the safeties' helmets for the fans to see what it would look like to see all of the other players in a full-speed sprint to start a play.

    As an offensive lineman, my vision was restricted to a triangle in front of me. Quarterbacks only wish they could see behind them. Receivers only see half of the field. Safeties, on the other hand, know that by simple definition they are the final line of defense. If they make a mistake in coverage or miss a tackle, it usually results in a touchdown.

    The league needs more class men like Darren Woodson. I also think the listening audience at home would benefit from the insights and commentary of a safety. Someone that knows the feeling of watching all 21 other players on every snap. An analyst that can illicit the low feelings of giving up a touchdown, and the high of a timely hit that prevents a touchdown. Currently there are no NFL analysts that has ever played safety.

    Perhaps when Darren Woodson decides to stop extending his Cowboy all-time tackling record, he will tell Aikman a thing or two about playing safety in the NFL.
  2. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Backwoods Sexy Staff Member

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    Thanks for posting that.

    I hope Woodson gets himself setup to call games so when his playing days are over he can be ready for taking over calling games full time.

    He has always be a great player and class act.
  3. dforce1978

    dforce1978 New Member

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    I really hope he stays in the cowboy organization as some type of db coach or something. He is to good a player or person to let go of .
  4. Bill Wooten

    Bill Wooten Well-Known Member

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    It will be good to have a defensive minded person in the booth to back up the DBs when they light someone up. The NFL should get Woodson involved in the fining process so he can give another perspective to that process.
  5. RatisBeast

    RatisBeast Chevy Guy

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    Thanks, great article. I have always loved Woody. It's going to be a very very sad day in the Cowboys organization when he decides to hang them up. :(
  6. DandyDon

    DandyDon Member

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    Great article. Thanks!
  7. Tio

    Tio Armchair QB

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    Jerry should get woodson, mike, aikman, smith, and Moose their own annalyst booth in texas Stadium and then they can cover all cowboys all the time...
  8. Reef Engineer

    Reef Engineer New Member

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    Isn't having Larry Brown as a defensive legend a bit of a stretch? Heck, you could almost say the same for Smith and Tolbert although they were certainly closer to that definition than Larry.

    Amazing what a couple of interceptions in a big game will do to memories.
  9. Reef Engineer

    Reef Engineer New Member

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    Amen - they don't come any classier than Woodson.

    It certainly looks like he's doing his homework now and paying his dues so that he can call games when he's through. Does that surprise you? The guy is the consummate professional in everything he does.
  10. Reef Engineer

    Reef Engineer New Member

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    He certainly could teach the younger (and older for that matter) players what it means to be a pro athlete.

    He's a general manager's wet dream - great ability, doesn't make waves, charity minded and team oriented - what's not to like?

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