Cowboys' circus coming to town - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Cowboys' circus coming to town

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Posted: Thursday, October 9, 2008 7:52 pm | Updated: 11:00 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

They are larger than life, a team with outsized soap operas and egos, followed by full-of-themselves fans that love every overhyped minute.

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The Dallas Cowboys are coming to town Sunday, an appearance that's an even bigger deal since the Cardinals moved out of the NFC East - where the Cowboys reside - after the 2001 season.

What are the current travails of Terrell Owens? How is Tony Romo's relationship with Jessica Simpson going? IsAdam "Pacman" Jones stirring up trouble again?

These are the current story lines, but the Cowboys have a colorful history of oversized and eccentric characters dating to "Dandy" Don Meredith, Duane Thomas, Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson, Hershel Walker and Michael Irvin.

Jerheme Urban grew up with all this.

The Cardinals receiver was raised in Victoria, Texas - about a six-hour drive to Dallas, and less than two hours to Houston.

"The Oilers were pretty big, but I would say 70/30 for the Cowboys," Urban said.

He went to college in San Antonio, "a Cowboys town through and through," even though this city, too, is closer to Houston.

Urban later played for the Cowboys, who held their training camp in San Antonio's Alamodome.

"You'd get 18,000 to 20,000 people at the Alamodome for a training camp practice," Urban said.

The guy who deals with it all, coach Wade Phillips, who seems to be the one low-key piece of this puzzle, laughed when asked what's like to orchestrate the Cowboys' circus.

"Well, you've got to have two batons I think with this team," Phillips said. "But it's a fun group."

The Cowboys also are a winning group, though it's unclear whether they're as good as the hype; they were thought by many prognosticators to be the NFL's best team entering the season.

From the outside looking in, the Cowboys appear to be a loose ship, with a management willing to take on players with baggage (Owens, Jones and Tank Johnson come to mind).

Phillips maintains that through it all, "They have fun off the field and sometimes with the press and those kinds of things, but they're really hard workers. That's what a coach is looking for ... guys that are team players and hard workers and we've got that."

Phillips may need even more than this.

Unless the Cowboys can turn their talent into a run to the Super Bowl, he could be in trouble.

In the long run, though, this situation beats the reverse scenario, a team short on expectations because it is swimming upstream against more-talented teams.

"I think it's good that your city and fans want you to do well and expect you to do well," Phillips said.

"I think it puts pressure on your players and coaches and everybody to do well. So I don't think it's a bad thing."

The microscope can bring criticism even after wins, such as the Cowboys' sloppy victory over Cincinnati last week.

"But we did win," Phillips said. "I still think that overall it's a good thing."

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