Sore-loser Brooking had no cause to whine
PHILADELPHIA — Keith Brooking was way out of line. He looked like a sore loser and, even worse, a crybaby when he yelled toward Minnesota coach Brad Childress after the Vikings piled on another touchdown with less than two minutes to play in a 34-3 win over Dallas on Sunday.
Was the touchdown unnecessary? Sure it was. The Vikings had pummeled the Cowboys. The game was over. They'd harassed Tony Romo all day, something the Eagles had been unable to do in back-to-back losses. And Brett Favre had played as well as he ever had.
Minnesota didn't need another score. They could have just kicked a field goal, or, better yet, run the ball on fourth down inside the red zone.
But "classless" and "disrespectful," as Brooking called the Vikings afterward?
No. It was playoff football, plain and simple. If the Cowboys didn't want to get embarrassed, they should have figured out a way to stop Favre's TD completion to Visanthe Shiancoe. Crying about it afterward, especially in the public way Brooking did when he stormed over to the Minnesota sideline and barked toward Jared Allen and Childress, was just lame.
Brooking is better than that. On a scale of one to terrific in terms of good guys in the league, he's on the other side of terrific. He's a leader, a hard worker, a team-first player. There's no doubt Brooking is one of the reasons why the Cowboys hung tough in December, why their defense jelled and, until last Sunday, why they had a swagger and confidence that had been missing in years past.
There's also little doubt Brooking wasn't happy that the Cowboys' season was ending in the way it was on Sunday. He wanted more.
As a rookie, Brooking went to the Super Bowl with Atlanta in 1998. In 11 subsequent seasons, he's never been back. The closest he and the Falcons got was 2004, when they watched the Eagles celebrate their only NFC title of the Andy Reid era.
Brooking signed with the Cowboys last February because he thought they had a shot at going to the Super Bowl.
"Not that you ever really take it for granted, but you realize how precious these opportunities (are)," Brooking said before the Cowboys' first-round playoff game vs. the Eagles.
"Especially with the team that we built here. ... These moments are precious. There are a lot of teams right now that are sitting at home wishing and dreaming that they were in our position, so we have to take advantage of every opportunity and have absolutely zero regrets when you step on that field and leave it out there for your organization."
It's safe to say after watching Favre and the Vikings have their way with the Cowboys, Brooking had regrets. Another precious opportunity was gone. Another season over in an instant.
Still, Brooking should have kept his composure. It's OK not to like what was going on, but to publicly complain about it sounded petulant. Brooking and his teammates had a chance to alter the outcome earlier in the game. They didn't.
Someone forgot to tell the New York Jets that the NFL is now a passing league. Against San Diego, New York quarterback Mark Sanchez passed for just 100 yards. The Jets rushed for 169 yards, and the defense, which gave up 344 yards, stopped the Chargers on 9 of 13 third-down attempts.
"We believed (in our offense) the whole time, the whole year, when probably it wasn't the popular choice, the popular opinion," Jets coach Rex Ryan said. "But here we are. We don't have to apologize to anybody. It's just old-fashioned, ground-and-pound football ... throw completions and play great defense. And here we are."