Since I’m probably heading out to Flowery Branch for a season-wrap news conference — barring a break in the fascinating world of college defensive coordinators — I figured this would be a good transition to getting into the Falcons later:
Congratulations, Keith Brooking.
It was understandable that Brooking was pumped for the Cowboys-Falcons game in October (which somewhat turned both teams’ seasons around — the Falcons’ in the wrong direction). It was somewhat comical — and certainly out of character — how he trash-talked his former team and mocked them during Dallas’s win. (He later apologized for the trash-talking. But when asked about taunting the team by flapping his arms like a bird during the game, he responded, “I ain’t apologizing to anybody.”)
And when Brooking fired back at the host of his own weekly show for bringing up the Cowboys’ past December and playoff failures, we understood where he was coming from. But again, it was out of character for a guy who seldom, if ever, said or did anything inflammatory in Atlanta.
But the new Keith Brooking has to be feeling pretty justified about everything today. The Cowboys destroyed the Philadelphia Eagles Saturday, one more reason why I never bet any more. Brooking was strong again in the NFC playoff game, and has been an inspirational leader for the Cowboys’ this season (see video below). The new atmosphere has clearly been good for him, because it looks like he’s making more plays than he’s missing.
It helps to be playing on a better defense in Dallas. But that shouldn’t diminish the accomplishments of a player many (most?) Falcons fans believed was toast. Consider this brief analysis from the Dallas Morning News:
Talented mercenaries have always been available in the NFL’s free-agency era. But the Cowboys paid for a rare free-agent commodity when they signed Brooking: leadership. This type of character player with gas left in his tank rarely becomes available. He gave the Cowboys 106 tackles on the field and direction in the locker room.
Finally, if the Cowboys reach the Super Bowl when some thought Brooking’s career was over, it would be somewhat ironic. He played in the Super Bowl with the Falcons when he was a rookie in 1998.
And now, here’s the video.
Keith Brooking fires up Cowboys with pre-game speech