Two pieces of local rhinestone cowboy community news from the last week: First, the Los Angeles Board of Animal Services Commissioners unanimously recommended last Tuesday that the city ban rodeos within city limits.
The Board cited concerns that the events are cruel to animals and follows an ordinance passed in December 2022 that prohibited the use of devices used to prod and shock performing animals. Officials noted that many animals are put down due to injuries sustained while entertaining.
“The best rodeos will have a vet on site … To me, that’s an acknowledgment that this process is inherently unsafe for these animals,” said Staycee Dains, head of Los Angeles Animal Services. “This is not about preserving culture. Hundreds of years ago, animals were rounded up from the plains, so you had to physically tackle animals. That doesn’t exist anymore."
Second, former Dallas Cowboy (and real-life cowboy) Walt Garrison passed away at the age of 79. Garrison, a blue collar fullback who played for coach Tom Laundry for nine seasons (1966-1974) played a pivotal role in their Super Bowl victory over the Miami Dolphins in 1971. If you have a moment watch this NFL Films piece summarizing his career.
"My daddy told me one time, 'You show me somebody that carries a big dull knife, and I'll show you the laziest (expletive) in the world.'" Garrison said in the clip. "If you ain't got time to sharpen a knife, or if you're too lazy to, then you're too lazy. So, I always carry a knife and it's usually sharp."
Apocryphal testimonials authenticate the claim. Teammate Charlie Waters said that Garrison once cut his thumb so badly with one of those sharp knives that it was dangling from his hand. Garrison taped the thumb up and rushed for over 100 yards the next day.
After he retired from football Garrison returned full time to his first love, the rodeo. Part of his signing bonus in Dallas was a horse trailer so that he could continue to compete on the rodeo circuit. His teammates noted that Garrison's legendary pain tolerance came from wrangling steers and bucking broncos.
It is hard to imagine a modern player playing through a broken collarbone, even with pain-killing injections. Now imagine playing through a fractured clavicle and a fractured leg! The battered Cowboy rushed for 71 yards, caught three passes for 51 yards and scored a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers in a 17-10 victory that sent Dallas to their first Super Bowl.
Cowboys fans might have a difficult time imagining any victory over the 49ers, but I digress.
Against this backdrop the Chargers (2-2) play host to the Cowboys (3-2) in a minor rodeo that will skirt the city ordinances on Monday night. No cattle prods. No spurs. No flank straps—whatever they are. Just an oblong pigskin ball being bandied about in front of a demonstrative crowd of revelers on national television.
The game is being billed as a revenge game for circuitous reasons. The Chargers employ Kellen Moore as their offensive coordinator directly because he was dumped by Dallas in the offseason. Coach Mike McCarthy essentially showed Moore the door and assumed play-calling responsibilities in the hopes of getting back to the Super Bowl for the first time since the Bill Clinton Era.
Remember back in training camp when the buzz around the new offense was about how well the "Texas Coast" scheme suited their personnel?
The what? According to an article on the team's website, the Texas Coast is a “combination of horizontal concepts that open up the opposing defense with tempo, pace and concepts that have worked for the team in years past.”
In other words, its branding—and no, not of any cattle. McCarthy was gambling that he could do Moore's job better himself and crafted some dubious narratives to justify his decision.
The revenge game angle doesn't have the same teeth of the Jets defending Nathaniel Hackett's reputation from Broncos coach Sean Peyton who publicly slandered his Hackett, his predecessor in Denver in the preseason, or even the marquee names of Bill Belichick and protégé Josh McDaniels dueling in the Death Star over Sith doctrine.
Revenge for who exactly? Or what? Is Moore being thrown from the stagecoach for the twin failed playoff comebacks against the 49ers? For whatever this was going to be?
How best to avenge themselves upon Kellen Moore for doing such a. . . good job? According to TruMedia, the Cowboys ranked first in red zone efficiency (66.9 percent), second in goal-to-go efficiency (83.6 percent), third in offensive points per game (26.9), third in yards per game (381), and fifth in first downs per game (21.7). The data overwhelmingly suggests the Cowboys were an elite, top-tier offense.
"So how is that Texas Coast experiment coming along?" you ask.
Through five weeks this season, the Cowboys are 28th in red zone efficiency (36.8 percent), 30th in goal-to-go efficiency (41.7 percent), 15th in offensive points per game (21.2), 17th in yards per game (327.4), 14th in first downs per game (20), and Prescott has thrown four interceptions.
The Cowboys short passing game is not going to impress any nerds at Pro Football Focus—where McCarthy famously interned between jobs to better learn the intricacies of analytics-based decision making.
Both sides spent the week saying all of the right things but you know that this game means more than they are letting on.
"I spent eight years there so there are a lot of relationships you love and appreciate there. A lot of people you are close to and it will be fun to see all those people." Moore told reporters.
McCarthy did his best much-ado-about-nothing act in his weekly press conference. "This is Game 6. My focus has always been, and it’s really the way I view schedules," McCarthy said. "I think a lot of NFL scheduling is it’s not as much who you play it’s when you play them… He (Moore) obviously has an excellent opportunity that he’s doing a very nice job with.”
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones—never shy when it comes to giving reporters a good quote—offered up one tiny bit of candor regarding the revenge angle.
“I have dreaded seeing Kellen on this occasion,” Jones told radio station 105.3 The Fan in Dallas. “Kellen is one of my favorites as far as individuals. He’s a talented coach, make no mistake about it. … He’s become an outstanding coach.”
Moore will have every opportunity to show Jones that the praise is well-deserved Monday night. As far as revenge goes, we will never know. Even if victorious, Moore does not seem likely to abandon the high road and trash his former employers. Besides, the best revenge is to live well.
SEO: NFL Predictions LA Chargers
Bolt Bros Podcast
Kyle Sawyer (Season Record 2-2)
The "Broracle" reads the runes!
HAGALAZ. The bye week came at a great time and we had a wild start of the season full of difficulties.
TEIWAZ. For the game against Dallas we must concentrate on balance in order to achieve victory.
KENAZ. This week will be tough, but if we can find a way to get the win we can get the inspiration to keep up the momentum. 34 - 24 COWBOYS.
Chargers 34 - Cowboys 24
Rivers Lake Yacht Club
Señor Snappy (Season Record 1-0)
The last time the Chargers played the Cowboys it was the home opener in 2021. Dallas barely squeaked out a 3-point win, intercepting Justin Herbert twice (!). Both teams come in to Week 6 with remarkably similar personnel as the last time they matched up, so a look back at how that earlier contest played out is useful. The Chargers had the better game passing last time—with 313 total yards vs. the Cowboys 221. Keenan Allen was the top Chargers receiver with 108 yards. Mike Williams had 91 receiving yards and a TD. Josh Palmer caught 2 passes for 21 yards. Austin Ekeler had the most targets at 9 for 61 yards. Dak Prescott threw no touchdowns and had was intercepted by Asante Samuel Jr. Dallas’ best receiver that day was CeeDee Lamb, who caught 8 passes for 81 yards. The Chargers were out rushed by the Cowboys 198-95. Pollard averaged 8.4 yards per carry, running for 109 yards. Dallas managed only one more first down than LA and that ultimately decided the game. I recall the game being decided by particularly bad referee calls, surprising no experienced Chargers fans. Rivers Lake claimed its first victim when the attendees left SoFi Stadium: a mob of middle aged Cowboys aficionados got into a scrap and at least one person was pushed in to the water. The place of that conflagration has since been named ‘Cowboy Slip’ It’s a difficult game to predict. I see no reason to trust the Chargers defense but they might do just enough, having shown enormous heart in defeating the Raiders in Week 4 with a magnificent stand to decide the game. Chargers 22 - Cowboys 17
Kea Humilde (Season Record 2-2)
I won’t lie. This matchup is a personal one for me, since it’s taking place on the day that I’ll be entering my twenties. So for this game prediction, I will be doing my best to tap into the one-year older, one-year wiser Kea.
So the Chargers are facing so-called America’s team for Week 6. Give me a break.
With Dak Prescott’s not one, not two, but THREE interceptions against the 49ers in the embarrassing blowout of a Sunday Night Football game, it’s safe to say that their self-proclaimed title of “America’s team” has expired. Just like Dak’s old Oikos yogurt commercials. Remember those? It’s okay if you didn’t, you probably at least recall them going 8-8 for three straight seasons.
Our Bolts are coming in hot for this matchup, coming off the bye with Austin Ekeler, Derwin James and Rashawn Slater healed and rested. No expiration date on those guys. Our fearless leader Justin Herbert will be back too of course, shaking off this injury like he’s fresh off the shelf. It’s about time these rancid (cow)boys faced some men.
Chargers 20 - Cowboys 3
Thunder Down Under Podcast
Jack Reed (Season Record 1-3)
I never thought that in preparation for a sporting event , I would be so focused on the finger health of two elite athletes! Justin Herbert apparently is yet to take a snap under center at practice to ensure his finger is not reinjured, and Dak Prescott's throwing hand suffered a busted digit in the rout against the 49ers. So much rests on so little! Either the Chargers are catching the Cowboys at a good time or at the worst possible time. Surely last week's performance is going to be playing on their mind. Supposedly Mike McCarthy has not left the Cowboys facility all week trying to ready himself for a game against his former offensive coordinator.
Mike McCarthy and Brandon Staley both make some questionable choices during games (4th-and-Staley and, conversely, the Ezekiel Elliot snap to Prescott's game-ending playoff play...huh?) so everyone will be closely watching the sidelines to see how the two divisive coaches manage the game. Micah Parsons is going to be a handful for Rashawn Slater and Trey Pipkins both. The injury to Leighton Vander Esch in the middle of the Cowboys' defense is poignant, though DaRon Bland and company are still a decent secondary.
Can the triumvirate of Khalil Mack, Joey Bosa, and Tuli Tuipulotu get to Prescott? Without the disenfranchised JC Jackson can the bolts begin to amalgamate into the vaunted 'DB University' that Brandon Staley spoke about bringing to the Chargers?
The return of Austen Ekeler will make a big difference in the running game, who provides Justin Herbert with his favorite outlet in the short passing game. I'd like to see more targets to the entirety of the receiving group. While 15 catches for Keenan Allen is fun to watch, it really is not a sustainable game plan in the long run. Some dagger concepts with Quentin Johnston doing his best CeeDee Lamb impersonation would be fun to see and give 'dem 'Boys a taste of their own medicine. This will be a heartstopper, like it always is. MNF is always a huge game, but this will be a season-defining match against America's team. Herbert generally LOVES the spotlight, so let us hope that 4-inches of flesh on his left hand are healthy and ready to deal fire. Chargers 30 - Cowboys 20
Mark White (Season Record 3-1)
The Kellen Moore Bowl, the homecoming game, the game that will remind ‘dem Boys what they lost when they fired former offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb will score early, but I don’t see them putting up much of a fight beyond that.
The cynic in me says that the Chargers could lose this game if injuries rear their ugly head. But it won’t happen here. This is the “invincible “ portion of the Chargers’ schedule
Chargers 28 - Cowboys 17
The Greek Uncles in Chicago
Abram Sexson and Panos Mamalis (Season Record 2-2)
Theagenes of Thasos is said to have 1406 boxing victories having killed most of his opponents. The ancient Greek traveler and geographer, Pausanias, assessed his mental makeup thusly: "Theagenes had that dog in him." Does Herbert? He wrapped his broken finger in the “himantes” glove and like Thanos, we are all hoping it awakens Theogenes' killer instinct laid dormant in his soul. We think it will. It’s unfortunate timing to catch America's Team on the heels of their shellacking, but we’re all tired of the unending hype. With Ekeler back in the fold Herbert and the glove will follow Purdy and Dobbs' efficient recipe of picking apart the diminished Dallas secondary like an Easter lamb after 5 hours of gyration on the spit.
Chargers 30 - Cowboys 24
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