What was Dat?
I'm seriously trying to make sense of the halftime festivities at the Cowboys preseason game this past Saturday. Before the youth football teams took to quadrants of the field to showcase their skills for an NFL audience, Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys recognized Dat Nguyen for a great career, last season's neck injury having cut his career short.
Forgive me if I'm wrong, but this is the Dallas Cowboys. America's Team. Great history. Great players. To recognize Nguyen in this way cheapens that a bit.
Don't get me wrong here. This has nothing to do with the guy being from Texas A&M. After all, he was more recently a Dallas Cowboy, which takes precedence. Take Longhorn killer Roy Williams for instance. I also liked the way he played the game. It's probably the reason his career was cut short. You could say he's blood brothers with Rusty Greer. But to have played five seasons for a non-playoff team is little reason for recognition.
Now players who played for losing teams are often recognized. Look at Archie Manning. But these players usually lasted for a full career and put up unbelievable numbers for bad teams. Nguyen put up very good numbers. He led the team in tackles three out of five seasons. But compared with the rest of the league, the numbers weren't great.
I'll give you one thing. It is not a major sin to recognized the guy. He was hard-nosed. A leader. And the first Vietnamese-American to play in the NFL. But great teams, even ones in decade long slumps, need to recognize great players.
The Rangers can honor Rusty Greer. Their tradition is one of mediocrity. When a player like Rusty comes along, he is one of a few bright spots that needs to be memorialized. For the Cowboys, though, Dat was a good, maybe very good, player for a great ballclub.