2012 Positively Gruden, Week 4: Cowboys v. Bears, The Quick and the Dead

As any regular fan of the NFL knows, the QB “gunslinger” metaphor is one of the most well-worn conventions in the game.  And while it’s often used by announcers as a term of endearment, in reality, the “gunslinger” label is just a symbol for a talented but erratic QB who torments your team by ill-advised, backbreaking throws into coverage.  Ever since Brett Favre, the original “gunslinger” (also the game’s all-time interceptions leader) retired, commentators have been falling all over each other to annoint the heir to his holsters and ammunition.  (I particularly enjoyed the Rex Grossman “gunslinger” era.)

So it should should come as no surprise that Jon Gruden—who’s so married to football that he wears his Super Bowl ring as a wedding ring—would take the “gunslinger” metaphor to never-before-seen heights.  And for good reason, because Jay Cutler and Tony Romo, by all accounts, are the two most maddenling erratic quarterbacks currently playing in the NFL.  As you’ll see below, Gruden’s “gunslinger” theme was so prominent that I was forced to separate my normal Top 10 list into “gunslinger” and “non-gunslinger” sections.

Of course, in any duel between two gunslingers, there can only be one who walks away from a showdown.  But fear not, Tony Romo, because unlike Alexander Hamilton your NFL death is only temporary, as you’re sure to have 12 more games this year to sling those guns in the hopes of catching fire.  Just remember, sometimes it’s better to leave that safety on.

The Non-Gunslingers

Giving his weekly “Gruden Grinder” award to Tim Jennings in pregame, “5,’8″ out of Georgia. They call him THE HAWK, because he’s always circling.”  (He’s also in favor of pre-emptive military action in the Middle East.)

On DeMarcus Ware, channeling his inner Berman, “in Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan’s defense, he becomes DeMarcus’ Every Ware tonight.”

The TV critic, “When you watch the Bears rush the passer, it’s like a PASS RUSH VARIETY SHOW.”

On Michael Bush’s, um, assets, “Hard to believe Bush was a great high school quarterback who played quarterback at Louisville with a BODY like that.”

Huge Twitter fan, “Lebron James is watching us, man. How about that? King James. Did my Celtics wrong, man.”

“This Charles Tillman, he’s one of the most fearless corners in football. Charles Tillman is going for the ball with PUNCHES, STRIPS, RAKES, I love watching him play…..Pro Bowl CB last year. PHYSICAL, TACKLING, TURNOVER MACHINE!”

Mixing metaphors, “That could be the straw that broke the Cowboys back.”

On the, er, amenities of Cowboys Stadium, “When you’re the visiting team, you say ‘Whoa this is awesome!’ You’re jacked up! I’ve seen these Cowboys come out and it’s like coming out of a Sports Bar. They’ve got DANCING GIRLS. It’s a fun place to play, Mike.” 

And now, the Gunslingers…

Getting it rolling during pregame, “I kinda compare them to two gunslingers, guys. Jay Cutlter, he’s a modern day Josie Wales. And Romo, he’s John Wayne.”

On Cutler, “He doesn’t get mad he gets HOUND DOG MAD. He creates more plays for the Chicago Bears than Johnny Lujack did.  Some of these throws will take your breath away!”

On Romo, “This is the toughest Cowboy they have in Texas. But at the end of the night, Tony Romo gets more done on his own than any Cowboy in Texas. God bless Tony Romo.  He’s the most dazzling, playmaking quarterback in football. I love watching Romo.”  (What’s the opposite of clairvoyant?)

After a Cutler completion, “This Jay Cutler, I told you he’s like Josie Wales, there you go, THE GUNSLINGER!”

Coming out of halftime, “A lot of guys go in the tank. But not Tony Romo. Here comes that song. God bless Tony Romo!” (No, God help Tony Romo)

After a Cutler completion montage, “He is a GUNSLINGER, just watch these throws for yourself….I don’t know about this music, I kinda feel like I’m on a hayride.”  (I seriously think Gruden is stoned at this point)

After a Bears turnover, “Once again, Tony Romo is in position to show his mettle, his mental toughness and grit.” (The next play, Romo promptly throws/fumbles his second pick-6 of the night)

After a Cutler-Marshall completion, “They told me the West Coast offense was dwindling. I think not. Watch this three step drop. BAM!”

“Mike, they don’t play defense like any other team. No gimmicks, five men walking around, they’ve—-” (Gruden promptly cutoff by the Romo, I mean John Wayne’s, fifth pick of the night)