Cowboys get Christmas Day off

IRVING, Texas -- Wade Phillips gave his players Christmas off, a decision that has been greeted with criticism by some local media grinches.

The loudest objectors have been ESPN 103.3's Michael Irvin and Nate Newton. Both of them have three Super Bowl rings' worth of credibility, which is certainly more than you can say for most media members. (Or Phillips, for that matter.) They pulled the Jimmy-woulda-never-done-this card, saying Jimmy Johnson always told them the practice 48 hours before gameday was the most important.

Really, though, is this a big deal?

It's not like Phillips gave the Cowboys an extra day off. They practiced Tuesday, which is their normal day off, a luxury they could take since they played Saturday.

Phillips figured the Cowboys wouldn't be completely focused on football if they practiced on Christmas Day, especially the players who had to leave kids at home. He set the schedule to put the Cowboys in position to have their best possible week of practice. They'll have a Saturday walkthrough before leaving for the airport, as usual, which ought to freshen up anything they forgot while unwrapping presents and sipping egg nog the previous day.

The media that has to report from Valley Ranch every day the Cowboys practice here is with Wade on this one.