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Tale of the Tape: Cowboys vs. 'The Godfather'

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I'll say this for Jerry Jones: It took the Rams three years to discard Tony Banks, but it only took Jerry two preseason games. That said, these are strange days in Big D, what with all the Cowboys' glorious tradition mired in Bengals Envy.

The talent cupboard is bare, the budget is capped tighter than an oil-rig fire, and America's Team is about to learn what it's like to spend 16 Sundays in a bombed-out embassy.

Oh sure, it's hard to stay on top in these days of free agency and salary caps, but we haven't seen the elite fall this far since ... well, since "The Godfather III," when the greatest one-two punch in cinema was chased with a sequel that ranks somewhere below "Dude, Now Where's My Car?!" (Not that it prevented Hollywood from amortizing the deficit on the Fredo of the trio by forcing you to buy it in the DVD package.)

Dynasties are built to topple, but which of these organizations deserves to be called the most disappointing? The Cowboys, the "Godfather" trilogy: One is quotable, the other potable -- let's see how they stack up at the Tale of the Tape.

"The Godfather"
Masquerading as   Olive oil importers   A viable NFL team   "The Godfather"
"I don't want his mother to see him like this ..."  
Sonny's face before the mortician went to work
Jerry's face after the cosmetic surgery
Horrifying things they leave in your bed   A severed horse head   A pair of 2001 season tickets   Cowboys
Bad combinations   Fredo and fishing boats   Michael Irvin and motel rooms   Push
Not ready for prime time players   Sophia Coppola   Every draft pick since '97   Push
Hitting the mattresses   Hiding out while Clemenza makes sauce   Hiding at "The White House" while your wife makes sauce   Cowboys
Frightens small children  
Don Corleone with an orange rind in his mouth
Barry Switzer with a gun in his carry-on luggage
Introductions   "I am Enzo ... Enzo, de baker!"   "I am Dave Campo ... soon to be a baker!"   Cowboys
Signing bonuses   "If there's a suitcase with a million dollars in it, then I'll know I have a partner."   "If there's a suitcase with 20 million dollars in it, then you can have Deion."   Push
Bad trades  
George Hamilton for Robert Duvall
Two No. 1 picks for Joey Galloway
What Mel Kiper Jr. would say   "'Franky Five Angels' has a mean streak, and his motor never stops running."   "Quincy Carter in round three? Major reach."   "The Godfather"
Goals for 2001   To take over the referee union's pension plan   Uh ... win a game?   "The Godfather"
Oops!   Letting Appolonia start the car   Letting Jerry run the draft   Push
Not a wartime consigliari   Tom Hagen   Chan Gailey   "The Godfather"
Speed merchants   Khartoum   Bob Hayes   Cowboys
T&A   A type more Greek than Italian   A cheerleader more saline than flesh   Push -- everyone wins with pulchritude.
Begot   "The Sopranos"   The XFL cheerleaders   Cowboys -- Hey, I'm a man with needs.
Big men with small brains   Luca Brazzi   Leon Lett   Push
Dreaded conversations  
"Fredo, I know it was you ..."
"Coach Landry, we're making a change ..."
Never the same after   Sonny hit the toll booth   Aikman hit the announcer's booth   Cowboys
Turning points   "Johnny Ola told me about this place ..."   "Jimmy Johnson is no longer the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys ..."   "The Godfather"
In their pockets   Four Supreme Court judges and Sen. Geary   51 bus tickets to NFL Europe   "The Godfather"
An abortion  
Kay's revenge on Michael
The title of their 2001 team highlight film

So, there you have it. It's all so simple when you break things down scientifically.

In a garroting while an ice pick pins your hand to the bar, the advantage goes to ... the Dallas Cowboys! Hey, that's what happens when you reach the top -- bitter Bills fans like me take shots at you on your way back down.

Until next time, I'm Nick Bakay reminding you to leave the gun, take the cannoli. Now if you'll excuse me, my boss likes to hear bad news right away ...

Humorist Nick Bakay, currently a writer for the CBS sitcom "King of Queens," is a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine and Page 2. He has a website at

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