Brooking gets Phillips' back

Linebacker Keith Brooking had a message for the co-host of his weekly television show: Watch what you say to the Dallas Cowboys’ head coach.

CBS 11’s Steve Dennis had a pointed line of questioning for Wade Phillips during a Monday press conference, wondering how Phillips could call a core of players who had folded down the stretch the last two seasons a bunch of winners. It led to a testy exchange that got national media attention and perturbed Brooking.

Dennis happens to be the co-host of Brooking’s show, which is taped on Tuesdays and airs Sunday mornings on TXA 21, leading to an interesting exchange at the beginning of this week’s edition.

“Is he supposed to call us losers?” asked Brooking, who played under Phillips for two seasons in Atlanta and cited the coach as the primary reason he signed with the Cowboys as a free agent this offseason. “We’re not talking about last year. We’re not talking about two years ago.”

Dennis replied that you had to discuss those seasons before Brooking, an 11-year veteran who has emerged as the Cowboys’ emotional leader, cut him off.

“Bullcrap,” Brooking said. “Why are we talking about two years ago? It’s not about two years ago. It’s about the Dallas Cowboys right now. We’re 8-4. We’re leading our division. There are two teams in the NFC with better records than we have.

“Am I happy about that? Hell no, I’m not happy with that. I want to get in the tournament and I want to win the whole damn thing, but at the end of the day, we are what we are. There are two teams in the NFC that are better than us, and our head coach I guess is supposed to sit in a press conference and call us losers because we went to New York and lost a game.”

Dennis mentioned Phillips’ statement about the media making up the Cowboys’ December mental block as evidence that the coach sends the wrong message. Brooking countered that the public perception of Phillips is not reality at Valley Ranch.

“He owns up to it every day in front of us,” Brooking said. “Because you might not perceive it as that means nothing, means nothing to me, means nothing to the football team. I’m there every day. I’m there at every meeting, I’m there at every day during practice. You’re in the locker room for 35 minutes a day maybe, you’re on the practice field while we stretch. You’re not there every day. You don’t see what goes on at every meeting and every practice, the sacrifices that we make, the accountability that Wade Phillips holds us to every day.

“I’ll go to fight for that man until I hang my cleats up and I’m done playing football, because I have the utmost respect for him. Everything I’ve seen from my teammates and everything I’ve heard, they feel the same way, bottom line.”