America's Schedule

Plan your holidays around something different this year--like, say, football. The NFL just released its 2006 schedules, and your Dallas Cowboys close the season with home games against the Philadelphia Eagles on Christmas night and the Detroit Lions on New Year's Eve afternoon. The Cowboys and new receiver Terrell Owens return to Philly for what should be a rousing reception on October 8.

Also, in this new era of networks where NBC hosts Sunday-night games and ESPN broadcasts Monday Night Football--and how weird will that be?--the Cowboys will play on national television six times. Six of Dallas' first nine games are on the road, and with home dates against the Indianapolis Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the schedule looks to be among one of the league's toughest. Then again, it is April. And it is the NFL, where the Pittsburgh Steelers can win a title despite little or no hype in the springtime. If you've recently cleaned your Cowboys-colored glasses, the most important date on your football calendar is Februay 4: Super Bowl XLI in Miami.

Of course we'd love to hear coach Bill Parcells' thoughts on the schedule, but he's been inexplicably incognito all off-season, spending the spring in Florida helping buddy and St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa build a baseball champion. In fact, we haven't even heard InvinciBill's take on T.O. yet. We do know the whereabouts of quarterback Drew Bledsoe, however. He spent Wednesday caddying for old pal Ben Crane at The Masters Par 3 tournament. Lucky bastard. Let's hope he and Owens get along this well. --Richie Whitt

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