I love hyperbole. I believe it is an essential part of being a fan of any sports team. I especially love when a fan's or writer's hyperbole is justified by a team's victory and the effort the team puts into it.
Well, two weeks ago, I partook in a little hyperbole myself when Tony Romo got lit up and Jon Kitna stepped onto the gridiron. I said to myself, "I am looking at Troy Aikman." Seriously, that is the vibe I got from Jon Kitna, and I Immediately knew why: his eyes were tiger-like, full of fearsome confidence and a blood-thirsty lust for victory.
Kitna exuded leadership, true leadership, field general confidence; the kind of leadership the world has seen in the eyes of George Patton, Erwin Rommel, William Halsey, Norman Schwarzkopf, Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman.
In the week leading up to the lights-out victory against the Giants at New Meadowlands Stadium, the Cowboys were being chastised by team royalty like Tony Dorsett, who called the team a bunch of under-achievers.
Now, we are seeing some over-achievers like Dez Bryant, Brian McCann and Kitna. Bryant is becoming the second-coming of Michael Irvin. McCann is the player that we Cowboys fans have admired on other teams, always wishing that we had a Devin Hester or any other great kick returner. Now we have him and he wears a blue star on his head.
But, Kitna jumped into the leadership position in the midst of an inevitable defeat against the Giants three weeks ago. Yet, regardless of the outcome of that game, we saw something in his last minute, no-huddle near-dismantling of the Giants defense with only a hapless receiving corps as his weapons: the beginnings of a long-overdue turn around. If anything, his performance was a foreshadowing of the coming weeks.
Looking at Kitna's performance, his QB rating is 89.7. That's better than Eli Manning's QB rating of 88.4. Keep in mind that Kitna is a 38-year-old backup QB and a 14-year veteran.
Now, one can easily argue that if Wade Phillips were still the head coach, Kitna would not have as impressive a rating than he does now. That would be because the receiving corps was so woefully uninspired by the most uninspiring and frustrating head coach since Lions coach Marty Mornhinweg.
Now, the entire Cowboys team is inspired by coach Jason Garrett, and Kitna's numbers are rocketing through the hole in Cowboys Stadium. However, it is not just the change of leadership that has the train moving.
Before taking over for Romo, Kitna was building a rapport with Dez Bryant, schooling Bryant on what goes on inside a QB's head and what the QB is looking for in his receivers. It also seems that Kitna and Bryant have found a super weapon in their game: the jump ball. Yes, Kitna and Bryant have been playing keepaway from the corner backs.
As long as Kitna and Bryant and the rest of the receiving corps play keep away from the opposing corners, they'll be keeping the L column away for the remainder of the season.