McBriar wouldn’t mind a certain bowl game prior to his wedding
MAT McBriar's to-do list through February is pretty much set.
Most of it, however, is plain-old wishful thinking:
» Play in (and win) the Super Bowl; play in the Pro Bowl; get married.
Only the third item is a lock. McBriar, the former standout for Hawaii now punting for the Dallas Cowboys, will marry Erin Seaworth on Feb. 15 on Oahu.
That trip back to Hawaii might just also include an appearance in the Pro Bowl on Feb. 10, but McBriar is pretty sure that won't happen.
"The guy from San Francisco (Andy Lee, 48.4 yards per punt) is having an unbelievable year," said McBriar, who played in the Pro Bowl last season and is averaging 46.9 per punt this year (down from 48.2 in 2006). "I think he will be voted in and I doubt that I'll slip on through. I'd much rather play in the Super Bowl than the Pro Bowl anyway."
Now that's a good possibility, with the Cowboys presently holding top-dog status in the NFC.
While being interviewed over the phone on Wednesday, McBriar covered a wide range of topics, but somehow it always came back to that one special player making a world of difference -- QB Tony Romo.
"If we can keep protecting Tony and keep running the ball well with Marion (Barber) and Julius (Jones) complementing each other, and with (Greg) Ellis and (DeMarcus) Ware coming off the corners, then I feel good about our chances (of making the Super Bowl). We're a well-rounded team that plays consistently and we have a great quarterback who has a flair for making great plays and brings us all together. It's a pretty exciting time around here."
McBriar thinks last week's 28-27 comeback victory over Detroit was one of the worst games the team has played.
"We're 12-1 and obviously have a lot of confidence and we scratched out that win after we got behind. That's a sign of a championship team."
McBriar was forthcoming about the difference between this year's squad under Wade Phillips and the last few seasons under Bill Parcells.
"I can't talk poorly about Bill, but maybe things have passed him by, and he may even agree with that," said the 28-year-old McBriar, who hails from Australia. "Maybe it's the way they communicate. Wade is more confident and comfortable with the abilities of the players. It's much more of a family atmosphere and the guys are pulling for each other a lot more. We're not being talked down to."
McBriar feels the team underachieved a bit last season and, had it not been for the Romo bobbled-snap fiasco at Seattle in the playoffs, the Cowboys may have "marched into Chicago" and then gone on to the Super Bowl.
"Everybody thought it might be something Tony couldn't dance back from," he said. "But they don't realize that Tony's not in the league to be a holder and he'll probably never be a holder again."
Personally, McBriar feels like he's not contributing as much to the team as he did last year, but that's partly because he doesn't punt nearly as often -- sometimes as little as once or twice a game. He's kind of hoping for a field-position battle soon, where his punts can make a huge difference.
He certainly hasn't forgotten his football roots at UH.
"Oh yeah!" he gushed, when asked about the Warriors' upcoming Sugar Bowl appearance. "I couldn't be happier for June Jones. What a boon for the school to be in a BCS game and in the national championship discussion. I think they can pull it off. I've seen most of the games this year, there's been quite a bit of coverage.
"Some of the guys here came from the SEC, like (tight end) Jason Witten from Tennessee. They think Georgia will be able to run at will. But I doubt there's a corps of receivers as good in the nation as Hawaii's. And I'm pretty sure Hawaii has a better quarterback."
McBriar is hoping the Cowboys clinch a first-round bye, so he can make it to New Orleans to watch the Jan. 1 game.
That to-do/wish list might need some additions, especially if the Cowboys continue to succeed:
» Watch UH play (and win) the Sugar Bowl.
» Beat New England in the Super Bowl, avenging a 48-27 loss on Oct. 14.
"If they (undefeated Patriots) make it there and we make it, too, then if we play our best game, I feel good about our chances of knocking them off," McBriar said.