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Out of bounds

Football forecasters final standings

Dallas Cogle, sportswriter 124-44Paul Watson, sports editor 120-48Michael Reid, sports editor 113-55James A. McCray III, sports editor 112-56Tammy Showalter, sportswriter 112-56Ray LeBark, big fan 111-57AJ Mason, sportswriter 110-58Douglas Smith, sports intern 107-61

Dallas Cogle

Four championships in five years.

Itís a feat thatís never been done in the NFL.

My beloved Dallas Cowboys initially came the closest to such a grandiose exploit during their dynasty days of the 1990s, winning three Super Bowls in four years.

The New England Patriots then matched the ring-laden run by capturing Super Bowl glory three times in four years in the early 2000s, albeit by far less dominant performances than Americaís Team as they survived by field goals each time.

We have to hit the way-back machine to the prehistoric dark ages of the late 1960s to find the last NBA club to win a quartet of Finals in a handful of years. Not surprisingly, it was Bill Russellís Boston Celtics that last reigned supreme in such fashion over the NBA. Russell and company actually won 11 NBA titles in 13 years, including eight straight before their run finally ended in 1969.

Surprisingly, not even the amazing Michael Jordan or his second coming in Kobe Bryant led their celebrated teams on such a championship waltz of four titles in five years. Jordanís Chicago Bulls accomplished a pair of three-peats in the 90s, but there were two non-title seasons separating those dynamic runs.

Bryantís Los Angeles Lakers also three-peated to kick off the 2000s, then repeated in 2009 and 2010 to cap off a run of three straight Finals appearances.

In the majors, the last team to mob the middle of the diamond in celebration four times in five years was not that long ago as the New York Yankees pulled off the World Series title run from 1996 through 2000, only interrupted by the Florida Marlins, of all teams, in 1997.

So as I sipped my gingerbread coffee — perfectly completed with the added touch of peppermint mocha creamer — and turned the outside of my house into a lit-up haven while awaiting Santaís arrival, and most importantly reflected on the birth of Baby Jesus as the newborn King, I had another tradition to add to my festive Christmas season: Soaking in the prestige and acclaim that comes with being the Southern Maryland Newspapers Football Forecasters champion — again.

Itís my fourth prognostication title in five years. So I guess you could say my finish at the top was quite predictable, pun intended.

Iíve now sandwiched a pair of repeat glory runs around a runner-up finish in 2010 throughout the last five fall seasons of accurately predicting high school, college and NFL games for the 13 to 14 weeks that our Southern Maryland Athletic Conference teams remained alive into the playoffs.

My reward for such dynastic output has always been the gloat job known as writing this column.

But Iím not so sure that four Football Forecasters championships in five years have ever been done before in the long, storied history of our newspaper.

So Iím feeling like I deserve more.

I should be fitted for some extravagant jewelry, something like a Super Bowl ring. That seems appropriate for this occasion.

After all, Iíve proven to be no Johnny Come Lately when it comes to having the upper hand on my esteemed colleagues and fellow prognosticators season after season in Football Forecasters.

Have I mentioned my 2012 title was my fourth championship in five years?

OK, so you get the picture — and again, if I donít do some gloating in this column, Iím really not doing my job.

Also, I think Iím due a champions group photo with Russell and Derek Jeter of the Yankees as the faces of dominance — winning four titles in five years in our respective games.

And I canít cheat myself here. I should be the centerpiece in the photo because, unlike Russell and Jeter, I did not have teammates to assist me during my plethora of title forays.

Weíll even allow the Cowboys big three in Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin to join the photo — particularly since I love them — even though their dominant run was just a tad less than mine (envision my tongue firmly jammed in my cheek).

And my favorite basketball player in Kobe and former favorite in Michael can be in this illustrious group photo too even though the best they could do is three-peat (again, envision my tongue firmly jammed in my cheek).

As for the Patriots and their three Super Bowl rings in four years, Adam Vinatieri should be their representative in this illustrious group photo. After all, it was his clutch foot that was the difference.

Plus, we donít want to bother Tom Brady because heís probably too busy shopping for a European sweater blazer with the billowing lapels to sport at his next press conference.

So this gloat column, a ring of Super Bowl proportions and being the centerpiece in a group photo of elite champions — now that is a befitting way for me to revel in the grandeur of four Football Forecasters crowns in five years.

Thanks for riding shotgun with me throughout my tongue-in-cheek take on how I should be honored.

Now tongue in cheek, that would be an interesting way for me to pose in that lofty group photo. Iíll have to give that some thought.

dcogle@somdnews.com