I'm not sure why I thought Sunday would be any different for the Dallas Cowboys than every other big spot that they've been in since Tony Romo was handed the keys to the Cowboy Cadillac (complete with big-ass steer horns as a hood ornament). I mean, were two spankings of a reeling Philadelphia Eagles squad enough for me to completely revamp my outlook on Team Romo with Private Phillips at the helm?
This post season has not been kind to me from a prognostication standpoint. In fact, Minnesota's 34-3 trouncing of the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday afternoon brought my 2010 NFL postseason handicapping record to 0-7. Essentially, you'd be better off having a cast member from Jersey Shore do your taxes than you would having me pick football games for you.
By the time Keith Brooking was done throwing a bitch-like hissy fit at Brett Favre and the Vikings bench for (gasp!) scoring their final touchdown, I was sitting at the precipice of a George Costanza-esque "I must do the opposite of every logical thought I have" abyss. Then and only then did it make perfect sense to back a rookie quarterback against the hottest team in the league on the road. Hello, Jets MONEYLINE +330. CHA-CHING.
I bring up my "do the opposite" approach because with the Cowboys rolling over and playing dead in MInnesota, word now comes out that Jerry Jones is bringing Wade Phillips back for another year as head coach of the Cowboys, and let's be honest, the only explanation for bringing "One and Done" Wade back for another season is by employing the polar opposite of sound logic.
Wade's cavalcade of complete unpreparedness started early on Sunday, facing a fourth and one from the Minnesota 30-yard line five minutes into the game; rather than pound Marion Barber or Felix Jones and pick up a first down, Phillips decided to let Shaun Suisam (Who? Exactly.) attempt a 48-yard field goal.
Understand that with a notoriously jittery quarterback in one of the loudest venues in the game, the formula for the Cowboys was going to have to be "take the crowd out of the game." Well, Hayseed Wade thought the best way to do that was not to pick up a first down and keep the drive going, the clock moving. He thought a long field goal attempt by a kicker who had just been cut by the Redskins about a month ago made more sense.
Field goal, no good. Crowd going apeshit. Four plays later, Favre hits Sidney Rice for a long touchdown. Game over. Thanks for coming, Cowboys.
The next two-plus hours looked like a compilation of every Dallas Cowboys game played after Christmas since Tony Romo showed up four years ago. Poor reads, pockets collapsing, fumbles, happy feet. It would have actually been fun to watch if I hadn't decided to back these suckholes. After Tony Romo's first fumble, I tweeted "Just had my first 'oh God, I bet on Tony Romo' moment."
It would not be my last. Not even close.
Later last night, I was watching ESPN's Prime Time show with Chris Berman and Tom Jackson. It's basically a ritual of mine after the day of football has concluded, and I can't really explain why because I can't stand Berman.
At any rate, after showing every agonizing highlight of the Cowboys-Vikings game, Berman and Jackson were wrapping up their analysis of the game, and Berman went into a tangent about a conversation he had with former Pro Bowl cornerback and now ESPN analyst (what former Pro Bowler isn't an ESPN analyst?) Eric Allen, where Allen basically said that this year's Cowboys team reminded him of the early `90's Cowboys the year before they started
winning Super Bowls.
Naturally, Berman took Allen's statement and treated it as if Moses had just come down from the mountain with his words etched into a tablet, without providing any analysis or breakdown at all (because this is what they do on ESPN's NFL coverage -- say a bunch of shit to sound smart with no analysis or fear of reprisal...another rant for another time). As I sat and thought
about that comparison, all I could think was "What in the blue hell are Allen and Berman talking about?!?"
The early `90's Cowboys were carefully constructed by Jimmy Johnson largely through the drafting of players who epitomized a fight and a willingness to win that was embodied in their head coach. Their quarterback (the brains) was a pinpoint-accurate assassin, their running back (the heart) would become the most prolific runner in the history of the game, and their top wide receiver (the soul) was unstoppable when it mattered most.
If it weren't for a "Dallas isn't big enough for the two of us" lovers quarrel between Jones and Johnson, that Cowboys team wins four or five Super Bowls. As it was, they won three -- two on Johnson's watch and one where Barry Switzer got to wear headphones the whole season.
Today's Cowboys? They're a scattershot group led by a coach who looks like he just won a halftime "Coach the Team For a Day" contest, an owner who thinks he's a general manager, a quarterback who is a turnover machine in the biggest games, and a lead wide receiver for whom they gave up three draft picks and targeted ONCE in their biggest game of the year.
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Other than the uniforms, these Cowboys are nothing like the early `90's Cowboys, and now they're married to the Phillips, Romo, Williams group for another year, at least. Have fun with all that, Cowboy Fan.
I realize the Texans didn't make the playoffs this season, but the way the Cowboys were exposed yesterday and knowing that Wade Phillips will be back next season, it is a legitimate question -- which team would you buy 2010 stock in right now, the Texans or the Cowboys?
Amazing how much difference a week can make.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 3-7 p.m. weekdays on the Sean & John Show, and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.