I watched the Cowboys get rolled by the Chicago Bears 44-0 in 1985. I saw them get stomped by the Rams 30-0 in the playoffs that same season. I made it through a 3-13 season (Landry's last) in 1988 and a 1-15 season (Jimmy's first) in 1989. I made it through the Dave Campo and Quincy Carter years. But, today, was the most frustrating and embarrassing day I've had as a Dallas Cowboys' fan.
At first I was angry. Fire all the coaches. Ship off half the players. Somehow banish Jerry Jones from the NFL. But, in the hours since, I've calmed somewhat. It was just a football game, after all. And, life goes on. And, as they say, there's always next season.
And, I now want to see something else result . . . I want a do over. I want the Dallas Cowboys to return next season largely intact . . . the same players . . . the same coaching staff . . . and, yes, Jerry Jones, too.
Looking back at the season, I see that several factors led to the collapse of this team. I lost track of the injuries several weeks ago . . . injuries certainly took their toll (think, if Romo didn't miss three games, the Cowboys would have won at least 2 of those games, and the significance of today's game would have been mute). The press (especially, Ed Werder, wreaked their havock on this team with their incessant efforts to keep the drama flowing form Valley Ranch.
I believe Tony Romo will be a great quarterback. Marion Barber, when healthy, is a beast. The line, when healthy, is the best in the NFL. I love the passion of T.O. (I'd rather him demand the ball than be complacent). Witten is a Hall of Famer. DeMarcus Ware is The Best in the league, hands down. Most of the defense is underheralded. I can do without Pacman. Wade Phillips is a great defensive coach; Garrett lost a step this year, but still has so much promise. This team, given a clean slate, can make a great run.
Print it in three-inch letters: The Cowboys will win the Super Bowl in February 2010.
Here's my picks for this season's NFL playoffs:
Eagles over Vikings
Cardinals over Falcons
Dolphins over Ravens
Chargers over Colts
Giants over Eagles
Panthers over Cardinals
Titans over Dolphins
Steelers over Chargers
Panthers over Giants
Steelers over Titans
Steelers over Panthers
The Pittsburgh Steelers will be the first NL franchise to win 6 Super Bowls. The Dallas Cowboys will be the first to win 7 (in 2011).