I have been a fan of this thing since I was a kid.
The last time Dallas was in the Super Bowl: January 1996.
I was in the 6th grade.
I can't spin this into a positive.
I can pretty much sum up what 2014 has in store for the Dallas Cowboys.
You can expect a lot of high scoring games because Owner Jones failed to put together a defense over the past couple of drafts. I could see this team leading the league in scoring AND giving up the most points.
This is the season that the Cowboys will play the AFC South so there are three wins right there.
Unfortunately, they have the NFC West which has the 49ers and Seahawks who played in the NFC Title Game which was the de facto Super Bowl given how lopsided the actual Super Bowl was. Arizona won 10 games, but due to tiebreakers and the bad luck of being in the NFC West missed the playoffs. Then there are the Rams who finished 7-9 and are better than the other 7 teams that finished in their division in last place. If the Cowboys earn a split, that would be a plus.
Place games (2 games every season based on where your team finished the previous season): They will lose to the Bears. Another December game at night in Chicago. They will lose to New Orleans in Dallas. Drew Brees will tear the Cowboys secondary up and is 4-1 as the Saints starter vs. Dallas.
So that leaves the NFC East which is made up of New York, Philadelphia, and Washington which each team has made some improvement. The Giants despite their 0-6 start won 7 of their last 10. The Eagles might have found their starting quarterback in Nick Foles. Washington has a healthy Robert Griffin III and DeSean Jackson headed to DC and remains in the NFC East.
Here is how the schedule will work out.
Cowboys will start the season 3-0 with an upset win over the 49ers, blow out the Titans 50-19, and beat the Rams.
Week 4 is when your friend who drafted DeMarco Murray breaks his phone because he started Murray in anticipation that he would get a lot of touches to keep Drew Brees off the field. Nope. Murray only carries the ball 5 times for 20 yards. Jason Garrett's timeout mismanagement boggles Al Michaels to where he almost has a stroke on air. Saints win the game 45-38.
The next week they beat Houston 30-16, but lose to Seattle 35-20 as Richard Sherman holds Dez Bryant to 4 catches for 30 yards and no touchdowns. The television microphones catch Bryant uttering a swear word as he slams his helmet down onto the bench. The NFL would fine Bryant for his outburst, but the game aired on Fox so who was watching.
Cowboys lose to the Giants in Week 7 in another "the defense was highly suspect coming into the season" game and this proves it. During the Fox postgame show, Jimmy Johnson says that in all his years watching and coaching football in both college and the pros the 2014 Dallas Cowboys are the worst defense he has ever seen. Johnson said his first year in Dallas had a better defense. That was in 1989 when the team went 1-15.
The Tuesday after the game your co-worker who drafted Dallas D/ST finally cuts the player from his fantasy roster when he finally realized that DeMarcus Ware plays for Denver and Sean Lee was hurt during minicamps. You almost told him the truth, but with holding that information has led to you being in first place in your division.
On Monday Night Football the following week, Romo has one of those games where he tosses 4 interceptions against Washington but by dumb luck the opposition is unable to capitalize on those mistakes. Griffin outplays Romo. This is a game the Cowboys should have lost by at least 21 points, but again dumb luck interferes when Griffin misses a wide open DeSean Jackson on 3rd down that would have iced the game. Dallas squeezes past Washington 34-33 by a last second 56-yard field goal that hits the right upright, but still goes over the crossbar.
Dallas is at the halfway point of the season at 5-3.
The defense makes Carson Palmer and the Cardinals look like Dan Fouts leading Air Coryell in Week 9. Larry Fitzgerald comes within 10 yards of setting the single-game record of receiving yards in a game. Dallas loses 48-44.
In London in Week 10, Cowboys get by the Jaguars on a muddy Wembly Stadium field 28-10. Dallas returns to the states and heads into the bye 6-4.
On Sunday Night Football in Week 12 Eli Manning has his derp game on national television completing 14 passes on 37 attempts, throwing for 189 yards, and tossing 5 interceptions to very surprised Cowboys cornerbacks who as a defensive unit are last in turnovers. Dallas wins 30-13. Four days later, the Cowboys upset division leading Philadelphia 35-31 on Thanksgiving Day to take sole possession of first place in the NFC East.
Dallas is at 8-4 heading into the final four games of the season.
People in Dallas and those who follow the Cowboys in other cities (like yours truly) are convinced that just maybe… just MAYBE this team can get over the hump. Maybe they can finally make the playoffs and make a decent run at an NFC Title Game appearance. After all the last time Dallas won a Super Bowl it was in Arizona.
The first game after Thanksgiving is in Chicago on a Thursday Night. The polar vortex strikes. Temperature at kickoff is 10 degrees and drops to below zero by game's end. Matt Forte guts the Cowboys defense. Jay Cutler can complete passes in the cold. Tony Romo can't. Bears win 42-20.
The next week the Eagles go no huddle in the first half that gasses the Cowboys defense and puts the Eagles up 24-10 at the half. With 5 minutes to go Romo tosses a touchdown pass to Jason Witten to bring Dallas within 7. On the next Eagles offensive drive LeSean McCoy goes up the middle for a 56 yard touchdown run. Final score: Eagles 45, Cowboys 31.
Leading up to the Cowboys home finale, Fort Worth Star-Telegram writer Randy Galloway calls the Cowboys defense soft. He writes that Texas Christian would at least rank 20th.
The Cowboys and Colts face off at the Jerry Dome. The Cowboys are fighting for their postseason lives while the Colts are fighting for the AFC 2-seed.
Dallas is leading 31-27 with 10 seconds remaining. The Colts have fourth and goal to go from the Cowboys 4 yard line. Luck is in the shotgun, executes a quarterback draw
And is stopped short of the goal line.
Meanwhile, Chicago has lost two in a row. Dallas is ahead of Chicago for the last playoff spot. All the Cowboys have to do is win their last game of the season and they are in the playoffs.
NBC decides to flex the Bengals at Steelers game for the final Sunday Night as that game will determine the AFC North crown. Fox puts the Bears at Vikings and Cowboys at Washington on in the Sunday afternoon slot for Week 17.
Washington is the middle of another lost season but they are fighting to finish the season at .500. All the flaws that were known at the start of the season are exposed. Robert Griffin III shows why he won the Heisman at Baylor. The Dallas defense can't make a stop.
And yet… YET… somehow Dallas is still in it.
I post at about 5:30 PM (MT) on 28 December: "Dallas is down by 5 with two minutes to go & has two timeouts. Why have I have seen this movie before? #Week17 #DALvsWSH"
Romo tosses a game killing pick.
Meanwhile in Minnesota, the Bears trounce the Vikings 40-13. Chicago is heading to playoffs. Dallas is not.
And let the rationalization begin:
Should have ran the ball more against the Giants, questionable use of timeouts against the Saints, if Sean Lee didn't get hurt in mini-camp, should of drafted this player who is on the verge of defensive rookie of the year, well Larry Fitzgerald is a beast... but to break the single-game receiving yard mark, who gets the axe, don't see Garrett's name on the list on Black Monday, will Jerry admit that he doesn't know shit about football (answer: never)
We all know the answer to the Cowboys' woes for the last 19 years.
It might take for this franchise to hit rock bottom before there are any changes that result in a playoff appearance.