My Dallas Cowboys sit at 2-2 going into their bye week. (Something I accurately predicted, by the way.) They are coming off a Monday Night Meltdown where Tony Romo was responsible for 5 turnovers. This was the latest bad performance in Blue Star-crossed career for #9. A career that has been mainly defined by such games. Romo is the guy capable of throwing 5 TD's in a game as he is thowing 5 picks. Dude's 49-32 as a starter with a 96% QB rating and a three-time pro-bowler. However, he also is only 1-3 in the postseason and that is the number everyone points to. Was it all Romo? Of course not but the average fan is too lazy and or stupid to take the time to get all the facts and Monday night was a microcosm of that.
Everyone hears "Romo had 5 interceptions". Technically that is correct, however, let's look at them:
INT#1....Romo makes a sight adjustment to the play called based on what Chicago's defense is showing him. This adjustment calls for Dez Bryant (another culprit in said meltdown) to break off his route early for a timing pattern from Romo. Bryant heads upfield instead of breaking off the route so when Romo throws it to the spot Bryant is supposed to be...he's not there and Charles Tillman was...boom, pick-six.
INT#2....Romo hits Kevin Ogletree in apparently the worst place you can...his hands....can't hold on to the ball, pops up into the air and Chicago grabs its.
INT#3....was actually a fumble on a great play by Henry Melton to knock it out of Romo's hands and into Lance Briggs'.
Romo wasn't blameless however. While his receivers were dropping sure catches, Romo zinged plenty over their heads and/or into the arms of the Bears. Yet he gets the brunt of criticism. And the reason why is two-fold.
Playing quarterback in the National Football League is the most visible and scrutinized position in all of pro sports. The only position in the NFL where individual wins and losses are counted? Quarterback. Add to that playing QB with a Star on your helmet makes it even more so especially when two of the guys who came before you have 5 rings and are considered as two of the best ever in the game.
Mystique, thy name is the Dallas Cowboys.
Love them or hate them, the Cowboys are still relevant despite not having a Super Bowl appearance in 16 years. Why is this? Dallas has arguably the biggest fan base in the NFL but almost as many fans tune in to see them lose as do to see them win.....but they all tune in. Don't like Dallas constantly being on TV?
The TV people aren't stupid nor is there any grand conspiracy to help the Cowboys. They are on TV a lot because people...even the haters....will watch. Why else is the first stat all the media pundits go to is "Dallas has only one playoff win since 1996"? BTW, those same "experts" used to say "Dallas hasn't won a playoff game since 96 and said that once they got that first playoff win that comment would go away....wrong, it was just changed. Five NFL teams have one or no wins in the same time or longer (technically six but I am giving Houston a pass) Buffalo (last win 1995), Cincinnati (1990), Cleveland (1994) Detroit (1991...by the way...your "lookee..we made the playoffs" banner was soooo cute.)and Kansas City (1993) yet none of them is ever mentioned with the "Haven't won a playoff game since..."line. So again we ask....why? and again I say...
Mystique, thy name is the Dallas Cowboys.
Historically they are one of the most successful NFL franchises ever. The most wins in the Super Bowl era(425), tied for the most post-season wins in the same period(33) and having the best winning percentage of all time (.577) When you have that much success, it means other teams are not and after a while, it gets their fans cranky. Hey, in sports if someone hates you....you're usually doing something right.
That all being said......what do all those stats mean this season and going into the next game after the bye week in Baltimore?
The two most over used words in sports are love and hate. If you truly hate a team or player, I mean actual hate, then you need to start watching QVC because you lack the mental strength to handle sports and you suck as a fan. By the same token, if you overly worship your team to a point where real life takes a back seat, you are also doing it wrong.
I have a few peeves when it comes to sports fans, I've shared some before but they bear repeating...
If you are ignorant enough to paint an entire fan base as being of one mindset due to the actions of a few idiots then you're a dumbass and too stupid to walk outside by yourself. For those of you who do this, I may have used too many big words so let me dumb it down for you...when you drop your "_____ fans are_____" card...pick it up and go back to your group home and hurry because you'll miss taco night.
Also (and its usually the same group of dipshits) when you insult, facebook bomb, commit vandalism or attack (verbally or otherwise) someone solely based on the college or pro team they root for....you should follow the same steps in the previous paragraph and add "driving off of a bridge" because frankly the world needs oxygen and you are wasting it.
Finally....when your only response to a loss by your team is "we got rings" again....you're a dumbass. First of all, "you" got nothing. All you did was drink beer and crush nachos while your team was winning that hardware. Which brings me back to those Dallas stats I mentioned earlier....what do all those stats mean this season and going into the next game after the bye week in Baltimore?
Not a damn thing.
Mystique doesn't win ball games...players do. Right now, the collection of players Dallas has is not getting it done. They have the talent to compete for championships on a consistent basis, however, talent alone does not win trophies. Dallas' biggest problem is a lack of discipline which has caused them to underachieve on a consistent basis. They have committed the second most penalties in the league, turned the ball over 11 times (third most) and has the second worst turnover differential at -7. They did not address the offensive line questions (with the exception of bringing in Bill Callahan as OL coach...now he needs better players) in the off season and the defense, while slightly improved, has still not lived up to the Rob Ryan hype. As much as I would love to drop it all at Romo's feet, I can't because its not solely him. I wish it were because then he could be moved. If Kyle Orton was the answer, he'd be starting despite Romo's contract. You think for a moment if he thought Orton was the better option, Jerry Jones wouldn't say something? JJ has been known to put his two cents in now and then. Besides Jerry has his own problems....Cowboys Stadium is the best venue in the NFL and possible the country. It has every bell and whistle anyone could want...there is just one thing he forgot to install......a home field advantage. Since Jerryworld opened in 2009, the Cowboys are only 15-12 at home. Opponents aren't intimidated....they are impressed and it gets them motivated to play better. I'm not suggesting that everyone go Philly fan and start lobbing things at players but something has to be done.
Dallas has the teeth of its schedule coming up. The next four games are at Baltimore, at Carolina, the Giants at home and at Atlanta. Baltimore, NY and Hotlanta are all division leaders and Carolina is young and unpredictable. If they can somehow survive this run and get two wins, (hell at this point I'd take one)..and that's a big if, five of the last eight are at home so the season is not lost. However, if they finish out of the playoffs again....look for a wholesale house cleaning at Valley Ranch where no one will be safe.
Stay tuned folks, because like your favorite soap opera, when it comes to the Dallas Cowboys....you never know what will happen next.