Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Shayneblog's Dallas Cowboys Quarterly Report

I've been reading a lot of comments on various sports sites, including the Dallas Morning News' Cowboys Blog, and I have come to a conclusion:

Most people have no clue.

Dallas sits currently tied for second place in the NFC Eastern division at 4-1. Of course, if the season ended today, they would be behind the Washington Redskins based on their loss to Washington last week.

Regardless, Dallas did not impress anyone with their 9-point victory over Cincinnati on Sunday. It should be noted that when the New York Giants played Cincinnati, they only squeaked by as well - winning in overtime 26-23.

One thing that always gets overlooked is that to many teams, playing Dallas is often the one game that is circled on the opponent's calendars far in advance. Because of Dallas' popularity/arrogance, the chance of "showing off" in front of a huge television crowd (more than any other team, Cowboy games are usually the "featured game" on each network) causes the opposition to gear up stronger than they would against a team like the Saints or Cardinals.

Don't deny it, you know it's true.

For Cincinnati - this past week's opponent - the season is in the dumper already. Coming into the game at 0-4, they knew that playing (and beating) the Cowboys would be the the next best thing to the playoffs. So each player has greater motivation. That is why, over the past number of years, following a win over the Cowboys, the Eagles (and often the Redskins and Giants as well) have gone on losing streaks. This year has been no exception for Philadelphia as they have lost 2 of 3 following the loss to Dallas (after they were considered the Cowboys equal).

The other issue I have with these blogs is the short leash given to Tony Romo. As far as I'm concerned, Romo is among the top three or four quarterbacks in the league. Does he make mistakes? Sure he does. But if you reign him in, you take away what makes him so great. I can not help but compare him to his boyhood idol, Brett Favre. While clearly one of the greatest to ever play the position, Favre was also well known for throwing interceptions and fumbles at horrible times as well. But, like Romo is doing now, he compensates by making THE plays that win games. Obviously, we can not compare Romo to Favre completely until Romo wins a Super Bowl. But the comparison is still valid.

From my vantage point on the 50-yard line of my living room couch, I see a team that has a tremendous amount of talent that faces challenges no other team in the league faces. Of course, Jerry Jones lives for the headlines he makes. But that only makes it harder for the players on the field. It seems to me that it no longer matters to fans and the local media that the Cowboys win on Sundays, but that they demolish their opponents. In this day and age of salary-caps and parity, it's not possible to win big every week. As great as the Patriots were last year-and they were amazing - by the end of the season they were no longer pushing teams around like they were earlier in the season. It just isn't done.

Lastly, another observation I have made is that the Cowboys (and many times any teams around the league) often play to the level of their opponents. Yes, not always. But Dallas has been notorious for that. I do believe part of it comes from arrogance - thinking that just by showing up, the other team will play dead. But with the exception of the playoff loss a year ago - to a team that clearly played its best at the end of the year - the Cowboys thrive against big time opponents. So far beating Green Bay and Cleveland handily on the road and Philadelphia at home. Also, it seems the Cowboys play better on the road than at home as well.

All in all, I still believe this Cowboys team will win the East and is good enough to win it all this year.

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