If you’re a fan of the National Football League these days then you’re either really, really happy or completely pissed off. There’s really no middle ground.
That’s because over the last week every single story written in your favorite newspaper (they still have those?) or on your go-to website is all about the same subject – the Dallas Cowboys.
When the season started, all of the “experts” called them a lock to win a weak NFC. They simply had too many weapons for anyone, including the Super Bowl champion New York Giants, to give them much of a challenge. If they won less than 12 or 13 games, it would be considered a catastrophe.
And then the Washington Redskins rolled into Texas Stadium, a place they never win, and steamrolled quarterback Tony Romo and friends. Wide receiver Terrell Owens damn near broke down again because the Cowboys offense was “only” attempting to get him the ball once every three plays. For the first time all year, folks in the media had something negative to say about the Cowboys, or least Owens, who was back to being selfish and putting his needs over those of the team.
Behind the scenes, head coach Wade Phillips and owner Jerry Jones had to go above and beyond to keep T.O. together. Apparently even after all these years of being an asshole, it hurt feelings when anyone would suggest his “me-first” tendencies were unacceptable.
The following week, Dallas struggled to defeat pitiful Cincinnati at home, even though the Bengals gave up on their head coach Marvin Lewis more than a year ago. From there, the Cowboys were stunned by the Arizona Cardinals in overtime in a game the referees did everything they could to try and hand Dallas. Every time the Cardinals got a timely turnover or put points on the board, there seemed to be a flag on the play and the ball was somehow returned to the Cowboys. Even when the Cardinals won the game on a blocked punt, there was a penalty called and all four of the Cardinals’ fans just knew it was against their team. The flag, for the first time all game, wasn’t on Arizona and they, which meant the invincible Cowboys were suddenly a very flawed 4-2.
After the game, the media attention somehow managed to go to another level. With egg on their faces, the national media members wanted to know “What’s wrong with the Cowboys?” Additionally, Cowboys players one by one seemed to be dropping like flies. Romo is out a month with a broken pinkie finger. Cornerback Terrence Newman is out a month. Running back Felix Jones is out two to four weeks. Wide out Sam Hurd is out two months. Punter Mat McBriar is done for the season. Adam “Pacman” Jones is suspended (again) at least four games for being a moron (again).
So what does Dallas do? Jerry Jones stands up and says, “4-2 is still pretty good to me.” When commissioner Roger Goodell calls regarding Pacman, Jerry Jones, for the first time all season, throws Pacman Jones under the bus. Two days prior, the owner’s idea of taking responsibility for his actions meant coming to grips with the fact that he’d hired the wrong off-duty police officer to babysit Pacman. When the commish raised his voice, suddenly it became “we’re disappointed in his actions” while backstepping slowly away from the conversation.
In typically Jerry Jones fashion, the owner, sensing just how dire the situation was becoming with his football team, overreacted. Losing a quarterback, a running back, two cornerbacks and a punter, Jones did the only thing he knew how – he traded for Lions receiver Roy Williams. That’s like putting a band-aide on your elbow when you have a sprained knee, but it got people to stop writing negative things about his team for 24 hours.
Sure, the New England Patriots were able to acquire receiver Randy Moss for a fourth-round pick, but everything’s bigger in Texas. So let’s give away multiple picks, including a first rounder, for yet another moody me-first diva receiver. If nothing else, this trade bring us all one step to the inevitable moment when Cowboys safety Roy Williams horse-collars receiver Roy Williams during practice and the world ends.
Brian Murphy is an award-winning sportswriter who also goes by the name Homer McFanboy. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.