Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Cowboys look to continue the upswing after a shocking 0-2 start

Mainly it was the offense that was off somewhat in the first two games. An upset 13-7 loss to the Redskins in Washington and a stunning 27-20 loss to the Bears in their home opener. The Cowboys, yes, the Dallas Cowboys were 0-2 after losing to teams that they should've on paper, at least, blown away. However, just being a little off here or there and you can lose to just about anyone. What's done is done. The Cowboys decided that obviously before heading to in-state rival Houston in week 3. There, the Cowboys manned up on defense 4 sacks(3 by DeMarcus Ware alone) and three forced turnovers and the offense FINALLY got untracked in a convincing 27-13 win to get Dallas in the win column. It's only a start. The offense can still get better. The Dallas Offense is REALLY at their very best when they have the ball WITH a lead. That finally happened for the first time this season against the Houston Texans. They never got in front of Washington in the opener. Had plenty of chances. It just seemed as though they weren't up to it. They actually had two leads against the Bears in the first half but both times the defense allowed fluke plays by the Bears and Cutler to get them out of third and long situations. It's weird but the Cowboys offense has the potential to be just plain unstoppable. They also are potentially their own worst enemy. They have the knack for blowing early scoring chances at times when and then getting impatient and restless. Its all good when they're ahead. Give Dallas the ball with lead and it's basically a done deal for them. Well enough of all of that. They're 1-2 and coming off of an early bye week. Home against he Tennessee Titans. The Titans have been up and down, coming in with a 2-2 mark. The Cowboys must again not beat themselves. No turnovers, fewer red zone deficiencies, and no giving up the big play. Tennessee's objective will be to run the ball if they get ahead. Their next objective is to simply be in the game in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys certainly don't want Tennesssee to still be hanging around in the fourth quarter and having the game hanging in the balance. We've seen what happens a lot to teams who allow the Titans to hang around.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Well, the Cowboys look to rebound from a shocking loss

Romo scrambled around, extending a play, which results in someone(at least 9 times out of 10) becoming WIDE open. Well, Roy Williams was as time expired, to catch a ball in the near front corner of the end zone for an apparent Cowboys victory. And then that F---ing flag, the 12th one thrown on the Cowboys in an evening filled with comical errors on both sides of the ball. But mainly it was the offense, who were without Marc Columbo and Kyle Kosier and with Doug Free replacing the departed Flozell Adams. Enough said. Oh yeah, that penalty that negated the winning Touchdown was holding on Alex Barron, Columbo's back up. Both Columbo and Kosier are listed as probable for the Cowboys' home opener tomorrow against the Bears. And we still don't know about our kicker David Buehler. He missed a 34 yarder(for the love of GOD!) in the 2nd quarter that would have tied the game early on at 3-3. The score remained 3-0 as the Cowboys kept repeatedly stopping themselves with questionable play calling or a stupid penalty EVERY time the got anything going. The Cowboys ran almost twice as many plays as the Redskins. Gained nearly twice as many yards(380-250) and also overwhelmed Washington in time of possession by nearly TEN minutes. And they did something else right before the half. They gave the Redskins their first touchdown versus them in 13 quarters. (The Cowboys had held the Redskins without touchdown since the first quarter of their Nov. 2008 meeting won by Dallas 14-10) The Cowboys outscored the Washington in the two meetings in 09 by a combined 24-6(7-6 and 17-0) Donavon McNabb had very little to do with the game's outcome on this night other than the fact that he didn't turn it 0ver and was only sacked once. His stat line was 15-32 for 171. He will likely have to do a little bit more than that the next time these two meet if the Redskins are to have a chance to win again. Oh yeah, the touchdown given to the Redskins like a gift from heaven. With four seconds left in the first half, the Cowboys, instead of just falling on the ball at their own 36 tried a lateral play. Romo pitched to Tashard Choice and he fumbled it and being a live ball still with the clock showing 00, Redskin CB DeAngelo Hall scooped it up with noone in front of him and summersaulted into the end zone. So instead of being down 3-0, it was 10-0. Still the Cowboys came back in the 2nd half, dominated much of it, but came up with what would turn out to be their only score of the night, an 8 yard TD pass to Miles Austin(he had a monster night with 8 grabs for 17o yards) The Cowboys had plenty of chances but as mentioned before, they stopped themselves with penalties to a patchwork offensive line, they had a bad pass-run ratio of 48-22. That has to change for sure. Having Kosier and Columbo coming back should immediately solidify their offensive front. A sense of urgency is definitely in order. Truth is, the way the Cowboys played last Sunday, they could've lost to just about anybody. I look for them to rebound against the Bears at home and resemble what many are expecting of them on the offensive side. Defense looks to be alright. It's time for the offense to get it in gear

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Are the Cowboys ready to go?

I think that they are ready to go for sure. But I expect them to perhaps be a little flat offensively to start out(I hope that I'm wrong ofcourse) I also expect the Redskin offense to come out a little bit sluggish as well to start. I think the first half will be low scoring, a punting exhibition. There is no question who the better team is ofcourse. But this is a game to get past for sure. The good news is that the Cowboys have, as I've mentioned before, always performed well on the Sunday Night NBC telecast. So that's the good news. The last time these two met was on that same Sunday Night stage, Dec. 26 of last year, at Fed EX field. Dallas , coming off their win at New Orleans the previous week, recorded a 17-0 shutout over the Redskins to clinch a playoff spot. And then they shut out the Eagles at home the next week in the season finale to win the NFC East Division for the second time in two years. Since then, the Redskins have gotten a new look, namely Quarterback Donavon McNabb from those Eagles, and former Broncos head man Mike Shanahan as their new coach. So you know that alone makes the Redskins a better team than the one we last faced. Any team with McNabb on there can beat you. The Cowboys, however, are also better than they were then, just over 8 months ago, at least on paper. This team, the Cowboys, are the best team in the NFL, if they have their ducks in order. But that needs to happen sooner rather than later. They certainly want to be ready to go from the outset, and not be giving any early games away to teams that they can beat. They definitely want to avoid another 2-2 stumble out of the gate like last year. Another note; they traded WR Patrick Crayton to San Diego for a sixth round pick for next season. That officially paves the way for the rookie (potentially) sensation Dez Bryant, who will play on opening night against Washington. He didn't play in the five game preseason(Cowboys went 3-2) Some real good news also is David Buehler, the PK. Buehler, the second year man out of USC, handled the kickoffs last year for the Cowboys, while Nick Folk was the PK before he kicked himself out of Dallas after going in a slump in the 2nd half of last year. Folk is now with the Jets. Buehler is now our place kicker as well and he nailed 4 FGs in the preseason finale against Miami, including a 51 yarder right before the half and the game winner as time expired. So we, (HOPEFULLY, keep your fingers crossed Cowboy Nation) have found ourselves a PK. He's already among the league leaders in touchbacks on kickoffs as well. Fingers crossed. Fingers crossed. And finally, there is speculation as to whether or not Donavon McNabb will play on that Sunday Night. He injured his ankle in the Redskins second preseason game. I expect to see him. What? Rex Grossman(Redskins 2nd string QB)? I'm not going to kid myself on that one. I expect to see McNabb, just probably less than 100%. Ill make an early prediction: The Cowboys, after a somewhat sluggish start, leading 7-3 at the half, get it going on offense in the second half for a 24-13 win.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Yes, it was preseason, but gotta do better than that

The Cowboys won the meaningless preseason game last Saturday against San Diego, 16-14 thanks to a once in a Blue Moon or Haley's Comet game-winning safety. But what I'm pointing to is the first team offense stinking out the joint in the first half. Ofcourse I must mention in their defense, that they only had the ball for about six and a half minutes of the entire first thirty minutes. San Diego had two turnovers that killed lengthy drives(the Cowboys committed one) in the first half, where it was starters versus starters for the most part. The stats were super lopsided. Time of Possession: Chargers 23:30, Cowboys 6:30. First Downs: Chargers 14-3. Total Yards 205-49 in favor of the Chargers. Halftime score: 7-7. Huh?(if you're a Charger fan at least) Romo was 4-11 for like 29 yards including the tying TD throw of 8 yards to Miles Austin with just over 2 minutes remaining in the half. That play ended the (very offensive) night for the first team offense. That play was also set up by the Bradie James fumble recovery of 80 yards. How do you get dominated like that and are even in the game let alone tied? Oh well, that's enough of that. It was a preseason game. A game that was tied 14 all for most of the fourth quarter before the game winning safety( A quarterback sack and fumble recovered in the Charger end zone by an offensive lineman) In preseason, I'd rather lose than go to overtime. It looked as thouigh neither team wanted to win and that it WAS headed for overtime. Whew! Anyways, the Cowboys have two more preseason games to get ready for the opener. My gut feeling is that the defense at least, will be ready to rumble come opening night. The offense? You know once they ARE in sync, they'll be hard to contain. You've got to hope that they are on track to start out but hopefully the defense is for sure rough and ready. Last year, the offense came out winging, but it took the defense a few games to find their niche. As a result, the Cowboys dropped a couple that they probably should've had(one of them certainly should've been won) in a 2-2 start. They would go on to win eleven games, the division, and a playoff game. But this year, Cowboy Nation expects bigger and better things. The opening three games before receiving an early bye week in week 4 reads: At Washington, Home to Chicago, and at Houston. The Cowboys on paper should be 3-0 to start. We'll ask the question "are they having their bye too early?" a little bit later on. The Cowboys will hopefully have the cobwebs cleared in the opener. I can see that game being a defensive struggle at least in the first half. On paper, the Cowboys are better. But games aren't won without being played. The Cowboys are better than the Redskins. Better than the Giants. Better than the Bears. But they need to play better than them when they meet. It's that simple.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Opening up against the Redskins

The Dallas Cowboys open up the new 2010 regular season against a familiar foe. It has the feeling of one of the Monday night openers against their division rival Redskins. For Sunday Night Football in America is the NEW Monday Night Football it seems. Especially with the voice of Al Michaels. But Monday Night stilll exists, only it's on ESPN instead of ABC. Sunday Night Football in America is on NBC. And ever since the NBC's deal, the Cowboys have done exceptionally well when showcased on that stage. 10-2 is their record so far. Should be 11-1 but that's already been covered. And for the 7th time in 10 years, they open up on the road. The Redskins are a vastly improved team on offense; they already have a good defense so they should present quite a challenge. I will make a prediction right now that the Washington Redskins look to me like the main challenge for the Cowboys this year with the addition of Donovan McNabb at QB and new head coach Mike Shanahan. The Cowboys are almost if not the unanimous favorites to win the division and the consensus pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl in BIG D come this next February.

These two have opened up a number of times against each other. And to my best knowledge, the Cowboys have won all except for one. I have to think here as I go back to the openers between the Cowboys and Redskins. In 1980, Danny White debuted as the new starting QB after Staubach's retirement. That was a 17-3 Cowboys win at RFK. A year later, new Redskin coach Joe Gibbs lost his debut against the Cowboys 26-10 at RFK. In 1983, again at RFK, the Redskins were defending Super Bowl Champs, and they were dominating the game when the Cowboys rallied to win by a point(31-30) In 1985, the Cowboys and Redskins kicked off on a Monday Night in Texas Stadium. On Joe Theismann's 36th birthday, he was intercepted 5 times in a 44-14 Dallas win. It would be 7 years before the two teams would open up together. In 1992, the Redskins came into Dallas as defending Super Bowl Champs again(their last title to date) and their QB Mark Rypien was safety blitzed on the first play of the game. They Cowboys shut down the vaunted Redskin offense in a 23-10 win. The Cowboys would win their first of three Super Bowls in the next four years that season. In 1993, Emmitt Smith was holding out for a new contract(he held out the first two games, and Dallas started 0-2 before he got his new deal) so he was not with the team as they went to RFK for the opener against Washington on a Monday Night. The Cowboys looked like a distracted team not ready to go, as the Redskins romped 35-16. You wouldn't know it that night but the Cowboys would rally to go 12-4, win the division and repeat as Super Bowl Champs. Meanwhile the roof fell in on the Redskins, who were without Joe Gibss on the sideline for the first time in 12 years. They would sink to 4-12, last in the division, and only make the playoffs 3 times in the next 17 years, bringing us to the present day. And the only time since then that these two have opened up was in 1999. That was when Dan Snyder debuted as the new Redskin owner. The Cowboys rallied from being down 35-14 in the fourth quarter at Fed EX field(current Redskin home) to force overtime. Then in the overtime, after the Cowboys defense forced the Redskins to go three and out, Troy Aikman(on 3rd down) play action faked to Emmitt Smith and unleashed a 76 yard bomb to a wide open Rahib (Rocket) Ismail, who caught the ball some 10 yards behind the secondary and was gone for the dramatic 41-35 win. So in season openers to my knowledge, the Cowboys have 6-1 record against their DC rivals. It should set the stage for a really good one this time on September 13. The most memorable one to me in openers is a tough one. I still have to lean towards the 1983 opener. This game, nothing, and I mean NOTHING was going right for Dallas. The first half was dominated by the Redskins. Danny White was 1-10 for 10 yards. It was 23-3 at the half and it could have very easily been worse. In the second half, I'm suprised(as a 12 year old at the time) that I tuned in. Probably just to see if anything drastic could happen right away because that's about the only way it was possible for the Cowboys to get back in it, have a chance. Well on about the fifth play after receiving the second half kickoff, White dropped back under great pass protection and threw long over the middle to Tony Hill. Hill caught the ball in stride and outran Redskin cornerback Vernon Dean into the End Zone to complete the 75 yard TD strike. The Redskins got the ball, made a couple of first downs before the Cowboys defense stiffened, forcing a punt. Then from about midfield, White, again with great pass protection, dropped back and launched a strike down the near sideline to Hill again. Hill caught the ball with one hand with another Redskin defender Anthony Washington running stride for stide. The defender fell down as Hill stepped into the end zone. All of a sudden the Cowboys were back to within 23-17. Two big plays just like that. Exactly what needed to happen. Otherwise, they aren't coming back to win that game. The score stayed that way until late in the fourth quarter when Danny White led the team down the field for the go ahead score. White converted a daring 4th and one play in the process on a quarterback sneak. Tony Dorsett's 18 yard draw play set the Cowboys up for a first and goal. And just before the two-minute warning, White bootlegged to the right corner of the end zone being chased by Redskin LB Rich Milot. Then the defense intercepted Theismann to set up an insurance TD. It was a dramatic win. And the one that stands out for me the most in this entire rivalry that I've followed.

This coming opener between the two has Donovan McNabb (in a rare trade within the division) as the Redskins new QB. Certainly the best Redskin QB since Brad Johnson at least if not maybe Mark Rypien. ( The Mark Rypien of the Joe Gibbs era that is) I think that the Redskins and Philly will trade places from last year. Or at least it makes the Redskins probably better than Philly if not better than the Giants too. It should be interesting. It can't get here soon enough that's for sure. I will be taking the game in at our unofficial time share spot in St. George(Utah)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Time really flys when you haven't won the Big One in awhile

When the Cowboys last hoisted the Vince Lombardi trophy on Jan. 28, 1996 in Tempe, Arizona, most Cowboys fans, myself included, figured that they were a couple of more to be won perhaps by the end of the decade. It was their third Super Bowl win in four years. The Cowboys were the best team in the NFL and Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, and Emmitt Smith, were all not yet 30(Emmitt was only 26 and had already won four NFL rushing titles and five years) They had the best offensive line in the NFL. The offense was a alternating the top two spots with San Francisco(their quarterback Steve Young, great as well, was FIVE years older than Aikman) This team had basically an ALL-Pro at every position on offense and their defense was a Top 10 unit at least. What noone knew as that it all would fall apart after that. One remaining playoff win (the following season) was all that they could muster for the rest of the decade. Age, free agency, and off the field turmoil would immediately follow that game. The poor drafting and being hung up on high salaries to the likes of Aikman, Emmitt, and Deion Sanders would make the decline last awhile. Nobody could have predicted that that last Super Bowl Trophy being won on that day in the desert following the 1995 season, would be longing for fresh company well into the new century.

The new century got off to a horrible start for the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys, after recording what would be their last playoff win until 2009, in the 1996 playoffs, missed the playoffs altogether in 1997. After Barry Switzer resigned following '97, Chan Gailey, was hired from the Pittsburgh Steelers coaching ranks and he guided the Cowboys to playoff visits in 1998 and 1999 but with no playoff victories. Jerry Jones probably made as big of a mistake as ever in letting Gailey go following 1999. The team was on the way down, yes, but hiring Dave Campo (Cowboys longtime defensive coordinator) wasn't exactly hiring someone any better for sure. 2000-2002 saw three successive 5-11 seasons, and Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin being forced to retire a little earlier than intended because of injuries(concussions and neck respectively) Emmitt was gone when 2003 opened up with new coach Bill Parcells. Parcells, known for turning around teams who have been down if not out also, quickly coaxed out a 10-6 record wildcard playoff visit in his first year. After taking a step back in '04 due to all of a sudden high expectations, the Cowboys hit a string of what is currently five consecutive winning seasons, three playoff visits, and two division titles. Parcells, gave way to Wade Phillips in '07 but he's the one that's been credited for getting the ship pointed back in the right direction. And Jerry Jones has finally mellowed somewhat in that he has swallowed in some degree, his huge Texas-sized ego(when he hired Parcells in '03) and fired himself as the Cowboys' head coach. One of the things that the Cowboys went through between Troy Aikman and Tony Romo was eight different quarterbacks. The stability of winning is now set. It's time for the team to hoist the Lombardi Trophy on their home soil for the first time in what will be FIFTEEN Years. A lot has happened in that time. Lots of things in the NFL, like the Salary Cap and Free Agency have enabled teams (Patriots, Cardinals, Buccanneers, Ravens, Colts, Rams, Seahawks and Saints) that otherwise NEVER would have gone anywhere near the Super Bowl much less win or play in one. And after all this time, the Cowboys STILL despite not getting to the Super Bowl in 15 years, have the most Super Bowl appearances out of anyone. Now the Steelers have the most wins(the four titles in the 1970's and their two in these past 4 years) So it's time for the Cowboys to become the only team to be to NINE Super Bowls, tie for the most Super Bowl wins with 6, and to become the first team to EVER host the Super Bowl and WIN the Super Bowl as a host. It's all about motivation. And to finally give that Super Bowl 30 Trophy some long sought after fresh company

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I don't see the Cowboys losing the Super Bowl if they're in it

Many magazine's published so far on the previews and forecasts of the upcoming season have the Cowboys either in the Super Bowl or at the VERY LEAST getting to the NFC Championship game against the Vikings. One magazine that I saw earlier this evening had the Jets beating the Cowboys in the Super Bowl. The JETS? In Dallas? I really don't see that. I think the ONLY team who would beat the Cowboys in the Super Bowl and that's a maybe, is the Colts. The Colts are the class of the AFC. Period. The Jets? Yeah they kind of made an upset run last year but the very team that layed down against them in next to last regular season game (the Colts) that even ALLOWED them in the playoffs at all, beat them handily in the AFC Title game. And this Jets team still has their own division to worry about. They still aren't better than the Patriots. Hell, they couldn't even beat Atlanta at home or Miami at home or away. I know that I'm actually getting off on a tangeant here about the Jets. I guess what I really mean to say is that the Cowboys are NOT, make that NO WAY IN HELL going to make it all the way to the Super Bowl which they'd be HOSTING for hell's sakes, and lose to the Jets. The Jets still have really no offense. Yeah their defense is steller. But like the Baltimore Ravens, if they're up against any kind of offensive power(and Dallas certainly more than qualifies) and they get behind, they're not winning that game. Mark Sanchez is overrated. And he will suffer through some more growing pains. And ofcourse if HE goes down, Kellen Clements comes in and the Jets are a maybe a six win team. But regardless of who the Cowboys would be HOSTING in the Super Bowl, I don't think that they'd lose. Except maybe to Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. Now if San Diego makes it there, they're just as overdue as Dallas. But the Chargers, everytime you think it's their time, they choke. What I'm saying really is the only way Dallas doesn't win the Super Bowl this year is if they're not in it.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Football can't get here soon enough

With the NBA Finals deadlocked at 2-2 between Boston and the LA Lakers, that series very well could be going seven games but even if it goes the distance, it will be over in less than a week. Baseball is something that I tune into a game in the latter innings if it's competitive. I never skip out on that if it's involving the Yankees, or the Red Sox, or the Rays, or maybe the Braves and Dodgers. My Orioles have continued to tumble from the proud organization that they once were. Twelve Straight losing seasons. And getting worse not better. So I guess I've adopted the Yankees as my team for the nowadays. But like I say, Baseball doesn't really get interesting until fall, when Football is underway. I DO have the Tour De France to look forward to only because Lance Armstrong's intentions of being in it again. He finished 3rd last year, remarkable considering he was about to turn 38, and had been retired for 4 years. Clearly not what he had been four or five years before. Maybe this year he is better prepared to go after it than last but, age DOES matter now once you've hit that 35 mark. He is a year older. Personally, I think that he should have come back in 2006 and maybe '07 and then called it good instead of retiring on top in 2005, then coming back after FOUR years. I also look forward to the FIBA World Championships. How strong will our Team USA be this year without LeBron and probably Kobe? Plug in Durrant, and having D-Wade, D Will, and a maturing Kevin Durrant ought to be enough to still get it done. Great Redeem job in 2008, although that Gold Medal game against Spain was unexpectedly competitive(118-107) after having murdered the Spaniards by 37 a week earlier. But winning it after the embarrassment of 2004 and the upset loss to Greece in 2006 was better than losing.

So on to Football. The Preseason is only going to have 2 games each from what I understand, except that the Cowboys and Bengals will play in the Hall of Fame Game, so they play three games then. I don't think that the Cowboys have played in the Canton exhibition since the 1970s. I'll have to look it up. Then again, it's preseason. I remember them playing an exhibition game against the Bears in London in 1986. I remember them playing the then Houston Oilers(now the Tennessee Titans) in Tokyo in 1992 and playing the Detroit Lions in London in 1993.

The real season is what matters to me and most others. The Cowboys have a goal this year to not only win their division again(which they are favored) but to grab the NFC's number one seed, and homefield throughout. The last time they had the number one seed, they choked to a division rival that they were trying to beat for the third time. The Giants. That game, in my mind, is the most dissappointing loss in the history of the franchise. Because they were the better team and they were at home and they didn't win. They choked. They doubled the Giants in time of possession and yardage. The Giants didn't turn it over but the Cowboys only turned it over once and that was on the 4th and 11 play with 11 seconds left from the Giants 11 yard line when Romo had to go to the End Zone and it was intercepted when T.O. was quadruple teamed. Anyways, that team seemingly acted like a team that hadn't won a playoff game in over a decade. Now that they HAVE finally won a playoff game for the first time in this 21st century and they also dispelled the so called notion that it's impossible to beat the same team three times in a season(obviously not impossible if you're better than that particular team) they should have a little bit more mentally what it takes to handle being the number one seed. It's garbage anyways. The Saints lost THREE IN A ROW to end the regular season last year. And they just started from scratch where they STILL had the number one seed and were able to beat a Cardinal team with NO defense at home. And then, despite being outgained almost 2-1 by the Vikings, were able to survive that one in overtime and they were in the Super Bowl. Not calling it luck but I am saying that the Saints had NEVER EVER been a number one seed before this. But they were able to somehow make it. Lucky in some aspects but they DID earn it by not blowing it. And they DID out play the Colts. The Colts probably beat the Saints 13 out of 16 times if they were to meet every week in the regular season. But on that day, the Saints outplayed them, which happened to be the Super Bowl. And to even wonder if the Cowboys CAN do it is downright laughable. First off, anyone who gets in the playoffs has a shot. Second, if you give this Cowboy's team homefield advantage and all of the experience and motivational factors that will be there if they ARE there, would you bet against them, NO? I think the only thing that keeps Dallas out of the Super Bowl is if they somehow, have another 2008 where they listened to and believed all of the hype. They also lacked the discipline on such a combustionable team. And the injuries were devastating to a team that didn't even have their bye week until mid-November. And now they have gotten rid of some of that combustionable talent and replaced it with some less-selfish, team oriented guys. And ofcourse they can't forget the dissappointments of the past few years. And that 34-3 loss at Minnesota, that happened just when many, myself included, thought that they were going all the way. Hope everyone is healthy and signed and sorted out by the time it's kickoff time.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

If the Cowboys aren't motivated THIS time, then when?

The Cowboys are about to enter their fifteenth season since they last won the Super Bowl or were even IN the Super Bowl. That '95 season where the Cowboys were able to cash in on having homefield advantage throughout the playoffs and the Super Bowl was being played at the old Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, where they hadn't lost in over FIVE years(beating up on the Cardinals who were in their division at the time) They were the number one seed that year and didn't even have to face conference rival San Francisco who had gotten beaten by the Green Bay Packers. The Cowboys homefield advantage over Green Bay was tremendous. In that playoff game the Packers and a young Brett Favre played the Cowboys evenly through three quarters. But the Packers defense was on the field a LOT and in the 4th quarter the Cowboys and their monstrous offensive line wore them down and out. The Cowboys offense as a whole was able to impose their will on any and every defense and the Packers defense was no different. Favre, playing valiantly, was basically(with nowhere near the imposing running game of Dallas) forced to throw on every down and the pressure to score every time his team had the ball did him in. Plus the artificial turf was in Dallas' favor as well when the two would meet. Anyhow, the Cowboys in their new stadium, still possess a great homefield advantage(beating the Eagles a combined 58-14 in a span of 6 days) and would definitely have the advantage over the Favre led Vikings if they were to meet in Dallas. Favre STILL to this day has never won in Dallas(0-9 lifetime) and the Vikings, a tremendous home team in '09 were only 4-5 away from there including the choking against the Saints. I think that Minnesota beats New Orleans by two touchdowns had they gotten homefield advantage. By the same token I think that the way Dallas was playing heading into their game at Minnesota, had THEY hosted the Vikings, it would've been a different story than the 34-3 pasting that they wound up taking.

Now, the Cowboys know how vital homefield advantage is. They would be overwhelming favorites to go all the way with the much coveted number one seed. And this Cowboys team would be much better, more efficient than the one that had the top seed three years before. That 2007 team had an offense that was high octane but only really a so-so defense. When the offense had a subpar day, was off their game, they could lose. That's what almost happened that year at Buffalo. They barely held on to beat a mediocre Redskins at home that year despite T.O. catching FOUR touchdowns. They were also pushed around by an average Detroit Lions team ALL GAME LONG but were bailed out by Witten's 15 catches, including the winning touchdown with 18 seconds left and a Jason Hansen(normally reliable Lions PK) missed 40 yard kick. This version of the Cowboys has an offense that's more sound and disciplined, less selfish, and capable of lighting up the scoreboard still but a more methodical unit. A methodical unit that spells less turnovers, time consuming drives, and more glaring leadership and field general skills from Tony Romo. Reminds me of those Troy Aikman teams of 1992-96. The defense is TWICE as good as it was in 2007. That to me is what would spell the difference THIS time around if the Cowboys were to be in a similiar postion to what they were in in '07. And then the extras factors. Hunger: The Cowboys, just as they were feeling really confident after drilling the Saints on the road, shutting out the Redskins on the road, and then just DESTROYING the Philadelphia Eagles(who had been hot before running into the buzzsaw of Dallas) in consecutive weeks, might have gotten a little overconfident heading into Minnesota. I think that the at least half of the Saints faithful was hoping for the Cowboys to lose so that they wouldn't have to face the them again. Sure some probably wanted a Saints-Cowboys rematch from the month before. But my feeling is that the Vikings AT HOME posed as THE hurdle for the Cowboys to get to the Super Bowl. I really believe that they would've beaten the Saints again because of how their defense could get to Brees and push the Saints defense around as they did in their December meeting. But the Metrodome was a big advantage for the Vikings, who didn't lose there during the year, as I mentioned before. The Cowboys could almost taste it but wound up tasting something else, blood and spinal fluid in their mouths that is, as their season suddenly ended. Motivation: The Homefield advantage plus the Super Bowl being in Dallas. You think that they want to sit back and let someone else in the conference be in the Super Bowl. Especially if there's very little doubt as to who would WIN if the Cowboys were to make it to the Big Show. That alone should motivate them to no end. Favre will be back this year for probably his final go. But he will be 41 on October 10, and he's never won in Dallas. Plus the Vikings are just average on the road anyways. So that's what I see happening if the Cowboys don't miss out on getting the number one seed in the Conference because they ARE better than the 2007 team. No question. They would know what to do this time to avoid choking at home, especially to a divisional opponent that they know and know well. And what I didn't mention yet also, is that against the Vikings this past January, Dallas had opportunities early to score points before the defense ended up giving up a long touchdown bomb from Favre to Sidney Rice and then they never seemed to recover. Dallas moved the ball all day on offense but it seemed that when they would get 2/3 of the way to where they needed to get(the endzone because they were behind) something would stall the drive. If it wasn't a turnover, it was a holding penalty. And if it wasn't either of them, it was a sack. The yardage was fairly even. The defense however was out there a little too often from the offense bogging down or running into problems EVERY time they would get a drive going. But mainly the defense didn't recover from that early TD bomb after at first, they were containing Favre and company. Plus the missed scoring opportunities early. One thing that Dallas needs to work on so that they can maybe go from eleven wins to 13, is to respond better offensively when they maybe aren't on track yet early in a game. When they go out and push it across the goal line, get points, cash in on early opportunities, they are well on their way to winning. But there are games that were lost and those that weren't lost, they were fortunate to win, where the Cowboys offense either didn't get off to a fast start and started pressing or even worse, was when they had opportunities to score early and somehow failed and were REALLY pressing and getting frustrated. It's a long game and that's their potential downfall is when they start to press on offense and get impatient or frustrated when they either blow early scoring chances or just plain get off to an off target start. One final thing to add for the motivation thing, still speaking of that Vikings game: Up 27-3 in the final couple of minutes, the Vikings tacked on a final touchdown. I'm CERTAIN that had that been Tony Romo and the Cowboys in that situation, that they take a knee and get out of there with an impressive win as it already would've been. And I'm not sure whether you point that one at Favre or the coach. But I think that the Cowboys (especially veteran linebacker Keith Brooking) are still feeling that part of a bad taste in their mouths as well. What goes around comes around.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Oh Yeah, Texas Stadium is no more

In early April, Texas Stadium in Irving, near DFW International Airport, was demolished. Home to the Dallas Cowboys for 38 years, the stadium opened in 1971(the year I was born) about a month into the regular season. It was a 44-21 trouncing of the New England(might have been still called Boston) Patriots. And the last game ever played there turned out to be the next to last game of the 2008 regular season when the Cowboys fell to the Baltimore Ravens 33-24. That loss didn't eliminate the Cowboys from the postseason but it guarenteed that had they made the playoffs that year, there wouldn't have been any playoff games played at Texas Stadium. And then the following summer after that, their new sparkling dome opened in nearby Arlington. I thought that I would try and conjure up my favorite memories of watching my beloved Dallas Cowboys in Texas Stadium, for I once upon a time, that they'd always call it home at least in my lifetime. And suprisingly enough, with Dallas being considered a warmer city in the winter, there never was a Super Bowl played there either. This next February, there will be the Super Bowl in the new Cowboys' digs.

If I had a top 12list of games that I ever saw(this being me who first started tuning in as a 10 year old in 1981)

12- Jan. 2, 1982- my first taste of the NFL Playoffs. The Cowboys hosted the Tampa Bay Bucs in a divisional playoff game and their front four mutilated and humiliated the Bucs in a 38-0 massacre. The Cowboys would lose by a point in the legendary "Catch" NFC Championship game to the Montana led 49ers the following week.

11- Sept. 9, 1985- Happy Birthday to Joe Theismann. The Redskins had gotten the better of Dallas the previous couple of years, and this was the Monday Night opener of 1985. My family and I had just moved back to Maryland from a couple of years spent in Germany. So this was also the first regular season Cowboys' game that I'd seen live in that time. And Joe Theismann turned 36 that night, but must've felt 42 by the end of the game. The Cowboys secondary blitzed, and harrassed the Redskin QB into FIVE interceptions in a 44-14 win. In the closing minutes, the Dallas faithful was sarcastically singing "Happy Birthday" to Theismann. I remember going to school the next day and seeing a bunch of shell shocked Redskin fans(afterall, I was in Redskin territory)

10-Thanksgiving Day Nov. 1990- Another Cowboys-Redskins clash. The Redskins were still a playoff team under Joe Gibbs. In fact they would win the Super Bowl the next year, the final of 3 Super Bowls under Gibbs. This was Jimmy Johnson's second year as head coach of the Cowboys. They got off to a slow start that year before going on a late season run and almost making the playoffs. On this day, Troy Aikman finished the game going 9-10 for over 100 yards in the 4th quarter alone. WR Michael Irvin was finally healthy after some setbacks, and rookie Emmitt Smith clinched the game with a long TD run in which he ran over Pro-Bowl defensive back Darrell Green, capping the 27-17 win. The Cowboys would narrowly miss out on a wildcard berth that year, but they certainly had served a bit of notice that they were on the way back. Ofcourse I don't think that ANYONE knew how dominate that they would become by 1992.

9- Thanksgiving Day 1991- Dallas 20 Pittsburgh 10. The Cowboys were on their way to their first playoff appearance since 1985 and this year, Steve Beurlein's signing as Aikman's backup QB paid off in spades, as he rallied the team to five consecutive wins including a playoff win over the Bears. This game was his first start(Aikman had gotten injured for the year the previous wk in a win over the Redskins at RFK) and the TD throw to Michael Irvin in the 4th quarter broke open a tight game. Irvin caught the ball over the middle with only Steeler Pro-Bowl safety Rod Woodson to beat. Woodson tried to bring him down and Irvin ran through him on this particular play like he was tinfoil.

8- Thanksgiving Day 1992- Dallas 30, NY Giants 3. The Cowboys were on their way back to their first division Title in 7 years and ultimately their first Super Bowl in 14. On this day, the score was only 9-3 for Dallas at the half against a struggling Giants team who'd fallen quite far from their Super Bowl win of two years before. In the second half, the Cowboys pulled away for the 30-3 win. Several Giants got pissed off at Jimmy Johnson and the Cowboys for supposedly rubbing it in and blitzing late when the outcome had long since been decided. Jimmy Johnson said afterwards" they were throwing at the end, and I didn't want them to score. Had they not thrown it, we would 've called off the dogs. If they don't like it, screw them. We'll play them next again next year"

7-November 19, 2006- Dallas 21, Indianapolis 14. Making only his fourth career start, Tony Romo outdueled Peyton Manning and the Colts, who came in unbeaten. Looking more like a fourth or fifth year starter rather than it being his fourth career START, Romo guided the Cowboys down for the go ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. Then the defense thwarted a drive by the Colts. The Cowboys offense got the ball back and were able to keep possession of it for the remainder of the game. The Colts would go on to wind up winning the Super Bowl that year but that game was a key in at least helping the Cowboys make the playoffs.

6-November 29, 2007. Dallas 37 Green Bay 27. In a battle of 10-1 teams, the two best in the NFC clashed on this Thursday nighter. Dallas knocked the now 38 year old Favre out of the game in the 2nd quarter with an elbow injury. Favre would return the next week for his team but he didn't return on this night. Aaron Rodgers came in and did suprisingly well, keeping the game competitive. Romo through 4 touchdowns in his first game against his boyhood idol Favre. Holding a 34-27 lead, the Cowboys would put together a lengthy drive for a game-clinching field goal at around the two minute mark. On this night, at halftime, the 1977 championship Cowboys (30 year anniversary) and the 1992 Champs(15 years) were both honored.

5-January 23, 1994- WE WILL WIN THE BALL GAME! In the NFC Championship Game this year, the Cowboys backed up Jimmy Johnson's guarantee. The Cowboys ransacked the 49ers in a game that was not even as close as the score (38-21) might indicate. Aikman was almost perfect in the first half. Bernie Kosier came on in relief in the 2nd half( Aikman suffered a concussion when accidentally getting kneed in the head by a 49er defender) Aikman would return the following week as the Cowboys repeated as Super Bowl Champs, downing the Buffalo Bills.

4-September 7, 1986- Dallas 31 NY Giants 28 Herschel Walker made his NFL Debut with the Cowboys and wound up being the feature back when Tony Dorsett was lost in the second quarter to a knee injury. In a back and forth game, in a duel between Phil Simms and Danny White, the winning score came with under 2 minutes to go from the Giants 10 yard line on a draw play to Walker. He took the handoff and rumbled up the middle almost untouched for the winning score. Unfortunately, the Cowboys would lose Danny White with a broken wrist at midseason that year against these same Giants. They would suffer a rash of other key injuries as they slid to 7-9 season, their first losing yr since 1965. And the beginning of the end of the Landry regime. The Giants would go on to win their first Super Bowl that year.

3-January 10, 1993- Dallas 34, Philadelphia 10 The Cowboys thrashed the brash and confident Eagles in the first Playoff game in Texas Stadium in 9 years. The end to end stomping was almost complete except for one thing and one thing only. I wish that Buddy Ryan had still been the Eagles coach. Other than that, it was a perfect game. The Cowboys would go on to win in the mud at Candlestick over the 49ers the next week and then thrash Buffalo in the Super Bowl in the Pasedena Rose Bowl.

2-Jan. 14, 1996. Dallas 38 Green Bay 27 . The NFC Championship Game didn't feature the 49ers-Cowboys for the 4th consecutive year as everyone was expecting. Instead, the new emerging power, Green Bay, had gone into San Francisco and sort of taken away their manhood in a divisional playoff game. The Cowboys, who had beaten Brett Favre and Green Bay 5 times in the space of just over 24 months, including the previous two years in the playoffs, were hosting the Packers yet again in Dallas on a hot afternoon(80 degrees) The Packers came in feeling more confident than the previous several times that they'd travelled down to Big D. Favre had been voted the regular season league MVP for the first time and he was zinging the ball around a lot since the Packers didn't have a formidable running game like Dallas did. The Cowboys won a seasaw battle in which the fourth quarter was when the Packers defense wilted. Favre also wound up going to the well too often as he threw a key fourth quarter pick that allowed Dallas to get enough distance between them and the Packers to stamp their third Super Bowl ticket in 4 years. I recorded this game recently(DVR) on NFL Network and it is one of my favorite games of all time.

1-If I had a number one game at Texas Stadium I might just have to go with the 1994 Thanksgiving Day Game versus the Packers. The Packer were an upstart team while the Cowboys were the two-time defending Super Bowl Champions who were not at full strength. Troy Aikman had a knee injury that would sideline him for this game while his backup Rodney Peete had gotten injured in the SAME game(this game was 4 days earlier in a blowout win over the Redskins) So they were down to the third stringer, a Redhead Princeton Grad by the name of Jason Garrett(now the offensive coordinator for the Cowboys) The Cowboys were also without the services of massive Offensive Lineman Erik Williams, who had quickly developed a reputation of stonewalling the opposing team's best defensive stalwarts. On this day, Reggie White of the Packers would not have to deal with Erik Williams, He was lined up opposite of a rookie by the name of Larry Allen. Allen would get better and better in the years to come but he had his hands full with White on this day. The Cowboys were down 17-6 and it looked like they excuse of being shorthanded was the order of the day. But in the second half, Dallas came back with unrivaled intensity. They scored 36 points and Emmitt Smith had a big day as well. Garrett threw 3 TDs and Emmitt would rush and receive for about 200 combined yards. The 42-31 win for the Cowboys definitely had the Packers thinking at that point that it didn't matter who suited up in Cowboys gear.

I have a couple of honorable mention games that I left out only because I thought of these 12 games on the fly. The opener of the 2007 season when Tony Romo outdueled Eli Manning in a shootout on Sunday Night in a 45-35 Cowboys win. Another game that I fondly remember was in week 2 of 2008. That was a Monday Night shootout win over the Philadelphia Eagles, a 41-37 wacky affair where this time Rom outdueled Donavan McNabb.

I could probably easily spout off 25 of the best that I've seen in the now defunct Texas Stadiium. It was stange to see the implosion taking place. It only took seconds from start to finish. I didn't know until recently that they were going to blow up Texas Stadium. I mean the Houson Astrodome is still up and being used for stuff. I figured that Texas Stadium could be kept around for rodeos and High School Friday Night Lights or something. But it is History. And time to move on.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Still a ways away but looking forward to the upcoming season

Well, first off, my favorite NBA team, the Utah Jazz, got knocked out in the 2nd round by the Lakers(AGAIN) so now I'm officially starting the countdown to the 2010 NFL season. The Cowboys are overdue at this point to break through. For starters, they should be almost the unanimous pick to win the NFC East. I believe that their stiffest challenge in the division will be from the retooled Washington Redskins, with Donavon McNabb coming over via trade from Philly and new head coach Mike Shanahan. The Eagles are going to regret shipping out McNabb and to a divisional rival at that. I think that Kevin Kolb in Philly will experience something similiar to what Aaron Rodgers did in 2008 with the Packers. Growing pains. And I think that the Giants had a nice run there from 2004-08. But they crashed in '09 after a 5-0 start, to finish 8-8 and miss the playoffs altogether. And not an abberation. Their offense is potentially lethal but so are the opposing teams' because the Giant's defense is a mess (they surrendered over 400 points on the year) The Cowboys, I expect, are going to be out in front in the division. And barring two upset losses to the Giants, way out in front. Somehow the Cowboys stumbled against the Giants last year, both times, should've won at least the week 2 game at home, while the Giants couldn't beat Philly. And Dallas did Philly THREE times. Philly hasn't done anything to improve their chances against Dallas this year. So all in all , I expect Dallas to win the NFC East rather handily, with the Redskins offering the stiffest challenge of the other divisional rivals. Then there's the NFC big picture. The Cowboys, had they not blown a couple of games to the Giants or that one that got away against San Diego, or the Denver game that also got away, would've had the NFC's number one seed and hosted the Vikings or Saints. Their goal this year? How about to stay home for the playoffs. No I don't mean, blow themselves up like they did at the end of 08, I mean finish with the NFC's number one seed, and be home throughout INCLUDING the Super Bowl. Super Bowl 45 is in Cowboy's Stadium. Hunger, Motivation, Experience, Talent. The Cowboys should have all of these characteristics and more. No NFL team in league history has ever hosted the Super Bowl. Now why can't the Cowboys be the first? There is no reason why not. This team is already an elite team, and just got even better via the draft. It cracks me up when I hear talk show hosts ask NFL insider people the question "Can Dallas become an elite team?" Well, three of the past four regular seasons, the Cowboys have knocked off the eventual Super Bowl Winner. In 2006, the Cowboys defeated the Colts who won it all two months later. In 2007(lest we Cowboy's Nation forget) we knocked off the hated Giants TWICE (and should've made it a hat trick in the divisional playoff mtg) Ofcourse, the Giants went on to upset Green Bay and New England to become the most unlikely Super Bowl representative(except for maybe Arizona the next yr) let alone winner. In the 2008 regular season, the Cowboys had both eventual Super Bowl representatives(Pittsburgh and Arizona) beat (and both on the r0ad) and let them both off the hook. In 2009, ofcourse, the Cowboys did the then 13-0 Saints in the Superdome. The Saints would then stumble the following wk, losing to lowly Tampa Bay and then losing their third in a row to Carolina(in the meaningless regular season finale-they rested Brees and others) Then New Orleans, still with the NFC's nunber one seed, regrouped to beat Arizona and Minnesota at home and then shockingly beating the Colts in the Super Bowl. Were the Saints the best team in the NFL? Probably not. The luckiest? Perhaps. Was it their time though? Yeah, that's the best explanation that I can make of it. Will they repeat? NO WAY. They won't have an easy schedule like they did in 09. Yeah they played New England and Dallas but both were at home and they lost to Dallas. They won't sneak up on anyone. They won't get lucky in a few like they did either. The Cowboys, meanwhile, are a seasoned group, who figured out how to play as a team. Romo is an the undisputed leader. He finally has A playoff win at least. And they figured out that Wade Phillips is their coach FOR NOW at least. They have talent on both sides. If the defense doesn't take a few wks to get in a groove like it took them last year, look the hell out. And the Super Bowl is in their house. Hunger, Motivation with experience and talent to go along with it. Well, it's only May. We have about 17 weeks to go before the regular season kicks off. That's how long a regular season lasts(with every team's bye wk factored in)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Well, I'm back after a hiatus

Lots of Computer issues have made me not get around to my Cowboys blogging since this past Nov. 9. Back then the Cowboys had just beaten the Eagles in Philadelphia on a Sunday Night 2o-16 and move to 6-2 and into sole possession of first place in the NFC East. Unfortunately, Dallas would be upset the following week by a Green Bay team that was 4-4 at the time and had given Tampa Bay it's first win of the season the week before. After the 17-7 loss up at Lambeau field(also in a game that started the Nick Folk slump that led to his eventual dismissal) Dallas returned home and struggled to a 7-6 win over division rival Washington, who was having a tough year, but was in just about every game this year. A win was a win. Then the Cowboys remained in first in the NFC East four days later with a bit better of a performance on Thanksgiving Day against the Raiders. The Raiders struggled this year AGAIN, with 5 wins (maybe 6, I'd have to look it up for sure) but defeated Philly, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh. The Raiders also played the San Diego Chargers tough twice in losses in '09. Anyway, after the 24-7 win over the Raiders the Cowboys had the extra three days off before going up to the Meadowlands. And as if on cue, the calendar by this time had switched over to December, which meant in recent Cowboys' history, DOOMSDAY. The Cowboys played a desperate Giants team, who was fighting to stay in wildcard contention. Romo played well, no turnovers but the Cowboys gave up a blown assignment on a checkdown throw from Eli Manning to their big fullback Brandon Jacobs and he was untouched and out in front of everyone, lumbering 74 yards for the go-ahead score, one play after Dallas had gone ahead 17-14 on a TD pass from Romo to Roy Williams. Then the Cowboys Folk missed a FG that he once routinely made, the Cowboys special teams gave up an inexcusable 87 yard punt return TD to Dominique Hixon and Dallas fell to the Giants 31-24 and their two losses to the Giants would come back to haunt Dallas later but not for the division crown but the divisional playoff game at Minnesota. More on that in a bit. Next at 8-4, the Cowboys fell at home in a close one to the red-hot San Diego Chargers(who began the year 2-3, but then won 11 straight to finish 13-3) The 20-17 loss to a good team like San Diego wasn't bad on the surface appearancewise but it left Dallas at 8-5, now one game back from the division lead against Philly, and only one game ahead of the Giants who had the tiebreaker over Dallas by virtue of their season sweep. And the worst thing was that AGAIN Romo didn't turn it over. But a failed 4th and one gamble at the one yard line after having first and goal at the two was dear as was Nick Folk missing a field goal for by then, the FIFTH consecutive game, contributed to this crushing defeat. So Cowboys Nation, myself included was groaning "here we go again" for December. And the next game was at New Orleans, against the 13-0 Saints. But then the Cowboys must've had the mentality that "what's done is done" and went into the Big Easy and jumped on, controlled, dominated the Saints. The final was 24-17 but it wasn't nearly that close. The only bad thing was that Folk kicked himself out of a job by missing a gimmie 24 yard field goal that would have sealed the deal with just over two minutes to go. The Saints, 87 yards away, had one last chance when the Dallas D rose up and stopped Brees and Co. forcing a sack and fumble by DeMarcus Ware, who wasn't even going to play supposedly. He'd been carted off the field six days earlier against the Chargers. Then the Cowboys, reenergized, shut out the Redskins on the road 17-0(again the game itself was more lopsided than the score would indicate) to clinch a playoff spot. Still a game behind Philly, a win against the Eagles on Jan. 3, 2010, in Dallas, would give the Cowboys the division title. And the Cowboy stomped the Eagles into the ground 24-0. With the division title theirs, the Cowboys finished as the NFC's number 3 seed behind New Orleans and Minnesota. The Eagles sank to the number 6 seed and were returning to Dallas only six days later after their 24-0 shellacking. On Saturday Night, Jan. 9, 2010, the Cowboys broke open a 7-7 tie midway through the 2nd quarter and led 27-7 at the half. They were well on their way to their first playoff win since Dec. 28, 1996(a 40-15 win over Minnesota in Texas Stadium). With the 34-14 win against the Eagles, completing a nice DELICIOUS hat trick against their hated rivals(and more than erasing the season ending debacle against Philly the year before) the Cowboys were on their way to play Favre and the Vikings in the old Metrodome. Arguably, the Cowboys were playing about the best football in the NFL. Even no, there is very little doubt in my mind that had they gotten by the Vikings, the Cowboys would have done the Saints again. But the Cowboys had a bad game at Minnesota. After flubbing a couple of early scoring chances, the Cowboys defense did something that they hadn't done in what seemed like forever. They gave up a big play TD, a bomb from Favre to Rice.(not Jerry Rice mind you) And then after going down for a first and goal and having to settle for a FG to cut it to 7-3, the Cowboys defense gave up a long drive for another TD, and I think that I knew right there that it wasn't going to be our day. That we would have to view it as a significant amount of progress. The Cowboys moved the ball all day, but something kept happening each time, repeatedly thwarting potential scoring drives. And Favre went on to have FOUR touchdown throws. Final Score: VIKINGS 34, Cowboys 3. It sure hurts to lose far more than how wonderful it feels to win. Now, what is next for the Cowboys? Well, the Super Bowl next year, is in Dallas at the new Cowboys Stadium. What is more motivating than that? I am already predicting that we are in it at this time next year. Hosting it. This team has found it's cohesive niche. Just a bad game against the Vikings. Not indicative of how well this team was playing to get that far. Going to need a new kicker. Unfortunately Folk got into a slump and never came out of it. Then the Cowboys signed Shaun Suisham, cut by the Redskins for the remainder of the season. He missed a couple against the Vikings. Makeable kicks. So who knows? Maybe Folk comes back if he's fully recovered from the hip surgery from last offseason. Only thing is, he seemed to be fine up until that Green Bay game in mid-November. But we need a reliable kicker. This year in the NFL, I've never seen a worse year for Kickers in general. Miles Austin has emerged as the Number one receiver on the Dallas Cowboys. He had 81 catches and over 1300 yards, 12 touchdowns, starting in only 12 games. Roy Williams looks more like a number 2 or 3 but certainly not a number one. Witten posted his usual numbers. Romo only threw 9 interceptions. There's talk of returning Marion Barber to the closing role again instead of the feature back. He flourished so much in the closing role, scoring more and having a late game, clinching effect before. Felix Jones very well might be best to be the starting back, and his tendency to rip off the home run can not be overlooked(49 yard TD run in the 24-0 regular season finale over Philly. A 73 yard TD six days later in the 34-14 playoff win against the Eagles only six days later) Anyhow, hopefully the offseason will go by a little bit quicker this time around. I'd like to think it will. And suprisingly the Saints wound up winning it all. Enjoy your day in the sun New Orleans. It will be over soon enough.