Tuesday, October 26, 2010

NFL 2010: Week 7 -- Cowboys Catastrophe (The Joke That Has Nobody Laughing)

Blow it up, and start over. The ultimate monument to man's vanities!!!

Somehow, the way the Dallas Cowboys fell in defeat before a national Monday Night Football audience seems delightfully just. Not only did they give up 41 points, they looked horrible doing so. Okay, the Giants didn’t play gracefully; they gave up 35 points, but from the point the Giants took the lead, was there any question who was going to prevail?

A game like this seems to test our true humanity. Fans shouldn’t take delight in a player being injured, but Tony Romo getting knocked off the field with a cracked collar bone somehow fits this story so well.

The amazing thing is that the Dallas Cowboys draw so much attention in the first place. It’s been a long time since they last showed themselves to be a quality team. That they have had some playoff runs is nothing more than the normal ebb and flow of NFL football given how the structure of the league is designed to achieve parity. Not since the team Jimmy Johnson built with Troy Aikman, Emmett Smith, and Michael Irvan, has this team had any real bragging rights.

Still, back when they were an honorable team owned by Tex Schram and coached by Tom Landry, they earned the name “America’s team.” Through the 1970’s deep into the 1980’s, they were a team worthy of tremendous respect. The original incarnation of the Jerry Jones “boys” played incredible football even if the misbehavior fueled an on-going drama of misadventure.

In 2010, the Dallas Cowboys are just a crappy team. Good teams don’t stand with one win going into week eight of the season. They’re in the same class at the Buffalo Bills, St. Louis Rams, and Detroit Lions.

This is the Dallas Cowboys’ second year in Cowboys Stadium, presumably so-named because no corporate entity was willing to pay the asking price for naming rights. The $1.3 billion palace is one of the world’s greatest monuments to human ego and excess including its massive high definition video display suspended over more the 2/3’s the length of the field. The stadium also features elevated cages where costumed buxom females engage in exotic dancing with just enough clothing to keep from being arrested. Every detail is so overblown that the venue itself becomes an event.

By contrast, the cost of the new Meadowlands complex hosting the New York Giants and Jets outside the nation’s largest city might have been just as expensive but building costs near the big Apple are far greater than in Arlington, Texas. While the New Jersey field has all kinds of modern technology and accommodations, it’s a football stadium open to the elements at that in a part of the country that gets damned cold in January. Shall we then compare Cowboys Stadium to another sport’s facility, as in New Yankees Stadium?

The New Yankee Stadium is loaded with luxurious features, but it is a very faithful successor to the Yankees stadiums of the past.

Which brings us back to this year’s Dallas Cowboys. Build a new stadium in the right climate or with a dome, the NFL generally rewards the locality with a Super Bowl very soon thereafter as when the exotic new stadiums opened for the Arizona Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts. The 2010 season was supposed to lead the hometown Cowboys to playing in the hometown stadium. The media got caught up in the publicity too. Even up to this week’s pregame, the ESPN blabber mouths were still maintaining the Cowboys were an awesome team. They just haven’t played up to expectations or just need a lucky break. Look at how many penalties they’ve chalked up.

Chalking up penalties is just one of those things? BALONEY! It’s the sign of an undisciplined team.

The Cowboys might have a lot of potential talent on the team, but they play together horribly. If they couldn’t pull it together and play smart football under Bill Parcels, what more evidence do we need that the culture in that locker room is decadent and out of control? Between Jimmy Johnson and Bill Parcels, the Cowboys coaches sure didn’t inspire much confidence to be sure. Poor coaches build crappy locker room solidarity. In Dallas, their football players are treated like minor deities and before long, they act like a special entitled bunch.

Did anyone think Wade Phillips would have a chance with this crew?

Phillips might have had his window of opportunity his first year on the job assuming Parcels left some discipline behind and the players wanted to prove themselves on their own. That didn’t happen because even the mighty Parcels couldn’t escape a culture with a doting owner who worships his players and like a couple other meddlesome owners treats his team like its his great big play toy – like “Danny Boy” Snyder in Washington.

Jerry Jones is the mastermind and architect of the kind of nauseating excess that permeates everything about the Cowboys and that which surrounds them. Wade Phillips, a lax and laid back ineffective coach to begin with, is further undermined when the owner runs his mouth the way fans would hope the team’s offense would run the ball.

What goes around comes around and that Jones so conspicuously bragged of what it would be like when his beloved Cowboys played in the Super Bowl as if it were something to which he had been entitled make what’s happening on the field with this miserable 2010 team seem so perfectly justified.

The quest for the Super Bowl was probably over before the season ever started because there was no way this team would ever work as a disciplined unit that generates championship football. Realistically, the only mission left for the 2010 Cowboys will be not to finish in dead last in the NFC East. The New York Giants look well-positioned to win the division with the Eagles and the Redskins attempting to secure wild card berths those neither team is exactly a knockout. Still, the fellows in DC (Largo, Maryland) and Philadelphia are light years ahead of where the so-called “America’s Team” stands right now.

Let’s make this a firm resolution that no further references to the Dallas Cowboys except in the most extreme applications of sarcasm shall be tolerated. There are other teams far more deserving of such a title, but the way they play football, such a distinction would be meaningless. They don’t need the hype. They prove it on the field.


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