Monday, 31 March 2014

How 'bout them Cowboys? It's been a while

How ’bout them Cowboys?

When’s the last time someone has said that with any conviction?

The NFL Network’s Dynasty Week team this week is your Dallas Cowboys, which means Jimmy J. should be on at some point, holding a crumpled up a white NFC champions T-shirt and uttering those famous words.

Seems like such a long time ago.

Because it is.

More than 22 years ago.

There’s now a generation of Cowboys fans who haven’t seen America’s Team in the Super Bowl. I can drop the mike here, can’t I?

In the first X games, there were 3 appearances.

From XI to XX, 2 more.

From XXI to XXX, the final 3.

 Now there are Cowboys fans, just like fans of other teams – I’m talking to you Melo, of the Giants – that think their club can win the Super Bowl on any given year.

Their presumptuously positive outlook blinds them to any warts on their roster, any gaps that could be exploited. Up until about October or so, these bandwagons are full of easy riders, people who think their quarterback can pull out any miracle finish or their defence make that definitive stand.

Unfortunately that’s because it has happened. We’ve seen it.

And for whatever reason, this phenomena seems to only happen with despised Cowboys rivals, like the Steelers and Giants. They’re two franchises to win a championship in recent times after seasons in which they weren’t even close to being the best team, only to be smiled on by the fickle football gods, with special appearances by Santonio Holmes, David Tyree, Mario Manningham.  

This golden glow extends to NFL front offices, the ones that think that by getting a ticket to the big dance, the playoffs, that they’ll end up with the Belle of the Ball, the Lombardi Trophy.

The question then is do you hitch your wagon to a longshot or ride out the rough times until your ticket turns into a favourite.

Unfortunately, the owner and general manager of the Cowboys, Jerry Jones, who made his fortunes on discovering pockets of oil miles below the surface, isn’t going to shy away from long odds.

Just as unfortunately for Cowboys fans, long odds don’t pay off very often, which is why we’re in this stretch of 14 seasons and four playoff appearances.

This generation of fans may not be able to wrap their head around the fact that over a 20-year stretch under the troika of Tom Landry, Gild Brandt and Tex Schramm, the Cowboys missed the playoff just twice. Twice.

And most of those years, only four teams made the post-season, not six.

So when Jones announces that the team doesn’t rebuild when they have a Tony Romo, the older generation winces. Romo has the best passing stats any Cowboys quarterback has compiled but wins and losses tell a different story.

Three playoff appearances, one playoff win tells a different story.

So hitch away Jerry. Another season of mediocrity awaits.

How ’bout them Cowboys indeed.