The Dallas Cowboys devastating end to their “magical” season will be debated until their next playoff appearance. But, one thing is without doubt. Jerry Jones will go to his grave wondering what if. What if he had shown the guts to stand by the player he had built the entire team around? What if he had shown loyalty instead of bowing to the Dak Prescott media bandwagon demanding he stick with the rookie sensation over a proven NFL Top-4 quarterback? What if he had followed his gut instead of selling out to the Cowboy fans who demanded the Cowboys version of The Force Awakens?
No one will ever know how well Tony Romo would have played behind the best team the Cowboys fielded since 1995. And that is quite a shame. As the Dak-bandwagon built up steam, the SuperBowl became expected. Ownership expected it, the coaches expected it, the fans expected, the team expected it, and the Cowboy’s rookie quarterback expected it. Meanwhile, the one player on the team who truly understood just how monumental a task it was going to be to get past the Aaron Rodgers, Tom Bradys, and Ben Roethlisbergers of the NFL was relegated to an afterthought.
There are many average to good quarterbacks who led their team to a SuperBowl victory. But, in each of those cases, the team, and most often the defense, was elite. The Cowboys do not have an elite defense. On the other hand, they do have the most elite offensive line. A line who made Ezekial Elliott look like the second coming of Emmitt Smith. Ezekial Elliott’s clutch performances throughout the season in the most vital situations, combined with the offensive line giving Dak Prescott unlimited time to throw, made Dak Prescott look like the second coming of Roger Staubach. Quite simply, Zeke is awesome but not as good as the offensive line made him look. Dak is good but not as good as Zeke and the offensive line made him look.
All the smoke and mirrors fooled everyone, especially the pundits who are paid to sniff out these false fronts. Instead, the chirped and chimed using flowering adjectives like “special,” “magical,” “dynasty,” and on and on. They anointed Dak as the one player who could unite the black and white players in a way Romo couldn’t hope to, by relating to everyone using his mixed heritage. Race was clearly projected into the media’s coverage of the team. “Once you’ve gone Dak, you never go back,” was used several times during the season on national television including during the playoff game with the Packers. Everyone knows the origin of this phrase. And in the shadow of the defeat, the media are still treating Dak like the second coming praising his performance in defeat as though it were miraculous. So miraculous, in fact, that midway through the second quarter, Romo’s harshest critic, former Cowboy QB Troy Aikman let slip that the team should turn to Romo because he has more big play potential. Aikman quickly realized his inner dialogue had slipped through his cultured anti-Cowboy, anti-Romo exterior and he backed off.
If this season were a high school movie, the girl would have trained all year to dance in the dance competition with a great dancer, who with a sprained ankle was working really hard to make the competition. But, the night before the show, she would have seen the new kid in town do a move she’d never seen before and so she would change partners and leave her partner with whom she’d prepared for all of high school to dance with the new guy. In the movie, a turn of events would occur such that she realized her mistake, and she would choose to compete with her original partner, expecting not to win, and of course they would win. Unfortunately for Dallas fans, Jerry Jones did not realize his mistake, he went on to dance with the flashy new guy, and when the team needed that toss and catch that took years to master, the new guy looked good but in failure. And because of the age in which we live, the media will continue to tell Jerry he did the right thing and instead of a happy ending with the couple dancing off into the sunset, Jerry will break up with his original dance partner and start all over again hoping to win the dance next year.
Gosh, high school relationships really suck.