Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Longest Year

And then there was none -- as in no more football games this year -- and a whole long year to wait before thankfully some other team (any other team, please!) besides the Jersey Giants will be called Champions. Now, you would have to buy into the notion that the Pro Bowl is an actual football game. That is a real stretch, I know...

I watched a total of about 20 minutes of the game -- forgot it was on or I would have watched a lot more. After all, I am a pro football fanatic and a Dallas Cowboys diehard. And there were a total of 13 Cowboys participating in the Pro Bowl.

The 20 minutes I caught was not the 20 minutes during which Tony Romo threw his 2 touchdowns or T.O. caught his 2. But they were keeping score, and it's always better to play well and win a game than to play badly and lose.

So the Cowboys go into the offseason not with a lot of question marks personnel-wise, but more along the lines of character, chemistry and coaching. I don't have the answers any more than they do, because any team other than the Giants will have something to prove next year ... starting with the formerly perfect Patriots, then progressing down in terms of heartbreaking disappointing exit from the postseason through to Green Bay, Indy, Dallas, San Diego.

Dallas has two #1 picks in the upcoming draft, so that's something to live for as a fan. We made some coaching changes also, something most 13-3 teams don't go through, but Bill Parcells saw fit to raid our staff after taking over the 1-15 Dolphins. So the Cowboys lost their offensive line coach, linebackers coach, etc., as well as head of scouting and a few other execs.

But after the shakeout, I think the changes were for the better, especially getting Hudson Houck back to coach this talented offensive line. Dave Campo also returns to the fold to mold the secondary, which itself could have a few new parts despite sending three players to Hawaii. Both those elements are among the most important areas of a football team. If you're solid and well-coached there, you're gonna be competitive; and the reverse is also painfully true, especially in the NFC East, which proved itself the League's most balanced division once again.

One thing that lifted my spirits ever so slightly following this debacle of an NFL season, whereby the top-seeded Pokes were oh-so-unceremoniously bounced out of the playoffs in the first round once again, was Giants DE Mike Strahan declaring that it was the Cowboys, not the Pats, who were the best team he faced this year. I don't think he would say if it wasn't true, because obviously after 15 years in the league battling the 'Boys, there can't be any love lost there.

That the Cowboys are talented is not in question. Parcells did leave them in pretty good shape personnel wise. He had his share of bad draft picks, everyone does, but he has to get a lot of credit for assembling most of those 13 All Star-quality players.
What is very much in question is their mindset as a team, their collective mental outlook heading into next season -- especially Tony Romo, the player who the rest of the team feeds off. If they can use this year's playoff ouster at the hands of the hated Giants as motivational fodder, then that Pats-like chip on their shoulder might even elevate their level of play demonstrated in building their 12-1 start in 2007. As my old high school English teacher Sy Syna used to repeatedly intone, We Shall See What We Shall See. How can you argue with logic like that?

1 comment:

Mike said...

The Irving Cowboys, yes thats right the Cowboys play in Irving, not Dallas you buffoon-The New York Giants are champs sucker