Here we go again. Prepare yourself folks! Get ready to hear the following from that one over-the-top Dallas Cowboy diehard fan you know: “Well, if the Cowboys had beaten the Giants in the last game of the season they would have won the Superbowl this year.” Really? We are talking about the same team that played this past season, right? Well, that dude (or dudette) may not be very far off.
Hear me out. After going through every Cowboys game this season, here is what I discovered. If Dallas had won all the games were they had the lead at some point in the fourth quarter, the Boys would have ended the season 13-3. That’s five games where Dallas had the lead into the fourth and dropped the ball. If only they had mulligans in football!
But let’s not take anything away from the Giants. The Boys faced the G-men for the first time this season in Week 14. The Cowboys had a three point lead at halftime in Texas Stadium. With 5:34 left in the game, Dallas had a 34-22 lead. The Giants score two touchdowns in less than 4 minutes to beat us.
Then, we face off again in the final week of the season for the prize of going into the playoffs. Dallas was down 21-0 at halftime. Ouch. Early in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys brought themselves within a touchdown, but again they let it slip away.
Now, these two games may lead some fans to believe the Cowboys are in some way equal to or slightly less than the Superbowl Champion New York Giants. Unfortunately, the 2011 Cowboys had one opponent they failed to defeat all year…themselves. Dallas’ lack of mental toughness and Jason Garrett’s lack of experience were the two major factors working against the Cowboys all year. That would not have changed in the playoffs.
The Giants had to defeat the Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, and the San Francisco 49ers to get the Superbowl. And all of these match-ups were away games for the G-men. Even though the Falcons folded like a cheap suit and the Boys defeated the 49ers in overtime earlier this year, Dallas’ secondary would have stood little chance against the Packers offense.
And yes, I do partially blame Head Coach Jason Garrett for the season’s outcome. You have too. He’s the boss. (Insert Jerry Jones joke here) And if Rob Ryan isn’t doing his job then Garrett needs to kick him in the a**. If Terence Newman isn’t performing up to par, then he needs to replace his a**. And if Tony Romo throws three interceptions to the best man at his wedding, then Garrett need to sit his newlywed a** on the pine. Coach Garrett needs to ask himself: What Would Tom Coughlin Do?
I’m kidding, ofcourse. Coughlin was on the verge of getting fired this year. But somehow, he pulled it out and won another Superbowl. All the sudden, he’s a Hall of Fame Coach. But if there is one thing Garrett could get from Coughlin, it’s toughness.
Coughlin is the very definition of old school. If someone told me he kept a high school principle’s paddle in his desk, I’d believe them. I can imagine Jason Pierre-Paul leaving the coach’s office, crying. His teammates would be like, “What’s wrong with you?” And he’d be like, “Man…Coach just gave me five licks for being late!”. I have a feeling Coach Garrett is the type who would make Dez Bryant sit in the corner for five minutes to think about the passes he dropped.
But seriously, Dallas gave it’s fans a glimpse at what they could be. But the Cowboys lacked stability this season. They lacked discipline under Wade Phillips. Garrett brings that. Now he has another year to find a cure to our inconsistencies. Let’s hope Garrett’s new school approach gets a little old school mental toughness added to it this off-season.