In spite of the pending doom the title of this article alludes to, this is not a doom and gloom article. This is a wake up call to any Dallas Cowboys fans that aren’t already awake and a rebuttal to those who don’t believe.
Many have heard it, even more have felt it – The Dallas Cowboys window for a Superbowl, even a Superbowl run, is starting to close.
This window is not news to most of us. It is so understood, in fact, that it’s a bit of a waste to talk about. That was, of course, until Jerry Jones spoke about this sense that there is this window closing. All of a sudden, there are many out there, like Matt Mosley of ESPN.com, that think the Dallas Cowboys and their fans continue their illusions of grandeur and sense of entitlement by thinking there is a window to begin with. Really?
First, lets discuss what this window is (for Matt Mosley), when it opened and who opened it.
A window represents an opportunity to do something or go somewhere. In the National Football League, the ‘something’ and ‘somewhere’ are both the same thing – the Superbowl. This window opens when an opportunity presents itself. The bigger or more obvious the opportunity, the wider the window. As the opportunity begins to fall apart or moves out of reach, the window closes. I think we can all understand that.
The Dallas Cowboys window of opportunity is open. It’s open because there is a consensus that we have a core group of players that are among the best at there respective positions. This core group represents an opportunity to compete at a high level and win games. Playing at a high level and winning games gets your team in the playoffs. Getting in the playoffs gives your team an opportunity to make a run to a Superbowl.
When this window opened for the Cowboys and who opened it is up for opinion and debate. For me, the window was unlocked and opened when Bill Parcells was named Head Coach of the Dallas Cowboys in 2003. Before this, the Cowboys window was shut tight by salary cap hell and successive 5-11 seasons. Bill came in and completely overhauled the defense by switching to a 3-4 and replacing the personnel to run it efficiently. He also re-instilled discipline to a rag tag bunch and surprised everyone by making the playoffs his first year. In 2003, Jason Witten and Tony Romo arrived, followed a couple years later by DeMarcus Ware. The window was not opened that wide to start, though, and with the self destruction of Quincy Carter, that opening started to close again. In spite of a good defense, Bill Parcells knew the key to a Superbowl run was a great quarterback, and Carter would not be that guy. Cowboys Nation felt it, Parcells felt it, so much so that he kept throwing ‘past their prime’ QBs on the field (Vinny Testaverde, Drew Bledsoe) and a baseball pitcher (Drew Henson) to keep the window from closing. The stop gaps worked to some extent.
It was a preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks in 2006 that, for me, marked the time where the window, that was perilously close to closing, started to open wider. Then, of course, at half time of the Monday night game against the New York Giants in October 2006, Tony Romo pushed the window all the way open. It has been open ever since.
As long as Tony Romo, Jason Witten and DeMarcus Ware continue to play at a high level, the Dallas Cowboys will have a chance to win games, and winning enough games gets you to the playoffs, and getting to the playoffs gives you a chance to go to the Superbowl. Its that easy. Its that simple.
The most frustrating situation is Jason Witten’s. He has been playing at a high level since he arrived in ’03 but he is in his 30’s and more than Romo (Romo who is 32 but didn’t play right away) or Ware (turning 30 this year and not drafted til ’05) his window of opportunity is probably closing faster. I can see Jason continuing to play great for 2 or 3 more years. Tony Romo and D Ware probably 4 more years. That gives the Cowboys until 2013 – 2014 to make a Superbowl run with the current roster of Pro Bowl players still on the team.
No matter how much Matt Mosley or other sports writers and bloggers try to claim otherwise, the window is real. The window is also closing. The time to make a run is now.