Welcome to another edition of “What Would Have Happened If…”, the online web serial that has been keeping Dallas Cowboys fans pacified during the no-news doldrums of the 2012 off-season. It sure beats barking at your children in German while you have them sort the boxes of cereal box tops you’ll never use.
In this edition, we’ll be looking at arguably the most gut-wrenching loss these current Dallas Cowboys have given unto the fans. Yeah, I know – there’s so many to choose from with this bunch. But the 2007 NFC Divisional Playoff loss to the eventual Super Bowl Champions, the New York Giants, was devastating. First, the fact I referred to them as Super Bowl Champions says it all; that could have been us. Secondly, we had swept the team during the regular season with aerial assaults and the average margin of victory being 10.5 points. Thirdly, it helped extend our seasons without a playoff win to eleven, which was probably the only statistic the microcephalics in the Dallas-Fort Worth media could quote for the next two seasons. Although, you’ll notice they’ve modified it since 2010 to “only one playoff win in X seasons,” which makes them a combination of Herbert Robbins and Demosthenes all in one pair of slacks and a smart phone.
The cognitively deficient, whether due to sucking the lead paint off of their childhood homes’ walls or being thrown as babes, will immediately point to Romo’s trip to Cabo with then-girlfriend Jessica Simpson as one of the reasons why we lost. You know, it’s not like these people ever heard of how Ken Stabler spent his night before Super Bowl XI. Another prime fault lies at the hands of Patrick Crayton for not catching a key crossing route on 3rd down and 13 from the Cowboys’ 17 with the score 17-14 Cowboys. Crayton could have run us straight to the conference championship game. Heck, if he would have had the where-with-all to finish his route on the penultimate Cowboys offensive play of the game, instead of on how he would complain to the mediots, he could have won the game with a memorable catch. Then, let’s not even get into the Walmart greeter-referees who kept calling the quick Ware for being offsides. These numbnuts would call lightning offsides if they didn’t need thunder to let them know it was there.
So how would our alternate reality vary from our present had any of these events gone the Cowboys’ way?
HOW THINGS WOULD BE DIFFERENT:
1. Romo Isn’t Seen As Insouciant – A lot of that has to do with what went on outside the lines, but Troy Aikman said it perfectly during the game broadcast that Romo would receive a lot of criticism “fairly and unfairly” for choosing to go to Cabo during wild card weekend as the Giants were dashing the Buccaneers’ dreams of getting their butts whooped in Dallas for the playoffs. If the Cowboys win, the Cabo trip is only remembered as some antic demonstrating his coolness under pressure in the vein of Joe Namath’s guarantee. The confirmation bias wouldn’t be there for a lot of schmuck fans that “Romo don’t care.”
2. The Playoff Loss Streak Ends — No more could they say the Cowboys weren’t at least formidable. The proof would be in the divisional playoff win, which seems to do wonders for how the mediots perceive teams. It’s technically one playoff win. But all right: since you went to the conference championship game, you’re all a bunch of geniuses. Well, it wouldn’t work that way for the Cowboys. The mediots would point out that Wade Phillips did it with Parcells’ players and try to discredit it. But at least we, the fans, the only ones that have been here and will always be here no matter what names on the back or on the papers change and buy yachts and laugh at us once retired, would have our fourteenth conference championship game appearance to brag about.
3. Tom Coughlin Is Fired — While not exactly pertaining to us, at least the Giants head coach would have been terminated and free to rejoin comedian Jeff Dunham as the “Walter” dummy. At least that old cranky sack would be out of the NFC East and back to performing the Catskills.
HOW THINGS WOULD BE THE SAME:
1. The Cowboys Don’t Win the Super Bowl — I think the Cowboys would have beaten the Packers in the conference championship game. After all, Brett Favre was winless at Texas Stadium, and the brunt of his defeated streak came in playoff games. So I think the Cowboys would have advanced to Super Bowl XLII with no issue. And then you would have had Jerry with the rictal botox grin holding the Halas Trophy, but I don’t think you would have seen the Cowboys win Super Bowl XLII, not against that formidable Cheatriots team. There’s no way Jacques Reeves, Nate Jones, and Pat Watkins help out covering Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Jabar Gaffney, Donte Stallworth, and Ben Watson. And I can’t believe our pass rush would have been as disruptive as the Giants’ pass rush, which is what won the Super Bowl. Ultimately, the Cowboys still are searching for that sixth ring.
2. Mike Jenkins and Felix Jones Are Still Cowboys — We used Cleveland’s pick that we nabbed in the 2007 draft to take Felix Jones. So where we finished in the 2007 playoffs would not have affected that. However, had we finished with the 31st pick in the draft, the only other team that would have taken a cornerback would have been the Chargers, who seemed happy enough with Antoine Cason. Jenkins still would have been there and we still would have taken him, thus leaving Julius Jones and Jacques Reeves to find other opportunities.
3. The Offensive Line Still Goes to Garbage — If you think their getting exposed in the 2007 divisional playoffs was enough to make the front office devout resources to fixing it — heck, the 2009 divisional playoffs weren’t enough! –, then what makes you think a couple of playoff wins would change Jerry’s mind about the offensive line? We’d be stuck with the same bunch and Romo would hurt and the offensive line would wear down due to age. Not to mention, we’d still be using Hudson Houck since Tony Sparano was already hired as the Dolphins head coach. We’d still have average talent and has-been technique resulting in failure to achieve the objectives we, the fans, have been waiting for since 1996.
The 2007 Divisional Playoff loss is one game I wish we could have back. Yeah, you can throw in the ’94 NFC Championship game if you wish, but the Triplets were midway through their share of glory. This bunch has yet to taste that, and it feels like they never will. Beating the Giants for a three-sweep to face the Packers and Brett Favre in Texas Stadium would have been special. Oh, well.
Click back next week to find out “What Would Have Happened If…The Cowboys Won the Ice Bowl.” You’ll want to quit sounding an air horn at your kids’ cat for this one.