Before Wednesday’s Dallas Cowboys/ New York Giants game, you heard hours and hours of expert opinion and analysis. If you’re like me you spent a great deal of time online too. You probably visited some popular websites like Sports Illustrated, ESPN, and NFL.com to read their predictions. If you did any of these things you noticed what I noticed. There was no love for the Dallas Cowboys. Take ESPN for instance. They had twelve analysts deliver their expert picks. Of the 12, exactly zero picked the Cowboys to win. Zero? Seriously? I think Western Kentucky has better support to beat Alabama than the Cowboys had over the Giants. ESPN wasn’t alone. If I’m not mistaken, NFL.com and Dallasnews.com also unanimously picked the Giants to win. I understand it’s the Super Bowl champs against a team who didn’t even make the playoffs but it was also a 9-7 team from last year vs. an 8-8 team from last year. I think last year’s results can be used to support how close the Cowboys are rather than how far away they are.
Ok, I suppose I should clear something up before I go much further. I picked the Giants to beat the Cowboys Wednesday night. There, I said it. I have never been so happy to be so wrong. The Cowboys made big plays when they needed them and the Giants didn’t. The Cowboys played coolly and calmly amidst the most stressful of circumstances. The Giants just didn’t step up. New York didn’t mail this in either. They worked their butts off. The Cowboys earned this one. Plain and Simple. Again, I was wrong, utterly and totally wrong.
With that said, my biggest surprise was not that the Cowboys won. My biggest surprise was the disparaging remarks about the Cowboys and the unanimous support of the Giants. The Cowboys deserved at least a chance for goodness sake. This isn’t the Dream Team vs. Zimbabwe here. I figured at least a quarter of the analysts would pick the Cowboys. I guess I was wrong again. The disparaging remarks were even worse. The analysis as to “why” they would lose was extreme. Frankly, most of the analysis was just ridiculous sensationalism. It was uninformed and completely incorrect. Here are a couple examples:
I heard/read countless “experts” say how old the Cowboys are. I know Jerry Jones said himself the window is closing but when has anyone (especially the national media) taken what Jerry says as the truth. Jerry was motivating and possibly threatening. He is smart and manipulative and unless drunk in a bar and recorded by camera phone, calculated. Don’t believe me? Check the roster. These guys are not old. The average age is roughly 26 which happens to be a very good age since 27 is thought of as the physical prime for most skill players. 30 years old is considered the prime for most quarterbacks and lineman. This team is clearly not old. Also said was how turnover prone Tony Romo is and how dependable and composed Eli Manning is. The in-game commentators implied after Tony threw an interception that he throws one on a weekly basis. The reality is Romo throws an interception 0.68 times a game. That is pretty darn good. Eli? Well Eli averages 1.05 interceptions every game. He has more INT’s than games. If you listened to the analysis or the commentators you would never believe it. Many other incorrect and misleading things were said prior to the game but you get the point. The Cowboys stink and the Giants are a model team and franchise.
Fast forward to after the game
Now after this “miracle win” we are hearing this may be Tony Romo’s best game ever. That’s equally as ridiculous. Those “experts” are saying he has finally put it all together. Maybe because he got married and had a baby I heard suggested. Come on! He’s a better quarterback because he made a baby? That’s absolutely absurd. It’s mindless analysis and knee-jerk reactions like this that drive me crazy. Media personalities are made popular by taking an extreme stance on every and all topics. Very few topics, especially in sports, warrant extreme stances like this.
It happens every year. Remember the media rollercoaster last year? After the week 1 loss to the Jets the team was declared dreadful and Tony Romo was a complete loser. Then the broken rib win over the 49ers gave Romo hero status and was sure to inspire the team to make a playoff run, right? Then the loss to the Lions and Romo was once again a loser who would never get it done. These were knee-jerk reactions which were extreme, incorrect, and foolish. It appears it’s happening all over again.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s easy to do. I was very happy and optimistic immediately following Wednesday’s game. I’m reserving full analysis until I can watch the game a couple more times and let my emotions subside. I need to take time to add a little objectivity. In my opinion, it’s irresponsible of me not to do so. If this season is anything like the last few, the coming weeks promise to have plenty of ups and downs. My heart can’t handle another rollercoaster ride like the last few seasons. I’m going to digest these games slowly and thoughtfully. I will consume it like I would a fine scotch rather than how I’d beer-bong a Bud Light.
At this point in the season I know one thing: No matter what the national media say, this team is neither great nor horrible- yet. It’s simply a team learning how to win. Learning to win is the hardest step for a team to make and often ends in bipolar results along the way. I am prepared for both great games and horrible games but I’m not going to let it fundamentally change my opinion each week. I know what we are right now, a rollercoaster. It will stay that way until we solidify a couple positions and more importantly, just learn how to win. Hey, that’s fine with me. I’m just going to limit the height of the peaks and the depth of the valleys because things are never as extreme as some make you believe. Welcome to the rollercoaster ride that is the Dallas Cowboys. It’s up to you how wild you want to make it.