Is it just me or is watching the 2012 Dallas Cowboys team a snoozefest? When the Carolina Panthers kicked off last Sunday, Dez Bryant, Cowboys wide receiver, fielded the ball, then got smashed to the turf. He came up out of the pile, fired up, flinging his fists. Some excitement to get the game started, but out came the yellow flag. Penalty #1 and we are barely seconds into the game. What proceeded for the next 59 minutes nearly put fans to sleep across the nation. The Cowboys won the game, 19 – 14, but other than that first play, it was greatly lacking in entertainment.
Apparently, I’m not the only fan who feels this way. The television ratings are down 18% from last year in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. People are tuning out and turning their televisions off and we’re not even halfway through the regular season. The Cowboys need to start playing some exciting football or they will continue to lose their fanbase. After some thought and discussion with fellow fans, this is what was decided amongst a group of Monday morning quarterbacks:
When the Cowboys play teams they are expected to lose to, they step up their game, play aggressively, and play to win. Win or lose, these games are exciting to watch. When the Cowboys play teams they are expected to beat, they play down to the level of their competition. Jason Garrett, head coach, and especially quarterback Tony Romo, manage the game, and play not to lose. Win or lose, these games are duds. If they would quit playing conservatively against teams they should beat, they would win a lot more of those games (and keep the fans entertained as well.)
In the first game of the season versus the New York Giants, by all media accounts, the reigning Super Bowl champions were predicted to soundly win that game. Not only did the Cowboys beat them, 24 – 17; they did it convincingly (despite the score.) This made for an exciting game which was entertaining from kick off to the final whistle. In the second game against the Seattle Seahawks, they traveled to the gray and dreary city, and came home with an even grayer and drearier result, 7 – 27. In their first home game of the season versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team they should have crushed, they barely squeaked out a ho-hum 16 – 10 win.
The very next home game, a Monday night showdown between the Cowboys and the Chicago Bears turned into a disaster. The Cowboys did nothing right in that game and lost 18 – 34. They next traveled to the home of the Baltimore Ravens, where, like the Giants game, the Cowboys were expected to lose to a tougher opponent. It turned out to be quite the entertaining game; however, and they nearly pulled out the upset. They lost the game, 29 – 31, but some deemed it a moral victory. After a bye week, they visited the Carolina Panthers. This is the game that put me and thousands of other die-hards fan to sleep. The Cowboys won the game, 19 – 14, but the same mistakes, same play calling, same time management issues, and same lackluster performances sent fans to an early Sunday nap.
The Cowboys tout a mediocre 3 – 3 record. We have witnessed two exciting games (one heartbreaking) and four boring / miserable / frustrating games. Romo is too busy wanting to keep his quarterback rating high, so he plays conservatively, never taking risks. In the entirety of last Sunday’s game, he threw one pass that was over 20 yards downfield. 19 of his 22 passes were for less than 10 yards and 11 more passes (4 being completed) were attempted between 10 and 19 yards from the line of scrimmage [ESPN statistics.] This is too conservative for sure, but what’s worse is, it’s way too predictable. Garrett calls the same exact, foreseeable plays, vying for field position, but never taking chances. Any coach with a pulse knows what to expect when they play against the Cowboys. In scoring offense, they are 24th, averaging 18.8 points per game. Boring!
The natives are getting restless and this Sunday will be an opportunity to break out of the doldrums. The Giants come to Dallas, looking to avenge that first game loss. You can bet they won’t be playing down to the competition. They will be out for blood and they won’t be putting anyone to sleep.
In the meantime, if my insomnia keeps me up at night, I will put the Cowboys on a continuous loop in the evening and sleep like a baby.