With the 2012 NFL season one game away from being three quarters complete, reality is starting to set in for the fans of the Dallas Cowboys. The hope for a breakthrough season started with the free agent signings in March. These moves headlined by the signing of cornerback Brandon Carr were followed by more excitement in April at the NFL Draft. The Cowboys swung a draft day deal to move up and draft Morris Claiborne and help solidify the weakest part of their defense, the secondary.
The mini camps and OTAs had enough positive buzz to pique Cowboy fan’s interest, and get excitement started for the official training camp in Oxnard, CA. The fans kept up with the daily updates via television, newspapers, internet, and radio. The fans watched the preseason games, bought their new Nike NFL Cowboy jerseys, game tickets, and were genuinely hyped for the season.
The Cowboys played great that first game on the road against the Giants, and teased us all again. Unfortunately, the excitement would soon become tempered, and realization would set-in that we had all seen this movie before. The Cowboys kept incurring way too many penalties, mental mistakes on the field, and weak offensive play calling. These problems were compounded by the fact that the team has never gained a “home field advantage” at beautiful Dallas Cowboys Stadium and have played .500 football at the palace in their four seasons there.
The team is currently still mathematically alive to make the postseason. As we have seen by the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers in recent seasons, a Wild Card round team can get in the “dance” and advance and win the Super Bowl. With a record of 5-6, the Cowboys trail the NFC East leading New York Giants by two games in the loss column with five to play.
Unfortunately, this year’s Cowboy team just doesn’t have the feel of a team that can get on a run like Wild Card teams of previous seasons. The problems that have been present at the beginning of the season are still there currently, still unsolved and unfixed. On top of that, injuries have truly taken a toll on this team now. Poor draft after poor draft has left this team thin in the area of depth in key positions, and the team has suffered for this. The defense was the strength of this year’s team, but with the injuries it is just not the same. The offensive line has been an absolute joke, and has been the root of the offensive problems. They can’t get any push in the running game, can’t protect Romo in the passing game, and when momentum does get started, penalties will often cause drives to come to a halt prematurely.
The Cowboys play a Philadelphia Eagles team that is falling apart as well this Sunday evening at Dallas Cowboys Stadium. Having personally attended every home game this year including the preseason except the games against the Giants and Redskins, I hope to be in attendance again this Sunday. I love the Cowboys and love going to the game and being in the environment and around the fans. Personally, the NFL game day experience is absolutely fantastic. I still have hope that this team can do something this year. However, now I just don’t expect it or really thinks it’s likely. The ship is sinking, but I’m a loyal and lifelong fan, and I will go down with the ship. There may be some big changes in the organization that will likely be based on how these last five games play out. In regards to this 2012 season, for me and many Cowboy fan’s alike, reality has set in that this is what it is this year.
Follow Craig Cortemeglia on Twitter at @ccortemegliaTLH