Can Dallas Cowboys fans finally R-E-L-A-X now?
By Richard Ball
This roller coaster season is now projecting up. Can the Dallas Cowboys keep their momentum and drive their train to the playoffs?
I used to live in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. People would say to those who complained about the weather to wait five minutes and it would change. For the Dallas Cowboys, it might take five weeks rather than minutes to see the change.
Let’s revisit history and return all the way back to the late hours of the evening on November 5th this year. That evening, the Dallas Cowboys had just finished losing their fifth game of the season. Raise your hand if any of the following statements entered your thoughts:
- Head coach Jason Garrett needs to be fired
- Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan needs to be fired
- Dak Prescott is not even an average NFL quarterback
- The offensive line gives up too many sacks
- Dallas doesn’t score enough points
- The ‘Boys should have drafted Calvin Ridley
- Big D is doomed if linebacker Sean Lee misses more games
If you are honest with yourself, I bet that you felt the Cowboys were destined for another lost season. You would be justified for those thoughts as this team was failing the eye test.
The NFL season is 17 weeks long and each team only plays 16 games. One loss in the NFL is the same as a ten game losing streak in Major League Baseball and five games in the National Basketball Association or the National Hockey League.
It is fair to say that fans of any NFL team can easily over-react as any loss is significant. The 2018 Cowboys gave five less than inspiring performances to help fans draw these conclusions. What is easily forgotten is most teams that lose six or fewer games make the playoffs.
Since 2002 when the NFL realigned to the current division format, 50 teams have finished with six losses. All but eight have made the playoffs. In 2008, the Patriots were a five-loss team and missed the playoffs for a total of nine teams missing the playoffs with six or fewer losses.
Over this time, 173 teams have finished with six or fewer losses. This means that 95 percent of the time you punch your ticket to the playoffs with less than seven losses.
So now that we are happy after watching the ‘Boys defense stifle the potent Saints offense, I want to share a word of caution. As down as you might have been on the Cowboys, temper your enthusiasm for the now seven-win team.
In the NFL we know that what matters most is what have you done lately. Dallas still has four games remaining. All four are winnable games.
This four-game winning streak will mean nothing if the Cowboys find a way to lose their hold on the NFC East division. While first place is great, it will only matter if Dallas wins at least three if not four of the remaining games to punch their playoff ticket.
Enjoy the moment. Remember the 24-hour rule and then move on to the Eagles.