The Dallas Cowboys are looking to exercise some demons against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Monday night. Not only is Tom Brady 7-0 against the Cowboys in his career, but much has been made about Mike McCarthy’s future with the organization if Dallas suffers another premature postseason exit.
While 12 wins in back-to-back seasons is an impressive feat, McCarthy was hired to get the Cowboys over the playoff hump. Jerry Jones and insider Albert Breer both stressed that McCarthy’s job security is a moot talking point leading up to the game.
Like Tony Pollard in the open field, though, that could change on a dime if the Cowboys crash out on Wild Card Weekend for the second year in a row. Jones cares about headlines and the public opinion more than most executives, and the media pitchforks will be out in full force if Dallas doesn’t get the job done.
Is this a must-win game for McCarthy’s Cowboys future? Probably not, but the head coach surely knows what’s at stake Monday night.
With that in mind, McCarthy has likely turned over every stone in team meetings this week as far as getting his players (and coaches) motivated.
We’re all for thinking outside the box, but showing the Cowboys baby pictures of the 10 players who were still alive the last time Dallas won a road playoff game (away to San Francisco in 1992 playoffs) was not on our Bingo card.
Mike McCarthy showed Cowboys baby pictures of former players before Buccaneers clash on Wild Card Weekend.
There’s no way to know for sure if this was McCarthy’s idea, so we’ll ease up on the head coach. And we certainly understand the idea of reminding players how long it’s been since the Cowboys won a road playoff game. Thirty-one years is a long time for one of the most decorated franchises in NFL history.
Of course, it was 1992 that marked the start of Dallas’ dynastic run in 1990s. They toppled the Bills in the Super Bowl before repeating as champs in 1993. After losing in the Conference Championship in 1994, the Cowboys reached the mountain top again in ’95, beating the Steelers in Super Bowl XXX.
Since then, Dallas has made the playoffs 11 times. They’ve been bounced in the Wild Card Round five times, and the Divisional Round six times. They haven’t made it to Conference Championship Weekend since they last won the Super Bowl.
So yes, McCarthy’s messaging was pretty obvious: current players shouldn’t view the team’s previous shortcomings as added pressure to deliver. It wouldn’t be out preferred pick for motivational tactics, but other organizations have done worse … significantly worse as a matter of fact.
Just a few months ago, the Yankees sent a video to players of their 2004 ALCS collapse against the Red Sox for motivation after they fell down 3-0 to the Astros in the ALCS. If McCarthy was out here replaying highlights from Dallas’ 2007 playoff loss to the NY Giants, this would be a different story.
It’s just odd the coaching staff viewed showing baby pictures of former players as a potential means to get players jacked up for Monday. These players understand they shouldn’t wear the playoff failures of previous generations.
Perhaps this was executed more for clearing players’ minds than motivational purposes, but either way absolutely nobody saw this coming.