Pursuit of Perfection Fails to Finish

In the end 18-0 was just not enough.  18-1 doesn’t earn you a Championship when the loss comes in the last game.  You have to be able to finish to claim the title of Superbowl Champions.  I think it was Fox announcer Curt Menefee that I heard say, “The Patriots came in undefeated while the Giants came in undaunted.” That just about sums it up. As many of you know, I was rooting for the Giants in this game while many of my other Cowboy friends wanted the Pats to finish their season undefeated and go down in history (while many Cowboy fans also couldn’t have cared less).  I really didn’t think the Giants would accomplish this, but my hat is off to the G-Men.  They had a job to do and did what no other team has been able to do this season.

The Giants defense was definitely the key in this game.  The defense was able to put so much pressure on Tom Brady that the Pats were never able to get in rhythm and stay there.  Brady was sacked 5 times and hit 9 other times while throwing the ball.

As Cowboy fans, why should we care?  Well, here are my thoughts for what they’re worth:  The Giants defense pressured Brady just like it did Romo in our last game against the Giants.  While many people have wanted to play the blame game and not give the Giants credit for the win over the Cowboys, I for one, will do so. Our loss to the Giants had nothing to do with Jessica Simpson, or Mexico, or assistant coaches being distracted. Jessica didn’t play in the game.  The game took place in Dallas, not Mexico.  The coaches didn’t drop the balls, botch the plays, or fail to protect Romo.  Like T.O. said in his interview after the game: “We lost as a team.”

Protection was something Brady would have loved to have had yesterday. The Giants defense just kept getting into the backfield and I’m sure that Brady was hearing footsteps coming up behind him on every play by the end of the game. I don’t blame Brady for this loss and I don’t blame Romo for ours.  A quarterback is one man, while a win/loss is a team effort. The Giants outplayed the Patriots, and, much as it pains me to say it, they outplayed the Boys.

I do take some consolation in the fact that the Patriots will not be considered “The Greatest Team of All Time” now. They are just one of the other 31 teams who failed to finish.

One final thought for what it’s worth: Our Cowboys played the Giants three times this season, winning two, but losing the one that counted. The Patriots played the Giants twice this season, winning one, but losing the one that counted.  If you add up the score of the Giants v. Patriots games you come up with 8 quarters of football and a final cumulative score of 52-52.  The Cowboys, on the other hand, played 12 quarters of football against the Giants and finished with a final cumulative score of Cowboys 93-Superbowl Champions 76. Now, I know that’s not much consolation to my Cowboy friends out there but I find some satisfaction in it (not much, but some….).  Should we have beaten the Giants at home and advanced further in the playoffs? Yes, we should have, but we didn’t.  Could we have beaten the Patriots in the Superbowl?  Yes, I think we could have, but that question will have to remain unanswered.

To the Patriots, I say, we Cowboys know how you feel.  It’s tough to have so much promise and potential and fall short at the end.  We know…..

To the Giants, who have not, and probably will not, get the respect they deserve from most, I tip my hat to you on a good season and the ability to finish well. Wear your crown proudly. You are Champions and I freely admit it. 

However, keep your ears to the ground during the offseason. Down in Texas, horses are getting re-shoed and saddles are being polished. If you listen closely, you will begin to hear the thunder of distant hoof beats and the crack of whips.  All too soon, you will see Stars on the horizon.  It’s not your fan club coming to pay homage.  It’s a cattle drive decked out in Silver and Blue coming to trample you and take your crown.  So, enjoy this one Giants. We’re thinking of you here in Texas.  Can’t wait to see you.

Contributed by Rich Isaacs


Barber? Jones? McFadden? Who’s Going? Who’s Staying? Who’s Coming?

Originally, I had planned to write this blog on why I think we should go ahead and trade Julius Jones and keep Marion Barber. I have thought for the most of the season that Barber is the future in the Cowboys backfield. While Jones is a good back and can certainly be the lead man in another offense, I think he has seen the writing on the wall in Dallas, and realizes that he is going to be relegated to a supporting role for Barber. Because of this, I think Jones slacked off this season. When he gets the chance to carry the ball, he spends his time dancing around the backfield, waiting for a hole to open up. Barber, on the other hand, tends to make a hole if one isn’t readily available.

My reasoning here is, that Julius Jones, while a talented and hard worker, has lost heart, due to his realization that Barber is now perceived as the premier back. Julius knows that he can be the top back in many other offensive schemes, just not here with the Cowboys. Therefore, I was going to argue that we should get a contract on Barber and lock him in long term and let Jones go with our best wishes since I don’t think we can keep both.

Then – from stage left, enters Darren McFadden of Arkansas. The rumors are flying that Jerry Jones wants McFadden and wants him badly. Miami, of course, would have the first shot at McFadden (or anyone) due to having the first round draft pick this coming year. As we all know, we have already had a mass exodus of coaches from Dallas to Miami to join the Big Tuna. In thinking about this, it seems that Jerry Jones has been very cooperative in this process, and has allowed these guys to leave without much effort to keep them. In addition, it is also rumored that Miami wants Barber.  Could there be a deal in the works to let assistant coaches go without a whimper, while also tossing Barber into the mix at some point in order for the Cowboys to get their hands on that first round draft pick?

To be honest, I have no idea. All I know are the rumors I hear on the sports shows and the other blogs and fan sites I read. I love Barber and don’t want to see him go. However, I loved Herschel Walker and thought his trade was one of the most stupid things I had ever seen – at the time it happened. Of course, I realized later, that “The Trade” as it would come to be known, was a brilliant coup on the part of Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson to lay the foundation for a dynasty, while Minnesota ended up feeling like they had bought a huge “lemon” from the shadiest used car dealer in town. Ultimately, the final results of “The Trade” brought some now familiar names to the Boys – Emmitt Smith, Russell Maryland, Kevin Smith, Darren Woodson, and Clayton Holmes.  For Minnesota, the results brought – relative obscurity.

My thoughts here are this, I know Jerry Jones is a smart business man. He knows how to cut a deal, and has proven that time and again in the past. I admit that I have thought him crazy at times in the past and then later, I was proven wrong when the impact of these deals have been brought to light. Jones obviously has some neurons and synapses firing in his head that don’t work so well in my noggin. But please, let’s not make the mistake Minnesota did – thinking they were one back away from a championship, they sold their soul (and their supporting cast) to get him.

Again, I love Barber and think he may be the toughest back out there. McFadden is, without a doubt, extremely talented, yet unproven in the NFL. Barber has already proven himself with the Cowboys. Aren’t there other possible ways of getting McFadden without giving up Barber? Is all this just unfounded rumor with no basis in reality? Many have said so. They say there’s no way Jones will let Barber go. It’s a given that Jerry Jones will sign him. I thought so too, but why hasn’t he done so yet? What’s the hold up? As a restricted free agent, my understanding is that you simply have to tender him an offer to lock him in, but this, as of yet, hasn’t happened.

For the most part, in this blog, I am just thinking out loud. I certainly don’t pretend to be an expert – just a devoted fan trying to figure out what’s going on. What do you, the readers think? Please feel free to share your thoughts with me. Is all this a possibility? Am I nuts? Hit me back. Let me know what you think.

Contributed by Rich Isaacs