ARLINGTON, Texas — The Eagles and Cowboys had been hurtling down their own bumpy paths toward a primetime date for a while, finally colliding Sunday at the crossroads of crushing disappointment and wildly overrated.
If we are being honest, it felt more like a game of “incompetence chicken” than an NFL contest.
Eagles: We fumbled away a chance to win.
Cowboys: You think that is bad? We gave up a 98-yard kickoff return in the final minute to give y’all a chance.
Eagles: Well, our coach is so bleeping fired.
Cowboys: So is ours. Well, he likely is.
If the Cowboys had lost Sunday, coach Jason Garrett almost certainly loses his job at season’s end and possibly sooner. Why he lives to coach another day is a 38-33 victory against a broken and deflated Eagles team that was more fortuitous than deserved. And I find this confounding.
How can beating Philly save anything?
Whether The Redheaded Genius deserves more time to fix this Cowboys mess is debatable. Settling this debate, even momentarily, on a victory against a team as flawed as Philly is ludicrous. My media cohorts were all planning on writing “fire Jason” columns until Dallas did what just about every team that played Andy Reid and his train wreck Eagles team this season has done: Beat them.
JG absolutely needs to be fired. Unless he get Dallas to the playoffs.
Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones actually perfectly summarized my argument, accidentally, when he talked about what this victory actually means.
Hint: The answer is nothing.
It saves nothing. It guarantees nothing. It’s ability to do either is contingent on what happens going forward.
“I’m very hopeful but I am also realistic,” Jones said. “I like to think it might be (a turning point) for this season but only if these guys make it that … and we ought to take these four games and say we got an opportunity. Let’s get in here and dedicate ourselves.”
Because as the Cowboys — players and Jerry — talked honestly about before this season, their window is closing. They have an aging nucleus that despite astronomic yearly expectations has produced a big bag of nothing. They are, I daresay, very much like this Eagles team.
Dallas has been as consistently hope-inspiring and ultimately disappointing as Philly in the time of coach Andy Reid. There is just not the focal point for that massive fail in Dallas like Philly because the Cowboys change coaches every four years or so.
The reality is both of these teams have been going at this for a while with a nucleus with only heartbreak and a raging case of disappointment to show for all of that promise. The Eagles have done all of their disappointing under Reid, the Cowboys under a collaboration of Chan Gailey, Dave Campo, Bill Parcells, Coach Cupcake and now Garrett.
So this whole idea that somehow the Eagles need to make change while the Cowboys need to stay the course is missing the point. One coach, many coaches does not matter. Neither team has been able to turn all of that talent into a championship.
Are you surprised that …
“… we’re still in it?” Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo said, finishing what he thought was the question.
It was not my question but a legitimate point. It is a little surprising that the Cowboys have playoff hope despite being 6-6 and losing badly to Washington on Thanksgiving. It is a long shot but a shot nonetheless. It may be their last shot as presently comprised. Just as Philly has finally determined that they can not plug on endlessly with Reid and Donovan McNabb and now Reid and Mike Vick, Jerry Jones eventually will determine this cannot abide no matter how much hope Romo, Jason Witten, DeMarcus Ware, et al, provoke.
The league is not about hope. It is about championships.
My question to Romo as we walked after his press conference was more about whether he was surprised that after this many years with such a talented team, years that culminated Sunday with him breaking Troy Aikman’s touchdown record that he did not have a championship.
“No,” he said. “It’s hard. There is a lot of good players, a lot of good teams. … There are no guarantees in life and in football. That is why you do everything you can so at the end of the day you know when it is all said and done you gave it your all.”
There is no doubt Romo has given this his all. Guys like Witten and Ware have as well. There comes a point where this is not enough. They have reached this point in Philly. Reid lost his job long ago, somewhere between when his faith in Vick proved unwarranted and that point where Eagles types had lost faith in his faith. So he almost surely will be jettisoned at season’s end a long with a good hunk of this nucleus. Nor would a victory Sunday have had any bearing on this.
The Cowboys would be wise to follow that lead, the only exception being if they reach the playoffs.
If so, they can say they saved JG’s job.
Until then, the first thought was the wise one. He is so bleeping fired because this cannot abide.