The Most Entertaining Team In Football
By Martin Rogers
Forgive us if the informational aspect of this piece leaves something to be desired, because we’re still shaking our heads wondering what the heck happened on Sunday.
When it comes to the Dallas Cowboys’ ridiculous come-from-behind victory over the Atlanta Falcons, there simply isn’t much to be said to make sense of it all, because sense doesn’t apply to situations like this.
And if you’re looking for some sort of guidance on what happens next with the Cowboys after their rollercoaster start to the 2020 NFL campaign, well, there’s nothing much here for you on that front either.
However, there is one thing we are confident in saying when it comes to the Cowboys.
Keep watching. For the Cowboys, this season and as per normal, are not going to be dull, not even close.
The evidence suggests only one thing: that there will be different things from one week to the next, one quarter to the next, and sometimes, one minute to the next. For their fan base, they will frustrate and infuriate, delight and inspire, conjure moments of magic and ineptitude and see it all somehow blend together.
No other team operates on such a wide spectrum of performance and it has been that way for a while now.
Fans initially saw the abject worst of it on Sunday afternoon, following an appalling start against the Falcons. "I had no idea the Dallas Cowboys were … the worst football team in the WORLD," Tweeted FOX Sports’ Colin Cowherd, early in the game.
The first quarter woes put Dallas in a 20-0 hole from which there should, by all rights, have been no return. Yet return they did, courtesy of an Atlanta meltdown that was historically catastrophic and statistically even worse that their surrender to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl three years ago. It included an onside kick debacle and culminated in a Greg Zuerlein field goal as time expired.
If the Falcons had simply fallen on the ball inside the final two minutes, instead of apparently misunderstanding the rules of the sport, the game was done, the Cowboys would be 0-2 and the narrative would be entirely different.
Now, somehow, Dallas has a bit of buoyancy.
"(The Cowboys) are miraculously 1-1 and the (Philadelphia) Eagles are a mess at 0-2," FS1’s Skip Bayless said on Undisputed. "I cannot front, the only thing I liked about yesterday’s game was that they somehow won it."
A two-point loss converted into a one-point win doesn’t change everything, but it does paint a very different picture. From the embers of terrible football comes some positives, such as Dak Prescott’s stat line of 450 yards, one passing touchdown and three more rushing scores.
Furthermore, now the Cowboys have the feeling that the football gods are smiling upon them and now everyone starts to mitigate the downside.
They showed resiliency. They survived a bunch of untimely injuries. They won. They’re somehow tied for first in a terrible division.
"This didn’t have to be perfect to count," Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson wrote. "So it wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t ideal. And it isn’t anything that should be repeated soon. With the Seattle Seahawks on the agenda next week, it was necessary."
The Cowboys are the ultimate hot take team. However, sometimes they are so bizarre that even the hottest of takes isn’t always enough.
While sports analysis is about finding trends and precursors, the Cowboys rip all of that up. You never know what is coming next. When they look great, it often means disappointment looms. When they look terrible, sudden revivals spring up.
The Cowboys don’t know how to do boring. They didn’t necessarily intend for it to be this way, but they are built to be entertaining, and there are a few reasons for it.
When you have a team filled with outstanding individual talents that are expensively pulled together, but when those pieces don’t naturally and seamlessly fit particularly well, you’ve got a recipe for drama.
Dallas has the ability and capacity to beat any team in the NFL. They also have the ability to lose to anyone, and on Sunday, they came within a whisker of losing their second straight.
When things align in Cowboy country, it can be spectacular. Prescott at his best is a marvel. Ezekiel Elliott on form is the finest running back in football. Amari Cooper can torch anyone daring enough to try to defend him, when the mood takes.
Yet that offense can also look insipid to the point of embarrassment and the defense, well, you never know which version is going to show up there either.
Five Thirty Eight gave the Cowboys a 73 percent shot to make the playoffs and a 68 percent chance to win the division, highlighting the fact that the NFC East is once again terrible – having already been the worst division in football by a distance last year.
Yet trying to pick anything the Cowboys are going to do is the ultimate gamble, pure and simple. The most irrational team in the NFL gives unmissable entertainment because … well, just because.
What happens next with them after Sunday’s dramatics? No idea at all, which is of course why – as a storyline – the Cowboys are the gift that keeps on giving.