The Dallas Cowboys beat the Giants Sunday. If you do not believe me, just ask head coach Wade Phillips. He will delight in telling you all of the good things his team did that day. He will outline all of the ways his team won.
It was, after all, a record-setting day for Tony Romo and a record-tying day for Jason Witten. The defense played well…well, if you don’t count that ridiculous 74-yard Brandon Jacobs “scamper” (if a play that lasts long enough for you to order and receive a Papa John’s pizza can be called a scamper) on a simple swing pass. Special teams were special except for that one little breakdown on the 78-yard punt return for a TD. You know, the one where every Cowboy on the field and half the ones on the sideline had their hands on him, but couldn’t get him to the ground.
Being a Dallas Cowboys fan these days can create enough mixed emotions to cause internal bleeding. On the one hand, of course, you want your team to succeed. You want them to bury the Ghost of Christmases Past and finally show up for December football.
On the other hand, however, you are desperate – desperate - to be rid of a head coach that just doesn’t get it…and never will. Wade Phillips will always have an excuse. He will always take consolation in statistics. He will always defend himself. He will never accept responsibility. He will never demand excellence of his players. He will never command respect.
He will, however, remain the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys if Jerry Jones can find the least excuse to keep him around.
So, as a Cowboys fan, you want success in December, sure. You want your team to finally get a playoff win after thirteen embarrassing years of mediocrity, underachievement, excuses, and disappointment.
But is it worth it?
A conundrum is what it is. Does any football fan want to hear the coach of his favorite team whine like a middle school girl to a room full of media types?
“I coach them the way I want to coach them,” Phillips said in response to a question about whether he ever gets as angry with his players as he does reporters, “And you can report the way you want to report.”
We will, Wade. We will call it like we see it. And what we see is a team that lost an important divisional game because of mental breakdowns and give-ups on four huge plays Sunday. What we see is a team that went into the game against the Giants with sole possession of first place in the NFC East, and came out tied with the Eagles. What we see is the Giants nipping at your heels, a season sweep of your Cowboys in their hip pockets.
What we see is the calendar, Wade. It reads, “December.” What we see is another late-season loss. What we see is you down-playing the loss, defending your team and demanding nothing (well, nothing except the respect you so desperately want from the media).
What we see is a light at the end of a thirteen-year long tunnel and we hope it is an oncoming train…and that it carries you away…far, far away, to a place where Decembers don’t matter, where early season wins are just as important as playoff victories, where stat sheets are equal to scoreboards, where reporters never badger beleaguered coaches, and where “ifs and buts” really are candy and nuts.
It is a wonderful place where all of your dreams can come true, Wade. It is just too bad that Dallas Cowboys fans will be forced to endure one more nightmare just so you can dream.