The Bitter End?
John Rhadigan, FOX Sports Southwest
Several Cowboys fans have already approached me with the statement, “This is not how it was supposed to end.” I beg to differ. This is how it was “supposed to end.“ You see the best team won on Sunday in Minnesota. The Cowboys were the hottest team in the playoffs, the Vikings might be the best. There is no shame in losing to a better team. This is nothing like the finale to the season a year ago when the Cowboys were embarrassed 44-6 by the Eagles.
This might be equally as disappointing but that is where the similarity ends. The Cowboys took a huge step this year. A year ago this week we all chuckled as Wade Phillips said that he would be a different guy this year, that he would hold his players accountable and change the culture of the Cowboys locker room. Guess what? He did all of those things. Wade the defensive coordinator got the defense playing like they haven’t in 15 years. Wade the head coach got the players to like each other and to pull in the same direction. Wade the talent evaluator encouraged the acquisition of three players (Brooking, Olshansky and Sensabaugh) without whom this season would not have been possible. Give Wade credit because Jerry will give Wade a contract.
Ironically the Cowboys popularity and visibility may have worked against them this week. Back on December 19th the Cowboys started rolling with a Saturday night win in New Orleans. They became the popular pick to win the NFC. Plenty of pundits thought the Cowboys would be this year’s version of the Cardinals from last year or the Giants from two years ago. Each of those two clubs got hot at the right time, each made it the Super Bowl and the Giants even won. The Vikings were asked time and time again if they could beat the vaunted Cowboys, the hottest team in the NFC. It made them mad and yes it motivated the Vikings. Brad Childress said as much during his post game press conference. The Cowboys will spend the off season trying to improve, the first order of business should be to find a kicker.
The must also sign several of their own free agents, first and foremost Miles Austin. The first year of the Cowboys new stadium in Arlington was the most successful season since 1996. The second year in Jerry world could conclude with the Cowboys becoming the first team ever to play in a Super Bowl on it’s home field. The Bitter End?