The 2016-2017 season for the Dallas Cowboys was supposed to be filled with fun, excitement and of course be capped off by their 6th Super Bowl win. With a healthy Tony Romo and a 4th overall pick in Ezekiel Elliott coupled with a healthy Dez Bryant and the best O-line in football, things were looking up.
Ask any Cowboys fan and the answer was the same…”I can’t wait for the season to start”. Now here comes the dreaded preseason, where winning is secondary to just making it out healthy with all your players. Then BOOM a headline we Cowboys fans have come all to familiar with over the past few years “Down goes Tony Romo with an injury”. Needless to say in the past years when we’ve heard this news our collective Super Bowl dreams flush down the toilet with Romo’s absence, so why would we think this time would be any different?
And then out of the shadows (or the depth chart) comes a 4th round pick by the name of Dak Prescott who showed great prowess and poise in the preseason when he got his chance but…its just preseason right? I mean he’s not going up against “starting” talent and he’s going up against guys who probably won’t even make the team, so no need to get excited about this guy right?
Well here comes the regular season and WOW!!! The kid shows he belongs in this league week after week. Him and Elliott prove to be a great 1-2 punch for our offense. Sprinkled in with Dez, Beasley, Witten and Williams our offense looks almost as good and efficient as if Tony was behind center. I think the biggest surprise came from our defense who really stepped it up there year and finished ranked in the top 1o.
So the regular season is at an end and aside from a few bumps and bruises here and there, safe to say we made it through the regular season pretty healthy AND with home field advantage AND a first round bye. Now those of us fans who remember what happened the LAST time we had home field advantage and a first round bye we failed to show up, but this season had been so magical and fun we didn’t have ANY reason to believe history would repeat itself. No way we lose when we have a rookie who’s leading the league in rushing and a rookie QB who is 3rd in the league in QB rating and a playmaker like Dez Bryant on the outside and a top 10 defense, how could us Cowboys fans NOT talk our trash and feel proud.
So we find out we play Green Bay (who we OWED) from 2 seasons ago, and this time we have them at OUR home and not in disrespectfully cold Lambaeu field. The game starts out with Green Bay scoring on their first 3 drives against us and the game spiraling out of control with us matching Green Bay’s TD’s with FG’s. But as this team has all year they showed great grit and tenacity to get back in the game and eventually tied it up late in the 4th qtr with it looking like Overtime was imminent. Comes down to a 3rd and 20…and just to give some backdrop…I remember the McNabb 3rd & 29 that was completed on us and countless other 3rd and longs and 4th downs that had been converted against us in our Romo tenure, so when I saw it was 3rd and 20 my palms were sweaty and heart was racing. I shouldn’t have been worried right? I mean we had the momentum from just scoring and our defense was ranked top 10 this year, bring on your putrid 3rd and 20 we dont care!
Then just like they’ve done SO SO SO many times before, they let the ONLY thing that can happen, the most impossible play that can be made, they let it be made!!! A tip toe catch on the sideline with only seconds to spare IN FG range!!!
Needless to say, to have your magical season come to an end in such a manner is gut-wrenching. And the “well there’s always next year” and “the future looks bright” quotes do little to ease the pain. In a season where we had a legitimate chance to hoist the Lombardi trophy and reclaim dominance atop the NFL throne, it just seems no one wants to hear the “participation trophy” mantras.
In closing I will say I am very proud of this young team and how they showed growth from losing that first game of the year against the NY Giants and going on to claim the number 1 seed. Im hoping for great things in the near future for my Cowboys and the 2017-2018 season can’t get here fast enough.