Okay... so most of this is just foolish bloviating on my part, but bear with me:
In great Literature, there are several Archetypes that all common stories have. With the 2007 Dallas Cowboys, I can see an Archetypal story in the making.
The common elements of an Archetypal Journey are as follows:
The Task: the feat, possibly superhuman, which must be accomplished in order to fulfill the ultimate goal. (Winning the Super Bowl is the Ultimate Task)
The Initiation: the moment, usually psychological, in which an individual comes into maturity. He/she gains a new awareness into the nature of circumstances and problems and understands his or her responsibility for trying to resolve the dilemma. (Tony Romo's game against the Bills, where despite his initial failings, he led the team back to a last second win)
Death and Rebirth: grows out of the cycle of nature and the cycle of life. Refers to situations in which someone/something dies, yet is accompanied by some sign of birth or rebirth. (The loss to the Pats, humiliating the team, yet ultimately causing them to grow stronger)
The Archetype of the Journey has four typical stages, and those are Fight / Flight / Learn / Return. In any archetypal story, the hero usually faces the villain early on, gets his butt kicked, retreats to lick his wounds, and then finds a mentor to teach him, then avenges his earlier loss to the villain, winning the kingdom, getting the princess, etc.
The untested Cowboys met the Villainous Patriots and were man handled. Then they regroup, learning new techniques along the way, before the eventual rematch, to fight the climactic battle of good vs evil.
In any archetypal story, there is an archetypal cast of characters that always appear, always fulfilling the same roles. Some of them are:
Heroes: characterized by self-sacrifice, heroes endure hardship for their people. Heroes must pay a price to attain their goals. The journey often involves separating from family or familiar surroundings in order to enter a new, unfamiliar, challenging world. One pattern of the hero’s journey is fight/flight, learn, return. (The 2007 Cowboys, but also Tony Romo himself)
The Mentor: teaches a hero and gives him or her gifts (weapons, food, magic, information); older and wiser; can serve as a hero’s conscience. (Jason Garrett)
The Threshold Guardian: tests the hero’s courage and worthiness to begin the journey; shows that the journey will be difficult. (Opening win to the Giants)
The Trickster: clown, mischief-maker, sometimes an ally or companion of the hero; represents the force of cunning pitted against opponents who are stronger or more powerful. (TO)
The Scapegoat: the hero who must die in order to atone for the people’s wrongdoing and restore the nation to health. (Parcells?)
The Stranger: the other; the person who brings another viewpoint to the situation; the intrusion of different customs or new ideas. (Coach Phillips)
The Prisoner: the soul in torment or caught in isolation because of wrongdoing or injustice. (Tank Johnson)
The Demonic Adversary: a villain; represents the forces of evil, chaos, darkness; is almost as strong as the hero; may take a monstrous form (New England, esp Tom Brady)
So if this season is like Homer's Odyssey, our beloved Cowboys have been blown far out to sea by the Winds of Aeolus, and now we must make our way back to Ithaca.