NFL Pro Bowl 2008; The Dallas Cowboys’ Final Hurrah

Today, 13 Dallas Cowboys players will take the field in the Pro Bowl in Hawaii, more than any team ever, and yet arguably the most talented team in the NFC was unable to win a playoff game to extend an 11 year drought.  Much has been made of this team’s shortcoming this year and the disappointing end to the season, gameplans meticulously scrutinized and questioned and players’ focus on the field called into question.  No matter how frustrated the ending to the 2007-2008 season might have been, there is no doubt that this was a special time in the history of the Dallas Cowboys.   A record setting offensive year, as Tony Romo, Jason Witten, and Terrell Owens all set Dallas Cowboys records in their respective categories, and while that is a nice accomplishment to do it while having the kind of winning season they did is almost magical.  

All season long it seemed as if the Cowboys were a team of destiny.  The bounces always seemed to go our way, as evidenced by some of the most important plays of the year: The Romo 30 yard scramble for a 4 yard first down against the Rams; The Miles Austin 12 yard punching of a perfect onside kick against Buffalo; Jared DeVries kicking a Tony Romo fumble, recovered by Kyle Kosier, in the final minutes in the game in Deroit.  All of these game changing bounces seemed to indicate that this was our year to rise to the top, and it was only a matter of playing the games until we arrived at our pre-ordained destination.

As we all know, football is tricky and can play a dastardly trick on us all if we are not careful.  The Dallas Cowboys, like the New England Patriots, expected fortune to come to them, all they had to do was wait for it.  After all, following such a magical and incredible regular season what else was supposed to happen?  Surely a struggling team like the Giants would be hard pressed to even pose a problem, no more than a fly swat on the way to ultimate glory.  Yet here we are, the players and fans alike wondering what happened as we watch our nemesis bask in the glow of a Championship.

Yet this season was not a waste.  Vital lessons have been learned, and a young team has become experienced and toughened and has witnessed first hand what it takes to win it all.  The game tonight, while not indicative of our team as a whole, will be the epilogue written in the story of the 2007-2008 season.  13 players.   Most players, if not all, boasted career numbers in an amazing and unforgettable season.  Here are the Dallas Cowboys representing our team today:

Terrell OwensSixth Pro Bowl.  81 rec., 1,355 yards,  15 TDs.
Roy WilliamsFifth Pro Bowl.   115 tackles, 2 INT.
Jason WittenFourth Pro Bowl.  96 rec., 1,145 yards, 7 TDs.
Flozell AdamsFourth Pro Bowl.  Career year as he shut down elite DE’s on Romo’s blindside.
Tony RomoSecond Pro Bowl.  335/520, 64.4 Comp %, 4,211 Yards, 36 TDs, 19 INT.
DeMarcus Ware -  Second Pro Bowl. 84 tackles, 14 sacks, 27 QB pressures, 4 FF.
Andre Gurode -  Second Pro Bowl.  5+ errant shotgun snaps leading to hilarity and insanity.
Leonard DavisFirst Pro Bowl. Infinite induced headaches and backside pains on defensive lineman and blitzing linebackers.
Greg EllisFirst Pro Bowl. 31 tackles, 12 ½ sacks, 3 FF, NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year.
Ken HamlinFirst Pro Bowl.   103 tackles, 5 INT,.
Terence Newman - First Pro Bowl. 4 INT, 15 pass deflections, 1 FF.
Marion BarberFirst Pro Bowl.  975 yards, 4.8 ypc, 10 TD.
Nick FolkFirst Pro Bowl. 26 of 31 Field Goals, 53/53 Extra Points, One Gigantic 106 yard Game Winning kick.

Todd Archer examines this very issue of a lack of a consolation prize.

But Ware said seeing the Giants' win will push the Cowboys this off-season.

"We worked so hard, and we see how good of a team we are," Ware said. "Even with those changes, the players make the team. Coaches implement what we should do, but if we play well and play more effectively in the second part of the season, it's all going to work out well."

Of all the talent on the field and personal milestones reached this season, there was one very big thing missing: Fire.  Only once this season did the Cowboys come out extremely fired up and motivated, and that was against the Eagles in their house.  That also was the Cowboys' most complete game.  Coincidence?

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The FWST examines Bigg Davis’ first Pro Bowl after being a supposed "bust" in Arizona, in this article.

There is no doubt that Jerry and Wade made the perfect decision in paying the big man to come to Dallas.  Bigg was a rock in the interior line all season, and punished opposing defenses that dared to come near Romo.  The penalty that Davis took in the playoff game was indicative of his drive and competiveness, as he blocked his man down into the ground, turned on his knees in time to see Michael Stahan get up to attempt a sack, and in one fluid motion lifted his 360 pound frame and just steamrolled Strahan before he could grab Romo.  Incredible.  

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And finally, my favorite columnist (Ha!), Tim Cowlishaw, over at the DMN has decided to go ahead and rank the best quarterbacks of all time.

Let's start this column with an apology. It goes out, alphabetically, to Troy Aikman, Len Dawson, Jim Kelly, Bart Starr and Steve Young because this is a column about the top 10 NFL quarterbacks of the last 50 years, and they just missed the cut.

I guess owning 3 Super Bowl rings in four years and being a first ballot Hall of Famer doesn’t get you in the cut.  Oh, wait, I guess it does if you’re name is Tom Brady. I am not saying that Aikman should be at the top of the list, but he is one of the most accurate passers of all time.  When he was in his prime, he could fit a ball into the hands of a receiver anywhere on the field, from any angle.  Michael Irvin has said that there were times that he couldn’t see the ball, had no clue where it was but he knew it was coming.  He just put his hands out and he believed that ball would land in his arms. That is greatness. The fact that Brady is ranked as high as he is, is proof that this list is a farce. So my question to you: Should Aikman be on that list?  And if so, who would you remove?

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