Hear me out.
It ain't easy being a Cowboys fan post-Triplets. The 2000's have been a hodge-podge of inconsistency and frustration. Our only glimmer of hope was Bill Parcells, but let's be honest, we always knew he would be no more than a rental. It was with this mindset that we rushed to anoint Jason Garrett.
Garrett has the mindset.
Garrett has vision.
Garrett will lead us back to glory.
A lot for anyone to live up to, to be sure. But this is the Dallas Cowboys, not the Arizona Cardinals. If you can't bring excellence, Houston's that way, fella, just keep walkin'. Just for the heck of it, though, let's try to look at the bright side.
First, I'd like to throw up this article by Rabble from September 9 of this year. In it, he predicts a 9-7 record. In the comments, 8-8 and 9-7 seem to be the prevailing theories. I know it feels like this team underachieved, because they were so close an several of those 7 losses. But take a browse through the comments on that article. All of the things that people worried might keep us from a winning record back in early September ended up................keeping us from a winning record. People worried about the young offensive line, the old inside linebackers, and the inconsistent secondary. All three worries combined to take us down.
But along the way, we found a stud in Sean Lee. We found a feature back in DeMarco Murray. We found a potential All-Pro Tackle in Tyron Smith. Depending on how free agency shakes out, we found perhaps the league's best 3rd receiver in Laurent Robinson. Jason Hatcher and Sean Lissemore proved to be contributors. Felix Jones showed what happens when you run angry. Mike Jenkins put to rest some questions about his toughness (but not his fragility). And finally, and most arguably, Tony Romo proved he could be the leader this suddenly very young offense needs. I know it stinks, but I think we're right on schedule.
I submit to the BTB masses that not all 8-8 records are created equally. Would you rather feel like we do, or how Eagles fans must? Both teams finished 8-8, but which feels like the bigger failure? It's all about expectations. We came off a 6-10 disaster. We had a new head coach with a new plan for the organization. We had a new defense filled with (very) old players. We had a youth movement on offense, which all involved admitted was purely a long term strategy, with short term growing pains.
And still, a few bounces of the ball was all that separated us from 10 wins. And I think that's the frustrating thing. Out of context, 8-8 and 10-6 are vastly different. But just after the season, the difference adds up to maybe 3 plays. Two more made field goals,or maybe one less screen pass in overtime.
I don't want to come off as accepting of mediocrity. I can accept 8-8. THIS YEAR. I believe we may finally have a coach with a long term vision. 2 game improvement year to year is A-OK with me. So here's to the first step, and I'll see you back here next year, as we discuss how we let the first round bye slip through our fingers, and we should have been 13-3, instead of 11-5.