Buckle up kids, the Dallas Cowboys are ready to begin the second half of the season that is sure to be a bumpy ride. That isn’t to say the Cowboys won’t be riding in an all-terrain vehicle that will easily negotiate the obstacles in from of them. This team has a different feel than the last few years when the Cowboys hit a few bumps in the latter part of the season and broke the axle while careening over a cliff. We know about our recent history of collapsing down the stretch but this is a different coach and even though the roster is pretty much the same players as last year, the intensity and the aggressiveness that the Cowboys have used to attack their opponents so far will hopefully prevent even the hint of a collapse.
Just in case, I’m calling on the spirit of the Great Fedora in the Sky to watch over this team.
Going 6-1 in the first seven games is a great accomplishment, banking all those wins early give us a real shot at the playoffs and the NFC East title. But all that will mean nothing if we go out and tank the second half of the season. It all starts with a run through the NFC East with two of the games on the road. This is a huge mini-stretch of the schedule for Dallas, a loss in these next three games counts more than usual in the standings. Not only do you get a ‘L’, but you lose in the division and in the conference. It’s the triple whammy.
First up on the agenda are the hated Philadelphia Eagles. This group of ragamuffins seems to have eclipsed the Redskins on the hate scale for Cowboys fans. Me, I’m a traditionalist; I still relish the Redskins misfortunes more than any other team. While hating the Redskins is standard practice for a Dallas fan, I came by a little extra motivation. My family growing up happened to be Redskins fans, and one time, when I was just a wee lad, the Redskins beat the Cowboys and vaulted into first place in the NFC East. Our local paper had a headline that read, "Redskins whip Dallas, take over NFC East lead." Not only was I devastated by the Cowboys loss but my brothers had a good ol’ time waving the headline in front of me and verbalized the headline every time they felt the need to torture me. For weeks, this brought me to violent fits and uncontrollable sobbing. Hey, I was just a kid, give me a break.
But, the Eagles recent success in the NFC East and their dominance as the team to beat in the NFC over the past half-decade has given the average Dallas fan plenty of reasons to hate the City of Brotherly Love. The Bounty Bowl, the cheering while Michael Irvin lay injured; there are so many reasons to hate the Eagles. So while I remain a traditionalist in hating the Redskins more, many fans have decided that hating the Eagles is the number one priority for Cowboys fans. I can’t deny them that right. In fact, for this week I’ll embrace it. And on a side-note, I would love to see Terrell Owens waltz into Philly and absolutely destroy their defense. That would really make the Philly faithful apoplectic.
So here we go, nothing but opportunity ahead for the Dallas Cowboys. Time to get rid of that "second-half collapse" cologne we’ve been wearing the last few years. Frankly, it stinks and it’s time to wash it away.
Who’s with me?
For those who want a final look back at the season so far, here are a few articles.
Albert Breer looks at how the 2007 draft class for the Cowboys is shaking out.
Calvin Watkins looks at the big moments of the season, so far.
Clarence Hill looks back and forward.
Nick Eatman reviews the first part of the season.