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Super Bowl Sunday and we're not playing

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Sunday, Feb. 3rd 2008

Yeah, we all had that date circled on the calendar. Man, aren’t we supposed to be playing today? Aren’t we all supposed to be freaking out right about now in anticipation?

But were not. Boo hoo. There’s always next year and that’s all we got right now.

So speaking of next year, my man, Nick Eatman, doesn’t want to let the Darren McFadden trade rumor go. I rarely go against Nick, he’s my spiritual leader in Cowboys coverage, a journalist who I have the utmost respect for and read regularly. But this time, I think he’s being blinded by highlight films and school loyalty. There’s no doubt that McFadden is a special player and if you watch enough YouTube videos of the guy you can convince yourself that he’s the Second Coming, although Purple Jesus up in Minny is already considered the Second Coming.

I won’t go through all the reasons I don’t want to trade MB3 and a package of picks to the Dolphins for the rights to McFadden. I did that in an earlier post. Now, in fairness Eatman says he’s on the fence about the trade and wouldn’t want to do it if it cost too much. To me, that is the real point, it’s going to cost too much. There’s no way Parcells let’s that pick go without receiving a bounty of players and picks. You can concoct a variety of scenarios and convince yourself of many things, but it doesn’t mean they live in the universe of reality. In this case, I think it’s a case of pig sooie pride overwhelming sound football logic. But you’re still my man, Nick Eatman.

Now to a guy who isn’t my man, Randy Galloway. He and his minion JFE rarely deal in football logic and would be more comfortable covering the Cowboys for the National Enquirer. In this recent Galloway effort he tries to show his football acumen by dissecting why the Cowboys lost to the Giants, but comes up short, just like the Cowboys.

While I’m ripping Galloway I’ll be ripping a theory that has shown up on this blog in some of the comments, so don’t take it personally. Feel free to fire back in the comments.

Somehow, the idea that Dallas lost because they decided to use MB3 as the main battering ram at the expense of the passing game is in vogue. Don’t buy it. People need a scapegoat for their feelings after a big loss and Galloway jumps on the bandwagon. I guess it’s too hard to say that the Giants players outplayed us on the field and that they were willing to give mind, body and soul to get the victory while the Cowboys seemed to feel that they were destined for victory and played accordingly. But even all the metaphysical crap doesn’t really do justice as to why we lost.

Can anybody argue that the two long drives in the first half to control the clock, to put touchdowns on the board and to stifle the Giants pass rush wasn’t sound? Only in retrospect because we lost, but the strategy was only nullified by a ridiculous defensive effort that gave up all the momentum in 47 seconds to close out the half. Without that defensive collapse, the Cowboys go into halftime with a 14-7 lead and they get the ball back to start the second half. Clearly Big Mo would have been on our side. To me, the first half strategy on offense worked to perfection, the defensive effort...not so much.

In the second half, our offensive strategy was still working on the first drive when we marched right down the field into the redzone. The thing that failed at this point was player execution. Tony Romo had a wide-open Terrell Owens on 3rd down for a pass that would likely have resulted in a TD. Instead, Romo misfired and we settled for a field goal. That pattern of player failure would haunt us throughout the second half. The Crayton drop, the Fasano drop, Crayton’s poor route running at the end, the numerous false starts and other penalties, Romo's failure to throw the ball away instead of taking sacks on two critical occasions. All poor execution by the Cowboys players. Later, the offensive line was unable to handle the Giants constant blitzing in the passing game. If you want to blame strategy, blame the passing game strategy of neglecting the short and intermediate routes to the TE’s and the RB’s that were completely ignored by the Cowboys even when the Giants were giving them up by their constant aggressive blitzing.

The point is the strategy of pounding them with the running game was the least of the failures on offense on that bitter day.  But everybody needs a scapegoat and Galloway found his. Facts be damned.

I’ll be back later with an open thread for the Super Bowl game. I haven’t changed my mind at all and will be rooting for the Giants to win the game, just as I stated immediately after the G-men punched their ticket to Arizona. As hard as it is for me to root for our rivals, in this case it’s an easy choice.