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The Dallas Cowboys and Monday Night Football (lately)

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Before I get into the Cowboys and MNF, let me get some things off my chest about why I don't like watching football on Monday nights anymore.

It almost goes without saying that the current MNF broadcast is a big joke. Remember when Monday nights used to be the premiere game of the week? Luckily I have DVR and I can just sync up the Cowboys' radio broadcast with the television feed.

And I don't like waiting. I have to sit through an entire week of talk and conjecture leading up to the game only to get to the weekend and the game still doesn't happen. I have to watch two days worth of football with no Cowboys, only to have to get up and go back to work before the game gets played. I'm sure you guys know what I'm talking about, those Monday's just seem to drag by a bit slower than normal. I sit there at my desk and all I can think about is the game that still won't start for 4 hours after I get home. Gah, I hate the East coast. So all I do is wait, wait and wait some more for a game that lately has turned into a game the Cowboys just don't play that well in.

I went back and looked at games the Cowboys played on Mondays. I only went back to 2005, because frankly this team is vastly different than it was just 3 years ago. Peerless Price was the Cowboys' leading receiver in a game against Philadelphia on MNF in 2005; need I say more? Since 2005, the Cowboys are 2-3 on Mondays (I'm including the Christmas Day game against the Eagles in 2006). Not as bad as I thought it would be, but not as good as it looks either.

In 2005, the Cowboys lost 14-13 against Washington at home thanks to a 4th quarter meltdown.They then pulled the opposite move against Philadelphia, winning 21-20 when Roy Williams returned an interception for a touchdown with three minutes left in the game. The Cowboys were anemic on offense in both games, but thankfully Williams was able to make a play on a horrible pass by McNabb to win against the Eagles.

In 2006, the Cowboys played one game on MNF and one game on a Monday afternoon, on Christmas Day. The first, against the Giants, is a game that pretty much changed the direction of the Cowboys' franchise. The Cowboys were 3-2 heading into the game, yet had been on an up and down ride so far. Drew Bledsoe was inconsistent and it seemed the team was missing a spark. Bill Parcells puts inTony Romo after halftime, and the rest is history. Granted the Cowboys lost 36-22 and Romo threw three interceptions, but Romo became the man after that. Romo would lead the Cowboys to a record of 6-2 in their next eight games keeping division title hopes alive. Then that debacle on Christmas day happened (23-7), where Jeff Garcia did whatever he wanted all game long.

Last year, the Cowboys had just one game on Monday Night, and you could quite easily say it was Romo's worst and best game all rolled into one. We all know the story: five interceptions, a last minute touchdown and onside kick, the 106 yard field goal. A great game yes, but the Cowboys (Tony Romo) should have played much better than that.

That leads us to this Monday's matchup against the Eagles. Just one week into the 2008 season, the Cowboys and Eagles are the hottest teams in the league. If ever there was a more hyped, higher pressure week two game than this, I can't remember it. While Eagles/Cowboys games always get a lot of attention and have a lot smack talked leading up to the game, I can't help but wonder if the game wouldn't be as big if it weren't on Monday Night Football. ESPN is pretty good at sly self promotion, "The biggest game this week is between two NFC East powerhouses, the Eagles and the Cowboys. Which by the way, will be on ESPN Monday Night."

So looking back on the Cowboys' recent Monday Night experiences I am a bit wary, especially considering we are playing the Eagles. You can break things down however you want to but in the end it doesn't matter; no one can tell what the outcome of a Cowboys and Eagles game will be. Everytime these teams play the records are thrown out the window. Last year the Cowboys were walking into a hostile environment against an Eagles team that was improving each week. The Cowboys destroyed them 38-17. Then the Cowboys get embarrassed at home a few weeks later. So who knows what will happen Monday Night?

This much I do know: If the Cowboys play to their maximum potential they should handle the Eagles easily. The Cowboys just have too many offensive weapons for the Eagles to overcome. At the same time the defense has got to contain McNabb and lately they've done a pretty darn good job of it. Last year the Cowboys held him to a QB rating of just 71.1. If they can continue the trend Dallas should be able to pull out a win.

I just wish we didn't have to play on Monday Night.