On a scale of 1-10, how much are you enjoying watching these NFL playoffs without your Dallas Cowboys?
If you answered -5,478,129, then you have an inkling of how I'm feeling. Sure, the games allow some to gauge where exactly the Cowboys stand compared to the league's best, if you're a snapshot artist, of which I'm not. I've seen some ridiculous claims based on these playoff performances; most notably such things as Tony Romo is now a worse quarterback commodity than Tim Tebow and Alex Smith based on one victory each. Bury your heads in shame.
Also, I wonder what those folks who claim Dallas should build an elite offense and not worry about the defense are saying now that New Orleans and Green Bay are eliminated? How'd that work out for them?
I had a few commitments (sorry, not me into an asylum) over the weekend that prevented me from watching the majority of the four games, and I'm still undecided how I feel about it. Most years, it doesn't matter what Dallas does, I'm tuned in from the divisional rounds forward like a Cool World/Roger Rabbit/Space Jam trifecta on UPN. Wait for it, wait for it... OK.
This year, not so much.
Maybe it's old age, maybe it's the disappointment of another failed Dallas Cowboys season, maybe it's a bit of catharsis from the hundreds of articles I've penned since the 2010 season ended.
This playoff season has failed to whet my rooting appetite. I keep getting presented with matchups where I want both teams to lose. Not just lose, but lose miserably. For me, it's been the Playoffs of Hate. Not the "love to hate" variety either. It's been a general, I hate everybody, sourpuss, grinch, where is an extinction-level-event-asteroid-when-you-need-it mood.
In the Wild Card round, Denver hosted Pittsburgh. I hate the Steelers, I'm a Cowboys fan and they sit atop the AFC Totem of Hatred with two-too-many Lombardis. On the other hand, I despise the Tebow Bandwagon and all the backers who pretend like they don't know Kyle Orton started his Denver career 6-1 before careening to 4-14. Any joy I could conjure from watching the Black and Yellow #EpicFail was mitigated by having to hear croons over Tebow's once-in-a-lifetime performance as a bonafide quarterback.
Also in the WC round, The New York Giants versus Matt Ryan and the overrated Falcons. I'd love to bask in the glow created from the steaming pile of melting Matty Ice, but noooooo. It came at the hands of the putrid, disgusting New York Giants who have been playing great football since we held a 12 point lead with six minutes remaining back in Week 14. No joy in Mudville here, either. Yes, the Cowboys were owning the Giants in that game. Yes, anything can happen in the playoffs. No, their success doesn't mean that Dallas is "right there". Stop it.
Houston and Cincinnati was a boring draw; you just can't spice up Yates vs. Dalton or the Bengals 1-7 (now 1-8) record against over-.500 competition. The only good matchup was watching the Saints second-half dismantling of Jim Schwartz's Detroit Lions, because I have a great disdain for him since he trash-talked Dez Bryant in-game.
The Divisional round? Things didn't get any easier.
In the NFC, the New Orleans Saints were the only remaining team that didn't invoke feelings of ill-will. I missed the first 40 minutes of the game, but made it home to watch what might have been the best fourth quarter of a playoff game I can remember. The wrong team won, though. Outside of the NFC East, is there a team that Cowboys fans, at least in my age bracket, hates more than the 49ers? Nope.
Now, on top of losing the only NFC team I wanted to root for, I have to listen to national shows gawk over Alex Smith and his amazing transformation. See, as a diehard Cowboys fan, I look at everything through Dallas-colored lenses. A former 'bum' quarterback that receives accolades means another indirect shot at Tony Romo's ability to be an elite guy. I referenced it earlier, we even see it from Cowboys fans. In addition, San Francisco has the same amount of Super Bowl wins as the Cowboys. Now, the only team standing in the way of them having a shot to pass us is... the New York Giants.
Are you freakin' kidding me?
In another matchup of teams I loathe, the Giants upset the 15-1, number one seeded Green Bay Packers. Wouldn't you love to celebrate all the whine to go along with the cheeseheads? But we can't, because they lost to a team that elicits more vitriol than they do. Catastrophic asteroid where were you?
What makes it worse? Eli Manning is now 6-3 in the playoffs. For all the sucktitude that was his 2010 season, this run is making it near impossible not to give him credit. Not just 'right now', American Express type of credit. I'm talking career-defining, Platinum Visa credit. I'd settle for a meteorite right now.
In the AFC, my disgust for all things "Media Tebow" meant that I actually had to root for the New England Patriots for a game. The acid bath hasn't helped; I still feel dirty. Fortunately it got so out of hand I was able to cut off the game eight minutes into the second quarter.
The other AFC semifinal featured two teams I care little about. I'm not a native Texan, so the "little brother" Houston rivalry doesn't resonate with me. I understand the views that it does, though. I do live in Maryland, however. Not "Baltimore" Maryland.... "PG County" Marlyand. For those that are from here, you know the difference. So I have no love for the Ravens even though they "represent" my state. It appears I didn't miss much because all the analysts I've come across have the same meme: "If the Texans had Schaub and Mario, they'd have rolled". Not a ringing endorsement for the job done by Joe Flacco.
This is the only hope to keep New England from another Super Bowl appearance?
So what am I left with? An NFC matchup between a division rival and the team tied with us for second-most championships... a team that was in deeper doldrums than our franchise and has zoomed past us? I'll pass. An AFC matchup between the evil "yes-I'm-jealous" Bellicheats and a team that represents a city I non-sports hate?
Ugh. Someone tweet me when the Scouting Combine gets underway. That, or when there's breaking news of a surprise meteor shower. Excuse me while I toss this Mayan calendar out the window.