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Nine More Weeks Of Armageddon For Dallas Cowboys: Why One Game Can Change Everything

The NFL's uniquely short season gives each game an importance that you don't find in many other sports. One game can change everything. Especially for the 2015 Cowboys.

Jacob Silberberg/Getty Images

One of the many unique things about the NFL is its extraordinarily low number of regular season games - at least compared to almost all other major sports.

The 16-game schedule makes every single game hugely important, much more so than in baseball's 162-game season, or the 82-game seasons of the NBA and the NHL. Sure, every game is mathematically important in every league, but the games in other sports simply don't carry the same weight and life-or-death quality that an NFL game does.

In the NFL, we start calculating the playoff odds just two games into a season - if we wait that long. And in the NFL, we overreact to everything. If our team wins two games in a row, we start clearing our calenders for the playoff weekends. If our team loses two games in a row, we start scouting college prospects for the draft because the season is "definitely over".

Overreaction Monday is an actual thing in the NFL, where a win produces unbridled optimism garnered with rainbows and unicorns, and where a loss results in a state of apocalyptic panic. And these Overreaction Mondays can linger. Case in point: As Cowboys fans we have been collectively stuck in Overreaction Monday since Week 3, and the hits haven't stopped coming. Like a punch-drunk boxer who's taken hit after hit, our vision is blurry, we can't think straight, and opur incoherent rambling only makes sense to ourselves.

Outside of its religious context, Armageddon is a term used to describe a large-scale, decisive or catastrophic conflict. And that is exactly what the NFL offers: Every Sunday is Armageddon. Because with a 16-game schedule, every single game is vital.

Even more so when you're a team like the Cowboys that's limping around with a 2-5 record and each of the remaining nine games is effectively a playoff game with a life-or-death finality to it that is vastly larger than any regular game.

It's why, as dumb as it sounds, a win is a win and a loss is a loss: There will not be a pity party for Cowboys fans just because Brandon Weeden and Matt Cassel are the QBs in Dallas. Nobody cares that four of the five games the Cowboys have lost were to the winners of four of the past six Super Bowls. Just like nobody cares that the Cowboys only won the season opener because Eli Manning screwed the pooch epically.

In the NFL, one game can change everything. For the Cowboys, that game is on Sunday at home against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Of course, after the game against the Eagles, that one game will be the game against the Buccaneers in Tampa. Followed by that one game against  the Dolphins in Miami. And then that one game on Thanksgiving at home against the Panthers. And so on.

Armageddon. Nine weeks in a row.

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