The Dallas Cowboys are mired in a frustrating situation. This season seemed filled with so much promise, but a series of off-field issues, far too many embarrassing performances, and close games they should have figured out a way to win have them stuck at 6-6. Even if they manage to win out the rest of the season, they have no guaranteed path to the playoffs.
But there is a slim hope still alive for Dallas, even after the New Orleans Saints did them no favors in losing to the Atlanta Falcons in a true choke job. (I thought Drew Brees was supposed to be elite or something.) The various problems of the team have been cussed and discussed ad nauseam. And it is too soon (at least for some of us) to take a deep dive into the draft. So let’s discuss something else of great meaning and import:
Who is the most annoying team in our division?
Now a lot of divisions have teams that set most fans’ teeth on edge. In some cases (we’re looking directly and unblinkingly at you, Cleveland Browns) this includes their own fans as much if not more than those of other teams. But you have to admit that the NFC East has some franchises that come to mind whenever talk of getting under your skin comes up. So let’s look at the contenders.
This team is truly amazing in how it can find a way to always mess up things. Perhaps it is just the golden touch of Dan Snyder, but in recent years, whenever things start to move in a positive direction, they absolutely sabotage themselves. For a brief while, it looked like they were going to become a perennial contender under the guidance of GM Scot McCloughan. He was building a roster and making some really good personnel moves.
So of course they fired him.
Now they look to be on the cusp of screwing up the Kirk Cousins situation. Cousins may not be in the top tier of quarterbacks, but he certainly appears to be better than what at least half the teams in the league have now. And Washington has adamantly refused to get a long-term deal done with him, resorting instead to the franchise tag. There are indications that he will leave after this season, leaving the team with no real answer at QB. In an era where the presence of an established and at least competent quarterback is the biggest make or break factor, this is mystifying.
It is certainly annoying to see a team repeatedly drop the ball (clever football analogy) like Washington has. But then, it also means they keep dropping back into the pack, which sort of mitigates things for their division rivals, like us.
The New York Football Giants
OK, that thing with putting “football” in their title, a throwback to the days when there was another team with the same name playing in the metro area, is kinda grating. It is hardly necessary anymore, with the once-New York Giants baseball team long since decamped to San Francisco. But this year, that is just a blip compared to the thing that makes so many of us want to scream.
They turned Eli Manning into a martyr. This guy:
Eli Manning's face when he found out he was going to be starting again next week for the Giants. pic.twitter.com/QJ7mUVoKZz— The Shadow League (@ShadowLeagueTSL) December 4, 2017
It was always bad enough that their fan base (and a lot of their media) argued that Eli was elite, along with the tedious wordplay that so often came up. By any objective standard, Manning was the worst quarterback to ever start for two Super Bowl winners. He had the benefit of outstanding talent around him and a couple of perfectly timed hot streaks, along with at least one freakish catch. Most of the NFL world outside of the Big Apple had a good understanding of what he really was.
And then now-fired coach Ben McAdoo completely mishandled the quarterback situation, benching Manning for no truly apparent reason. It ended the second-longest streak of regular season starts in NFL history. It cost McAdoo his job (although it really just meant he was booted four games early after the total collapse the Giants had this year). But it also led to hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth about how poorly treated Manning was. Like the fact that the Giants didn’t really have any other options in all the non-Super Bowl years (which were mostly somewhere between mediocre and bad) was some kind of tribute to how great Manning is.
And while we are on the topic, don’t forget John Mara.
He has always been seen as having a particularly close working relationship with Roger Goodell. And that’s all you need to know.
Oh, you thought that because this was a Cowboys blog you were going to get out of this unscathed? Let’s start with the biggie here:
Admit it. You will accept nothing at all except another Lombardi Trophy, or the season is an abject failure. Dallas fans seem to think that they always should just coast through to the championship. There are very few other teams that are so blatantly overconfident, and all the others have won Super Bowls this century. It has been almost a quarter of a century since the glory days of the team Jimmy built. But still the expectations are sky-high every year.
And then there is Jerry Jones. Face it. For all the good he has done for the league, the team, and the Dallas area, he is far and away the most irritating owner in the game. While there is a lot to admire about him taking the heat as his own GM, you have to wish at times that he would JUST SHUT UP! It is always bad enough to have his ego dominating everything, but this year he got into a highly visible, very controversial, and eventually totally wasted feud with Goodell and the other owners, particularly that Mara fellow mentioned above. While there is certainly reason to be upset with the Ezekiel Elliott DV investigation and suspension, Jones made the mistake of making it personal. A quick look around the league shows that it wasn’t targeted at Dallas. The NFL under Goodell has just manifested in recent years an uncanny ability to screw everything up. But Goodell will get his.
Oh, he just signed a contract extension?
Maybe Jerry wasn’t completely wrong. But he certainly didn’t help things by trying to win the fight in the media.
Yep, those are three teams that can really get your goat. All are worthy contenders.
Until we get to the team that is not just the most annoying in the division. They are the most aggravating, obnoxious, undeservedly self-important team in the National Football League
From their famous and fatuous fight song, “Troll, Eagles, Troll” (I may be a tad off on the words), to their incredible hypocrisy, to their general and widely displayed loathsomeness, they are the worst of the worst. And in their case, it is all really on the fans. The team is making some real strides under Doug Pederson, and the Lurie family is easily the least objectionable ownership in the NFC East. But the fans of the team exhibit a sense of grandiosity and their own entitlement that makes even less sense than for the Cowboys. They have not won a championship since the merger of the AFL and the NFL, but insist that they have a proud winning tradition because of some NFL titles won back when games were covered using the telegraph. It seems to be a trait that infects all Philadelphia fan bases, because the most famous sports figure, arguably the most well-known person associated with the city, period, and the best known monument there involve A PERSON WHO NEVER REALLY EXISTED!
Yet they are everywhere, spewing vitriol and insulting all other teams, but especially the Cowboys. While the rivalries with Washington and the Giants have kind of cooled as none of the NFC East teams have been able to maintain any consistency of late, the entire season for the Eagles revolves around Dallas. Go to an Eagles blog, any time, and you will almost certainly find at least one article about the Cowboys. It is a true obsession with them.
They are hands down the most annoying team in our division, for these and so many other reasons past and present. And there is a very real threat that it could get far, far worse.
They are having their best year in memory with Carson Wentz at quarterback and a talent-laden roster elsewhere. There is actually a chance that they could finally need a trophy case after this season. If that unthinkable outcome should eventuate, the aggravation they bring will increase by several orders of magnitude.
We must all hope and pray that fate would not be so unkind. But given how things are going lately, you have to wonder if fate has it in for us.