The Dallas Cowboys were humiliated in the playoffs. As a team, the Cowboys were overwhelmed in every single way and had no answer to any of the adversity that they faced. They lived up to every silly stereotype and opened themselves up to completely fair criticism as a result.
We are mad, sad, frustrated, pissed off and everything in between. The team showed an enormous amount of promise throughout the regular season and threw it all away by becoming the first team in NFL history to lose a playoff game to a #7 seed. The Drought™️ lives on, and on Conference Championship Sunday, it officially turned 28 years old. It has been able to legally rent a car for a long time now.
Not that this will make anyone feel any better, but if there is one takeaway from Super Bowl LVIII officially being set it is that it is sort of really hard to make it there.
It is really, really, really hard to reach the Super Bowl
The NFC Championship Game provided the most divisive opinions of Sunday’s affairs, shout out to Dan Campbell, but it was the AFC title game that left me thinking the most about the Dallas Cowboys. Near the end of next week, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson will win his second MVP award. Dallas Cowboys signal-caller Dak Prescott will very likely finish in second place. This should not shock anyone.
Jackson has been incredible for the Ravens all season and deserves the MVP, but on Sunday he was stifled and could not overcome anything that the Kansas City Chiefs were throwing at him. Even Jackson, a soon to be two-time MVP, underwhelmed and underdelivered when everything was on the line. He failed. Baltimore failed. Their fans are likely furious.
While it is always disappointing for a team to lose in the playoffs, it adds to it all when they are extremely favored in their matchup, like the Cowboys were against the Packers. Similar to Baltimore, the Cowboys had a lot of things going for them: literally being favored by oddsmakers, playing at home, and having a quarterback playing at an MVP level.
The Ravens are absurdly hot right now. Basically, they are the hottest team DVOA has ever tracked at this point in the season. Baltimore’s 34-10 win over Houston gets 52% DVOA which is the Ravens’ seventh game over 50% for the season. Four of those games have come in the last six, which means that weighted DVOA — which gives more weight to recent games — absolutely loves the Ravens right now even without adjusting for the fact that they sat starters in Week 18.
Right now, Baltimore has 55.2% weighted DVOA. The Ravens are the first team to ever be above 50% after the Divisional Round.
As the Ravens continued to flounder, and as Zay Flowers taunted, tried to reach the football over the goal line, and then slammed his helmet while injuring himself, it brought home the fact of how painful it is when your team throws away a moment and opportunity like Baltimore did.
We have seen the Cowboys squander home-field advantage, a first-round bye, being the favorites, the list goes on and on. And to be clear, someone else doing it by no means undoes it or makes us feel better, but it at least provides some context for discussion.
The Ravens will spend the next few months agonizing over misses here and misses there, Kansas City has that sort of effect on teams. Consider that the Buffalo Bills, who also had a quarterback play at a high level, have now lost three playoff games to that Chiefs squad and probably feel like they are also wandering around in circles in their own version of purgatory.
On Monday morning there were people all over the 313 wondering how the Detroit Lions blew a 17-point lead across the second half, costing themselves a first-ever trip to the Super Bowl. Football is hard. The Miami Dolphins scored 70 points at one point in a game this season and were nowhere near competitive in their lone playoff game.
Another year has gone and the Cowboys will only be at the Super Bowl if anyone associated with the team does the Radio Row carwash in the week leading up to it, but as more time is put between our current moment and when the offseason began, it does seem like they are more and more like plenty of other teams and less of an individually unique embarrassment.
The Cowboys failed to reach the Super Bowl yet again, but walking among the mortals is walking among the highly-populated. Maybe there is some solace in that.
Or maybe we are all just sad and frustrated.