Could It Happen?
The Dallas Cowboys get their second shot in four years to end their playoff victory drought. Last time was 2003, Bill Parcells inaugural season when Quincy "Deadhead" Carter improbably led the team to a 10-6 record a playoff loss.
This year it's 9-7 with Tony Romo at the helm. His rise is improbable but only because he was undrafted. Anyone who has closely followed the Cowboys these last few years knew his stock continued to rise.
And despite the horrible month of December the Cowboys have endured, there may be hope. Did you see Romo's stats Sunday minus the fumbles? Wow! And surely he won't fumble like that two weeks in a row.
Did you see T.O making plays? TD reception. Pulled in a pass behind him with one hand for a first down. Fighting for yardage. Is this the '03-'04 version of Mr. Owens now appearing?
And have you heard how beat up Seattle's secondary is? Lost their top three cornerbacks to injury. Even had to call in former Cowboy cornerback from the loan officer biz to fill in for them this week. This means Seattle will likely keep as many back in coverage. The Cowboys should be able to run or pass at will on this opponent.
Nonetheless, it is not to be. Romo will be good, but will struggle in what has become known as the NFL's loudest stadium. So loud they've been accused of piping in crowd noise over the stadium speakers.
This is also, after all, the '06 version of T.O. so a repeat of Sunday's performance is unlikely. He'll flop and be cut, like he should be.
And while the Cowboys offense should have a field day, don't forget the Cowboys defense has made it look like they've played nothing but the NFL's best offenses for the past month. Shaun Alexander and Matt Hasselback should both shake off the rust this week and toast our 'Boys.
And, most important of all, these are the Bill Parcells Cowboys. This year's December flop is no fluke and can't be attributed to solely the loss of Greg Ellis. After all, the Parcells-coached Cowboys are 7-12 in December and January in the Tuna's four years at the helm, including a 29-10 playoff loss to the Carolina Panthers in 2003. This team just lacks the necessary passion in the biggest games and with an identical record as last season wouldn't be in the playoffs if not for just about every other NFC team collapsing alongside Dallas..
So the score: 45-35 Seattle advances. But bright days ahead for Tony Romo and the Cowboys with a new head coach.