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Writing History

January 1, 2010

Last year, the Cowboys traveled to Philadelphia on the last Sunday of the season needing only a win to meet one of their goals.

Philadelphia needed a lot more.  A tie had them behind three teams in the race for the final playoff spot.  But by the time the game kicked off, it had happened.  They had gotten all the help they needed.  Tampa had fallen to Oakland.  The Texans bested the Bears.

It was right in front of the Eagles.  Win and meet a goal.

This year, things have changed.  Both teams are in the playoffs, but Philly is the one only needing a win to meet a goal.  The coveted bye.

Dallas needs a lot more.  They are behind three teams in the race for the second seed and a free week to go to Cabo.  When the game kicks off, they’ll only know if they’ve gotten no help.  The Cowboys need three things to happen, the Vikings have to fall to the Giants, and the Pack must best the Cards.  The Giants face the Vikings in a game that kicks early, while the game in the Valley of the Sun will kick at the same time the Cowboys and the Eagles tee it up.

Fans will be looking for the Pack/Cards score all game long.  Whether or not they’ll find it in Beyond JerryDome is another question all together.

But things are in front of the Cowboys this year, too, without help.  With a win, they’ll clinch another NFC East title, and likely force the Eagles to make a return trip next week.  Lose, and it’ll be the final game in the House that Tony Built for the season.

For the Cowboys, a bye likely means that they don’t have to enter the playoffs without Marc Colombo or special teams ace Patrick Watkins. One or both could play the wildcard round, but that’s a much foggier mirror.

It was almost predestined to come down to this game when it was put on the schedule.  In fact, the boys in the league office were determined to give destiny a chance.  The moving parts on the schedule were massaged so that these two teams matched up to close out the season.  So that we could hear about 44-6 for a long time coming.

The players will tell you that they’re thinking about this as one game.  That they’ve put that out of their minds.  Then again, they said that about Werdergate last season.  Everyone believed them after the Giant game.  Not so much the following weeks.

One of my favorite sayings is that the victors write the history books.  History looks favorable on those who accomplish their goals.  Their motivations unquestioned.  For the Cowboys, win on Sunday, and the questions will be unasked.

*****

Yesterday, I talked about how I thought Jason Garrett was wise to go back to the well and call the same play twice in a short-yardage situation, despite the results.  In a quick follow up, I’d like to point out something that Todd Archer had on the Dallas News’ Cowboys blog.  A quote from Garrett:

“We’ve done a variety of things and have to keep doing a variety of things to be successful at it.”

Garrett knows that you have to mix it up, but he wisely knew the time to do so wasn’t last Sunday night.

*****

I live in an area populated with Saints fans, so that game was sweet.  Stopping the Colts in 2006 was awesome.  Any time you beat the Eagles, like the Cowboys did with Roy Williams interception in 2005 is nice. The Romo Show against the Giants in ‘06 was fun.  And a pair of shut outs against the ‘Skins are worthy of making the best of the decade list.

For me, however, my favorite game of the decade takes me back to a couple of my favorite games from the ‘90s.

2007 was the best year to be a Cowboy fan this decade, and it had what I hope is the defining moment heading into the next decade.  It was the first Monday night game in Buffalo in forever.  And the Cowboys looked like crap.  Tony Romo had a game that many would have put on his career gravestone, but turned into one that could one day be on his bust in Canton (mayyyyybe).

It’s certainly where I learned a good bit about him and his moxie.  In the wake of the Eagles game last year, many questioned how impacted Romo was by losses.  They said it wasn’t enough.  In the game against the Bills, however, he showed that not being phased when things are going sideways is one of his best traits.

You remember what happened that night.  Romo led the ’Boys to late scores, and in the year of Shanahanning, Nick Folk made a pair of 53-yarders to cap the comeback.

It was my favorite game of the decade.  What’s yours?

Let’s hope the next month gives us an early head start on game of this decade.

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