Anyone remember last season, when all the sports analysts and commentators spent the entire year squawking about what a distraction Terrell Owens was? He was a divisive force in the locker room, they said. He was a cancer. The Dallas Cowboys would never be able to accomplish anything until he was gone.
In March, they got their wish. Terrell Owens was cut from the team. Funny how quickly everyone did an about face.
What a dumb move! What was Jerry Jones thinking? You don't cut your biggest offensive weapon like that! What are the Dallas Cowboys going to be able to accomplish without him? They don't have anyone left who scares defenses. Without T.O., Dallas will be an 8-8 team at best--or 7-9, if you ask Emmitt Smith.
But the Cowboys set their sights on loftier goals than the mediocrity of an 8-8 season. They had it in mind to win the division.
After a shaky 2-2 start to the season, the media had pretty much written the Cowboys off, and fair weather fans everywhere were breaking ankles in their haste to jump off the band wagon. The Cowboys won two more games, then lost one. Won three, then lost two. They seemed to be limping along towards mediocrity, just as everyone had expected them to do.
As recently as three weeks ago, they were written off as failures. Then something happened.
Somehow, somewhere along the way, the light came on. As if a switch was flipped, the Cowboys suddenly started clicking. Defense dominating. Offense not just moving the ball, but scoring points as well. Suddenly it was like a completely different team out there. When they beat the undefeated New Orleans Saints on the road--the game nobody thought they had a chance to win--in the Superbowl atmosphere created by Saints fans, people began to take notice.
And the next week, when they shut out the Washington Redskins at FedEx field in what was the most important game of that team's year--their Superbowl, if you will-- they became the hottest team in the NFC East--save one. The Philadelphia Eagles. Division leading. Six game winning streak. The nemesis of 44-6. The team who had crushed the Cowboys dreams last season.
Those same Philadelphia Eagles were coming to Cowboys Stadium, and just like last season, there was something on the line. Last season it was a playoff spot. This time it would be the division championship. Home field advantage. A higher seed in the playoffs--second seed for the Eagles if they win, third seed for the Cowboys. The *** would be the sixth seed. Yeah, there was a lot riding on this game, too. Wasn't nobody going to lay down this week.
Everyone was hoping that this would be another 44-6. All week the media had hyped it. All week, that's all the sports moguls could talk about. Constantly bringing it up. Oh, yeah, they were hoping for another blood bath.
That's pretty much what they got, only this time, it was the Cowboys who humiliated the Eagles. It was the Cowboys who totally dominated, on both sides of the ball. It was the Cowboys who pitched their second shutout in a row since--well, ever. It was the Cowboys who put up their own version of 44-6.
Suddenly, the team nobody expected to do anything was the division champion, and the team to beat. Suddenly, even the media was on the bandwagon. Suddenly, they were the hottest team in the NFC, if not the NFL.
Suddenly, everyone knew what the Dallas Cowboys could do,
even without Terrell Owens.