DALLAS - Loyal readers of this column, of which there are tens, perhaps, know that I talk about Dak Prescott and Tony Romo a lot. Basically, I realize now, it’s part of my grieving process. It all happened so abruptly, and things are so weird now.
Sports are basically run by narratives, like underdog achieves great success or, guy who never wins the big one wins the big one, or young, talented team finally breaks through – or whatever - that the aftermath of Tony’s retirement feels like unfinished business.
He was so good, for so long, and it never amounted to anything, and that’s not supposed to happen in sports; on some level defies the reason we all became sports fans. And in fact, Tony didn’t just need vindication in the eyes of the league, he needed it in the eyes of many Dallas Cowboys fans, who were addicted to the idea that the best win games no matter what.
So we’re in this tough situation right now where it feels like half the Cowboys fans in the world are sad Tony never got the chance to play with a team this good, and half are glad Tony is gone and think the team is good because of Dak – as I’ve covered in other columns before.
This, however, is the start of another story. That’s the weird part. The way last year went made some people feel that we were in, in fact, that natural development of previous events. QB plays hard, never quite breaks through; young, confident guy shows up and takes the team over the top.
In fact, this is year two, not year ten, and it has its own narrative arc. What it will be, we know not – such is the way of things. It’s hard to live with when you’re also living with something that will always be unfinished.
But if you’re like me, then your prevailing feeling watching the Oakland game was, at least it’s interesting. I think the Cowboys were pretty clearly the better team and, at least, Sunday, the Raiders had the better QB. Dak was not bad, and either of his INTs could have worked out differently in other circumstances.
Neither was he that good, while Derek Carr stood in the pocket and made throws with guys all over him. Meanwhile, the Cowboys went away from a running game that had been working out great, then broke all their own rules with a handful of trick players.
You know, a low scoring game like that, most of the time you’re probably thinking it’s either offensive ineptness or defensive brilliance. In fact, in this case, it wasn’t either. It was long, time-consuming drives mostly. Take the second half – Oakland started it off with a 90 yard TD drive, then scored again off a Cowboys INT.
The Boys responded with an 11 play, 75 yard TD drive, and OAK came back with a 10 play, 53 yarder. Then, of course, at the end, the Cowboys kicked a FG after coming about an inch short, and the Raiders lost because they made it even a little bit farther than that, but lost the ball. And, we were treated to the weirdest first-down measurement of all time.
All in all, this story is starting out pretty well. The Cowboys could win ten games and miss the playoffs, but that hurts a lot worse if it’s in year ten of an aging team. Football is a violent game, and things change quickly, but it’s fun to do something new – even if it’s hard to give up on what almost was. I particularly enjoyed the young CBs, Jourdan Lewis and Chidobe Awuzie – not to mention my new favorite, Rod Smith. It’s not so bad to be here instead of there.
Do you still miss Tony Romo or have you moved on to the Dak bandwagon? Share your thoughts with Andy on Twitter @andytobo.
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