The Dallas Cowboys had the rest of the NFL right where they wanted 'em. Monday Night was supposed to be the game that said to the whoooole world, "The Cowboys aren't goin' anywhere." And for a quarter-and-a-half, they looked kinda not terrible.
Then Tony Romo fractured his clavicle, and this became the unofficial photo for the 2010 Cowboys season.
Or was it this?
Or maybe this.
1-5, Romo out for good, and the dawning of the Jon Kitna era. So, who do we blame for all this?
As a Dallas fan myself, I'm going to go ahead and say Chris Gronkowski, the fullback who botched the blocking assignment on Michael Boley, who then drove Romo into the turf, fracturing his clavicle, and shattering Dallas' hopes into a million little pieces.
Yep, it's all Gronkowski's fault.
And when you think about it, isn't this whole season Chris Gronkowski's fault? A win against the Giants, and who knows? Maybe Dallas could have gotten on a run these next few weeks, saving their season, and leading one of the most stirring comebacks in history.
Have you heard about their talent? It's not just "a lot of capable players" or "guys that are good at football." It's SUPER BOWL TALENT they've got out there in Dallas. You can't teach that sort of talent, and only some hapless bastard like Gronkowski could ruin it. Look at that picture below.
Sweet flip, hotshot. Thanks for ruining the season.
You might say, "But the Cowboys are the most dysfunctional team I've seen in five years. How can you blame one person for the collapse?" And the simple answer is that we need a fall guy. Wade Phillips, Jason Garrett, Jerry Jones, Tony Romo, the offensive line, inconsistent defense, a staggering lack of discipline from top to bottom, and a general sense of entitlement that's as insufferable as it is inexplicable--these are problems that probe at much deeper issues in Dallas. Something systemic. Something that might take a few years to fix.
But Chris Gronkowski missed a block, so he's the fall guy. Cut Gronkowski, chalk this season up as a lost cause, and wait 'till next year. With Romo coming back, Dez on the outside, those three kinda-good running backs... That's SUPER BOWL TALENT. They just had some bad luck this season, and they trusted Chris Gronkowski. Lesson learned.
Some people might panic and overhaul this football team, but not Jerry Jones. Because what's that old saying? "You gotta see the trees from the forest?" Yeah, that's the one. Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys see the trees from the forest. The 2010 Cowboys season didn't descend into disaster because the whole organization is screwed up, but for three reasons:
- Bad luck.
- Romo's injury.
- Chris Gronkowski.
We'll get 'em next year though. Where's the Super Bowl in 2012? Lucas Oil Stadium?
See you in Indy.
(Photos via Getty Images, Associated Press, and Xmas Ape)