Myth or Fact: Dissecting the Cowboys' Loss

Joseph CosentinoCorrespondent IJanuary 13, 2008

The Giants upset the Cowboys 21-17 in the Divisional round of the NFC playoffs on Sunday Night. All of a sudden the questions are being asked:

1. Did YOKO ROMO scandal affect Romo’s performance?

People will point to his affairs with Jessica Simpson, including his Mexico trip with her and her family as a reason why they lost. Is it possible that during every play, all he could think of in his head was Jessica Simpson in a bikini? The fact of the matter is that Tony Romo was missing his targets , over throwing and under throwing to several of his receivers in the second half and the offense almost completely abandoned the run after Marion Barber had 101 yards rushing in the first half. In addition, his receivers were dropping key passes that would have led to big offensive gains in the second half, including the important missed reception by Patrick Crayton that would have led to a big gain and possibly a touchdown in the third quarter. Shortly after, the Giants had their winning touchdown drive.

2. Did Jerry Jones provide bulletin board material for the Giants?

There is speculation that Owner Jerry Jones sent two tickets for the NFC CHAMPIONSHIP game in an envelope to each Cowboy player earlier this week as motivation for advancement in the playoff tournament. It turns out they will be using those tickets to go to Green Bay, where they will be watching from the stands. The fact is that the Cowboys took all kinds of penalties that killed a lot of their drives, 11 penalties for 84 yards to be exact. More facts, the Cowboys had sloppy tackling on special teams and defense and the team was averaging just 15 points a game and a record of 2-2 in their last 4 regular season games heading into this one.

The Cowboys are the first number one seeded team to lose in the NFC divisional round since the inception of the Wild Card round in 1990. They also haven’t won a playoff game since 1996. The team is headed into a very rough off season with the possibility of losing staff members in Offensive coordinator Jason Garret and Offensive Line coach Tony Sparano . Head Coach Wade Phillips job security shouldn’t be considered safe either. Despite the 13-3 record, his team failed to capitalize on their No. 1 seeding and he’s now 0-4 in the playoffs.

Whether you are a fan or not, one can’t help but feel sorry for Romo. Last year he had to deal with questions surrounding his botched snap in the Wild Card game against Seattle and this year, numerous questions surrounding his Los Cabos trip (OK, probably not that sorry, since he’s dating Jessica Simpson). However, he will rally around this and have a better season next year, not necessarily in the stats department but he will grow as a quarterback and learn how to win in the playoffs. Just look at the success that Eli Manning is having so far in the playoffs. The last two playoff years before this, including earlier on in the regular season, he played like a second string quarterback who was a starter because his last name is Manning and now he’s one game away from going to the Super Bowl. The maturing of Terrell Owens is already beginning with this team. He’s accepted the “team” mentality within him and his post game conference interested me because he came to the defense of his quarterback. “You can point the finger at him, you can talk about his vacation (with Simpson), and if you do that, it’s really unfair. That’s my teammate….we lost as a team.”  Said an emotional Owens, crying behind dark sunglasses.