Star Blog 2016 Has Been The Most Dallas Cowboys Season Possible Published 12 months ago on December 23, 2016 By RJ Ochoa Share Tweet The NFL is a lot of things. The largest and most powerful professional sports league in the United States is a game, a corporation, and in many ways a reality show. We tune in week after week hinging on the storylines and being emotionally attached to specific characters. If the NFL is a reality show, then the Dallas Cowboys are its superstar. America’s Team – a humble sort of nickname – is always center stage while being simultaneously loved and hated. The drama is always seemingly more juicy when it accompanies the football club that boasts an iconic star upon their helmets. Let’s talk about that word – drama. Drama typically runs parallel with big storylines, and boy oh boy have the Dallas Cowboys had their fair share. Over the course of time, the Cowboys were established in 1960, they have always been at the center of drama: last-second comebacks, epic victories, and an occasional off-the-field “can you believe this is happening?” moment or two. On Thursday night the Dallas Cowboys, thanks to a Philadelphia Eagles win over the New York Giants on Thursday Night Football, locked up what every football team wants: their division, a first-round bye, the number one overall seed in their conference, and home-field advantage in the playoffs. Huzzah, baby. The 2016 NFC East Crown was certainly not achieved without quite a bit of drama, and that’s what’s been on my mind ever since Eli Manning’s game-clinching interception (love that dude, man). Think about the ridiculous circumstances that have served as obstacles for America’s Team this season: Coming off a 4-12 season that was such because Tony Romo was hurt, the Cowboys failed to trade back into the 1st Round to get Memphis’ Paxton Lynch. Later in the draft Dallas saw Michigan State’s Connor Cook taken a pick ahead of where they wanted him. They’d go on to settle for someone else in the 4th Round. The Cowboys took a player in the 2nd Round, Jaylon Smith, who would likely wouldn’t (he’s on IR now) play a snap all season. MLB Rolando McClain didn’t show up for Training Camp. DE Randy Gregory had offseason hiccups and was absent as well (not to mention Damien Wilson was shot in the eye with a paintball!). The 3rd Round Pick, Maliek Collins, got hurt and missed a ton of time. The reigning 4th leading rusher in the NFL, Darren McFadden, hurt his elbow. QB2 Kellen Moore was hurt. The settled for rookie ascended on the depth chart. The 1st Round Pick, RB Ezekiel Elliott, had hamstring issues at camp and was a question mark. QB1 Tony Romo – who’s absence plagued 2015 – was hurt. The rookie inherited the keys to America’s Team and all the drama that came with that title (and would definitely come). The first 4th Round Pick, Charles Tapper, discovered a new injury and was put on IR. The perceived best CB on the team, Orlando Scandrick, was hurt. A new star cornerback rose from his phoenix-made ashes, Morris Claiborne, and he got hurt. The best Left Tackle in football, Tyron Smith, got hurt. Stud sophomore Guard La’el Collins was hurt. Ron Leary, who had his own drama during camp, filled in. Dez Bryant got hurt. The Dez Bryant MRI Saga happened. Dez Bryant’s father passed away. Gavin Escobar’s father passed away. Tony Romo got healthy, demoted himself, and then drama really happened. The Cowboys lost a second game, and panic was at an all-time high. Jason Garrett rallied his team. Dallas beat Tampa Bay. Ezekiel Elliott raised a ton of money by jumping into a Salvation Army kettle. Philadelphia beat New York. When you look through that sequence of events – one that isn’t totally in chronological order for those detail-minded folks – you think… there’s no way on Earth that this season could go well for this team. It’s Friday, December 23rd and the Dallas Cowboys are 12-2, NFC East Champs, the NFC’s #1 seed, and the road to Super Bowl LI goes through their house (not to mention that every single game of importance from here on out will take place in Texas). It literally went as best as it possibly can… with two weeks to spare. It’s not real. It really isn’t. You look at what went into it and what came out of it, and it doesn’t make sense. It’s not supposed to happen like this, it’s not supposed to be this easy. That’s the Dallas Cowboys way though, isn’t it? Everyone else lives in a world with specifications and parameters that are defined for mortals, but the legendary Dallas Cowboys find ways to conquer all. RJ Ochoa on Twitter December 21st, 2014: #DallasCowboys Clinch NFC East. December 22nd, 2016: #DallasCowboys Clinch NFC East and #1 Seed in NFC. Amazing. The Cowboys captured their second division title in three years literally two years and one day apart. That’s not real! You couldn’t write that even if you tried! I’m sitting here – writing – and I’m telling you that you could not dream up this dream that has become the 2016 Cowboys. That division title in 2014? It only featured a quarterback playing at an MVP level (he’d finish second in voting) and the NFL’s leading rusher. This season, 2016, LITERALLY HAS THOSE EXACT SAME THINGS… AND THEY ARE ROOKIES! If Jason Garrett doesn’t win Coach of the Year, I am going to lose my mind. Ever since Dez Bryant caught that ball at Lambeau Field it’s felt like the Dallas Cowboys have been scratching and clawing for their chance to get back to that same position – one game away from the NFC Championship. On Thursday night they officially did as they are back in the Divisional Round, one game away from the NFC Championship. It actually happened! Two years later. No big deal. It takes you beyond the grains of modern logic when you try to fully comprehend what the Dallas Cowboys have done this season. You can’t even qualify the whole thing by saying that they’ve defied expectations because there are no expectations for what they’ve done… it’s that ridiculously uncommon. The only explanation for the phenomenon that has been the 2016 Dallas Cowboys season – down to the detail that the Philadelphia Eagles were the ones that in fact clinched everything for them – is really just five simple words. This is the Dallas Cowboys. This is life. And what a life it is. Tell us what you think about “2016 Has Been The Most Dallas Cowboys Season Possible” in the comments below. You can also email me at RJ.Ochoa@SlantSports.com, or Tweet to me at @RJOchoa! ADVERTISEMENT Related Topics:Dak PrescottEzekiel ElliottJason Garrett Up Next Cowboys Mentality Can’t Change With NFC East Division Locked Up Don't Miss Tweet Break: Cowboys Win NFC East, Lock Up Top Seed With Giants’ Week 16 Loss RJ Ochoa I like long walks on the beach, mystery novels, no just kidding those suck. The Dallas Cowboys were put on this earth for us all to love and appreciate. I do that 24/7/365. I also love chicken parmesan. Let’s roll. @RJOchoa if you wanna shout! Advertisement You may like Think Jason Garrett is a Robot? FOX Sports Agrees Is 3-3 Without Ezekiel Elliott A Win For Dallas? Should Cowboys Be Concerned About Ezekiel Elliott Long-Term? Film Room: How Dak Prescott Beat The Giants’ Blitz QB Dak Prescott Must Overcome Giants-Struggles Week 14: Giants A Reminder Of Cowboys’ Past, But Who’s Better Off? Click to comment Star Blog Think Jason Garrett is a Robot? FOX Sports Agrees Published 2 days ago on December 15, 2017 By Jess Haynie Cowboys fans have often complained that head coach Jason Garrett is too robotic in his demeanor, media answers, and constant clapping. Yesterday, with most of the country feeling Star Wars fever, FOX Sports tapped into the zeitgeist while also taking a little jab at Garrett’s robot reputation. FOX Sports released photographs of several NFL personalities as Star Wars character. Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady were Jedis. Bill Belichick, surprise-surprise, was a the evil Emperor. Garrett… well…. FOX Sports: NFL on Twitter @AaronRodgers12 @CameronNewton @Panthers @Patriots Jason Garrett is fluent in over 6 million forms of communication. From 2016 Coach of the Year to punchline, Garrett’s reputation has certainly taken a big swing this season. Things are so bad, they couldn’t give him a C-3PO with matching arms. Oh, the indignity. Of course, this is all in good fun. Garrett has 12 and 13-win seasons in two of the last three years. 2017 could’ve been very different if not for Ezekiel Elliott‘s legal issues and Sean Lee’s injury. And even now, there’s still a chance the Cowboys can sneak back into the playoffs. Yes, Jason is repetitive. And yes, he’s no Bill Parcells behind a microphone. But could they at least have made him R2-D2? At least FOX Sports didn’t make him Jar Jar Binks. That should go to Roger Goodell. Just for fun, what other Star Wars characters would you compare Cowboys players and other staff members to? Maybe Sean Lee as Boba Fett, hunting down targets in the open field? Or maybe Cole Beasley as Luke, since they’re both a little short to be Stormtroopers. Have any other good Cowboys/Star Wars comparisons? Share them in the comments! ADVERTISEMENT Continue Reading Star Blog Cowboys en Español: ¿Combinaciones Para Playoffs?, ¿Juego Trampa vs Raiders? Published 3 days ago on December 15, 2017 By Mauricio Rodriguez Es increíble pensar que ya estamos en la semana 15 de la NFL. Más increíble aún, los Dallas Cowboys que se fueron 13-3 con el sembrado #1 de la NFC hace un año, ahorita cuentan con un récord de 7-6 y unas esperanzas de pasar a playoffs muy, muy pequeñas. El domingo pasado, a pesar de llevarse la victoria en el campo contra los New York Giants, los Cowboys no recibieron la ayuda que necesitaban alrededor de la liga. Pero a pesar de ser pequeñas, las esperanzas siguen vivas. Y este domingo, los aficionados a Dallas no sólo apoyaremos a los Cowboys en el Sunday Night Football, sino también a otros cuantos equipos. Para los Cowboys, ¿cuáles son las combinaciones necesarias? Dallas Cowboys termina la temporada 10-6, ganando los últimos tres partidos. Que los Green Bay Packers pierdan un partido. Que los Detroit Lions pierdan un partido. Que los Atlanta Falcons o los Carolina Panthers pierdan dos partidos. En mi opinión, incluso con Aaron Rodgers volviendo al campo, los Panthers y los Falcons presentan el mayor reto. Y creo, que lo que deberíamos estar apoyando en este momento, es que sean los Falcons los que pierdan dos partidos. ¿Por qué? Porque este domingo, Carolina se enfrentará a Green Bay. Francamente, Panthers es el equipo que más probabilidades tiene de echar a perder el regreso heroico de Rodgers. Panthers también puede vencer a los Falcons en la semana 17. Así que, mientras los Panthers no podrían ayudar perdiendo, creo que más bien nos podrán apoyar ganando. Sin embargo, los resultados de la semana 15 influenciarán mucho a quien apoyaremos como fans de los Cowboys. Por ahora, estos serían los resultados ideales de la semana 15: CHI Bears vencen a DET Lions. CAR Panthers vencen a GB Packers. TB Buccaneers sorprenden a ATL Falcons. Claro, dos de estos resultados parecen muy optimistas, pero todo puede pasar en la NFL y sobre todo con equipos tan inconsistentes como los Lions. Por supuesto que, todo esto no tiene ni sentido si los Cowboys no se van 3-0 en las siguientes tres semanas. El rival más fuerte que le queda a Dallas son los Seattle Seahawks. Con Ezekiel Elliott volviendo esa misma semana, será un duelo increíble en el AT&T Stadium. En mi opinión, será el partido que definirá de que son capaces los Dallas Cowboys del 2017. Pero primero que nada, los Cowboys se tienen que preocupar por un partido que puede resultar siendo un juego “trampa.” Un juego trampa, es cuando un equipo tiene una semana muy importante por venir (Seahawks) y subestima al rival (Raiders) que tiene enfrente dentro de los próximos días. Sobre todo cuando es de visita, estos partidos pueden resultar siendo peligrosos en la NFL y realmente, en todos los niveles de football americano. Oakland Raiders Derek Carr (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) Y sí, los Raiders han tenido una temporada muy decepcionante en la que ni Derek Carr ni Amari Cooper han sido lo que se esperaba, pero Derek Carr es un QB que puede echarse al equipo a los hombros en cualquier momento. Todos pueden tener una mala temporada, y ese ha sido el caso para el #4 de Oakland. Sin embargo, si los Cowboys mantienen el partido cerrado en el cuarto cuarto, Derek Carr puede demostrar que tan peligroso es. Con jugadores clave como Khalil Mack, que por cierto tendrá una batalla épica con La’el Collins, es un juego que no es tan fácil como parece. Sí, los Raiders tienen un récord de 6-7. ¿Y? Los Cowboys tienen un récord de 7-6. Es mejor, claro. ¿Pero realmente es tan bueno como para pensar que será una victoria fácil? Podemos criticar a Jason Garrett por muchas cosas, pero una de las cosas que no podemos criticarlo, es la motivación que le da a los jugadores. A pesar de muchos reportes acerca de que los jugadores “estaban molestos” con los coaches, definitivamente no han jugado como si se hubieran rendido en su entrenador. No creo que los Cowboys pierdan el domingo. Pero esperemos que no sólo ganen en la noche, sino que obtengan victorias indirectas alrededor de la NFC. Tell me what you think about “Cowboys en Español: ¿Combinaciones Para Playoffs?, ¿Juego Trampa vs Raiders?” in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys! ADVERTISEMENT Continue Reading Star Blog Is 3-3 Without Ezekiel Elliott A Win For Dallas? Published 4 days ago on December 14, 2017 By Kevin Brady Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports It’s funny how quickly perception can change in the NFL. A little over two weeks ago, the sky was falling on the Dallas Cowboys. They had just been blown out three straight times, twice at home and twice against direct NFC playoff competitors. Cowboys Nation wanted firings – whether that meant head coach Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan, Rod Marinelli, or all of the above. Dak Prescott couldn’t survive without Ezekiel Elliott, and all of the change made to the defense was beginning to be called a failure by the masses. Fast forward to this week. The Cowboys have now been the deliverers of butt-kickings the last two weeks, and now sit at 7-6 with an outside chance at a playoff spot. And while the team looked like a complete mess without Elliott previously, a win Sunday would put them at 3-3 over the course of the Pro Bowl running back’s suspension. And is that really all that bad? Heading into the suspension, most fans probably would’ve taken 3-3 without Elliott and 8-6 overall. Most fans would’ve though that would put the Cowboys right in the thick of the things in the NFC playoff hunt. And most would’ve assumed we’d be happy with an 8-6 Cowboys team. Unfortunately, 8-6 most likely won’t be good enough in this year’s playoff race. Especially considering the return of Aaron Rodgers and previous losses to both the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons. Plus, the entire NFC South has been fantastic this season (besides Tampa Bay) and two teams from the West look legit as well. So maybe this just isn’t the Cowboys’ year. But, the success of other teams in the conference shouldn’t cloud our perception of what the Cowboys have done this season if they were to win Sunday night. A win over the Raiders this week would qualify the team’s handling of the Elliott suspension as a “success” of sorts (in terms of on the field, at least) in my opinion. They would have kept themselves alive in a deep NFC playoff race, discovered a legitimate offensive weapon in Rod Smith, maintained a solid rushing attack over the majority of the six games, and allowed for some real growth from their young quarterback Dak Prescott. I know the first three games of the suspension were awful, and a team with the talent of the Cowboys shouldn’t be losing that way three times in a row, or three times in a season at all. But, something should be said about how the team has weathered that storm, and kept themselves above water in this competitive conference. But, of course, the result Sunday night could change all of this if the Cowboys come out and lay an egg in Oakland, effectively ending their season before Zeke even gets back. In that case we will more vividly remember the three horrific losses in which the team was out-coached and embarrassed. But, still those games should be remembered regardless of Sunday’s outcome. So maybe success is a bit of a strong word. This week’s game is not only a huge one in terms of the 2017 playoff race, but also may be an important one for determining what the 2018 Cowboys will look like. ADVERTISEMENT Continue Reading Sportsbook odds for all Dallas Cowboys games Reader Survey Want to help make Inside The Star better? We’re collecting feedback from our readers about the site. It only takes <2 minutes to complete, and can be done from any device. > Take the survey now Don’t worry, your information will not be shared with anyone but me (Bryson T.). Advertisement From Our Partners Inside The Star - Pullover Hoodie $44.95 I Wear My Navy & Silver - Pullover Hoodie $49.95 2017 Cowboys Blitz Post NFL Draft Guide $7.99 $5.00 Advertisement Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! 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