Monday, December 10, 2012
The Morning After: Cowboys 20, Bengals 19 (7-6)
There are a number of games every season that you will not remember a few months after the game is played. They are generic, run-of-the-mill games that give you nothing significant to recall and although every game is vital and important, nothing particularly vital or important comes to mind when trying to remember the events of that game or weekend.
The 2012 trip to Cincinnati will not be one of those games that is soon forgotten.
In fact, for reasons that are both profoundly sad and reasons that should make you proud, there is a good chance that the unlikely win against the Bengals that ended in a clutch kick by Dan Bailey is the game from 2012 that you might remember most in a few years. And, when asked to recall the defining game of the Jason Garrett era, you might also look to this one as the moment that you saw him in crisis, a time where he was forced to pull back the curtain with the public and show us a bit of that "head coach personality" that he normally seems to hide from anyone who is not on the roster.
A few weeks back, after a frustrating win at home against Cleveland, I felt compelled to write about everything that was going wrong with this team, but also to address the one positive that I think had to be pointed out:
Before we get to the countless concerns that this team seems to have right now as they frantically prepare for their next nail-biter in 72 hours time, let's say something extremely complimentary about this crew under Jason Garrett: This team competes hard. I am not sure every reader will agree, but having watched many Cowboys teams over the years - some who played as hard as they could and some who looked like they picked their spots - I would like to report that the 2012 version of the Cowboys compete as hard as just about any team. From a perspective of "want" and "desire" and "effort" and all of those keywords that denote the characteristics of a professional earning his professional-sized paycheck, I think Jason Garrett's teams play their tails off.
I know that won't make anyone forget legendary Dallas squads that have Lombardi Trophies in their possession, but in the chaos that is modern-day Cowboys football, it would be easy for teams to lose their competitive edge amongst the constant pressure, critique, and distractions of pizza and lingerie promotional events in their own stadium. Very few teams have "art tours" to navigate around, and the fact that this Cowboys team competes as hard as they possibly can on just about every play of every game is something that I don't think should be completely disregarded.
That opinion obviously was tested this weekend for this organization. That was written on November 19, 2012, or 19 days before Jerry Brown would lose his life in a single car accident as he was returning home late at night with his roommate, teammate, and good friend Josh Brent behind the wheel. Brent was said to be under the influence of alcohol as they returned from a party and was jailed on intoxication manslaughter charges after Brown was declared dead after the accident.
Hopefully, very few of us will ever know what it is like to lose someone we love in a drunk-driving accident caused by someone else we love. And surely, if we ever are in that situation, none of us will ever be asked to compete in a professional football game the very next day with tears streaming down our face in the national anthem as Lawrence Vickers demonstrated yesterday moments before noon.
But, the Cowboys did just that on Sunday.
And maybe, it was that moment of crisis that you would greatly love to have avoided, but in the middle of it, you saw what your team was all about.
Jason Garrett: It was really, really challenging. But, somehow, we had to come together, all of us. 11 guys. Coaches, players, everybody. We had to come together. And the bonds we had as teammates had to get stronger. They were really strong for Jerry Brown. I think everybody is really, really, really heartbroken.
Clearly, the game played after a life ends seems frivolous in comparison. Seeing the final post on his Facebook page that referenced that Brown was about 2 months from being a father for the first time can make anyone feel the heart ache. But, the show must go on. It always does. It did last week in Kansas City, and it did yesterday in Cincinnati.
And perhaps we saw again how football is the ultimate game of emotion. ........
"The word "genius" isn't applicable in football. A genius is a guy like
Norman Einstein." --Joe Theisman, NFL football quarterback & sports analyst.