The players were stuck. With one another. On a bus. Hours after a loss with the division title on the line. With a lame-duck coach.
Mechanical problems with their charter kept players waiting on the team bus in the parking lot at Lincoln Financial Field while officials worked out new arrangements for getting home. About three hours after the game ended, the problems were solved, the buses headed for the airport, and the flight departed just after 11 p.m.
That didn’t stop Jerry Jones, the owner and architect of this team, from blabbing to the media, as is his postgame wont. “I’m a little numb that we didn’t come up here and beat them,” Jones said (via the Athletic). “Our team played very hard. I’m just surprised we didn’t get the deal done.”
That’s like saying the Titanic didn’t get its voyage done. This season is a disaster, with perhaps only the Cleveland Browns having buzzier expectations than the ’Boys. Now, after they dropped to 7-8 in the NFC East with the 17-9 loss to Philadelphia, the buzz is louder about the future of Coach Jason Garrett, whose contract expires after the season and whose history in big games is downright awful. He’s 2-3 in the postseason, and Tim Cowlishaw of the Morning News points out that Garrett and the Cowboys missed the playoffs because of three straight Week 17 losses to all three NFC East teams from 2011 to 2013. In 2017, the home loss to Seattle in Week 16 was the killer.
Somehow, the Cowboys are still alive going into the regular season finale, a home game against the Washington Redskins. There is hope, but it comes with ifs, starting with if they can get to 8-8 by beating the Redskins and if the New York Giants can beat the Eagles. Anything short of both of those things happening, and the Eagles are the division champs.
The loss will no doubt give Troy Aikman, the Fox color commentator and Jones’s Hall of Fame quarterback, plenty of material for his radio spot this week. Aikman has been clear that the blame for the Cowboys’ inability to get to the NFC championship game since 1995 lies “at the top” with Jones — and that is just the way the owner likes it.
“I believe that it’s unlikely that Jerry will ever bring somebody in that can help this football team in that regard just because he’s been real stubborn and steadfast in that he’s the one in charge,” Aikman said in mid-December. “I think in a lot of ways, until that changes, this team’s going to have some problems.”
After the latest loss, Jones admitted he was disappointed.
“When you get in this spot, you give yourself a chance to be real disappointed. We are,” he said. “The fact that we didn’t get any [touchdowns], the fact the game turned out the way it did — they played well. Not a lot to say about anything else other than it’s very disappointing. We all expected to leave here as NFC East champs. We’re not. We’ll just go [on] to [the] Washington [game].”
Against that backdrop, the Internet had a lot of fun at the Cowboys’ expense.
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