Dallas Cowboys are exactly who we thought they were

Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports
Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports /

Despite entering the week 9-3, fresh on their best three-game stretch of the season, and facing a hapless one-win opponent at home, the Dallas Cowboys somehow found a way to disappoint.

In the immortal words of late great NFL coach Dennis Green, “They are who we thought they were!”

The Dallas Cowboys narrowly avoided the biggest upset in the 2022 season when they punched in the go-ahead touchdown with under a minute left on the clock. Style points may not pay out extra, but the fact that it took an 11-play 98 yard drive to seal the deal, is certainly cause for concern in Cowboys Nation.

There’s no reason to be suddenly concerned because the Dallas Cowboys are exactly who we thought they were.

The Dallas Cowboys struggles against the one-win Houston Texans shouldn’t come as a surprise. Nor should the Cowboys dominance against the (then) one-loss Minnesota Vikings. The Cowboys are both teams, underachievers and overachievers, and they’ve been that way for roughly a decade.

Anyone using the Dallas Cowboys struggles on Sunday as an indictment against their legitimacy simply hasn’t been paying attention.

Dallas is notorious for playing down to, and up to, their their respective opponents. This is just the latest example. The Cowboys looked unstoppable on their first drive and they seemed to let that affect their play going forward. Taking their foot off the gas they looked like garbage the rest of the way. Up to, of course, that final drive that would prove to be Dak Prescott’s 18th come-back win of his career.

One week the Cowboys can look like a team that barely belongs in the playoff conversation. The next week they look like the best team in the NFL. They have the ability to look like either version on any given Sunday, so to derive an identity from any one week is foolish. They are both versions.

Anyone using the Dallas Cowboys struggles on Sunday as an indictment against their legitimacy simply hasn’t been paying attention. Just like anyone who uses their wins over the Vikings or Bengals for proof they are Super Bowl bound.

The reason outside media experts and analysts can’t fully back the Dallas Cowboys is because they have proven time and time again they are both versions. It’s why Cowboys Nation knows so much heartbreak and it’s why I’m on 25mg of blood pressure medicine. These guys are unpredictable.

Any person in their right mind wants their team to win their division and snag a first round bye in the playoffs, but as a Cowboys fan, I can honestly say I don’t want that. I don’t trust my team to perform under ideal circumstances.

I prefer the version of the Cowboys that faces adversity. The version with their backs to the wall. The one that has to play with a silent count because the opposing fans are too loud. The version that’s uncomfortable and has their backs to the wall. That’s the version of the Dallas Cowboys I want.

Does my preferred version still have the ability to disappoint? Sure, over the years we’ve learned to be ready for anything as Dallas Cowboys fans. And while I typically hate when people compare trends of a team from year’s past (when half the roster has been turned over), I do believe this character trait is ingrained in the franchise.

Let this ease the unsettled soul of anyone upset by Sunday’s narrow victory. This is just further validation the Cowboys are exactly who we thought they were and exactly who they’ve always been.

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The Dallas Cowboys are a team that can be the best in the NFL AND and team that can lose to the worst in the NFL. While it would be nice to be consistently great each week, that’s simply not who they are. Take comfort in the fact the Cowboys can beat anyone and since they generally play up to their competition, they are still very much a postseason threat to anyone.