Dallas Cowboys December Woes

Last Updated: December 22nd, 2008 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor)

The Big D in Dallas may stand for many things in the month of December. Drama, downfall, doom, deterioration, and others come to mind. The Cowboys have been anything but stellar in the closing months of the football season in the last decade and their troubles continued this week with a loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Dallas needed another big win in the month of December and failed for the 2nd time in 3 weeks. Luckily for the Cowboys the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles lost paving the way to a week 17 showdown with the Eagles that could still land Dallas in the playoffs. However with the trend of late season success the Cowboys have taken, one must ask has “America’s” team lost their star status?

The Dallas Cowboys are the most popular franchise in professional football. With the spotlight, come big anticipations for the team loved by so many. The Cowboys were perhaps the best team of the 90s winning 3 Super Bowls that tied them for the most Super Bowl victories in NFL history. However, since 1996 the Cowboys have not posted one postseason victory. Dallas has performed well at times, but like recent years has fallen apart at the end of seasons. Since 2002, Dallas has won 11 times in 28 games in the month of December equaling a 39% winning percentage. Outside the month of December since 2002, the Cowboys are 50-35 equaling a 70% winning percentage. That is a huge difference at a time when you need to be playing your best football. Perhaps now you may understand why the Cowboys have not won a playoff game in over a decade. The reasons for the Cowboys constant late season downfalls may not be known, but here a few possible reasons.

Especially over the last few years Dallas entire team has been based around the performance of the offense. Many times the defense simply showed up hoping that the offense would score more than they would allow. Last year, the Cowboys averaged 33 points per game heading into the month of December. However in the month of December, Dallas only averaged 15 points per game. The reason may be that when you have a high power offense a lot of times they fade off towards the end of the season. The defenses get better, teams have seen the films more, and the offensive players wear out down the stretch. Even the New England Patriots of last season who were perfect during the regular season slowed down a little on scoring in the latter part of the year. Dallas best years of scoring in the months of December have been based around teams that performed well defensively as opposed to offensively. However, if this was the sole reason owner Jerry Jones would be stacking up the defensive side of the ball rather than signing star after star players on offense.

Another reason that the Cowboys may have late season trouble is the weather. Despite many people beliefs, the weather plays an important factor in the closing months of the season. Face it, Dallas is almost as good as a Desert town when it comes to warm temperatures. Could the guys in blue simply not play as well in the cold? Perhaps that reason can not be proven, but it must be considered. Coaching has been discussed as a problem for the Cowboys late in the season as well. Good coaches are known for changing up schemes and designs so teams will not be able to plan for their game style. Dallas plays in the NFC East meaning they get to play the Redskins, Giants, and Eagles twice every season. In the month of December since 2002, the Cowboys are 2-10 against these opponents in their 2nd match-up of the season. That number may surprise even those who despise the Cowboys. Can part of the blame be on the coaching staffs of the past few years? I mean after all you should be able to have a better winning percentage when facing teams for the 2nd time around. Before their victory over the Giants two weeks ago, Dallas had not won a NFC East game in December since 2004 against the Redskins. The Cowboys simply have to be better than that in their own division so late in the year to have any kind of success.

Big D could possibly stand for the biggest disappointment year in and year out for the most popular team in football. However, Dallas still has a chance this season to right the ship. The Cowboys will clinch a playoff spot next weekend if they can pull off the win against NFC East nemesis the Philadelphia Eagles. If the Boys can pull off the victory, they will get another shot to grab their first postseason victory in 12 years. However, America’s team will get a #1 or #2 seeded NFC team in the playoffs. Meaning the Dallas would likely play New York or Carolina. While Dallas may have beat New York two weeks ago, I imagine the Giants would be the favorites this time around and Carolina would be big favorites with their superior running game. Dallas may very well have to wait another year to attempt to end the disappointment streak. Still the Cowboys will get their chance to prove their league’s status. Will the Cowboys finally overcome the troubles of December and January, or will the Big Disappointment continue?

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Posted in NFL Football - Last Updated on Monday, December 22nd, 2008 @ 3:19 am (EST)
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