The Sunday lineup for Wild Card Weekend from the outside looking in looked like there was only going to be one exciting game. Dallas vs. San Francisco. If you watched all three games, you would know that the Tampa Bay vs. Philadelphia and the Kansas City vs. Pittsburgh games were not worth spending six or so hours on the couch to watch teams get run through. The Cowboys vs. 49ers game did not get interesting until the last few possessions when it looked like Dallas would come back and win the game.
Unless you live under a rock, you know how this season ended for the Cowboys. With only 16 seconds left on the clock and no timeouts, Dak Prescott tucks the ball and runs with it, hoping he can spike the ball with before the clock runs out. With 8 seconds left, Dak slides and places the ball on the ground for the referee to set the ball. But, instead of handing the ball to the referee, Dak puts the ball down where he believes it should be, then he and his linemen get in the way of the ref to place the ball. 2 seconds left, the ball gets set on the 22-yard line, and the snap gets off, but time has run out. Ballgame, San Francisco will play Green Bay in the Divisional Round.
Now, why even bring this up? We know the Dallas fanbase and how passionate they are year after year and how they are always back to win the Super Bowl. There is no doubt; the Dallas Cowboys earned the right to be in the conversation this year, at the very least. After Doubling their wins from the 2020 season and sweeping divisional rivals, there is a lot to be happy about from the 2021 season. But the issue lies in the sense of entitlement the fanbase has.
Jerry Jones and his Cowboys are undoubtedly one of the most storied franchises in the NFL. With five Super Bowls to their name, they hold the third most Lombardi Trophies in the NFL behind New England and Pittsburgh (Also, did you know that Sunday's game between Dallas and San Francisco is the first playoff game played between two teams with 5+ Super Bowl wins?). As mentioned before, the fanbase always talks about how "This is our year.". It was not until I began engaging in conversation via Twitter that I realized how delusional these fans genuinely are.
One thing that fans have to get over in the NFL, and all sports for that matter, is that games are not won or lost solely because of the referees and the calls they do or do not make. Though human error is a part of the sport, there has to be some accountability coming from coaches, players, and upper management. According to the fanbase, players, coaches, and even Jerry Jones, the Cowboys lost this game because of that last drive and how the refs "screwed them over.".
Not one representative from the team has mentioned the multiple passes Dak threw right into the dirt, or the passes that he did make that receivers dropped, or even that the running game was awful. But, no, the ref did not get to the line fast enough for the ball to get snapped.
Let's say, in a hypothetical world, the ball did get spiked, and the Cowboys had one more play to score a touchdown and kick a field goal to win the game. Are fans confident that Dak would have made an accurate throw and that the receivers would be able to catch it in the endzone 22 yards away? Dallas fans are set on believing that the game would have been won on that one play. Could it have been? Yes. Were the odds in their favor based on how the team was playing all night? The answer is no.
Cowboys fans seem to believe that just because they are paying somebody $160 million over four years, playoff wins are a guarantee. But, unfortunately, Dak Prescott is not the guy who will take this team to the Super Bowl, not with talent like Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, and, dare I say it, Aaron Rodgers floating around the league competing for the same title. So regardless of what happened at the end of the game, Dallas did not put themselves in a favorable position to win.
Games in the NFL are determined in the 60 minutes that the game is played, not 15 seconds. Therefore, you have to consistently be putting your team in a better position to win so that when those final 15 seconds are staring at you in the face, the odds are in your favor.
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