Sunday, September 1, 1996
Don't count the Cowboys out just yet
By DENNE H. FREEMAN
AP Sports Writer
(Sept. 1, 1996)
IRVING, Texas (AP) - From the Pacific to the Atlantic, talk
shows babble about the imminent demise of the Dallas Cowboys.
Perhaps in the history of the NFL there has never been such joy
over the preseason pratfalls of a reigning Super Bowl champion.
This lion king has mega-sized warts, suspensions, injuries and
lack of depth thanks to the salary cap.
"The Cowboys are dead," said an East Coast talk host.
"They might get a wild card in their division. Then they'll
play on the road and they'll be dead because they'll be frozen
in Green Bay."
Things could be better, for sure. Coach Barry Switzer has to
deal with suspensions, bad backs, pulled hamstrings, stretched
knee ligaments and backup depth that a member of the Dallas staff
"called the worst in the NFL."
There's no doubt about it. The Cowboys probably don't have a
dozen regular season wins in them this year. The last three regular
seasons have been a broken record, 12-4, 12-4, 12-4.
In 1992 the club was 13-3 and 11-5 in 1991.
It's an amazing mark when you consider every team had the Cowboys
circled on the calendar.
However, without Michael Irvin for the first five games the Cowboys
will be lucky to go 3-2 with tough games at Chicago, Buffalo
and Philadelphia. In fact, 2-3 is more likely.
But lost in all the doom and gloom about the Valley Ranch vaqueros
is an attitude that at last count had logged three Super Bowl
championships in the last four years.
High-priced players like Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman, Deion Sanders,
Darren Woodson, Kevn Smith and Nate Newton care about winning.
They just don't showup, take their money and run.
Winning is what they've always cared about. The money is nice,
The Cowboys should be able to hang in there long enough to get
things in gear in mid October.
Home games against Arizona and Atlanta should be W's to set the
stage for the long-awaited showdown in Miami on Oct. 27.
For the Cowboys, an 8-3 mark once Irvin returns shouldn't be
out of the question.
A fifth NFC East division title at 10-6 shouldn't be out of the
The playoffs are another matter. In was the feeling from this
corner, that the Cowboys couldn't have defeated the San Francisco
49ers in the playoffs last year. The best thing that happened
to Dallas was Green Bay's upset of the 49ers.
Dallas has the Packers' number until Green Bay proves otherwise.
The Cowboys still have as good a chance as anyone in the NFL
to win a Super Bowl.
Not as good a chance as in the past. The odds are much greater
for the Cowboys to be knocked off this year than any since Jimmy
Johnson created the monster.
The salary cap has taken its toll. And the Cowboys, for the most
part, have been very, very lucky with injuries over the last
But are they dead?
As Aikman says in one of his many endorsements, "Get real."
Look for the Cowboys to put up a determined resistance to those
trying to steal away their diamond-encrusted crown.
A Green Bay or a San Francisco might do it to the Cowboys this
year. But Troy and Emmitt won't go down without a struggle.
Somehow this is the point the talk show hosts keep missing.
All content copyright 1996, AP, The Abilene
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