Despite Past Two Seasons' Failures, Dallas Cowboys Haven't Been All Bad

By Ben Grimaldi
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys have finished 8-8 the past two NFL seasons, and in both of those seasons they had a chance to finish at 9-7 and win the division. Forget what it says about the rest of the NFC East for the past few years and focus on what the Cowboys have achieved in those seasons.

You read that right, I said achieved. I know there are plenty of Cowboys fans who will disagree with that, and judging by the reaction from the majority of the fans since the season ended, they do disagree, but look a little deeper at what they have been able to accomplish.

Last year the Cowboys were in position to win the NFC East but fell short on the road in the last week of the season. They put themselves into that position with an average running game that lost their best running back for the stretch run, with a first year head coach who admittedly made mistakes and because of one pass that got into the lights and eluded Miles Austin. If he catches that ball the Cowboys go to the playoffs without needing to play a win-or-go-home game in New York. Of course, we all know what happened and whether you choose to believe it happened because of the lights, a bad pass from Tony Romo or Austin not running the route correctly, the fact remains the Cowboys lost the game.

Most importantly though, they failed to make the playoffs last season because they blew more fourth quarter leads than any Cowboys team had ever blown in a season. They simply couldn’t finish; they couldn’t finish games or the season because the defense was downright awful to end the year. They were allowing big plays all over the field and couldn’t stop anyone.

Yet despite all the problems the Cowboys had last season they were still in position to make the postseason, just as they were this year. Some of the problems for the 2012 Cowboys were the same ones they had last year, like struggling to the run ball and DeMarco Murray missing more time. The defense played much better but still couldn’t stop anyone at key times in more than one game and they didn’t cause enough turnovers to make a difference in the Cowboys season.

However, the good news was the Cowboys learned to finish games and played with intensity for 60 minutes, something they struggled to do last year. Of course injuries crushed most of the Cowboys year but they still fought like heck to be in the playoff race until the very end. They also rallied together after the loss of a teammate and became what no felt they had been in a long time, a team.

So in the two seasons with Jason Garrett as the coach and despite all those problems the Cowboys have had in the past few years, the Dallas Cowboys have done their best to stay in the playoff hunt. And all the while we’re hearing about how bad Garrett is as coach and an offensive coordinator, how bad Rob Ryan was as a defensive coach, how poorly Tony Romo plays in big games and how bad Jerry Jones seems to be at, well, everything.

I just have one question for all the Cowboys fans out there, if this team is so bad and can’t seem to get anything right, how the heck were they able to almost make the playoffs in the past two seasons? Sure the division wasn’t great but if the Cowboys were as bad as everyone makes it seem, they should’ve been trolling the bottom of the division shouldn’t they?

I know there’s frustration for a fan-base who desperately wants a winner but my goodness look at all they’ve been up against. They haven’t been able to put it all together yet and I know it stinks to watch the playoffs again but they are working on it. Even if you don’t like the changes they’ve made so far this off-season, at least their trying. There are teams out there that don’t try as much as Jones and the Cowboys do.

Yes, the Cowboys have failed to meet expectations the past few years but maybe with a little better luck next season they will be in the playoffs. They’ve got all off-season to get better, so let’s see how the draft and free agency turns out before we bury the 2013 Dallas Cowboys.

Just thought I’d give Cowboys fans something to think about.

you can chat with or follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi 

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