By Steve Silverman
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It’s all but over for the Dallas Cowboys.
They may have an outsized stadium and an owner with an ego the size of … well … Texas, but the days when the Cowboys were America’s Team are over and they will never return.
It’s not just about having an ordinary team that plays tough defense but struggles on the offensive end. They rarely make the playoffs and when they do they can’t get out of their own way.
In the days of Tom Landry, when the Cowboys were at the top of their game, they were smarter than you and better than you.
The Cowboys haven’t been smarter than anybody for a long time.
It’s not that Jones is a bad guy, as he is frequently painted. It’s that he can’t find a coach who can give them an identity.
The Cowboys had an identity with Landry from 1960 through 1988. The Cowboys gained a new identity when Jones fired him and hired Jimmy Johnson, who coached the team from 1989 through 1993 and won as many Super Bowls (2) as Landry.
But when the egos got too big, Jones and Johnson decided they couldn’t live with each other and walked away from each other.
The closest was Bill Parcells, who coached the Cowboys from 2003-06 and did a decent job. But he just didn’t have the youth or the heart to stay on the job.
After Wade Phillips failed to run a tight enough ship, the Cowboys have been Jason Garrett’s to run. He’s supposed to be an offensive genius who can out-think opposing defenses, but it just hasn’t worked out that way.
Garrett and quarterback Tony Romo have one more chance to get it done, but if they can’t win the NFC East or at least win a game in the postseason as a wild card team, Jones will once again make moves with his coach and his quarterback.
There’s nothing steady or dependable about what once was the most visible franchise in the NFL. They are just another middle of the pack team.
Everyone knows it, including the players who wear the helmet with the star on it.
They come into Met Life Stadium Wednesday with an opportunity to open the season against the defending Super Bowl champions. They have a superb defense that will allow them to stay in most games, but they don’t know how to make plays at the end of the game against good teams.
That’s their history and it will not change until they prove otherwise.
The Giants simply know they can beat the Cowboys by avoiding mistakes for three quarters and then out-executing them in the fourth quarter.
Who are you going to take? Eli Manning, Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz or Romo, Dez Bryant and Miles Austin?
It’s no contest. When it comes to physical talent, those three Cowboys are probably just as talented if not more so than the Giants’ trio. But the Cowboys play as if the weight of the world is on them when the game is on the line.
They may be the choking-est team in the NFL. Since beating the Vikings in a postseason game at the end of the 1996 season, they have won exactly one playoff game.
The big moments used to bring out the best in the Cowboys, now they just wonder what mistake is coming next.
They lack that certain flair that made them America’s Team and they are not close to getting it back.
There’s no swagger to this bunch any more.
Is “America’s Team” the NFL’s softest team? Send you thoughts to @ProFootballBoy…