It’s doubtless been a dark couple of days for the bandwagonning fans, media and otherwise, of America’s biggest bandwagon team. It was not supposed to be like this. ESPN was supposed to be gearing up for stories on the 4-0 Cowboys, who would be ¼ of the way to repeating the Patriots’ perfect season. Peter King was probably already drooling over pre-written pieces on the possibility of a Tony Romo vs. Brett Favre Super Bowl. The Redskins, that minor inconvenience of an 11-point underdog, were no match for Destiny’s Team.
The collective fawn-fest is put on hold, of course, at least for a week, until the Cowboys can rally themselves to slip by the Bengals at home. The story will have to go from 2007 Patriots to 1985 Bears, of course, but they’re talented professionals. They can improvise that much.
Still, there are those pesky weekly power rankings. There must be some sort of major repercussions for losing at home to a supposedly vastly inferior team, right? USC dropped eight spots in the polls after losing to Oregon State, on the road! How to balance this and still hold on to the pervasive Dallas bias?
Apparently King, Tony Romo’s biggest fan, or at least a fan of his enchanting smile, could not bring himself to rank the glamorous ‘Boys any lower than second in his Fine Fifteen. But what about the ‘Skins, the darling-killers who took down that vaunted destined-for-undefeated-Super-Bowl-glory team on their own field with that inane Rock-Cartwright-danced-upon blue star? Stuffed behind the Titans at #4, with no mention of their league-shocking upset, just some snark about the preseason liklihood that they would be the NFL’s worst team after Week 4.
He’s not the only one in denial about the collapse of the Cowboys’ undefeated season. ESPN holds on to hope that their favorite team will still rebound to fill their pseudo-sports-news programming with glitzy stories about America’s alleged team. They rank Dallas #3, which is bordering on heresy in the media world of Dallas-jocking. The regicide-prone Redskins are a Top 5 afterthought at #6, which is an improvement over the #15 land of mediocrity in which the dwelt last week.
So it’ still an uphill climb for the ‘Skins on their quest for recognition and a legitimate place in the NFC playoff discussion. A win in Philly should go a long way to establishing that recognition. It wouldn’t carry the same weight in the pundits’ eyes as a Dallas home win over Cincy, of course, but it’s a big step. Then it’s on to the cupcake portion of the schedule (something Dallas should be familiar with) where the real progress can be made.