The expectations for the Dallas Cowboys heading into the 2020 season could not be higher. Jason Garrett was replaced by Mike McCarthy, Dak Prescott was franchise-tagged, the team drafted CeeDee Lamb to add to an already-dangerous receiving core, and the attitude is Super Bowl-or-bust.
After returning pretty much the same roster from last year, though, there are legitimate questions about if Dallas can live up to that hype and get all of their pieces to translate to winning football. Kyle Brandt discussed that very idea on the Rich Eisen Show today and explained why the Cowboys feel like Long Island Iced Tea to him-- filled with expensive and wide-ranging ingredients, but deeply unsatisfying.
"Are the Cowboys just a bunch of fancy ingredients?" said Brandt. "Is the drink really that good? Because at the end of it you're still holding your hair back and throwing up in a gutter. It has a lot of fancy ingredients, but sometimes the drink just isn't that good. It's fancy every year, but I'm not necessarily ready to order it."
Brandt continued, "They're never great. They're always just solid. Dak Prescott is a solid quarterback. Mike McCarthy is a solid hire. When are they going to be spectacular?"
It's an interesting and amusing analogy, but I think Brandt gets his wires crossed here. Initially, yes the Cowboys are a Long Island Iced Tea, filled with the fancy stuff but ultimately ending in an experience you'd rather not remember. But a Long Island Iced Tea isn't a "solid" drink. It's tasty, but not particularly reliable because the strength and taste factor varies from bar to bar.
I would instead argue that the Cowboys are solid in that they are consistently disappointing. Every year is declared the year Dallas would return to the Super Bowl, and every year since their last appearance has proven that belief incorrect. Thus, they are a mojito, not a Long Island Iced Tea.
You see, I have a grand opinion of mojitos in my head. Who doesn't think highly of a tropical beach drink that's kind of like a margarita but not really? Yet it is far more difficult than one would expect to find a good mojito at a standard restaurant or bar. You order it expecting greatness, but then there's too much syrup or the whole drink coalesces around the leaves in the bottom of the glass, leaving a concoction that toggles between straight booze and concentrated sugar as the final sips of the beverage. It requires balance, as Brandt notes about the Long Island Iced Tea and the Cowboys, to make a good mojito. That balance is far more tenuous than that of a Long Island Iced Tea, just as the balance of Dallas' offense next season will be quite tenuous indeed.
I apologize in advance for any mojito enthusiasts up in arms after reading this. But it makes sense! Hopefully Brandt reconsiders, for the sake of any Long Island Iced Tea fans.