The Dallas Cowboys are pathetic. America gathered around to watch America's Team between bites of yams and cranberry sauce yesterday and were treated to the Washington Football Team serving just desserts in the form of a 41-16 walloping.
A reasonably close game turned into bloodshed after Mike McCarthy dialed up an inexplicable and ill-fated fake punt. It was sad and the latest regrettable data point in a season that deserves to purchased and blown up by a Metroplex sports bar looking to make a buzz with a big explosion like they did with the Steve Bartman ball.
And while it's possible to understand how the Cowboys find themselves in this position with Dak Prescott suffering a gruesome season-ending injury, it's jarring what a fall from relevancy this particular starship is experiencing.
How bad have things become? Well, consider this anecdotal evidence. As a Lions fan, the NFL franchise I felt most secondhand embarrassment for last night was Dallas. One can imagine Jerry Jones is not entirely thrilled about all this, having finally decided to push Jason Garrett, the proverbial soda machine, out over the offseason after years of Sam-Diane-ish will-they-or-won't-they tension.
McCarthy was supposed to be the man who could lead a talented roster deeper into the playoffs. He was supposed to draw upon his vast experience and success in Green Bay and be a stabilizing and authoritative force on the sidelines. If Garrett was the TA, then McCarthy was seen as a tenured professor with patches on his tweed jacket. At least, that was the plan.
Through 11 games he and his staff have looked more like hard-partying sophomores who forgot there was a test today and are scrambling on the fly to break the D-minus mark. Dallas at one point had 14 defensive players on the field. They failed on a 4th-and-1 from their own 34 via a questionable Andy Dalton-to-CeeDee Lamb attempt.
The problems seem vast. The core competency is feeling more and more like incompetency. So it begs the question: what's next?
Even the most reactionary fan understands that this is far too small a sample size for McCarthy's seat to heat up to ejection thresholds. Especially when Jones has show more restraint than most owners in putting up with lackluster results. But it's past time to stare at the obvious and that obvious is that McCarthy is digging himself a large hole.
The NFC East was right there on a silver platter this year, even for an Andy Dalton-quarterbacked team. Barring something even wilder, the Cowboys won't be a factor in deciding the playoff rep from this putrid division. Not a great first impression.
And one he'll have to overcome quickly next year. With a ton of question marks. Not a great scenario. One getting worse by the week as McCarthy flings shovel-full after shovel-full of dirt over his shoulder, his hole growing closer and closer to land trod by Jules Verne narrative.