It is with some trepidation that we anoint Skip Bayless as the spokesman for anything other than the Most Ridiculous Thing You've Heard All Day Club, but we're going to bite the bullet and do it anyway.
Bayless was on ESPN's "First Take" Monday and said that he was going back on his prediction of the Cowboys as the NFC entrant in the Super Bowl. You're familiar with the reasons Bayless gave for his change of opinion -- struggling offense, injured offensive linemen, Wade Phillips's reputation for leading poor training camps, an utter lack of courage and/or honesty in his convictions -- because you've been hearing them from all corners of Cowboyland for the last few weeks.
The common refrain, which Bayless summed up well on Monday, is that if these have been dress rehearsals for the season, the play is going to be a massive failure. In particular, this weekend's game with the Texans has touched off a stampede of people backtracking on their belief that this will be a banner year for the Cowboys.
While we won't attempt to put any lipstick on what was a fairly piggish performance, here's the question for Bayless and anyone else now predicting gloom when they were once predicting glory: What's so different about these Cowboys?
The offensive line is injured! You knew the offensive line was on the older side and you knew that there wasn't a tremendous amount of depth, so why did you pick them in the first place?
Uncle Wade is too soft on them! It's not like this is Phillips's first rodeo, so you picked the team to do well with full knowledge of who was leading them into battle. Turning around and using him as a reason why the team is going to fall short says a lot more about the person making the prediction than it does about the team.
The offense can't score/The defense has holes! Again, it is the same team and same personnel you thought was going to run roughshod over the NFC just a month ago. They haven't looked good, but they do call it preseason for a reason. There are no team-specific game plans and schemes are either vanilla or designed to test particular looks and players in particular situations. Unless this is the first time you've watched the NFL, you have to know that, much like at a strip club, you don't see everything until there's money on the table.
Let's belabor that analogy. Since you know that strippers are doing it for the money, you aren't likely to really believe they like you as much as they do when they are trying to get you to part with some of that cash. In other words, your expectations don't change just because of the dance you have to do to get to the good parts.
Use that strip club approach for the NFL season as well. The Cowboys might win 13 games or they might crash out of the playoffs, we can't know that right now. All we can know is that they are the same team they were when everyone was making their brash predictions and that nothing's happened that should radically affect anyone's expectations for the year to come.
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