I'm a fan of the James Bond films, even though they're about as formulaic as movies can be without ending with a guy and girl finally figuring out that they love each other shortly before one of them gets on a plane. The formula is an enjoyable one, after all.
Megalomaniac comes up with a plan for global domination through outlandish means -- weather machines! women painted gold! dwarves with hats that kill! -- only to be foiled at the end because they spend a little bit too much time letting Bond know about their plans and too little time just killing him. But you already knew how ridiculous the premises of those movies are, at least you do if you've seen one or all of the Austin Powers films.
What you might not have realized, though, is that the Cowboys are the football equivalent of a Bond villain. The identity of the megalomaniac should be fairly obvious, the Lombardi Trophy stands in for global domination and the endless chatter about how loaded the team is takes the place of the taunts directed at Bond. And, just like the movies, Cowboys seasons follow the same formula.
The first three-quarters of the season are spent scaring the rest of the NFL with their depth and talent to the point that you find yourself buying into the chance that this is really their year, the same way you find yourself interested in the tension of the latest Bond flick even though you know he'll win in the final 15 minutes. The only thing missing is punny double entendre names for the cheerleaders.
After all the build-up, the final quarter of the season sees the plan come apart as the Cowboys combust thanks to internal dissension, overconfidence and the downright inevitability of the way these stories come to an end. Oh, they come up with slightly different endings each time to keep the audiences interested but it really doesn't matter how you get from point A to point B. A botched hold here, a defused bomb there and it's time to roll the credits. As goes Bond, so go the Cowboys.
The Cowboys, unlike Bond's enemies, actually have some control over their script but right now it's easier to imagine 007 taking a bullet to the brain than it is to see the Cowboys sidestepping danger long enough to dance into the playoffs.