In a word, Kyle Orton describes himself as "boring."
He despises social media and warns, "If you follow me on Twitter, don't."
But come Sunday he better shed the average, "aw shucks" persona. If the Cowboys are to beat the Eagles and make the playoffs, Orton has to be better than boring. He has to lead, and have his teammates follow.
As expected, Tony Romo is officially out for the season after undergoing surgery on a herniated disc in his back. In this year’s version of the NFC East Championship Game the Cowboys get to play at home, but with a quarterback who hasn’t started a game in two years.
The Cowboys have a horrid history of finishing seasons. And, unfortunately, it’s not going to improve in this season’s Week 17 in Arlington.
A combination of being bad, being injured, being meaningless and, yep, being bad, the Cowboys have the NFL’s worst Week 17 record since 2000. 2-11. That’s two wins, 11 losses in the last game of the season.
They are 7-point underdogs to the Eagles.
In 2003 the Cowboys went to the playoffs under Bill Parcells but lost their regular-season finale, 13-7, at the Saints. Same in ’06, when the appetizer for a playoff loss under Parcells was a defeat in Week 17, this time at home, 39-31, to Jon Kitna and the Lions.
In ’07 the Cowboys were 13-2 and had home-field in the NFC Playoffs secured, so the backups scrimmaged the Redskins to a 27-6 loss. In ’08, of course, with the playoffs on the line they laid a 44-6 egg in Philly. And the last two seasons Week 17 has featured a road loss in an in-or-out game.
The only two times the Cowboys have won their final regular-season game in the last 13 years? Both against the Eagles.
In ’09 they shut out Philly, 24-0, in Week 17 to clinch the NFC East. And the following year, with nothing on the line, Stephen McGee led a late touchdown drive for a 14-13 road win.
Bottom line: The Cowboys have annually faded in December and more times than not limped across the season’s finish line. Sunday against the Eagles they’ll be short-handed and … a year from today I’ll be writing that they’re 2-12 in their last 14 season finales.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently writes a sports/guy stuff blog at DFWSportatorium.com and lives in McKinney with his fiancee, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.