Last Sunday, newspapers across the country delivered a scathing last rites for the Dallas Cowboys as a result of a thoroughly -- with a few exceptions -- lackluster performance against the woeful Kansas City Chiefs. They came into Missouri, showed little emotion, made mistakes with a frequency that would usually spell a loss in the NFL -- and won.
These were the Kansas City Chiefs, after all. A week later (Sunday), the Philadelphia Eagles traveled to Oakland, showed little emotion, made numerous mistakes, and lost, to the consensus pick for worst team in the league. The reaction in print was predictably incredulous, with one blogger saying flatly, "This is a slap in the face to the memory of Jimmy Johnson, Philly's late defensive coordinator. He was rolling in his grave after seeing this performance."
It causes one to wonder what the reaction would be like in Dallas, had the 'Boys fallen to the hapless Raiders. Fans called for Wade Phillips' head after the win in Kansas City -- it wasn't, ostensibly, convincing enough; Oakland is worse (probably) than Kansas City. The math says that the reaction here would be nothing short of lynch mobs and pandemonium on the streets of downtown Dallas.
Jerry Jones has asserted and reasserted his devotion to Wade Phillips (although stopping short of offering him a contract extension), which probably makes this argument strictly for argument's sake. But is there a chance that wade could get canned if Dallas loses to Oakland? The Raiders? The laughing stock of most of the NFL?
Probably not; the team faces Oakland on Thanksgiving at JerryWorld. A loss, if we are to take Jerry for his word on any of the stops on the Wade's-Not-Getting-Fired tour 2009, would not equal Phillips' walking papers. But it would elicit a reaction -- dare I say -- worse, more fervent than that seen in Philadelphia Monday.
And that's a scary idea.
Of course, rational thought tells you that Dallas won't lose to Oakland. Not on Thanksgiving, at home. But rational thought--the same rational thought that had Philly as double-digit (14 point, to be exact) favorites Sunday -- only goes so far in professional football.