10. The Cowboys are in the playoffs. First time I’ve been able to type that since we were all watching The Hangover, listening to The Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling”, mourning the death of Michael Jackson and wondering if Tiger Woods’ Escalade accident would affect his golf game. Yep, 2009.
9. For the first time in four years the Cowboys’ finale won’t be do-or-die. Instead, they’re did-and-done, thanks in part to something we hardly ever mutter: Thank you, Redskins!
8. Happy? Yep. Giddy? Go ahead. Smug ‘cuz I told you so? Don’t even start. In training camp no one – not even owner Jerry Jones – was predicting a division title for the Cowboys. And after that dreadful 0-4 preseason the bandwagon was about as empty as I can remember since the Dave Campo Era. But now? Scooch a bit, will ya?
7. Kim Jong Un would have rather watched The Interview than the Cowboys’ total obliteration of the Colts that turned what should have been a long-overdue coronation into a second-half nap. While the Cowboys broke records and clinched a championship, the dreadful Colts dutifully played the role of the Washington Generals.
6. Attending today’s championship party: Emmitt Smith, Chris Christie, Papa John and that bearded dude who wears an American flag for a headband on Duck Dynasty. America’s Team, welcome back.
5. Pretty good week inside AT&T Stadium for local pigskin teams. Allen, Cedar Hill, Aledo and Ennis win High School State Championships and the Cowboys clinch a division.
4. Fittingly on his 15th consecutive completion and a beautiful strike to Jason Witten that made it 35-0, Tony Romo passed Troy Aikman as the Cowboys’ all-time leading passer. Like him or not, the dude has an impressive statistical legacy. And, more importantly, a third playoff game on his horizon. This season Romo has 32 touchdowns and eight interceptions. And, to think, he threw three of those picks in the season-opening loss to the 49ers.
3. In 2009 the Cowboys won the East and made the playoffs via back-to-back shutouts in December. In 2014 they clinched thanks to back-to-back-to-back offensive outbursts of 41, 38 and 42 points. That 10-point Thanksgiving debacle seems like nothing more than a bad dream.
2. I predicted the Cowboys would win this game by 10+ points. And that was before the huge assists from the Colts. After a third-down tackle that should’ve forced a punt on Dallas’ opening drive, Indianapolis linebacker Jerrell Freeman jumped up and barked at Lance Dunbar. Dumb move? Sure. But I remember a grown man’s NFL where that was merely considered emotion instead of taunting. Cowboys scored after the reprieve and scored again after the Colts correctly audibled into a fake punt only to have a wide-open Dewey McDonald drop what would’ve been an easy first down. The Colts played like a team with nothing to gain. The Cowboys played like a team hungry for a division title. Cowboys had a 35-0 lead heading into the 4th quarter for the first time since 1978.
1. Throw up the X? Indeed. This time – finally – to designate in the standings that the Cowboys have clinched the NFC East and a playoff berth. Merry Christmas. It’s a special gift to clinch the postseason and kill the Eagles in the same afternoon.
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 lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.