The majority of the offensive line didn’t suit up. Dez Bryant wore a towel under his baseball cap. Tony Romo played three snaps.
In other words, it was perfectly imperfect. Because most importantly, no Cowboys were injured in Sunday night’s 23-6 loss to the 49ers.
Funny, we breathlessly wait for the return of football for six long months only to get this: the preseason. For some reason the lackluster blowout drew a TV rating of 16.8 on CBS. That translates into 438,000 DFW homes that watched and, let’s be honest, just had to be bored to death.
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I mean, witnessing No. 3 quarterback Dustin Vaughan look as inept as a high-schooler was bad enough. But to think, the result – the score – was absolutely meaningless.
No? The Cowboys went 0-4 in the preseason last summer, then turned that around into a 12-4 regular season, complete with a division championship and a playoff appearance. In 2008 the Lions went undefeated in the preseason, then winless in the regular season.
In their history the Cowboys have played over 225 preseason games and I have distinct memories from exactly three of them: 1979 when safety Charlie Waters tore up his knee in a season-ending injury; 1989 when they beat the Oilers on a last-second field goal, sending rookies Jimmy Johnson and Jerry Jones skipping up the Texas Stadium tunnel in naïve joy and optimism; and 2005 when a rookie defensive end named DeMarcus Ware provided a glimpse of his immense talent with three tackles, a sack, two forced fumbles, one recovered fumble, a deflected pass and a diving interception – all in the first quarter.
But, seriously, the preseason doesn’t matter. Quick, who did the Cowboys play in the preseason last year? That’s what I thought. But ask the Packers (receiver Jordy Nelson) and Steelers (center Maurkice Pouncey) about this year’s preseason and they’ll say it’s been very impactful in a negative way.
I think the NFL does it wrong. Not enough football practices in the offseason and too many exhibition games in the preseason. Caught a little of Bengals-Buccaneers on ESPN last night and I swear there weren’t 500 people in the stands in the 4th quarter. When the draft and the scouting combine are more exciting than actual football games, you’ve got a problem.
Bottom line: Don’t allow your major players to suffer major injuries in the preseason. Because in the big picture, it’s pointless.
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 lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.