Dallas Cowboys fans may have an issue with perspective. It’s not entirely their fault, either. Up until the New England Patriots’ run with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, the Cowboys were the face of organizational excellence. They’ve won five Super Bowls and eight NFC championships, setting the standard for performance. Teams weren’t judged by their regular season wins, only in terms of whether or not they looked ready to compete for the big prize.
Still, to this day, that is the standard they live by. So when Dallas started this season 6-1 with an MVP candidate at quarterback, defensive player of the year candidate at cornerback and a rookie of the year candidate at linebacker there was no question where Cowboys’ fans and the media’s projections were headed. That the team had a midseason stumble wouldn’t be too bad if it were the usual suspect of the defense returning to earth.