Undefeated teams that play the Dallas Cowboys after September do not attain championship success if they defeat America's Team. Injuring Tony Romo dooms any team to the ordinary status of watching another team hoist the Lombardi.
A win in Arlington this Sunday could doom the Broncos to second place...or worse.
The statistical oddity started in 2006 after Tony Romo assumed the reigns of the most popular American Football team in the world. The 9-0 Indianapolis Colts visited the Dallas Cowboys on November 19th. The Cowboys took control of the game and won 21-14.
The losing quarterback that day, Peyton Manning went on to win his first (I expect this season will bring his second) Super Bowl trophy. The Colts jettisoned Manning and he is now trying to end his career with a few Super Bowl victories like a former quarterback the Colts drafted first overall.
In 2007, Romo's first full season starting for the most valuable team in the western hemisphere, the undefeated New England Patriots (5-0) stormed into Irving and defeated the Cowboys 48-27 on October 14th. The game was tightly contested through the first three quarters, but the prolific Patriots' offense seemed to know the defensive calls for the Cowboys and pulled away.
The Patriots, assisted by the talents of Matt Walsh, became the first team to finish 16-0 during a NFL regular season. On February 3rd, 2008, New England suffered its only loss, a devastating 17-14 loss in Super Bowl XLII to conclude their season 18-1.
On December 19th, 2009, the 13-0 New Orleans Saints hosted the Dallas Cowboys on a nationally broadcast Saturday night game. The Saints were heavy favorites and local Dallas media personalities were wondering if the NFL would permit the Cowboys to forfeit.
The Cowboys beat the Saints that evening behind the arm of Tony Romo, 24-17. Following the loss, the Saints defeated the Peyton Manning led Colts in Super Bowl XLIV to claim their only championship.
The 7-0 Atlanta Falcons hosted the Dallas Cowboys on November 4th, 2012. The Sunday night tilt was won by Atlanta, 19-13. Having earned home field advantage throughout the playoffs, the Falcons hosted the NFC Championship game. Despite dominating the game statistically and leading at the half, 24-14, Atlanta lost to San Francisco 28-24.
The prestigious Dallas Cowboys franchise did not face any undefeated teams from October through January in 2008, 2010, or 2011. In those seasons, however, teams committed the ill fated act of injuring Tony Romo.
In 2008, Arizona defeated Dallas 30-24 in overtime. Tony Romo suffered a fractured throwing hand late in the game and was lost for the next three games. Kurt Warner led his second NFL team to the Super Bowl and lost to the Steelers.
The incredibly lucky New York Giants blitzed Tony Romo on October 25th, 2010. The hit delivered by Michael Boley on Monday night resulted in Romo fracturing his clavicle and missing the rest of the season.
While the Giants won the game to climb to 5-2, New York finished 10-6 and failed to qualify for the playoffs. After the Cowboys suffered two more humiliating defeats, former Broncos' head coach Wade Phillips was fired, ushering in a new era featuring a young, intelligent offensive minded coach that was Jerry Jones' first hire to potentially take the head coaching position (sound familiar?).
The 2011 San Francisco 49ers hosted the Dallas Cowboys the second week of the regular season. The 1-0 49ers were leading when Romo left the game with what later was diagnosed as a pneumothorax and fractured ribs. The indomitable Tony Romo returned and commanded a come from behind victory over the reviled 49ers, 27-24.
San Francisco finished the season 13-3 with home field advantage granted throughout the playoffs. In the NFC Championship game, however, the 49ers fumbled away their chances to advance to Super Bowl XLVI and were left longing to relive their glory of the eighties (they still are...).
This Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys host the seemingly unconquerable Denver Broncos at 2:25 Mountain Standard Time. It pains me as a Dallas Cowboys fan to recognize the futility of a diminishing Dallas defense competing against a quarterback in the midst of playing the greatest season ever recorded in American Football.
Considering that the urbane Peyton Manning could win his second Super Bowl with a team that I would like to see hoist the Lombardi (in addition to my Cowboys) would be a dramatic departure from Super Bowls in the recent past:
2007 - 2008: Giants [Incredibly lucky!]
2008 - 2009: Steelers [This should have been Denver!]
2010 - 2011: Packers [I guess it was better than watching the Steelers win again...]
2011 - 2012: Giants [How lucky can one team get? A 9-7 team winning the Super Bowl?]
2012 - 2013: Ravens [Another Super Bowl that should have featured Denver!]
I wonder if Peyton's elephant-like memory will remind him of that afternoon in Irving, Texas on November 19th, 2006. The day he lost to Tony Romo and the Cowboys, but assured himself of his first Super Bowl.
After all, 18-1 is a great record: as long as the one was not the last game.
Good luck to the Broncos (after 10/6/13) and to the most courteous fans in the NFL.*
Thanks in advance. Hope you enjoyed the post...
*There is no reference to this. It is just my opinion.