A Plea to the Cowboys Players

Dear Tony and co,

It’s been a tough year. It’s been tough in the same way that a lot of Cowboys seasons have been tough lately; talent wasted, leads squandered, coaches befuddled, Jerry indignant.

Honestly, look at your season. Assuming we don’t look too hard at the games you won and consider how close you came to losing a couple of them, this should be a 9-5 team on the verge of punching their playoff ticket this weekend. The losses to Detroit and Green Bay were abominable, and those weren’t even the games that you lost by 32 and 17 points. The Denver loss was both admirable and stroke-inducing at the same time; only the Cowboys could have their quarterback throw for 500+ yards and 5 TDs in the first 57 minutes of the game, yet still be in a dogfight for the final 3. That’s 10-4 without stretching the imagination too much, but alas, we’re back in familiar territory.

Your next two opponents are eminently beatable. In fact, you’ve actually beat both of them already this year. Remember those games? They were in October, which are no different than games in December, and you’d be smart to remind yourselves of that.

Washington is starting Kirk Cousins this week because Mike Shanahan. This is not when you let out a sigh of relief that you don’t have to chase RG III around all day. I’ve seen your defense. Kirk Cousins will fuck you up if you’re feeling relieved right now. Kirk Cousins is Peyton Manning as far as you should be concerned, and if you’re not preparing as such, you will lose. This is what they call a trap game, and since I know that your coach has no idea what that is, I’ll explain. Don’t think about Philadelphia next week, because Philadelphia doesn’t matter if you don’t take care of Washington first. This game against Washington is the Superbowl. It’s the difference between you having or not having a job next year.

As a Cowboys fan, I would be remiss if I didn’t hedge a little here. I have learned over the past twenty-six years that if I look upon you with blind optimism, you will cause me extreme physical pain. Therefore, I won’t ask you to promise victory, but play like men. December is not the time for Milton Berle games; it’s the time for Charles Haley games.

Your owner may be insane, and your coaches are definitely atrocious, but excuses won’t earn you any more forgiveness from me; I’m done apologizing for you. Win or lose these next two weeks, play like you care. Please.

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