The Dallas Cowboys are flying into Philadelphia to play the Eagles on Sunday.
Is anyone else excited about this match up?
Three NFC East teams are tied with only 3 wins. The one with six losses, the Washington Redskins, is taking the weekend off, so one thing is certain: The Eagles and Cowboys are playing for second place in the division.
It’s a tall order, and if ever there were a time that two teams could lose against each other, this would be the week. QBs Tony Romo and his Eagle counterpart, Michael Vick, pretty much suck. They’re two seasoned veterans, don’t get me wrong. But in a season where Vick has nine INTs to 10 touchdowns and Romo has 13 INTs for 10 TDs, it really makes you scratch your head.
Competition hasn’t been especially tough, either. Both teams have beaten the Giants this season at least once. Dallas lost a second match up, and Philly has yet to play New York a second time. But after starting the season strong, the Eagles dropped a game to Arizona by a bunch of points. They beat New York the following week, and have dropped four straight to the Steelers, Lions, Falcons and Saints. Dallas’s wins have been against a questionably solid New York Giants and teams like the Bucs and Panthers. In round two this season, the Cowboys lost to New York a couple of weeks ago, and they can’t pick themselves off the turf.
You’ve got to start taking a hard look at the coaches.
Jason Garrett came into the Dallas franchise as an offensive coordinator in 2007. Since being named Head Coach in ’10, he has gone 16-16. He makes $3 million a year, what he made when he signed on as the highest-paid offensive coordinator in NFL history. That’s $93,750 per game. If I were Jerry Jones, I’d be looking for a new coach… or a cheaper one. All the blame can not fall on Romo’s shoulders. Yes, Garrett fixed a team heading backwards under Wade Phillips, but he’s made some dumb calls in his short tenure as head coach. In the game against the Atlanta Falcons last Sunday, the Cowboys traveled 80 yards in a few plays, mere seconds. Then he had Romo throw the short passes. In a now-infamous game from last season, Garrett called a time-out before his own kicker tried for a game-winning field goal. He iced his own kicker, who missed the game-winning field goal.
Then there was that early-season game during which the Cowboys held a 20-3 lead over the Detroit Lions at the half. Instead of reeling in the game and controlling the ball for the second half, Garrett elected to throw the ball, resulting in three INTS by Romo, two of which were returned for a touchdown. The Cowboys lost that game too, For shy of $100,000 a game, I’d expect more than that from my coach.
Reid, meanwhile, earns even more. “Forbes” lists him as the 8th-highest paid coach in the NFL with a $5.5 million yearly salary. He’s got a winning record in his tenure as head coach, a respectable .609 win percentage (126-81). But he has no title. In fact, he only led the Eagles to their second Superbowl appearance in history (XXXIV), where they lost to the Patriots. He has won the NFC East division title seven times, but this season he’s looking at a losing season and has a 4 game losing streak riding on his back.
Reid’s $5.5 million in compensation is shy of Washington Redskins’ coach Mike Shanahan’s reported $7 million per season, and given Shanahan’s equally horrid 3-6 record, it could be fiscally worse for the Eagles. But in a division that has left the door wide open for any team to make a run to the top, these coaches need to shuffle things up.
While living in the Delaware/Philly/South Jersey media markets, there was always a thrill in the air when the Cowboys came to Philly. It was a healthy rivalry. The teams were both solid. They were fun to watch. Troy Aikman versus Randall Cunningham. The rough-and-tumble Verterans’ Stadium, where Santa got booed and a judge and jail had to be added to the stadium to deal with rabid fans.
This Sunday, put on a pot of coffee and pop a few No Doze if you want to stay up through this one.