That’s the question that has been asked by nearly every expert and on almost every sports channel since the Cowboys’ loss to the Packers on Sunday evening. But it’s a question when thought about, doesn’t seem to be that hard to answer. The Cowboys’ 2016 season was by far a success, and anybody doubting that was probably hit harder than Cole Beasley in Sunday’s game.
On August 25th, just weeks before the NFL regular season started, the Cowboys lost arguably their best and most valuable player, Tony Romo, for the season. The Cowboys had to replace their best player at the most important position in sports with a rookie quarterback drafted 135th out of an option-based offense at Mississippi State. That should have been it. They went from my favorite to win the NFC East to a team that I predicted to come in 3rd in their division. The injury to Romo, before the season even started, made anything better than a 3rd place finish in the East a success.
But the Cowboys didn’t just finish better than 3rd, they won the division. A division that featured two other teams with winning records (Giants: 11-5 Redskins: 8-6-1). And it’s not just the division that the team dominated, the Cowboys also posted the best record in the NFL. They went 10-0 outside of their division, beating two of the four teams still in the playoffs. For a team that before the season was considered a sub-.500 team to be the top overall seed in the NFL is impressive and far from the failure that some analysts believe it to be.
And for a team that was without their best quarterback the Cowboys turned their rookie backup quarterback into an MVP candidate who helped lead the #5 scoring offense in football. And for a team that was told that they didn’t have the defense capable of carrying a team to the playoffs, they posted the #5 scoring defense despite not having a shutdown corner or a pass rushing threat. The fact of the matter is the Cowboys offense was led by two unproven rookies at important positions, and their defense was a group of above average players and together coach Jason Garrett (should be the Coach of the Year) led the Cowboys to a 13-3 record in the regular season and there was no better team during the season.
And not only should the 2016 season be considered a success for what the Cowboys were able to accomplish on the field, but also what they were able to do for the future of the franchise. The Cowboys now look like strong contenders in the near future because of the emergence of young playmakers at key spots like the expected Rookie of the Year winner Ezekiel Elliott at running back and quarterback Dak Prescott, both of whom not only flashed special ability but consistently proved to be two of the best at their respective positions. This showing by young players make for an optimistic future in “Big D” and that is just another reason why 2016 was successful for the Dallas franchise.
Of course the regular season success and emergence of young playmakers the Cowboys had this season leads to the argument some “analysts” have maintained that since the Cowboys went winless in the postseason that means that the season has been a disappointment. Stephen A. Smith, arguably the worst talking head in sports, went as far as to say that the Cowboys season was “absolutely a catastrophic failure” because they went winless in the playoffs despite being the top seed in the NFL. However, what idiots like Smith are missing is that making it to the 2nd round of the NFL playoffs and losing in one of the greatest games in NFL history for a team that wasn’t even expected to be a .500 team is not only not a failure, but successful beyond belief.
Too many of these experts are confusing their answer on whether or not the postseason was by comparison to the 13-3 regular season a success, rather than looking at the entire season when answering the question. If they did that, then they would realize a team that lost its best and most valuable player before the season, and replaced him with an unproven not-highly-thought-of rookie became the NFL’s best team throughout the entire regular season when they were looked at as no better than a 3rd place in their division type of team. And if that can’t be considered a success, then there is simply no pleasing the people who have no reason to consider themselves “sports experts” at all.