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Dallas Cowboys fans may be rejoicing because quarterback Tony Romo is scheduled to start Sunday night's game against Washington, but they shouldn't get their hopes up. Remember, the Cowboys lost as many games with Romo starting as they did when he was out for three games with a broken pinkie.
And it's not as if the underachieving Cowboys have shown they can break out of a malaise. Look at last season, when Dallas started strong, slumped in December and was out of the playoffs after its first game. What makes anyone think they can reverse that trend this year?
Certainly it's not Coach Wade Phillips, who doesn't exactly inspire confidence. He's 0-4 in the playoffs for a reason. Dallas has lacked discipline and accountability this season, and even played at times with a sense of entitlement. That's all on the coach folks.
Then there's Romo, who hasn't exactly played his best when it matters most. Romo is a fantastic regular season quarterback, but that doesn't matter much in Dallas. The most revered Cowboys quarterbacks are Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman because they brought the team five Super Bowl titles. Their regular season statistics pale in comparison to their contemporaries, but in the postseason and big games, they were among the best of all-time.
Romo has not earned the right to be mentioned with those players yet. He has to win a playoff game first, and that's not going to happen this season because Dallas won't be playing in January.
In order to make the playoffs, Dallas probably needs to win at least five of its final seven games. The Cowboys' schedule the second half of the season includes road games against Washington, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and home games against the New York Giants and Baltimore. San Francisco and Seattle are the only teams with losing records on Dallas's remaining schedule.
Even if we assume Dallas beats the 49ers and Seahawks -- and that's a significant presumption considering the Cowboys lost to lowly St. Louis by 20 points -- tell me where you see three other wins.
Unless Romo has a finishing stretch reminiscent of Staubach's in 1971, when Captain Comeback went 10-0 and won the Super Bowl after being named the starter by then-coach Tom Landry halfway through the season, this year's version of the Dallas Cowboys will be one of the most prolific disappointments in recent NFL memory.
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