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How, Indeed, ‘Bout Them Cowboys?

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 22: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys looks on against the San Francisco 49ers during the first half in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at Levi's Stadium on January 22, 2023 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

This was the tweet that knotted knickers across the NFL diaspora:

And this was the story it linked to.

In other words, the official palaver organ of the Dallas Cowboys took the words of quarterback Dak Prescott and applied them to both a story and a tweet in which Prescott took the blame for the loss, as we require quarterbacks to do when the flames get high. The tweet, though, was worded less elegantly than the prose, so it looked for all the world like the team's official version of Sunday's 19-12 defeat at San Francisco was that Dak would have to be gulag'ed alone.

In other words, those who jumped the gun (and admittedly, the nitwit you are reading now was among them) and saw the tweet but was too busy curing diseases to click on the link saw in the Cowboys a team that had made up its mind in the heat of the moment to condemn its $40 million quarterback while letting its sitting room sofa of a coach skate unharmed.

Well, that's one on us, and proves yet again that one should never read team sites for any reason. Most of them are the advertising and video compendia they were meant to be, and never a place to find anything but ticket prices, merch, and photos of F-list celebrities standing next to the team mascot and quietly praying for the sweet release of death.

So now that that's settled, let's examine instead what didn't get said, which is that acted just like every other site by leaving Mike McCarthy free of examination because unlike Prescott, he didn't fall on his cutting board in his postgame presser. In a game with plenty of blame to go around—like "Why didn't the Cowboys beat the best defense in football without their best running back?" and "Why didn't they go for it on fourth and five and then fourth and 10, and how did those decisions raise their chances of winning from nil to near nil?" and "What happened to Ezekiel Elliott?" and "What was Dalton Schultz thinking?" and "What was Trevon Diggs thinking?" and "Why was Mike McCarthy thinking?"—the place to get the most critical and objective analysis was actually not

Put simply, if you need to rip the Cowboys for losing a game they were expected to lose and kept the better team closer than most people expected, there are lots of places that will abattoir them for you, like this by noted meataxe-wielder K. Kahler, both fairly and comprehensively. You don't have to look hard to find it—it's everywhere the internet is available.

What could have done to save everyone involved a lot of grief was to take Patrik Walker’s story and tweet out instead this happy tease: "Oh, For Christ's Sake." Or to be safer, "Cowboys Find Innovative Ways To Fail To Succeed." The tweet looks like Prescott is being blamed alone, because Prescott alone blamed himself, which is what the self-effacing hero-gone-south is expected to do in our performative culture, so in that way, the tweet is both accurately misleading and misleadingly accurate.

But isn't working to further the glory of objective analysis. It is by Cowboys professionals for Cowboys fans. It just tweeted badly, and that is hardly a great-white-elk-sighting rarity. If you want McCarthy or Schultz or Diggs or Elliott dry-roasted, or even Tony Pollard for breaking his own leg like the notorious shirker he is, you just need to go to another site. Like, well, this one.

Except that now you don't have to anymore because we, like the rest of the America not obsessed with the Cowboys and their 27-year litany of talk-before-walk, are now moving on to our next carcass. Mike McCarthy will be back, and so will Dak Prescott, and most hilariously of all, so will Jerry Jones. They are committed to their hamster wheel of progress, and so is Whether we come along or not is entirely up to us, and for our collective sanity, our decision should be, "Thanks, we'll pass. Which frankly is something Dak didn't do very well on Sunday."

Damn it. Foiled by our own lazy habits yet again.

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