'Big D' for disappointment

The Baltimore Sun

On Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys and Indianapolis Colts lost their third games. In less than half a season, the Cowboys (4-3) and Colts (3-3) have each lost as many games as they did all last year, when each finished 13-3.

And though neither has covered itself in glory, Dallas stands singularly as America's Disappointment, the absolute embodiment of underachievement. And that's quite an accomplishment for the Cowboys considering the serious underachieving they've done the past few years in the playoffs when they failed to win a game.

But back to this season. The Cowboys came into the season with 13 Pro Bowl players, with a marquee performer at almost every position and as the runaway favorite to win the NFC.

Their apologists will point to injuries, from quarterback Tony Romo's broken pinkie to punter Mat McBriar's sprained foot to safety Roy Williams' broken arm. But instead of rising to the occasion, these Cowboys have flinched in the face of adversity and Sunday, they rolled over for the St. Louis Rams - a team going nowhere.

But Dallas is an organization that goes looking for trouble, whether it's owner Jerry Jones bringing in cornerback Adam Jones or wide receiver Terrell Owens griping about his role in the offense.

And between the two teams, the Cowboys are far less likely to straighten themselves out, starting with the coaches and quarterbacks. Whose leadership would you rather rely on, the stoic strength of the Colts' Tony Dungy or the Cowboys' Wade Phillips looking over his shoulder at the hovering Jason Garrett? Again, pick one: the fiery playbook scholar Peyton Manning or the wounded Romo.

And finally, consider the competition for a playoff spot: the Colts jockeying for a wild card in the jumbled AFC as opposed to the Cowboys fighting for their lives in the fiercely contested NFC East.

Not only are the Cowboys a bigger disappointment right now, but they will also be the far bigger disappointment when the story of this season is finally written.

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