But instead of becoming the first team in NFL history to play in and win a Super Bowl in their home stadium — as owner Jerry Jones predicted before the 2010 season began — they become first Cowboys team to go from first place in the division one season to last in the division the following year.
Jones might grin and bear it as the host of the game's championship showcase in February, but he is still smarting but just how far the Cowboys fell. He has already stated he is mad as hell about the team's predicament and has promised widespread changes.
He fired Wade Phillips during the regular season and promises that a host of players will pay with their jobs in what will be an offseason of reckoning for the Cowboys.
That's one reason Jones has already zeroed in promoting Jason Garrett from interim head coach.
Jones will interview at least two minority candidates to satisfy the the Rooney Rule before giving Garrett the job by the end of the week, possibly as soon as Friday.
"I want to get the coaching decision out of the way so we can move and do what we all need to do," Jones said. "We got lot of work to do. We got a lot of personnel decisions to make. The quicker I can get this head coach thing resolved the earlier we will get to get on it. We will have significant turnover on our roster relative to the players. We need to move right into that."
WHAT WENT RIGHT: Is it fair to say ... nothing? That is close to reality for a Cowboys team promising to be making a Super Bowl run at Cowboys Stadium only to begin the season 1-7, end up firing coach Wade Phillips at the midway point and setting records for futility along the way. The Cowboys like the way the team reacted and finished the season under Jason Garrett the last eight games — Dallas went 5-3.
They responded and continued to play hard even though they had nothing to play for, all the way to a 14-13 win at Philadelphia to end the year. As far as players are concerned, the team's decision to go with Doug Free at left tackle in place of the fired Flozell Adams was a wise one. It was Free's first year as a starter but he proved to be the team's best offensive lineman in 2010. Outside of that, the usual consistency from seven-time Pro Bowl tight end Jason Witten, who led the Cowboys and all tight ends in receiving, All-Pro linebacker DeMarcus Ware, who won the NFL sack title with 15.5 sacks, and linebacker Bradie James, who led the team in tackles for the sixth straight year, not much went right for Cowboys.
WHAT WENT WRONG: Most everything that the Cowboys hoped would go right went wrong. Jerry Jones gave Wade Phillips a two-year contract extension after last season's division title and the team's first playoff win in 13 years. Not in his wildest dreams did he believe he would be firing Phillips midway through the season after a 1-7 start and the team quitting on him in a 45-7 loss to the Packers. It wasn't all sideline-centered misfortune. Franchise quarterback Tony Romo suffered a fractured clavicle and missed the last 10 games of the season. Rookie first-round pick receiver Dez Bryant was slowed in camp with sprained ankle that had the Cowboys giving him crumbs of the playbook at the start of the season. And then when he showed he was ready to take off and be the team's prime playmaker he was lost for the season with a broken ankle. The offensive line crumbled due to injury and old age, namely guards Kyle Kosier and Leonard Davis and right tackle Marc Colombo. Running back Marion Barber was a shell his former self and lost his starting job and playing time late in the season. But nothing was as bad as the Cowboys' defense. One year after finishing ninth in the league in yards and second in points allowed, the Cowboys gave up a team record for points, yards and passing touchdowns in a season. Cornerbacks Terence Newman and Mike Jenkins went from Pro Bowl teammates last year to the Toast Brothers in 2010 as they gave up big plays and yards every week — eight receivers topped 100 yards against the Cowboys including two that went for 200.
Garrett leader in the club house
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