It's hard to imagine this team could fall this fast, this quickly.
But after finishing the season at a hugely disappointing 9-7 and missing the playoffs, that's exactly what has happened.
The team widely regarded as the most talented team in the National Football League entering the start of the 2008 season, the Dallas Cowboys, fell flat on its face Sunday night in Philadelphia, eliminating any hope of a late run to the playoffs and likely changing the course of the organization for years to come.
When you lose a game by 38 points with a playoff berth on the line after suffering a series of similar devastating defeats in the same season, something has to change.
And it starts at the top. It starts with head coach Wade Phillips.
While the move from Bill Parcells to Phillips two years ago was widely viewed as a good one because of Phillips' relaxed style compared to the dictatorship under Parcells, it has become painfully obvious that style has led to relaxed play.
And relaxed play has led to the kinds of losses we saw Sunday evening.
The penalties, the turnovers and the poor play at the most critical moments of so many games this season have happened too often to ignore.
The last two games provide all the proof you need.
Consider the erratic play of QB Tony Romo. Consider the inexcusable two fumble returns for touchdowns against the Eagles Sunday night- both further from 75 yards out.
Consider the multitude of dropped passes by Terrell Owens or the sideline blowup of Tank Johnson.
Consider the two touchdown runs of 75 yards or further given up in the fourth quarter the week before against Baltimore.
Consider how it seems as though the Dallas Cowboys have just given up.
And most of all, consider the fact that this just isn't a team- and that may be what hurts the most.
As Brian Dawkins was being interviewed after his team's triumphant win Sunday night, he spoke of how he played for his teammates and they played for him.
He spoke of unity, togetherness and passion for the game.
You'll find hardly a soul on the Dallas Cowboys who believes in what Dawkins had to say. Do you think Adam "Pacman" Jones is playing for this team?
What about Terrell Owens?
Your guess is as good as mine, but chances are those two are only the tip of the iceberg and the current state of affairs in Valley Ranch is going to change the mindset of those players- or anybody else for that matter.
Owner/general manager Jerry Jones may have given Wade Phillips and his coaching staff a vote of confidence last week in saying there would be no changes, but Sunday's loss in Philadelphia changes that. All of it.
There has to be a change in 2009 for America's Team.
And don't be surprised if it happens sooner, rather than later.
Jones can't afford to have this coaching staff take the same approach and have next season fade away like the previous two have. If he can't make the change after Sunday's loss, he's only postponing the inevitable.
Wade Phillips won't make it. He's not the answer.
Something has to change for the Dallas Cowboys- and it starts at the top.
Phillips Won't Make It
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