FRISCO, Texas –So by now, I think we all know the drill.
The Cowboys are home for this part of the playoffs. And every time any other team has success, the fingers are pointed back toward Jerry Jones and his staff for just about everything.
It's his fault the Eagles are in the Super Bowl. It's probably his fault the Patriots are as well. And I'm sure some people will find a way to blame Jerry for the government shutdown, too.
That's just the way it works and everyone, including Jerry, understands it.
But watching Sunday's two conference championship games, the hero of both winning teams had some Cowboys ties. One of them is borderline ridiculous, but the other one has some merit.
For starters, anyone trying to blame the Cowboys for not signing Nick Foles is just either reaching for a reason to place more blame, or doesn't have a great memory.
Either way, Foles to the Cowboys wasn't something that ever made a lot of sense. Yes, Jones made the statement at training camp that the Cowboys weren't interested in Foles, and if you think about it, why would they be?
At the time, they had Tony Romo coming back as the starter, had drafted Dak Prescott in the fourth round and had Kellen Moore as well. Why sign Foles to any contract, especially when he was looking to be paid like the Pro Bowler he had been?
Then Moore gets hurt, and while the Cowboys became more interested, they never were going to pay a high price and Foles ended up signing in Kansas City.
Even before Foles led the Eagles to the Super Bowl, there's no way the Cowboys should be upset about not signing him 18 months earlier. You never would've found anything out about Dak, and I'm pretty sure you're not sitting at 13-3 with Foles under center back in 2016.
Say what you want about how things have turned out this year, but just ask yourself one question: If Foles is available in 2018, would you take him over Dak? I know I wouldn't, and I'm sure there are more Cowboys fans out there who would agree.
Hey, give Foles credit for taking advantage of the opportunity and running with it. But I don't think the Cowboys should be blamed for not signing him when they had a starter in place and a young rookie waiting in the wings.
Now, let's not completely let the team off the hook. Before the Eagles advanced to the Super Bowl, the Patriots got there thanks to Tom Brady and Danny Amendola, who, yes, was actually a member of the Cowboys nearly a decade ago.
The Cowboys don't really get criticized too much for this one anymore, mainly because it's been about 10 years. And it wasn't really a situation in which they didn't like Amendola and chose to get rid of him.
Yet, they could've done more to keep him in the building. Back in 2008, he was an undrafted rookie from Texas Tech, and he turned some heads in the offseason. He even made for an interesting storyline on HBO's Hard Knocks.
But he wasn't exactly ready to contribute, and so the Cowboys waived him and put him on the practice squad, where he stayed all year long. Think about that. If you're on the practice squad, you're pretty much available to every team in the league if they want to sign you.
But at the end of the season, there seemed to be some confusion with either Amendola or his agent at the time, and when the Cowboys were eliminated from the playoffs, he chose not to re-sign with the Cowboys like most of the other practice squad players did. He chose to sign with the Eagles instead, presumably with the notion that he could participate in the playoffs. However, NFL rules don't allow that to take place, which kept Amendola on the "Futures" list and made him ineligible to play until the following season.
The Cowboys definitely wanted to keep him in the plans, but he had other ideas. He didn't last long with the Eagles and went to the Rams, where he started to record some stats, before eventually landing in New England.
Could the Cowboys have kept him on the roster in 2008 and not paid so much attention to the likes of Isaiah Stanback and Miles Austin? Sure, but they didn't think Amendola was ready during his rookie year and figured he would just come back like most practice squad players do. Instead, he moved on and it was a good decision by him.
I think the Cowboys even know they let a good one get away, and made sure not to make that same mistake a few years later when Cole Beasley came around. I know they would've regretted seeing him walk out the door as well.
Hey, there are plenty or reasons to be frustrated by the decision-making here that has kept the Cowboys from advancing to either the conference championship and/or the Super Bowl in over 22 years.
But I don't think passing on Foles, or even letting Amendola go 10 years ago, should be on the list.