Jones Bunkers Down In Frustrated Climate

attitude. Terrell Owens' insinuations. Tony Romo's aloofness.

You name it, it's been named.

And while it may have taken nearly eight weeks to figure this out, I finally understand why:

Eagles 44, Cowboys 6.

Deplorable, and that one game, which worst of all happened to be the last game - the lasting impression - has colored the entire season, just as I'm sure Patriots 48, Cowboys 27 would have in 2007 if that had not been Game 6, and as did Giants 21, Cowboys 17 that season.

Come on, this is the same team you probably were bowing up over after Cowboys 20, Giants 8, or Cowboys 14, Redskins 10, with Romo, the one who doesn't care, playing at FedEx Field with a splint on his still fractured finger for the first time. While you were disappointed as hell over how Steelers 20, Cowboys 13 ended, I'm guessing there was some measure of pride swelling with the Cowboys going into Pittsburgh, in those conditions, with a rookie starting his first game at running back and leading the eventual Super Bowl champs 13-3 with 8:42 left to play.

Or from how the Cowboys recovered from 24-14 in the final 3:17 playing on the road against the eventual Super Bowl runner-ups to send the game into overtime, even though losing on that disheartening blocked punt recovered for the winning touchdown. And for that matter, in how the Cowboys somehow, someway, with backup QB Brad Johnson struggling through the second of three starts in Romo's injured absence, were able to gallantly hang on for what appeared to be the most crucial 13-9 victory over Tampa Bay.

But I know, doesn't matter. Because of Philadelphia. Because of getting their drawers blown off there. Because of appearing disinterested, unprepared and lethargic that afternoon at The Linc, even though losing to a team that, without an unforced fumble the first time around, they probably would have lost to that first time around as well.

And I know - again - this is being reasonable, and you guys aren't in to reasonable after 9-7.

Yet, if so much is so wrong, tell me this: Why did this one online betting site have the Cowboys and defending Super Bowl champion Steelers at 9-1 odds to win Super Bowl XLIV, second only to the Patriots' 13-2? Or why did another label the Cowboys and Falcons the 2009 NFC "teams to consider" as conference champs? Or why did another site list the Cowboys at 9-1 odds to win Super Bowl XLIV, fifth in line behind the Patriots, who lead at 6-1, with the Steelers (7-1) and Giants and Colts (8-1) sandwiched in between?

And remember, these guys do this stuff for a living.

So, really, is it all as bad as many of you and Jerry's "you guys" are making it out to be? Or is this just a 9-7 hangover exacerbated by that final-nail-in-the-coffin loss to the Eagles?

Causing everyone, as Jerry said, just to be "mad."

"So having said that, you got to understand that, and I do understand that. I completely understand it. You just don't know how much I understand it," Jones would say, starting to wind down. "So I'm trying to operate, trying to make our decisions and trying to do it. . . .

"Have I not wanted to speak more - less - this year than the other 19 years I've been with the Cowboys? The truth is no, I haven't changed. I haven't changed that way. But the truth is I'm being sensitive to how frustrated you are. I'm being sensitive to that because we both know it's going to be hard to get something good out of it, isn't it? We all know (that)."

Especially when most everyone is too mad to see straight.

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