The Bottom Is Missing Out Here

kid who once had the world in the palm of his hands only to watch before his very eyes how it fell right out as he was going to place the ball down for Martin Gramatica and shattered to smithereens. Poor guy.

Yeah, he made a mistake, and I can only imagine how many will be chastising him in e-mail central. And again, as bad as you all feel about the loss, as mad as you are, just jump into his shoes for a few hours. Please, folks, have some compassion.

He's not looking for your sympathy. He's not asking for anyone to feel sorry for him. But my goodness, if you've got a heart with real blood pumping through it, do you not feel for the guy?

Romo, in the matter of five seconds, from the time he took the snap until the time Jordan Babineaux tackled his desperately scrambling self from behind, became a national story, and I'm guessing the topic of many a joke. Parasites all of 'em, because they need someone else to be the butt of their jokes to earn a living.

If you all could have been in that locker room afterward. If you could have seen how Romo tortured himself, sitting facing inward to his locker, face in both hands for obvious reasons. Those were real tears.

If you could have seen the guy everyone wants to accuse of ripping this locker room apart, Terrell Owens standing close by with his hand on his shoulder, talking to him in hushed tones, attempting to console the inconsolable.

I mean, if you felt for the guy while watching him address the media in the interview room afterward, let me tell you, you should have been in that locker room to see this. Tough, I'm telling you.

What you have to hope, what the Cowboys have to hope - heck, what Romo must hope - is that he does not suffer irreparable damage from this one play, that it does not define his career nor become this huge psychological barrier he cannot overcome, which I'm guessing is another story for another day real soon.

Yeah, I know, there is so much to digest once the season comes to a halt. Will Bill be back? Will T.O. be back? Will there be changes on the coaching staff?

Will roster bonuses be funded? Which of their impending free agents will the Cowboys try to re-sign? What free agents will they try to sign? What are their glaring needs in the draft? Who is having off-season surgery? Will there be alterations in scheme, offensive and defensive?

Patience, because believe me we have a whole lot of time left on our hands.

And to me, and I don't even have to make any of these decisions, this would be the worst time to many any of them. Emotions are far too high, probably as high as their spirits are low. This is no time to make rational decisions.

For the Cowboys, it's time to tie up loose ends, and then step back for a few days. Maybe a week or so, at least. Not trying to be overly dramatic here, but there must be a grieving period, and certainly a 9-7 regular season followed by one-and-done in the playoffs - again - will take some time to get over.

Especially - and this is where you guys, too, can share in the pain - since this was a season laced with so much expectation, fueled by all these national predictions of Super Bowl appearances and division titles.

But the beauty of what goes on out here is this: Nothing is promised. You can be the Super Bowl champs one year, and then struggle just to get to 8-8 the next. You can be 3-3 at one point in a 16-game season, and then 8-4 the next. And you can be . . . .

OK, you guys know the rest, right?

As hard as all that is to take, you can even be lining up for a field goal from extra-point length to win the game one minute, and have all hell breaking loose the next five seconds. That's why they call this a game. No one ever knows before it totally unfolds. That's why leaving early is unwise.

This is reality TV at its best. The suspense truly is spine-tingling for some, spine-numbing for others.

So here we all sit today, disappointed, depressed, agitated, disbelieving, melancholy - fill in the adjective - trying to best relieve ourselves by assessing blame. Best I can say is, work through it.

Because let me tell you, things aren't real chipper out here. Not when the bottom is

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