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Dallas Cowboys must learn to cool expectations

The Dallas Cowboys endured the familiar feeling of defeat in the NFL playoffs, falling at the first hurdle in a 23-17 defeat at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers. Dallas produced a fine 12-5 record in the 2021 season to win the NFC East. Dak Prescott bounced back to health after suffering an injury-hit 2020 campaign.

The quarterback was outstanding for the majority of the term, forging a dangerous connection with CeeDee Lamb along with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup over the course of the season. Rookie linebacker Micah Parsons emerged as a dominant player in the Cowboys’ defense alongside Trevon Diggs and Randy Gregory.

Despite the talent on both sides of the ball, the Cowboys slumped to yet another defeat in the playoffs. Mike McCarthy’s men extended their Super Bowl drought to 27 years, and the franchise seems further away than ever from securing the Vince Lombardi Trophy. The Cowboys are often among the leading contenders when betting on NFL at the start of the season to win the Super Bowl, although their status with the bookmakers is borne more out of reputation than their actual performances on the field. The betting tips on NFL will highlight the fact that there are a lot of teams in the NFC alone with stronger claims to the Super Bowl than the Cowboys, with the Green Packers, Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers possessing stronger rosters.

In total 12 franchises have reached the Super Bowl from the NFC Conference since Dallas last appeared in the title game, including their bitter rivals New York Giants on three occasions. For a team that has committed a huge amount of resources on their team and facilities over the last 27 years, the results have not been good enough. Owner Jerry Jones has invested a significant amount in attempting to propel the Cowboys back to the Super Bowl, but due to a litany of issues regarding clutch play and injuries, Dallas have failed to get over the hump.

McCarthy was brought in to the franchise to revive the fortunes after years of mediocrity under Jason Garrett. In the 2020 campaign, he witnessed the injury slumps that have affected Dallas over the years, losing Prescott for the majority of the season along with Tyron Smith. In 2021, McCarthy saw first-hand and was unable to prevent his team cracking under the pressure of the post-season.

The Cowboys committed a litany of penalties, including a number of key holds that stymied their offense. With time running out, Prescott had the chance to drive his team into range for one last Hail Mary, but got greedy with his run downfield before time expired. The odds were stacked against the Cowboys with a last-second shot anyway, but it highlights a fundamental flaw in the team where they cannot hold their composure in the crucial moments.

The incident was another mistake in the hallmark of Dallas’ recent history in the playoffs to go alongside Tony Romo’s botched snap against the Seattle Seahawks in the 2006 campaign, and Dez Bryant’s infamous no-catch against the Packers in 2015. No matter who the players are on the field and the coaches on the sideline, Dallas cannot seem to put it all together to make a meaningful post-season run. These issues have persisted for too long to just be down to luck.

Drama has followed the franchise around for too long on and off the field. Until they manage to temper expectations and play the game rather than the occasion, the Cowboys are doomed for failure despite their talent on the field.

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